Since starting to make music in 2008, producer and composer dné, has developed his very own signature sound, making huge moves within the alt-electronic scene.
Dropping his debut album, “These Semi Feelings, They Are Everywhere back”, in November 2016 gathered quite the acclaim and acquired national awards for Album of the Year (Vinyla, Apollo) and one for Best Electronic Album (Anděl). dné’s sound is exquisitely poetic in every sense, through low-fi beats and ASMR-like-rhythms, this star is truly spellbound and revitilaizng the electronic genre.
We sat down with the artist to discuss his songwriting processes, his favourite tracks from Basic Living and next big moves…
Listen to the artist’s latest LP, Basic Living, an ode to being at home and enjoying the simple things in life…
Read the full interview…
Hey! How are you?
I am alright, have to go out more, it’s sunny.
When did you start creating music?
When I was 12 my dad bought me a drum kit. Then I played drums in some bands, one was hiphop, one more experimental leaning but we weren’t able to finish any songs and didn’t have any gigs, just endlessly rehearsing and chilling. I found out I could make music on my own when I was 20 and it all clicked.
How would you characterise your sound?
I always strive for something organic. I use a lot of field recordings and recorded or found white noise samples. But even with instruments; recently I fired up my Korg Polysix after couple of months and the basic tone is so nice. It moves on its own, it’s crunchy yet smooth. I like when it feels alive I guess. And I don’t mean it in the analog sense. Half of my synths are digital and can sound alive as well. I just look for that organic sound everywhere.
Do you have a typical songwriting process?
Standard stuff, either I start with a simple beat and try to make a melody or skip the beats and make some ambient soundscapes. The key for success for me is to get out of the melody loop and develop it into something else, I get stuck in the loop often.
Let’s talk about Basic Living! What inspired this project and what does it discuss thematically?
The album is about being at home, watching Youtube and feeling that life is ok. Or waking up in the morning and launching Instagram to see if the person you like followed you back. Basic things. I didn’t want to tackle any world issues or react to anything. It wouldn’t feel real to me, I feel better in exploring more lowkey themes. Each song has a different one that I convey via song name or lyrics. They vary from having to put down the phone to make music, dating and its ups and downs, health problems or taking pictures of random plants in cafes for social media content.
What were your inspirations sonically?
Variety of artists, each inspiration could show up on the album just for a moment though. I knew I wanted to have a live tuba on the album because I enjoy Field of Reeds by These New Puritans. I know I wanted to have more guitars because I enjoy Alex G. All time inspirations are Shlohmo for beats, Toro y Moi for production and Japanese ambient scene from 00s-10s for softness.
How does it differ from your debut album, These Semi Feelings, They Are Everywhere?
My debut was based on a piano and a human clap. That was the limitation I set for myself in order to finish it. I had struggled a lot in the space of endless possibilities, I needed those boundries. The new album is much more colorful. I guess the debut gave me the confidence to venture into the open world. I wanted to try stuff I hadn’t done before, could be simple stuff like cutting samples into a sequence or more challenging ones like fully guitar songs, songs with pop vocals and writing own lyrics. I also bought some sythesizers which are all over the album.
Do you have a favourite track on the album?
At this moment it’s the title track “Basic Living“, I like how there are different evolving sections with different instruments and I sing in the latter half. It’s like a trailer for the whole album plus it sounds so cozy to me.
You’ve been working in the business for a while now. How have you seen it change?
There’s so much music being made nowadays, it’s harder to be heard I guess. Also, it’s the easiest time to make music ever with all the sample services. You can just reverse a pre-made melody sample, add a pre-made beat, saturate 808s for personal touch and look for a big break on Tiktok. It’s interesting. But I wouldn’t say I’ve been working in the business or know much about it. I still make music at home and when it’s finished I give it to my manager Josh and he helps me to put it out in the world. Cool dude.
Do you have a career highlight thus far?
Career highlights are yet to come.
What are you looking forward to in the future?
Would love to play more around the world, spend a couple days on each place and count it as a vacation.