It’s without a doubt that Dave DK has put his stamp on the electronic music scene even though he keeps his musical output quite low, therefore high when it comes to quality. Ever since his first appearance he’s had releases on labels such as Kompakt, Moodmusic, Playhouse, Hart&Tief and Pampa, which emphasizes Dave DK’s demand to have his music released on few selected and extraordinary labels only. Over the span of almost two decades he’s come up with 19 EPs, two albums and 85 remixes and, as of December 2019, can add two more to his impressive discography. Even though it’s surprising yet fortunate that the Berlin ‘surfer boy’ that David Krasemann, Dave DK’s real name, even has two pre-Christmas presents for his audience during Advent and spreads, at least in spirit, some Christmas dance floor magic – none caribou-ish but sweet as candy style. The first remix, released on Hippie Dance last week, showst he producer’s preference for pop-ish elements in a House music context as his upcoming remix for The Cheapers’ track ‘M10’ on TAU depicts a darker more tool-ish and club-oriented side, still both approaches have the Dave DK-twist. Shortly after and shortly before the releases Torture the Artist caught up with the David, who takes us on an animal-Badu-ish-emotional rollercoaster-ride through music with words.
Torture the Artist: Hello Dave, tell us something about your day. Where do we catch up with you, what did you have for breakfast and how do you plan to spend the rest of the day?
Dave DK: I’m currently in Berlin enjoying a grey December with short days. I had oatmeal with berries & coconut yoghurt for breakfast. I’m going to listen to promos today as Friday is my promo-day.
Torture the Artist: Are you more of the morning type of person or prefer another time of the day to be productive?
Dave DK: I like to have a good sleep, when I’m going to bed early I can get up earlier. But usually creativity comes later on in the late afternoon/evening.
Torture the Artist: Speaking of being productive, your remix for The Cheapers’ track ‘M10’ is about to be released on TAU. At what time of the day did this one come about and what was the stem of your choice that made you decide you could give a remix a try?
Dave DK: I liked this dubby modulated chord coming in after a while and thought right away to focus on a minimal tech tool – with that sound as a lead element.
Torture the Artist: Basically we ‘catch’ you ahead of two remixes since your other remix for Fahrland’s track ‘All That I Need’ on Hippie Dance is out on St. Nicholas Day. What was it that you thought the original could needed from your side to add another facet to the track?
Dave DK: Actually the remix for Fahrland contains elements of two tracks, ’All That I Need’ and ‘Cherokee Girl’. They just matched perfectly together. I had a french house pop sound in mind and think it worked out pretty well.
Torture the Artist: Your music usually features ‘deep’ features that you would ascribe to what one calls ‘Deep House’, how would you describe your music to your grandparents?
Dave DK: Atmospheric melodies with a warm beat in your chest especially if you hear the music on a big sound system.
If there’s inspiring material it’s already half the rent.
Torture the Artist: According to your discography, you are way more active when it comes to remixes than your original tracks. Do you prefer producing one over the other or is it just a matter of time, because original tracks certainly take more time to finish?
Dave DK: I like remixes when I feel that I can add a DK twist to the original, in a right away. When I don’t have this feeling from the beginning it usually doesn’t work out. It can take some time though to log in the right moment. Originals can be finished quickly too if the idea is there. But yes, if there’s inspiring material it’s already half the rent.
Torture the Artist: In an interview for Fazemag in 2015 you said that you’d like to remix Indie music or a band like the Notwist. Four years later…
Dave DK: Hah! Yes, I’ve always been fan of The Notwist’s melancholic sound structures, though they were more active during the 2000’s. In the meantime I’ve finished some remixes for interesting projects.
Torture the Artist: Do you spend a lot of time studying music from outside of the electronic music scene? What’s an artist or band, aside from the Notwist of course, that you enjoy listening to?
Dave DK: Depending on my mood and inspiration I have times when I listen to lots of music. I like different genres and styles hat have influenced me throughout the years, i.e. Hans Zimmer, Thomas Newman, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Radiohead, Sigur Rós, Lali Puna, Björk, The Whitest Boy Alive, Jungle, Caribou, Yuna, J Dilla, Metronomy, Sóley, Tocotronic…
Torture the Artist: What’s your strategy for finding new music that fits into your DJ-sets, and what artist(s) have you discovered lately that have been under your radar?
Dave DK: I’m receiving tons of promos every week, it’s sometimes hard to go through all of them. Once in a while I find some diamonds in the huge amount of music. I’m also discovering inspiring music on Spotify or go to a record shop once in a while. Not discovered lately, but this year I’ve been really digging new music from Atjazz, Jullian Gomes and Emanuel Satie, Gerry Read, Jazzuelle, David Morales…
I would like to work with Erykah Badu.
Torture the Artist: Apart from the people you’ve already worked with, what’s an artist you would like to work in the studio with, and why?
Dave DK: I haven’t worked with many artists, I’m mostly working on my own. I would like to work with Erykah Badu. What a deep soulful voice and she’s vegan. <winks>
Torture the Artist: Your last full EP, ‘Chicama’, was out on Pampa Records in May. ‘Chicama’, which is in Peru, or its beach is known for surfing. How much of ‘surfer boy’ are you and was the EP inspired by a trip to this part of the world or how did the EP name come about?
Dave DK: I’ve been surfing since 15 years or so, a lot in Spain and Portugal, but also in South America. Chicama is where I probably had the best surf in my life. It has one of the longest left waves in the world! I was working on the EP during my time there.
Torture the Artist: What’s the musical wave you would like to ride right now, but haven’t had the chance yet or with other words, what’s a track that you would have liked to produce but have not?
Dave DK: Kendrick Lamar – Money Trees feat. Jay Rock
Sometimes a sketch can be on stand by in the folder for a couple of months or years and grow like a good whisky.
Torture the Artist: Do you rather work at one project at a time or do you have more than just one idea that you musically work on?
Dave DK: I’m working at different ideas at the same time. Sometimes a sketch can be on stand by in the folder for a couple of months or years and grow like a good whisky. At some point it comes out and I’ll work on it again or finish it in the right moment with lucky hands.
Torture the Artist: What’s a process in your productions that needs to get done but you would rather fast-forward through?
Dave DK: Hmm, maybe if a stem has a different timing and none of the algorithms in Ableton fits the sound material so, that you have to put in lots of markers over a long time in order to make it fit the track.
Torture the Artist: What’s the thing most people think they understand about being an artist but don’t?
Dave DK: Maybe being as authentic as possible?
Give the animals a tiny bit of love on their way to slaughter.
Torture the Artist: What was the last thing that emotionally touched you?
Dave DK: As some people might know besides music I’m also an animal rights activist. I’m taking part in various forms of activism and trying to encourage others to do the same. I’m a co-organizer of vigils that we do at a pig slaughterhouse, to give the animals a tiny bit of love on their way to slaughter and tell their story to then spread it on social media. During our last vigil in November we witnessed lots of 6 month old innocent pigs again that are looking in your eyes and desperately wait for us humans to solve the problem of factory farming as fast as possible. These moments are always sad and very emotional.
Torture the Artist: What’s a super-power you wished you had?
Dave DK: To make the whole world respect animals and don’t treat them like commodities who are here to be exploited in any possible form.
Interview by Holger Breuer