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Donny Carr [Interview]

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Born in Sacramento, California but now based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Donny Carr has been a recognized name in the progressive music scene since 2018. First emerging with a remix of genre icon Jerome Isma-Ae, Danny would go on to record projects for Balkan Connection, Juicebox Music, Mango Alley and Yomo Records. Inspired By Trees has also been a regular landing spot for the Salt Lake City resident, with a single and two remixes recorded across a thirty month stretch. Now, presenting his first new music in a little over a year, Donny returns to Inspired By Trees with ‘Dynamis’, alongside a remix from Marco Amoazoo.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with Donny to learn more about the release of ‘Dynamis’, his studio process, future plans, and more. Enjoy.

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

Currently, I’m feeling excited about some big changes happening in my personal life. The last track I listened to was “Deja Vu” by blessthefall.

Can you name five tracks that were important in your musical development and why they are so significant for you?

It’s so difficult to single out 5 tracks, there are too many greats. However, one mixed compilation album really spoke to me early on. “Great Wall” by Paul Oakenfold will always have a special place in my heart.

Tell us about living in the USA, how has it influenced your music taste and direction?

Or has it at all? I love living in the USA so don’t get me wrong here. But musically, I often feel like I was born in the wrong country. A musical lone wolf :)

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

In the studio, In the gym, or on the trails.

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?

I am completely self-taught. For new producers, I would highly recommend taking the time to learn the fundamentals first, create a solid foundation to build on. Also, learn your DAW! Have fun with it, experiment 😊

One last recommendation... When you find a teacher or mentor you really enjoy, fully absorb everything they have to offer. The sheer amount of content available today can quickly become overwhelming.

I’ve read that you played saxophone for well over a decade, how did that help you when you discovered electronic music production?

It gave me a good music theory base and helped me develop an ear for the nuances of music production.

What does your set-up look like? Do you favor physical gear over digital? And what studio tools featured heavily in the writing of your new single for Inspired By Trees entitled 'Dynamis'?

Analog and digital are both great. But currently I’m running a complete in the box setup. When making ‘Dynamis’ I had recently purchased the UVI Synth Anthology collection, so that was heavily featured in that track.

Inspired By Trees is a label you've released with a few times since your first appearance in 2019. Tell us why the label is such a good home for your music.

Inspired by Trees is a pleasure to work with and musically open minded. That’s a combo I can get behind!

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? And was there anything that inspired Dynamis?

Dynamis was the first track I finished after going through my worst bought of resistance/creative block. I literally had to force my way through it. The word “Dynamis” is an ancient Greek word that means “strength, force, change in motion”. It’s a very dear track to me because it broke that creative block.

Once a piece is finished, how important is it for you to let it lie and evaluate it later on? How much improvement and refinement do you personally allow until you're satisfied with a piece? What does this process look like in practice? And who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback?

This is something I've learned the hard way! These days it’s important for me to let the track breathe, so I can make any final decisions with a fresh perspective. It’s not a race...just let it be.

And sometimes it can be helpful to get feedback. In those cases, I have a handful of fellow producers I trust.

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

The part I love most is finding that initial spark, I could do that all day everyday! But honestly, I enjoy the entire process.

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?

GMJ & Matter, Jerome Isma-Ae, Matias Chilano, Paul Deep (AR), Sasha & Digweed, Carl Cox. Set times?? I’ll get back to you on that ;)

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Family, nature, and hard exercise.

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

The last few years I’ve been busy in the studio focusing on original music. In 2023 you can expect to see new music bubbling to the surface and releases on a more regular basis.

'Dynamis' is available now via Inspired By Trees: https://bit.ly/3K0qa3i

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