Home Featured Feature: Daniele Di Martino [Interview + Podcast]

Feature: Daniele Di Martino [Interview + Podcast]

27 min read

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

Thanks for having me. Good vibes only is my current mood and working on new music at the moment. Before that, I was listening to some lo-fi HipHop :) 

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

My year was surprisingly good so far. I was able to play many festivals and international gigs. And next ADE is coming up but until then I will work on new music and release for my label. 

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

Yoko Duo - Close These Curtains (Stimming Remix) 

Pleasurekraft - Tarantula

Sebastien Leger & Chris Lake - Word

Tiga - You Gonna Want Me

Sidney Samson - Riverside

I’ve read that living in Berlin inspired you to make techno. Tell us about that, what was it about the city which had such a profound effect on you as opposed to Munich where you grew up?

In Munich, I have not really thought about producing own music. That more came up during my two years in London. I worked for Cr2 Records and got more and more in contact with the music scene especially from Berlin until I decided to move to Berlin and do my own thing.

Ware your favourite venues to play in Germany?

Currently I like to play at the Station Endlos in Halle, Kater Blau and Sisyphos in Berlin and the Bahnwärter Thiel in Munich. 

Who are some up and coming Germany artists to look out for?

Very promising in Germany for me at the moment is Yubik, Skala, Dahu, Sam Shure, Annett Gapstream and Nina Hepburn. They all produce amazing music and are playing banging sets. 

You also lived in London for a bit over a year I believe, tell us about that and how did the nightlife there compare to Berlin?

I lived in London from 2011 to 2013 and worked for a record label. I found the nightlife in London ok and unfortunately it was too expensive for me with my small salary. But when I went out, I usually ended up at Village Underground, 93 Feet East or Brixton Academy. 

You feature on the recent edition of our Elements Podcast series, it’s a recent live set from Kater Blau, tell us a bit about the club, your set that night and how you generally approach playing a venue like that.

That was at the event series "Enorm In Form"at Kater Blau recently. Mostly I prepare 3-5 fixed tracks for the start and then see how the party people are reacting and then play my next tracks to their vibes. 

What were your main creative challenges when starting out as a DJ and how have they changed over time?

The biggest creative challenge for me was and still is to find the music, which nobody knows but wants to hear. The only thing that has changed over time is that I test and play many of my own productions. 

How would you describe the relationship between your choices and vision as a DJ and the expectations, desires and feedback of your crowd? Is there a sense of collaboration between you and the club-goers?

Yes of course, for me there is a relationship between the Ravers and me. You are sending people over several hours on a journey from dark to melancholic to bright and back. That only works if you have their mood in sight and not only play a mindless setlist. For me it's always very important to respond to the vibe of the people. 

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?

When I listen to music on the go, I think about how a certain sound was produced or how an artist came up with that idea. Sometimes I also find it interesting how simple you can achieve a great result. I often overthink my productions and that prevents me from moving forward. 

Let’s now talk about production 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?

I usually take my inspiration from the moment itself. When I start producing, I already know where I possibly want to come out. The result should be a melodic techno club track. For example, I play around with synths until a sound catches my attention and I can imagine a whole track built on the sound pretty fast. Arrangement and mixing comes from experience through time I've been producing and also you know what works on the dancefloor when you're DJing. 

Looking closer at one of your recent releases on Impressum, walk us through the production process on one of the tracks, whichever you prefer, and if applicable was there anything in particular which inspired that track or the EP?

For Prometheus I pretty much produced all melodies and pads with the Diva, for the bass I use the Mini V3 because it's nice, simple, mono and has power in the low end. For the kick I take mostly the Bazzism in combination with an OTT compressor. For effects and other drums I often take samples and modify them as needed. My productions not really have many tracks. Mostly I end up between 30-40 tracks.

For you to get started on a track do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called ‘visualizations’ of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?

I don't always need a concrete idea; rather, the idea becomes more concrete in the creative process itself. I would say the genre is planned, but how the track sounds in the end is the result of a "chance". I play around with synths until a certain sound catches me and I can build the rest of the track around it. 

Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents or exercise play in the process?

I haven't really thought about that yet, but you could possibly call the routine a ritual. Get up, coffee, studio, drums and then jam. 

Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite, I think. What marks the end of the process for you? How do you know when a track is done?

It's hard to say when a track is really finished. I could often do changes to old releases. It's an learning process to be able to finish your tracks proper. That took me some time. Technically, for me a track is finished when testing in the club has worked. After testing I fine tune the rest in the studio and the track is ready to go. 

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?

I often tell myself to let a song lay for a couple of days and then listen back to it with fresh ears. That doesn't always work out and I end up tweaking every little annoying detail until I am happy.  

Who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback? And how much does road testing factor into making changes in a track?

For feedback I send it to close friends and producers :) Road testing is important for me. Sometimes you don't realise until you're in the club that a part takes too long or is too short for example. After testing I make adjustments in the studio and then test again.

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

I have the most fun making drums and grooves to fill them with melodies. What I hand over to others is the mastering. I master my tracks just to test them in a club, but there's still a big difference between my mastering and a mastering engineer. 

Tell us a bit about your label Mono.noise, been running about five years now, what is your vision for it and how has it changed over the last half decade?

In the first place, the label was supposed to be a platform for me and my music and then over the years it has become a base for upcoming artists. The label is not huge, but gives unknown artists a visibility to bigger djs and labels. Some Mono.Noise artists are releasing now with Diynamic, Siamese or Stil Vor Talent to name a few. 

What advice would you have for someone looking to signed to Mono.noise?

Listen to our last releases and try to understand the vibe we create. It does not always have to be four to the floor, but it has to fit the vibe. 

When you finish new music what factors determine if you release them yourself or on another label?

That is hard to say. I try to release at least once a year on my own label. And on the other hand sometimes the signing process with big labels takes ages. It can sometimes take up 6-9 months. Then I stop the process and release uncomplicated without long delays on my own label. Some tracks are not that long interessting and need to be released in a timely manner. And releasing on other labels I choose according on how much work they put into their releases. Because you also put a lot of time into the production and then it would be a waste if the label just uploads the music to the internet. 

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?

Haha sweet, that's a nice question but not easy. 

2h Daytime Opening - DJ Koze 

3h Sundowner Set - Keinemusik 

2h Guiding into the night - Colyn 

3h Peak time set - Fidels  

2h Closing - Yubik  

Special guest of course should not be missing and who could be better for that than Britney Spears. 

Looking back over your discography, what release or track holds the best memories for you and is there a correlation between that track and how successful you are today?

I have very good memories with my track Inception because it took me only some hours from start to finish and it was like a rave in the studio. My best ideas always happen fast to me, because it is like being in a creative tunnel and all the steps go hand in hand. Also that track was important for me as it was my first EP on a big international label, Get Physical Music. 

What would be a musical extravagance for your studio you would pay for, if you were very wealthy?

A studio built by Northward Acoustics with ATC SCM45A + Sub speakers. 

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

I would like to name two films. Once The Talented Mr. Ripley where I found the story very strong, the cast and the scenery. The second and my all time favorite is Grand Hotel Budapest, where I also find the story very strong, but also the aesthetics and the playful puppet-like quality very impressive. 

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Good food in good company, sailing and skiing or snowboarding.

What does the remainder of 2022 and onwards into 2023 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

On November 25th I will release another track on Stil Vor Talent and in December there will probably be a release together with my friend Deckert on the Nandu's imprint 'Out Of Options'. Release date is not fix yet. Then, another India tour is planned. And I would like to share: Good Vibes Only

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