The following article is a very emotional one for us here at Deep Fried Decks.
This is the story of the coming of age of a gifted producer. This is the story of a mate of ours realising his dreams. This is the story of reaching high for your dreams whilst still staying grounded and humble. This is about putting all your creative energy into something (which may never work out) whilst fighting off the many frustrations, hurdles and rejections life will throw at you.
This is a rare story.
Part three of our feature on "Five producers to watch out for in 2014" sees us donning the spotlight (and rightly so) on one of South Africa's best producers. Danalog has recently been signed up by Anjunadeep and Jody Wisternoff's remix of his track "Click, Search" will be featured on Anjunadeep 06, the label's annual compilation.
History has been made as he has become the first African producer to be signed to the immensely popular label - Anjunadeep 05 rose to number 1 on the US and Indian iTunes Dance chart in a matter of days last year. Danalog now finds himself representing Africa amongst some juggernauts of electronic music such as Dusky, Lane 8 (we were his first interview before he shot up to global stardom), 16 Bit Lolitas and Jody Wisternoff. This is kind of a big deal. Bigger than Randy Marsh's balls in that South Park episode.
We predict many a great things for Danalog as not only is he extremely gifted but he is also one of the most genuine and humble people we've gotten to know over the last two years or so. The next year or so will see this gent blow up on an international scale - we'll bet our left nut(s) on it.
DFD head chef Art Bam caught up with Danalog recently for an exclusive Deep Fried Decks interview which we've included below. We've also put up the Anjunadeep 06 promo video as well as the respective mix. To hear Danalog's track you can pre-order the album via this link. Enjoy.
Exclusive Deep Fried Decks interview with Danalog:
Hey Dan, thanks for taking the time out to catch up with us. I can still recall having you as one of our first interviews and the exclusive DFD mix you did for us almost two years ago. It’s amazing what has happened since then. You’re about to embark on an exciting new chapter in your musical career.
Before we get to the meat of the sandwich, you spent some time in London recently. What were you up to over there?
Yeah, I was in London & Paris for the last month or so and I just got back.
My brother lives there with his wife & kid, so I went to go visit and hang out for a while. It was more a trip to get out of town and have a brain refresh.
I really just wanted to explore and experience the vibe of the city and the people in it, rather than just partying the month away...although there is an incredible music and arts scene there. I have big love for London, it's not for everyone, but there's definitely something very special about that city. Whatever you are interested in is there and happening! For me, there's something really inspiring and refreshing about that.
After months of secrecy the cat is finally out the bag: Jody Wisternoff’s remix of your track “Click, Search” is going to be gracing the new Anjunadeep 06 compilation. This has been giving us goosebumps for a while now. Can you tell us how you got noticed by the guys at Anjunadeep?
Well, it's really funny you ask that...
To be completely honest, I was totally unaware of Anjunadeep and what they were representing and releasing. As for Jody, I was always familiar with his music and what he did with Nick Warren in Way Out West, etc. It was only really when I got chatting to DFD boss man, Art Bam, that he told me about Anjunadeep and his connection with Jody & the label and insisted I send him some demos to forward through to them.
So I thought "What the hell" and sent Art an early version of "Click, Search". A few weeks later I got a lil' email in my inbox from Dom (Anjunadeep A&R) telling me that they are keen to sign it and the rest kind of just happened; Jody got in touch with me and we've been chatting ever since. He really is a 100% solid oke - just a top class, friendly, genuine guy and it was such a pleasure letting him remix this track. So, thanks for the hookup Art!
Anjunadeep is a label with a plethora of some of the best melodic deep house producers in the world at the moment. How does it feel to be the first South African (and African, if Im not mistaken) producer on an international compilation - which reached number 1 on the US and Indian iTunes chart last year - with acts such as Dusky, Tom Middleton, Lane 8, Lancelot, Leftwing & Kody and of course Jody Wisternoff beside you?
Well it's about fucking time, innit!
Nah, what can I say, it's great to have my name in there with these top class artists, and all it means is I have to work that much harder to keep my foot in that door. I've had a lil' peek into some of the tracks and there is some quality in there!
The label decided to have Jody's remix in the compilation as the vibe of it made more sense within the mix, but the original will be getting released as an EP in the next few months with perhaps some other lil' goodies I'm working on.
Tell us about “Click, Search”. What was the thinking behind the name of the track? It’s been a long time in the making. Was it a serendipitous case of an artist never being satisfied with his/her work and that then unexpectedly paving the way for Jody and yourself to realise something more than what the track initially started out as?
Well, the name "Click, Search" came from me just feeling emotional one day and thinking up some profound name that ended up just sticking. It kinda suits the tune right?
The track was written with the intention of keeping it pure and simple. I wanted to create a tune that could catch one's attention without being too instrusive. so I left out all the bells & whistles (there are literally no bells or whistles in this tune) and just went with it.
It has indeed been a looooong time in the making though. Version 1 was written 2 years ago! The one getting released I think is version 87, haha! But all changes aside, the original idea stayed the same.
I think what maybe caught Jody's ear to remix it was the simplicity of it and he really could take it any which direction he wanted to go. I really loved the end result he came up with. He gave the remix a really fresh atmosphere and groove, with a little dose of trippiness which I always enjoy, but still stuck to the original idea and mood.
I also found his approach to the remixing process really cool. Instead of just taking the parts I sent him, he wanted to know about every individual sound and melody and reproduced a lot of the sounds from scratch. A true pro.
You’ve been spending a lot of time in the studio lately. I’ve been lucky enough to hear little snippets of the beauties you are working on. They really are majestic. More importantly, they are pretty different (more ambient, eclectic and deeper) from what you’d been producing up until a year ago. Capetonian clubbers know your DJ performances as mainly techno and boogie driven sets, with a sprinkling of “some of this funky stuff” in-between. Are you trying out a new sound for your own production as a result of going deeper with Anjunadeep [see what I did there]?
Yes, my sound over the last 2 years has changed direction quite a bit. I moved away from trying to produce techno bombs and this happened purely because I just got so bored of writing music for the dance floor. I have thrown away a lot of interesting projects in the past, purely because I knew I (or most DJ's) would NEVER play them out. This began to really frustrate me and stunt my inspiration as an artist so I decided, "Fuck it. I'm gonna just write what I feel like writing and see where it all goes".
It's weird because lately I hear people calling some of my new stuff "deep house". The funny thing is, I've never been much of a deep house fan. I like it...but I can't say I'm a 'fan' so it's a little odd for me but what is deep house anyway these days? The purists probably want to kill me for saying that.
At the end of the day I try not to label my stuff too much and just write what I feel like without thinking about what box it will get placed into.
I'm always exploring and pushing where I'm going with my sound. My newer tunes are definitely more eclectic, which I'm loving as it keeps my ideas more open and fresh. I'm trying to let my music rely more on how and what it feels to someone, rather than how powerful the build up and drop is.
When I DJ, it's all about the dance floor and I love mixing all different styles including House, techno, deep house etc. This all depends on the event, crowd and time slot of course.
When it comes to my own productions, I like to think of my creations as dance music you can listen to...or listening music you can dance to; you choose.
Regarding the above, where do you source most of your inspiration from? Are you collaborating with fellow musicians to find ideas which work or are you also finding inspiration from other acts?
My inspiration is sourced from all corners of the musical spectrum.
I really do have a very broad, sometimes strange and embarrassing taste in music. Everything from hip hop, UK garage, ambient, funk, pop and classical. I have a serious weakness for 90's hits. The list never ends! I think this variety in taste really shows in my work, or at least I think so.
I actually rarely listen to techno and house unless I'm checking out new & old tunes to play for a gig. Lately I've been going through a serious Fourtet phase though...love that guy!
As far as working with fellow local artists, I guess I'm quite fussy. I've had a few little sessions with friends here and there but nothing has really come of it. From the local artists, there's this band I really like called The Aztec Sapphire. Their sound is really up my alley and I would love to work with them but they never reply to my damn Facebook messages! So if by some crazy chance you okes are reading this, please get hold of me! I also really dig what the Crazy White Boy guys are doing and Ryan Murgatroyd's solo stuff is ace.
Are there any Anjunadeep artists whose tunes, for you, exude the deep fried goodness?
I dig some of Lane8's stuff, he seems to be Anjunadeep golden boy at the moment, and rightfully so...and 16bit Lolitas, of course.
Lastly, what does the rest of 2014 and early 2015 hold for Danalog?
More music & more exploring where I belong within my music. It's important for me to establish myself as a full time producer, and I don't mean only as Danalog.
I'm really interested in working on different projects with other artists, vocalists, bands, any artists who are in need of a producer to make their music come to life and are open to a more electronic sound and getting creative with it.
My dream was never to be a famous DJ making heart shapes at the crowd. My dream was always to be in my studio making music, doing what I love and calling it my job. Producing always came first. So the rest of the year will most likely see me still chasing that dream, with loads of new music in between.
You can check out Danalog's facebook page here and his Soundcloud here.
Anjunadeep 06 is out on the 8th of September. Pre-order it here.