Danny Daze: “The fun part is seeing people dance to music you really love”
When inthemix connects with Danny Daze on Skype, we’re greeted with a blast of four-four down the line. “I’m just in my kitchen studio right now,” he says, turning down the volume on his work-in-progress. “I thought I’d work on a new track in between interviews.” That work ethic has paid off for the Miami-raised producer. Since the wildfire success of his Hot Creations jam Your Everything in 2011, Danny Daze has made music for Future Classic, Nervous Records and Ellum Audio, the label launched by Eric Estornel (known to dancefloors as Maetrik and Maceo Plex). In just a few weeks, Danny Daze will be taking the long haul down here for the New Year’s festival circuit, hitting Field Day, Summadayze and Summafieldayze. We talked insomnia, the “less is more” philosophy and what you learn as a wedding DJ.
What time is it there in Barcelona?
It’s 11:15pm but I woke up at like 9pm tonight. So it’s like the morning for me.
What prompted you to move there?
I’ve been touring quite a bit, mostly in Europe. And the fact that I’ve started a project with Eric, Maceo Plex/ Maetrik, for the Ellum label, I thought I’d spend a lot of time out here and do tours in the U.S. For me, it’s pretty inspiring here. Out of all the places I’ve been, it’d have to be up there in the top three cities in the world. I am Latin, I speak Spanish, it’s my heritage, so it’s pretty inspirational to be out here.
Obviously there’s a lot of fun to be had if you’re waking up at 9pm…
Well, I have clinical insomnia. I can go two to three days without sleep, then I’ll just fall asleep sometime. Then it’ll be nine o’clock at night, so time is pretty irrelevant to be honest.
Is that helpful with the DJ lifestyle, or is it a setback?
Well, I can force myself to stay up, but I get sick a lot. I have to take care myself. The less you sleep the more your immune system shuts down. So I don’t really party too much, I try to take it easy. I guess it does help sometimes, like, how can this guy still be going after eight or nine hours straight of DJing?
So with that condition, is there any particular time when inspiration comes to you?
Usually I’m pretty much a vampire, man. I’m pretty much in a place where it’s dark, so I think for me, the mood depends how tired or not I am. If I wake up and I feel refreshed, I’ll probably produce stuff that’s a faster BPM or more energetic. The more tired you are, the more your mood comes down, so I do think it shows in my production which is pretty cool. I actually just produced a drum & bass record; well, not drum & bass exactly, more a downtempo that goes into drum & bass sorta, Thievery Corporation type thing. I don’t know what to call it. And that was from a couple of days with no sleep. I could use that stuff towards an album.
Where do you fit music making in?
I’m pretty obsessed with it, to be honest. I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be if you’re an artist – not just trying to make hit records. If it’s not on the plane, it’s right before or after an interview. It’s my life. It’s all I do.
When you decide to make a downtempo drum & bass track, do you have an idea of where that’s going to fit – on a particular label, for example? Or does that not factor into your thinking?
I used to think like that, wanting to make a song for a label, but I’ve noticed that doesn’t really work for me. If I try to do that, I find my tracks sound like the label. But if I do something completely different, then labels look at it more. I don’t think it’s good for any artist to try to fit into a label, because they’ve heard that. You just do what you do and the song will find its way.
Barcelona’s such a vibrant city. Do you find there’s a community of like-minded people working there?
Yes, I’m really surprised by how many people are moving out here. Eric and I are working on the Jupiter Jazz projects. He and I come from the same background, the old school electro/techno ‘90s stuff. We’re going to the studio with that in mind and seeing what comes out. Our first release as Jupiter Jazz is a remix for Switchbox coming out on Ellum this month.