Becoming Lane 8: Daniel Goldstein weighs in on ideas and inspiration behind his current project
In many ways, Daniel Goldstein’s success is rooted in his humble point of view – often a rarity in the music industry and beyond. Having been inspired by his typical placement in lane 8 during swim races as a child, the Lane 8 moniker has grown to symbolize not the slowest swimmers in the pack, but one of the fastest-growing names in the game.
At the young age of six, Daniel picked up the piano, affording him much of the music theory knowledge he has today. Largely influenced by Pete Rock and DJ Premier, Goldstein found solace in garage rock, moving on to producing hip-hop in his teens. Considering his current affiliation with Above & Beyond’s deep house imprint, Anjunadeep, it is easy to say that Lane 8 has come quite a long way since his early days as a budding artist attempting to pave the path for success.
We exchanged a few words with the now-Leipzig-based artist to discuss his back story, Rise, and his experience collaborating with Matthew Dear.
When did you decide that you were going to 100% commit to Lane 8 as a DJ and producer?
I was fortunate enough to get a pretty quick start at the beginning of the Lane 8 project – before I even had an artist name or social media accounts, The Magician put my first single (Don’t Want You Back) in his Magic Tape 23, and shortly after that Jody Wisternoff started playing my music in his radio show – so it was a pretty quick realization that I was onto something. I think I benefitted from a bit of naïveté at that point – I thought I had the whole thing figured out and it really motivated me to focus all my energy on music – in reality I was still such a small fish in a big pond.
How did you get involved with Anjunadeep, and in what ways has the label helped you grow creatively?
My connection to Anjuna was completely through Jody – around the time he started playing my music in his radio show, he was also scouting for Anjunadeep:05 exclusives. We exchanged a few emails, I sent him “Be Mine” and we never looked back! This sentiment has been echoed by so many dance music producers, so I’m not sure if it even means anything anymore – but Anjuna has given me a great thing in terms of guidance – I have complete executive control over the artistic direction of the music, but at the same time they give critique when things aren’t as good as they could be. It’s the ideal situation, where you get to bounce between different sounds and ideas but are constantly being pushed to make things better. I find it a very healthy atmosphere.
At what point did the idea for Rise come about? Did you always know you wanted to write an album, or was this more of a work in progress that developed after you began seriously producing?
I was somewhat hesitant to release an album, especially this early in my career – as singles are really the name of the game in dance music these days. However, once we started to collect tracks in the second half of 2014, it became clear that I was writing plenty of music that wasn’t necessarily a smash dance single – but it was still music that we all loved and wanted to release. There’s always the option to release EPs, but I find an album to be both a statement as well as an important link between an artist and his/her fans, to really make a stronger musical connection. In retrospect I’m really glad that I committed to the album, as I’ve noticed that people have engaged with it in a very deep and real way that single releases rarely achieve.
What was the deciding factor as to which tracks fit, and those that needed to be cut? Did the decision-making process heavily involve a lot of trial and error by slowly introducing new tracks in your sets, and gauging fans’ reactions?
That’s somewhat the case, but my original music has always been on the more chilled-out side of my sets, and as such, judging the reaction of an audience that isn’t familiar with the material isn’t always that helpful. What I hope to happen with all the vocal tracks, for example, is that people would sing along to them when I play them out – that’s simply not possible when they don’t know the song in the first place! So instead, we relied more on our emotional connection to the songs – and how well each piece fit into the larger picture as a whole. As it turned out, there were only a few tough decisions to be made – it was mostly obvious which tracks belonged and which didn’t.
What was the story you were trying to tell with Rise, and do you feel like your fans were receptive to that story?
The wonderful thing about music is that people create their own associations, memories and emotional responses – so it really doesn’t matter what story I wanted to tell, the story that listeners will create will always be their own, and I think that’s perfectly fine. As artists, I think a lot of what we try to do is create the opportunity for people to fill in their own blanks – to incorporate our music into their own emotional experience however they naturally want to. For someone going through a breakup, the album could signal both the pain of heartbreak, as well as the uplifting feeling when you realize you’re going to move on and be fine. For someone having a fun summer holiday with friends without a care in the world, the album would mean something totally different. Each interpretation is completely valid.
Some people have argued that millenials, especially electronic music fans, lack the attention span to listen to and process an album in its entirety. Do you agree, and is it possible albums have lost their luster?
I’m sure there are plenty of people who like my music but haven’t taken the time to listen to Rise. That’s of course unfortunate, but the connection I now have with the people who have engaged emotionally with the album is much more valuable. We have released singles from the album, which always gives people a chance to sample little bits – so I think we cover all our bases, in a way.
In the past your music largely depended on vocals, but now you are moving in the direction of instrumental music. Why would you say that is?
Musical tastes are always shifting and cycling – in another year, I’ll probably be into vocals all over again! I’d say that the biggest reason I like instrumental music right now is because most of the music I enjoy playing in my DJ sets is instrumental.
You and Matthew Dear come from different backgrounds – what was it like working with the techno-influenced producer on “Undercover”?
That was really cool, although we worked together with quite predetermined roles – I was in charge of the track, he was in charge of the vocals. We’ll hopefully get the chance to work together again soon – and I hope to open up our roles next time so he has more input on the production and I can be more involved in the songwriting. Undercover actually came together really fast – I had the track pretty much finished, we met once to jot down some ideas and then he recorded the vocals over a few days at his home studio.
What encouraged you to make the move to Germany, and how would you say living there has influenced your music?
I followed my now fiancee to Germany – she is from Leipzig, where we live, and that was always the main reason for the move. Living here has influenced me immensely, I’ve played all over Europe with artists who I never encountered in the states, and I think the influence of those artists is pretty obvious in my music, which has become steadily less pop and more tech-house influenced over the last two years.
Can you tell me about your ideas for a possible “live” show and how that will come to fruition?
Well, every so often I like to record videos of me jamming around in the studio, or even playing a full song live with Solomon Grey or Lulu James, and people really seem to love them – it’s really inspired me to continue on that path towards building a proper live show. With that said, for now I’m focused 99% on producing new music and DJing, as I feel like I still have a lot of room to grow as a producer and DJ – and I still really love doing it.