Growing up in a family where Dhanya alias D.Y.A was surrounded by all kinds of different music led to the mindset of appreciating each genre as equally important. Starting off with drums at an early age of 6, the Berlin based producer/drummer learnt how to play the piano and started producing music 10 years later. Though his first musical projects where rooted in the Indie and Rock genre, Dhanya now draws inspiration from all kinds of music. With is latest release, ‘Lite EP’, D.Y.A satisfies the demand of club oriented and calm yet drifting music. Shortly before the release Torture the Artist spoke to the Berlin based artists about the process of his ‘Lite EP’, his musical influences and if DJs are better lovers.
I don‘t know if we are respected yet. Hopefully we‘ll be some day.
Torture the Artist: You run the label SOLIDE alongside your buddies, Kalyma and Myny. The word ‘solide’ means ‘respected’ or ‘healthy’. Does ‘SOLIDE’s meaning match the label’s philosophy?
D.Y.A: Mostly we choose the name because it sounded cool and it can be pronounced easily. But speaking of ´healthy´ I love that each one of us is really open minded towards music and respects the other´s opinion although we sometimes disagree, which is normal. Except Bernardo Aviles-Busch (artwork) and Nils Hansen (video & photograph) we do everything ourselves, so a healthy working environment is important.
Regarding the term ‘respected‘; I don‘t know if we are respected yet. Hopefully we‘ll be some day. We certainly respect a lot of labels and artists for their consistent work.
Torture the Artist: With your ‘Lite EP’ you leave the pop-music influence from former releases behind. Is your upcoming EP on SOLIDE the most mature musical approach you’ve done yet?
D.Y.A: I don´t think that too much of my former releases were heavily pop influenced, although ‘Do It‘, which I´m probably most known for, definitely has pop elements.
At that particular time it was natural for me but I am little bit fed up with the amount of poppy afro house coming out right now and happy to move on with a different sound.
I am really digging the whole London (Nu-)Jazz, Broken Beat scene with artists like Jordan Rakei (Dan Kye), Yussef Kamaal (Henry Wu) and Alfa Mist as well as a lot of cosmic stuff in electronic music with labels like ESP Institute, Permanent Vacation or Public Possession. I moved to Berlin last year and was lucky enough to share a studio complex with my Solide mate Kalyma, Braunbeck and the whole Keinemusik crew.
With the possibility to record a lot of live drums, percussions and analog synths my workflow definitely changed a lot. So long story short I guess ‘Lite‘ came out as a combination of these influences.
Rampa suggested to do a club edit which eventually became Edit A.
Torture the Artist: Your ‘Lite EP’ resembles two sides of yourself when it comes to music – the more uplifting and clubby side with ‘Lite Edit A’, and a calm approach to music with ‘Lite Edit B’. Do you prefer one side over the other, and how much does the EP tell us about your personal preferences?
D.Y.A: Actually I like both sides the same. The Idea was to do something completely different, starting with a tempo that is almost out of the whole club cosmos.
I came up with the drum groove (Edit B) and everything evolved from there. So Edit B was finished first and I wanted to add a new completely different track to the EP but Rampa suggested to do a club edit which eventually became Edit A.
A first version of Edit A can be heard in Rampa‘s KM Radio Show a couple of months ago. It‘s very different from the one that is going to be released now, I struggled with Edit A for a while.
Torture the Artist: Which artist would you like to remix a track from your ‘Lite EP’, and why?
D.Y.A: I‘d say Tornado Wallace or Alma Negra because I am enjoying their music a lot lately. They both use interesting organic sounds, but Alma Negra‘s vibe is a little bit more soulful and funky so the cosmic/ambient Tornado Wallace style would be a perfect fit I guess.
Torture the Artist: You played the drums on your latest EP. Can you write a short poem about the meaning of drums for yourself starting with: Drums…
D.Y.A: …are always fun!
Unfortunately, I´m not really a poet, but the sound of a drum and rhythm itself is a really natural thing for all of us, something we can deeply connect to. For me, playing and practicing the drums is really like meditating.
Torture the Artist: Aside from playing the drums you also play the piano. What is an instrument you would like to play in order to found your own band?
D.Y.A: Well, by learning how to play the bass guitar I could already start a one man show and become a very poor copy of Jacob Collier. Just kidding. I‘d like to learn more instruments though. Hopefully I´ll have the time to do so, but becoming good on a single instrument is a lifetime task itself.
Torture the Artist: What’s the rhythm of life you can adapt to?
D.Y.A: Doing sport and getting enough sleep. Both of which I should do more of.
It’s a bit hard to tell when or how much something has shaped you unless the impact is very obvious.
Torture the Artist: In your biography you name a lot of genres that have musically influenced or shaped you. How do you express these influences in your music so they do not remain a side note in your biography?
D.Y.A: That‘s a really good question. It’s a bit hard to tell when or how much something has shaped you unless the impact is very obvious, but lets try. First, the range of music I like will never be fully reflected in the stuff I do as D.Y.A. For example, my first musical projects were rooted in Indie-Rock and Punk, and I never imagined to play House music or Jazz. Maybe some elements from these experiences will naturally appear in my work, I can´t really tell, but more likely listening to a lot of different genres made me do different things. I just started a Jazz/Neo Soul band project where I´m producing and playing drums and I also work with other artists as a producer.
Torture the Artist: Name three tracks from any genre that have made an impact on your own productions.
D.Y.A: Tornado Wallace – Falling Sun; Thundercat – Show You The Way; Mndsgn – Use Ya Mnd. I could go on for hours. <sticks out tongue>
Torture the Artist: What’s a track you will always connect to your childhood, and why?
D.Y.A: Aww, man. The Beatles – Birthday. My mum threw a big birthday party and I was probably eight and I played that tune with my father´s band for her. I was super nervous.
Torture the Artist: If you were to compare your music to architecture, what ‘House’ would your music build?
D.Y.A: Having not only electronic music in mind regarding this question, I´d go for a skyscraper with big and open rooms. The interior design and design type of each floor would be different, from industrial halls to a cosy African furnished living room. You´d have a huge elevator to get to every floor and everybody could go everywhere. Pretty chaotic but I love that picture.
Torture the Artist: Are DJs and producers better lovers?
D.Y.A: Since everybody is a DJ right now there have to be some good lovers.