INTERVIEW Daniel Brandt

Picture by Max Parovsky

Daniel Brandt isn’t solely a producer, Daniel Brandt is foremost an artist. As part of the of music ensemble Brandt Brauer Frick, Daniel has elated its audience and listeners with ’emotional body music’ with the trio’s four released albums since 2010. But with an eclectic general music taste there are projects and musical approaches that should either be finalized or compiled in a different constellation or on your own. The latter was the case when Daniel put his hands on Yeah But No‘s track ‘Leave The Dark’, which was released last year on their self-titled debut album. Daniel’s remix highly focuses the track’s lead-vocal and subs it with softly introduced sound pads before the track finishes with an interaction between the vocals and the newly introduced bass line. The shallow melancholia, that seems to be the common basis in Yeah But No’s and the Daniel’s music, is beautifully highlighted through the hypnotically sounding soundscapes soaking the headphoner as well as the stereo-hearer meticulously into the reinterpretation. Daniel Brandt created a divinely piece of music due the virtuosity of his artistic being. Torture the Artist had the chance to speak to the Berliner shortly before the official release of his remix on Sinnbus about the track’s  production, the artist’s music digging technique, Gilles Peterson‘s influence and much more.

Torture the Artist: Hello Daniel, what’s a track to start your day with which immediately lifts your mood?

Daniel Brandt: Steve Reich – Electric Counterpoint

Torture the Artist: You have previously said that Brownswood’s label head Gilles Peterson’s musical selection has influenced your musical upbringing in more than one way. Facts on the table, what’s a track that you will forever connect with him?

Daniel Brandt: There’s too many of them to just pin down a few. But an interesting one that comes to mind right now is ‘Soulhack‘ by Forss. The track was released in 2003 on Sonar Kollektiv. Later Forss aka Eric Wahlforss went on to launch Soundcloud.

I mostly write down song-titles and artist-names when I hear them on the radio.

Torture the Artist: What other sources do you regularly use for either finding new music or inspiration? Do you have a special process or technique when looking for new music? (E.g. always starting with a certain artist or label)

Daniel Brandt: I mostly write down song-titles and artist-names when I hear them on the radio (NTS, Worldwide FM, BBC3/BBC6). And when I’ve gathered enough of them, I go to buy the ones that stuck with me at Rough Trade in London. That’s where I most often discover a few more things and that I end up buying.

Torture the Artist: Focusing on your own music now. Aside from the Record Store Day release ‘1+1=X’, a label compilation by Erased Tapes which features a track of yours called ‘Blackpool Sands Forever’, your remix for Yeah But No’s track ‘Leave The Dark’ is basically one of the few releases that came after your album ‘Eternal Something’. Did you take some time out to focus on new projects within the past year or what was the reason for the scarce musical output following your album-release?

Daniel Brandt: I spent a lot of time setting up the live version of ‘Eternal Something’ together with Pascal Bideau on Guitar/Bass and Florian Juncker on Trombone and we toured it through Europe. We have worked with Brandt Brauer Frick on new material and I have also produced new solo material, which is yet to be released. More so, I have started a new project with Max Dax called STRRR which is an online TV channel where international artists, musicians, filmmakers, curators etc are showcasing and talking about their favourite clips of the web in one-hour-long episodes. So far we had people like director Ana Lily Amirpour, BBC radio host Gilles Peterson and Berghain bouncer & photographer Sven Marquardt doing shows for us.

Torture the Artist: What stem made you remix Yeah But No’s track ‘Leave The Dark’ in the first place?

Daniel Brandt: It wasn’t really a stem; I liked the song as a whole and only had a look at the stems when I had already decided to remix the song.

DSCF7911Photo by TOPE
Picture by TOPE

Torture the Artist: Your interpretation of the track manages without a bassline for nearly five minutes but rather focuses on the vocals, before the last minute dedicated to the synth-melody, vocals and a bass line sets in. What is the idea behind this procedure and why is it that you cut short the alluring spirit of optimism towards the end?

Daniel Brandt: I wanted to give the vocals a lot of space and kept the end short simply because it felt like it should end quickly after the beat kicks in. I didn’t feel like the beat needed to go on for longer.

I am definitely still frightened by the state of the world right now in regards to pollution, war, the balance of power and the asymmetrical division of wealth.

Torture the Artist: Speaking of the opposite than the aforementioned optimism. When releasing your album which was accompanied by a short film of yours last year you said ‘I kind of got frightened by the state of the world right now, at least the feeling you get from it when you watch all these videos.’ Has your perception of the world changed ever since, and could your remix approach to ‘Leave The Dark’ be interpreted as a way to an at least short-lived brighter future?

Daniel Brandt: I am not depressed in general but I am definitely still frightened by the state of the world right now in regards to pollution, war, the balance of power and the asymmetrical division of wealth. I am general shocked by how selfish humans tend to be without looking at the bigger picture, ultimately destroying themselves. Though the remix of ‘Leave The Dark’ has nothing to do with my attitude towards this, I just made the remix based on a musical feeling rather than general thoughts about humankind.

Torture the Artist: Is your music a reprocessing of everyday occurrences and experiences in your life or rather a way to shut yourself from the outer world?

Daniel Brandt: Everything I do or experience somehow ends up in the music I make but I am not able to plan or control this, it just happens and rather expresses itself as a feeling than an ideological way.

New music should always sound fresh in a way and should have a reason to exist.

Torture the Artist: Which artistic frontiers would you like to cross with your music and which one of your projects is predestined for it?

Daniel Brandt: I am always trying to push boundaries but there’s not a certain frontier I am aiming to cross. In my way of thinking, new music should always sound fresh and should have a reason to exist rather than just being a repetition of something that’s already out there, serving the same purpose.

Torture the Artist: Which one of the musical experiences you have gained by working with different artists or musicians over the past years has come closest to stretching you to the limit and how did you overcome it?

Daniel Brandt: I don’t really see it that way. Collaborating with other artists is most of the time a very exciting and fulfilling process and doesn’t have anything to do with limits or the stretching of them.

Torture the Artist: As you are a member of Brandt Brauer Frick, what artistic freedom do you enjoy as a solo artist that you find difficult to put into practice as a trio?

Daniel Brandt: With Brandt Brauer Frick we have established a certain style that we have of course expanded and modified over the years. But certain things just wouldn’t make sense within the realm of this project so we all individually explore these different things separately.

Torture the Artist: What’s your favourite snack when working on new music?

Daniel Brandt: Green Tea

Torture the Artist: Do you want to change the world?

Daniel Brandt: Who wouldn’t want to?

Yeah But No’s EP ‘Remixes I‘ was released May 8th, 2018 on Sinnbus. (Holger)