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D-Nox [Interview]

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Hailing from Germany but now based in Brazil, D-Nox has continued to thrill fans with both cutting edge music and enlightening DJ sets. Whether operating in solo capacity or as one half of D-Nox and Beckers, the German artist lays claim to an impressive resume, highlighted by releases on Bedrock Records, Einmusika, Sudbeat Music and his own Sprout imprint. This week sees D-Nox making his Dreaming Awake debut with a remix of 'Pandemic Poem' by Jamie Stevens and Treavor Moontribe.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with D-Nox to learn more about the remix of ‘Pandemic Poem’, his studio process, future plans, and more. Enjoy.

Hi Christian, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Hello everyone, today is Monday and I gotta say that I feel good. My last weekend wasn’t to stressful as I played only one show in a city 1 hour away by airplane. Its always great to wake up in your own bed. The last piece of music I listened was Eelke Kleijn vs Lee Cabrera - Self Control , an excellent remix of an 80ties classic.

How’s your year start to the year been so far? And what are your plans for the coming week?

The year has started pretty similar to the previous one. In January I usually take some days off to recover from a tense month December full of gigs. My parents came all the way from Germany to Brazil and we spend 2 weeks in Rio and some beaches near by. But it seams that this year will be a little less hectic with less gigs as last year everyone got too excited making events after the corona. This week I will focus on my record label, preparing the next releases but I also wanna go back to the studio and write some new tunes.

What are some of your best memories from first going to clubs? Were there specific nights or events that really made you feel you wanted to pursue electronic music?

Oh this is a beautiful question as I love to remember the good old days. Of course I remember it well, also because I am now celebrating 30 years as a dj. In 1992 I was 16 and I managed to fake my id to be able to get into the night clubs. I used to life in Duesseldorf which was some kind of capital for electronic music, Kraftwerk is from that same city but also acts like Hardfloor. Techno had just arrived in Germany and it was a very exciting time as the music was new and loud and everything was different. The cloth, the way people danced, the way dj mixed and also the fact that the parties never stopped. My first techno party was like seeing a solar eclipse or anything similar. The sound was different, full of surprises and there were no rules. This was what made me hook on this sound. I made my first money and was able to buy records of this new music that came from England, Belgium, USA and of course from Germany. I started to go out every weekend, I drove to other cities to rave parties and clubs. I went to see all the big DJs back than, I made friends with so many people and got connected to the scene. I learned how to mix with turntables and my music collection got bigger and bigger until the day I got asked to Dj in a club. Since than I have never stopped djing.

So I think you spent most of your life in Germany is that right? But you’ve been living in Argentina for some time now, what prompted you to re-locate and how would you compare the nightlife from Argentina to Germany?

Yes I am German and spend most of my life there, in 2015 I moved to Argentina because of my daughter that lives there. I wanted to be there for her and see her grow. The scene is different in that aspect that the audience is much more into the music it seams and way more enthusiastic. I can say that the Argentinian crowd is full of passion and loves to dance as there is no tomorrow.

If you were a tour-guide for nightlife in Argentina, what would be the clubs you’d take the people to see and what local DJs do they need to hear?

The night life there is changing as fast as in other countries but some of the major clubs u should know are 'Crobar', 'The Bow' and 'Bahrein Club' in Buenos Aires. Than you have great parties in Cordoba, Rosario but also in smaller capitals such as Tucuman, Corrientes or Mar Del Plata. Especially in the summer you will find beautiful events in Mar Del Plata and in Buenos Aires. Raves with many thousand people at the beach or in parks.

If you are not DJing or socializing at clubs, where do we find you? And doing what?

If I am not traveling than you will find me in my house. Around 4 years ago I moved to Sao Paulo. Here I have everything I need, peace, love and silence. This is also my headquarters of where I control my record label and write my music.

When you were first getting started in production did you have someone help you or are you completely self-taught? And what would you recommend new producers do to help with the learning curve of production?

Until today I am depending on the help of others. I am a dj at first place but was never nerd enough to get fully into the whole production process. I think most of us are like this. It is too complex and things change to fast. But everything I know and do I learned myself. Never went to a dj or production school. I recommend new producers to team up with someone, maybe use tutorials in YouTube. There are no secrets. Beckers my partner and me we recorded a masterclass which shows in over 8 hours how to write a track from scratch. People loved it as it helped a lot.

You have a new remix of ‘Pandemic Poem’ by Jamie Stevens and Treavor Moontribe out this week via Dreaming Awake. Tell us about the remix and why this was a project which attracted you.

Treavor Moontribe is a friend of mine and we always speak about music and projects and ideas. Early into the pandemic he came up with this song and asked me if Beckers and me would like to remix it. We got attracted as the original track is outstanding and has a great message. Also we love to work together with friends and artist we respect which is the case here.

How much studio time do yourself and Frankey get together? Or is most of the work done via passing files back and forth at this point?

We both don’t have much time together anymore as I life too far away. But I miss it. I need to fly to Germany to see and produce with him happens once or twice a year. The rest we use the internet but its not the same thing. Nothing beats a good time together in the studio.

What does your set-up like? Do you guys favor physical gear over digital? And what studio tools featured heavily in the writing of this remix?

My own set up at home is very basic, laptop, sound card, speakers and midicontroller. In Beckers studio things are more pro. He has pretty much everything but 90% of the music he does comes out of the computer. We work with Ableton 11 and all the plugs in u can imagine. U-he, arturia, serum just to name of few. The remix was made 100% digital and changed quite a lot from the first idea to the final result. It is probably the most deep remix we did in a long time. It become a timeless piece of music and we are very happy with the result.

Let’s talk about production a bit more for a moment, where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play? Or does a lot of inspiration come from gigs?

Inspiration comes from pretty much everything u mentioned above, often also by listening new presets or sample banks. The best tracks are those which we have an idea of what to do before. Sometimes a track we hear in the radio or in a party.

What is the task you enjoy the most when producing and what would you prefer someone else to do?

My part is usually to do the arrangement of the track while Beckers is the producer. Also he is a real musician which helps a lot to solve all the harmonie issue, the right tones and tunes. But also which compressor or eq to use. Also when it comes to mixing the track I prefer someone else does as my ears after 30 years doing are not the best anymore.

Now let’s talk about DJing for a moment, it’s a unique discipline at the border between presenting great music and creating something new with it, between composition and improvisation to an extent. How would you describe your approach to it?

This is exactly what I try to do. Make a bridge between old and new. I wanna educate the crowd but don’t got to far and experiment with something that crowd wouldn’t understand. Each city or country has its own particular sound. No need to play break beast in Brasil while on the west coast in the US people like broken beats. I also like to show some classic, music which moved me in my life. Music form the 80ties, some early house classics. All that u find in my sets. I often feel that the younger crowd should know where techno and house music started at and wanna show them some elements of my 30 years career. I would never go down and play commercial EDM or music which has nothing to do with me but my range is quite big. Goes from disco to techno.

Can you tell me a bit about how your work as a DJ has influenced your view of music, your way of listening to tracks and perhaps also, your work as a producer?

One thing I always say is that since I produce music myself I listen music in a different way. I am not as free as I used to be. Now I analyze track, separate the channels and see it as I see my tracks on the computer in the studio. I wish I would be more naiv and listen tracks as a whole thing again. But I believe this feeling won’t come back.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

Patrice Baumel to Open the party. Sven Väth or Laurent Garnier to carry on thru the night for a long set and me to close the party as there is nothing better to do me than closing up. I know its a bit egoistic but I didnt see any good dis that blew me away for a long time. But also because I often just arrive to play and leave for my set. We could add Who Made Who as a live act in between as I love their music and they do a great show.

What’s a book you’ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you, and why?

Book - The Physician (I love the history and this book made me feel be part of the story and the time it plays at. A masterpiece)

Movie - Forest Gump (maybe a cheesy movie but I like the way the story is told and it moves me every time I watch it)

If you could travel anywhere for one day, all laws and limitations void, where would it be? And why?

I would love to travel back in time and life my 20 and 30ties again. I would pay better attention to things and maybe do some things different. Often we don’t appreciate what we experience and I would love to life some of moments again. Also it scares me how fast time flies. Like a good movie, just watch it again.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Love, Nature, Peace, Silence, Good Food

What does the remainder of 2023 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

I will be touring the world to celebrate my 30 years as a dj which should bring me to many countries all around, but also some new music (as always). Maybe we will produce a small documentary about my dj life. Work on a podcast, keep releasing music on my label and spend more time with my daughter.

'Pandemic Poem Remixes' are available now via Dreaming Awake: https://bit.ly/3ZJsPm6

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