We at Dancing Astronaut have realized that our readership is teeming with talent that has yet to be discovered. We’re also incredibly enthusiastic that so many of you have begun to contribute to the EDM community with your own tracks and musical styles — and the incredible amount of promos we get on a daily basis can attest to that. Stargazers is a column that will showcase members of the DA community and recognize their talents as original EDM producers! We encourage all of you to support your fellow DA fanatics- any of you could be headlining Ultra’s Main Stage someday.
The latest edition of Stargazers finds Dancing Astronaut sitting down with one of Holland’s hottest up-and-comers. Hardwell’s protégé, Dannic, is coming off a tremendous 2012 campaign that saw his tracks “Flare” and “Clobber” light up the Beatport charts and rock festivals across the world. Primetime releases on such divergent and marquee labels as Revealed Recordings and Toolroom Records have left little doubt that Dannic is going places in the near future. Will 2013 be the year he ascends to the level of his decorated mentor? Check out our interview on point after the break.
Born in Breda, the same city that produced Tiësto, Hardwell, and Funkerman, Daan Romers — otherwise known as Dannic — was music-minded from the start. The rising Dutch producer recalls devouring his grandfather’s record collection as a child, as well as recording mix-tapes from the radio to distribute to his classmates. He began making dance music on an old PC in 2009, supporting himself through one-off DJ gigs at local bars and weddings, while saving up for Dynaudio studio monitors. He credits those speakers with “opening up a whole new world” to him, made evident by his victories in the Dancetour DJ contest and Funkerman’s “Automatic” remix contest that put him on the map. But it was his friendship and creative partnership with fellow Breda export Robbert van de Corput, or Hardwell, that helped elevate his career to the rarified air it now enjoys.
“We met in a local bar while drinking some beer,” Dannic said of the life-changing encounter. “I didn’t know who Robbert was and we clicked about our hobbies, which were DJing and making music. Our same taste in music was also a big thing that brought us together as friends.”
Just as Tiësto had helped usher him to stardom, Hardwell took Dannic under his wing. Once Dannic’s production acumen reached his high standards, Hardwell released his protégé’s first Revealed Recordings single, “Doster,” to critical and commercial acclaim. His second release, “Tombo,” was successful as well, paving the way for his tremendous “Kontiki” collaboration with Hardwell that vaulted the young artist into the Beatport Top Ten.
Dannic – Doster (Original Mix)
Hardwell & Dannic – Kontiki Original Mix)
After releasing one of last year’s progressive house bombs in “Flare,” Dannic surprisingly resurfaced on the venerable Toolroom Records with a dynamic tech-inspired track called “Clobber.” As Dannic relates, he first sent “Clobber” to his childhood idol Fedde le Grand, who forwarded it along to Toolroom boss Mark Knight. Impressed by Dannic’s versatility, Knight contacted his manager and asked to sign the track.
“Because Toolroom is a label I really look up to, and it fit the track perfectly, I chose to give it a go,” said Dannic. “I was extremely happy when it hit the Beatport Top Ten.”
Dannic – Flare (Original Mix)
Dannic – Clobber (Original Mix)
While he’s still using the same studio monitors that changed the game four years ago, the rest of his setup has evolved considerably, with a Mac Pro, UAD2 Powercore hardware, and an E-Mu keyboard added to the mix. In terms of his creative process in the studio, Dannic had these insights to share:
I always start with the melody. That’s what makes the track. Anyone can make drum loops. When I’m happy with the melody, I start doing the structure. I make a quick sketch, and I start filling in the whole track from there. When I have the first version ready, I usually load it in my phone to play it for myself when I’m not in the studio. That way I can decide what needs to be changed. I write what needs to be changed down and fix it when I hit the studio again.
Dannic splits most of his time between the stage and the studio these days. He’s getting ready for the upcoming Winter Music Conference parties, including his marquee performance at the Hardwell Presents Revealed showcase at Mansion on March 21st. Dannic said he is also hard at work on four new tracks, including follow-ups to “Flare” and “Clobber.” With a slew of new releases and plenty of exposure on the festival circuit in store for the budding Dutchman, this year promises to be even more successful than the last.
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