Brian Atwood, better known as DANK (USA) has been making his way into this scene for quite a while now. With the recent success of his EP, Blow Me, one can only expect more from this talented musician. When you’re in the scene as long as he has been, you know a few things about how the scene works. Recently, DDT got the opportunity to interview DANK, and get some feedback from some questions that his fans might be wondering.
DDT: What initially got you into producing, and more specifically into producing EDM?
DANK: Well, I had been DJing EDM since roughly 2000, so when I made a decision that I wanted to have this music and the culture to be a part of my life; it was only natural to take the next step into production of it. Again, I had been exposed to different forms of EDM since roughly 97′ so by the time I started producing it, the culture was already a huge part of my life.
DDT: What, so far is your biggest accomplishment over the past year of success?
DANK: This past year has been crazy and exciting for me at the same time. I like to set goals for myself, and when I reach them it becomes an accomplishment for me. So every time I achieve a goal I say to myself… “What did I do to achieve it?” And then I keep doing more of that. So with that being said, there were a lot of accomplishments this year. Overall the biggest I would say was releasing the “Blow Me” EP. Five out of five tracks charted significantly well and the title track “Blow Me” stayed in the number 1 spot for over 7 weeks, which blew my mind. So production wise, the success of that EP was my biggest accomplishment over the past year… However, the year isn’t over yet.
DDT: We all know that you run one of the stronger, quickly rising EDM labels, Funky Element Records…What are your plans with that as your music keeps progressing?
DANK: Thank you for the kind words regarding the label. To answer the question, I can sum it up in one phrase… “Quality Not Quantity”. I plan on releasing less music on the label, however at the same time raising the bar on a continual basis, which is something I do for my own productions as well. Expect more fire taken slowly but surely to the next level. A lot of young new talent is being signed to the label that in my opinion have the capabilities of making a huge impact on this culture, and I plan on again raising the bar and at the same time nurturing the capabilities of the labels “young guns” as I like to call them.
DDT: Who is your favorite EDM musician right now?
DANK: That’s a hard question for me. I think good music is good music despite the genres so I enjoy listening to a lot of EDM that’s not necessarily the style I produce regularly. If I had to pick one, it would have to be Richie Hawtin. Genius.
DDT: For all the aspiring producers out there, I am sure they want to know what DAW you work out of!
DANK: Firstly, before I answer this question I would like to say it doesn’t matter what DAW you use. To some extent they all do the same thing right? It’s which one is the most comfortable for you to use. Which one you feel the most comfortable integrating your VST’s with and overall comfortability you have with your DAW. For me, I work with Logic, and as of recent I have been using bootcamp running FL studio for my productions and then using Logic for my mix downs. The engine in Logic is extremely powerful, however, again there are pros and cons of each. At the end of the day I would tell aspiring producers as far as DAW’s, go with what you feel the most comfortable working with.
DDT: With the recent devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, losing all your equipment in the hurricane, and having to start over with your studio, what keeps you going through the tough times as you rebuild?
DANK: This is a touchy subject for me because I’m still going through it. I mean, at the end of the day it is what it is. I’m just glad my fiancé, my dog, friends and family were safe. I mean producing and this culture is in my blood and has been for well over a decade now. There was never a thought, nor even a glimpse in terms of giving up. It was just a matter of honestly taking some time for myself to mourn, and then taking the next steps to rebuild. Luckily I had most of my work backed up on 2 Mac book Pros… thank god, which each are armed to the teeth, so with that being said, I found an old Edirol MIDI controller and am currently getting down how I used to making music on a Mac book and headphones, which takes more time, however I’m able to do it. The tremendous support that I’ve gotten from friends and fans has been unbelievable and though there was never a question of throwing in the towel, this support helps me through the rebuilding process, so it’s just a matter of time slowly but surely until we’re up and running at full speed again. I’d also like to thank everyone for their kind words and crazy support through this time. People offering me software and VST’s and all sorts of stuff, it shows that people care and motivates me to keep on keeping on. My house in the Rockaways doesn’t even have power nor heat still so it’s going to take some time however it’s not a matter of if… but when.
DDT: Plans/Goals for 2013?
DANK: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You can expect to see more productions, as well as raising the bar in all aspects from live performances to releases on the label. Some goals off the top of my head would be I would like to get a nice tour going with some talented guys on the label, as well as getting married to the love of my life, and again always moving forward. If I’m standing still that means I’m actually going backwards so the main goal for 2013 is to always keep it movin’.
DDT: In your opinion, what is the best track you have made, and the one that readers should listen to?
DANK: My best track that I have made…Hmmm well, what’s your definition of the best track? I mean, each track I’ve made means different things to me, and brings up different feelings for each one. I like “New York Fuckin City” cause I love representing where I’m from and feel with that track I was able to do so. Dubstep wise, I feel “Blow Me” and also a track I did with Sporty O’s vocal called “Fuk Haters”. It’s a track that didn’t get as much recognition, but I feel was one of the best dubstep productions I have made. That one brings up some good feelings with me. I tried some different things during the production of that track.
If you like Progressive House, hands down, “Crystals” with the vocals of jACQ is by far up there with the overall the best tracks I have ever made, in my opinion.
DDT: Anything big and bold in the pipeline that you can tell everyone reading?
DANK: In terms of big and bold in the pipeline, I like to always have something nice up my sleeve. Currently I’m working on another big room electro house tune that’s turning out to be very dirty, yet beautiful at the same time. Expect another free download for my fans which I’m working on, which is a Drumstep tune with a hip hop instrumental that you will not want to miss. I also just finished a remix for Calvertron’s # 1 hit titled 8 bit dreamz which was an honor to do and I’m pleased with how it came out. Stay tuned…
DDT: What is the best piece of advice that you can pass on to the readers?
DANK: DON’T GIVE UP. Life’s going happen, there’s going to be bumps in the road and you’re going to live life on life’s terms. However, don’t give up. Trial and error, trial and error and more trial and error. If you can, link up with some good producers and act like a sponge absorbing knowledge. Always ask questions as well… there’s no such thing as a stupid question in my book.
Besides that, the best piece of advice would be: Don’t let the party take over your life. In other words when the parties over… it’s over. Balance is the key and moderation which is sometimes easier than other times. However don’t let that party take over or you can be in a world of shit… trust me I’ve been involved in the culture for about 15 years… So I’ve experienced it all the good, bad and the ugly… Balance is the key in all areas of life. Trust.
DDT: Final question…If you had the chance to book five artist on a show. ANY five, who would be on this one of a kind dream show?
DANK: Shit… that’s a rough one..
Carl Cox vs. Richie Hawtin vs. Sven Vath vs. Jeff Mills
Paul Van Dyk
Sasha & Digweed
Skrillex vs. Nero
Andy C w/ MC GQ