Dabin on his sonic bildungsroman, the making of ‘Wild Youth (The Remixes),’ and what’s next [Q&A]
In the context of Dabin’s continuously developing career as an electronic multi-instrumentalist, 2019 was a watershed. The highlights: the arrival of the producer’s sophomore LP, Wild Youth, released via MrSuicideSheep’s Seeking Blue imprint, an ensuing remix album of the aforementioned, and inclusion on ILLENUM‘s Ascend tour, not to mention a series of lauded singles such as “One That Got Away.” On the horizon in 2020 looms the launch of Dabin’s largest headlining live initiative yet.
Needless to say, the momentous activity that defined Dabin’s presence in the dance scene over the past year is poised for replication and, unsurprisingly, amplification. Dancing Astronaut invites Dabin listeners to momentarily revel in the present moment alongside Dabin, to gain insight on the artist’s shifts in creative vision, sonic bildungsroman, and everything that happened in between this year.
With 17 new remixes, Wild Youth (The Remixes) is a full offering replete with different takes of Wild Youth originals. Tell me a little bit about how this remix album came together.
I always loved remixes and definitely wanted to get a remix album going for Wild Youth. Out of curiosity, I tweeted and asked if anyone would be interested [in remixing the album] and the response was amazing. The remix LP is filled with remixes from good friends and new producers I’ve found. [It] has everything to chill out [music] to break your neck type of stuff. I’m really happy with how it turned out and am super proud to give my friends and these up and coming producers another platform to showcase their talents.
There’s a host of remixers on the album. How did you choose the artists that you did?
I personally asked a few good friends like Trivecta, MitiS, and Sam Lamar to do a remix. I’ve been a big fan of their work and definitely wanted their takes on the album. Some have had remixes done for awhile like Fransis Derelle, Inukshuk, and Astrale. I actually tweeted [asking] my fans who they would want to hear on the album. I had a crazy amount of responses from both fans and artists so I basically tried to pick the artists who I thought would be a great fit while also catering to my fans [to give them the artists who they] wanted to hear as well.
Was there one remix in particular that really blew you away; what was it/why?
It’s so difficult to pick one. All of them brought such a unique spin to Wild Youth. I genuinely can’t pick one as I love them all in their own right.
Let’s backtrack a bit to Wild Youth, your sophomore album. It’s been out for a few months now and the reception has been warm. Were you at all surprised that the album got the response that it did from fans/can you comment on the reception?
I was completely blown away by the reception of Wild Youth. I never really think about how well my music is going to do after it’s released. I think the best thing is to enjoy the process and be genuine to yourself and that’s what I did during Wild Youth, so I’m happy it was well received.
Can you talk a little bit about the making of Wild Youth and what you were specifically hoping to achieve with the LP?
Wild Youth started coming together a little after my Two Hearts LP, which focused on themes of love and loss. I wanted to tell another story with Wild Youth with similar themes, although I wanted to shift the focus to the idea of growing up. It feels like we’re out in the wild, innocent, just making our way through the world. It’s fun, it’s exciting, but there are also pitfalls and obstacles that we overcome and learn from. I wanted to package all of that into a musical story that paralleled my shift or rebirth into the crossover style I’ve been [cultivating over] the past few years.
It seems that with the making of each album, artists learn something about themselves and/or try out new musical approaches. Was this the case for you in crafting Wild Youth?
With Wild Youth I wanted to bring in as many acoustic, ethnic, and live elements as I could. My music has definitely shifted more towards that “live” or band feeling, and bridging the acoustic and electronic worlds is something I really enjoy doing. Wild Youth allowed me to hone in on exactly the kind of music I want to be making.
The album really seemed to further propel you into the public spotlight. You’ve had a pretty meteoric rise in the electronic scene. How does that feel?
It feels unbelievable. I’m grateful to my fans and my team for sticking by me and really involving themselves in what I have going on. Everyone feels like family to me. I’d say the best feeling in all of this craziness is when people send me messages about how my music has helped them in some way or through a hard time. I’m all for having fun at shows or enjoying my music at a party, but seeing my music increasingly help people overcome obstacles–that’s what really keeps me going.
With Said The Sky and Olivver The Kid on the list of “Hero” collaborators, three proves a party on this record. How did “Hero” come about, from the initial idea for the track to its creation?
I actually made the main guitar riff for “Hero” while I was on tour with Illenium in Australia. I showed it to him and he said he loved the riff and that it should be a song. I basically made this entire idea around that riff and sent it to Trevor (Said the Sky). He was in LA finishing his next album at the time and told me Olivver the Kid [had] made a great vocal part to it. He showed me via FaceTime and I absolutely loved what I heard. We basically finished the song in a few days after that.
You’d previously worked alongside Said The Sky on “Superstar,” which was warmly received, to say the least. Evidently, there’s a natural creative synergy between your style and Said The Sky’s. What is it, specifically, that you feel makes your styles work well together?
We come from a similar place musically. We grew up playing instruments, listening to the same bands, then got into making electronic music, and those worlds [collided for the both of us]. I think that we could sit down and make any style of music; the chemistry we have will always work its way into that. With our collabs, we’ve decided to stick to a certain style within our wheelhouse and it’s been great. But I think at the end of the day, it’s our strong bonds that really give our collaborations that synergy. He’s like a brother to me.
What’s next for Dabin as 2019 winds down?
I’ll be playing shows with Illenium and Said the Sky, which will be our last shows as a band. We’ve all grown and got our own things going on and I hope we’ll get some reunion action down the road, but for now I’ll get to push myself in 2020 on my own and see where I want to go musically and as a live performer. End of this year may be a little quiet music wise, but expect a whole lot in 2020!
Photo credit: Nainoa Langer