Making a swift rise in popularity doesn’t only have to do with chances. It’s also loads of hard work, persistency and talent that counts. As if that isn’t enough yet, it’s the communication with fans and fellow music lovers, that makes Dash Berlin one of the hottest DJ’s and producers of this very moment. Climbing up the charts and hitting the DJ Mag Top 15 in only 4 years after first impact, the Dutchman enjoys the privilege of being able what he loves most: share his passion for music. With no time to recover from a maddening tour schedule, Jeff took some time to answer our burning questions. And if there’s one thing that constantly stands out, which also divides Dash Berlin from many other artists, it’s the fact that it’s all about togetherness. Read on, about the driving force behind Dash Berlin!
Hey Jeff, it’s been a while! How are you doing? A bit sunstroke from Miami?
Jeff: “Hi guys, I’m doing quite well actually, thank you! Miami was epic, but it was way too hectic to even get a decent tan. I flew from Miami to Los Angeles and New York back and forth in that same week and I was finishing up my new ‘United Destination 2011’ mix compilation while traveling, so yeah crazy stuff, but I love it, haha!”
A BIG summer season is ahead, especially for you. What’s the 2011 Dash Berlin summer going to be like?
Jeff:”Like most of us I’m hoping for a fantastic summer, I love the buzz of the summer time. I will be visiting a lot of countries again this season and I will also be playing on Ibiza and at some of the big outdoor festivals out there, so that is something I am really looking forward to.”
Russia, US, Argentina, Malta, Czech Republic, Holland, Romania…..you fly from one party location to the next. Living the dream, or just working hard to share your passion?
Jeff:”When you’re lucky enough to do something you are really passionate about it doesn’t feel like hard work, more like positive stress. I love to travel. Especially to places where people are celebrating a night out. It’s a great time to be a DJ. The passion for music is everywhere, music saves lives!”
Last year, you had the highest new entry in the DJ Mag Top 100, at number 15. Was it anywhere near your expectations?
Jeff:”The best things in life usually happen when you least expect them and becoming the highest entry is certainly something that took me by surprise. The trance community is a very loyal one and it’s amazing to see that they are still supporting the big guys that built the scene, but also embracing new artists as well, for which I am very thankful.”
Do you sense a difference in ‘before’ and ‘after’ the Top 100?
Jeff:”A lot of people, including the media and the promoters, still look at this list to check who’s hot or not, so there is clearly a form of status attached to it. I do think that websites like nextbigsound and groovecount will soon be equally important, because they can measure and even compare the popularity of artists via their online presence, without the need of a voting system.”
On www.dashberlinworld.com, the official Dash Berlin network, you’re not just promoting yourself but other artists also, as well as providing a place for the trance community to come together and discuss. Is it that unifying, open character that makes Dash Berlin stand out?
Jeff:”‘Dash Berlin World’ is indeed for everybody. My official home page is now a ‘My Page’ on Dash Berlin World and the interesting thing is; everybody can create a ‘My Page’ just like it, which brings us all much closer together. Everybody can start promoting, blogging, posting pics, movies, compliments, criticism, you name it, all right away. And not just fans, but also labels, promoters, event photographers, other artists etc. I will be online from time to time to chat live to the members and answer questions as well. This interactive concept is something that appealed much more to me than to just have a static homepage.
The open character that you mention is more about the current (r)evolution that is going on the internet, than it is about me personally. Some people are calling it ‘The Next Internet’, which is all about sharing knowledge and information, constructive criticism instead of mindlessly bashing things, truly working together and a larger collective awareness. I’ve already hinted at that ‘movement’ by calling my debut album ‘The New Daylight’. You only have to look on the news for a moment to realize how these social developments are actually changing the world in a way that we have never seen before in human history. I’m just surfing that wave, trying to move forward with what I’m doing as an artist.
Promoting other artists and labels is only logical when you think about it. It’s the very essence of deejaying; introducing and pre-selecting the best music that’s out there. As a deejay and a label owner you are also playing, selecting and promoting other peoples records next to your own. Taking that thought further online is a logical next step. There was no way for me to ever become number 15 if it wasn’t for these other amazing artists, labels, fans and/or promoters that are in this scene with me, because you’re nothing without context and support. It’s truly an illusion to think you are doing things by yourself, we are all in some way connected by our passion for the music. Facebook is nice, but it is also huge. The future of internet are these dedicated, more intimate networks, where like-minded people meet to talk/interact about their passion. With that thought in mind I’ve created ‘Dash Berlin World’ and I’ve been told it is currently the fastest growing Trance network in the world, so who knows, maybe I’m on to something.”
You also promoted Earth Hour with a special video and exclusive Earth Hour track. How important is the awareness of people for such causes to you?
Jeff:”I’m interested in getting the conversation going that’s all, I’m not going to tell you what’s right or wrong, people can and will think for themselves. We are all one google click away from getting smarter. I just felt inspired by the whole ‘Earth Hour’ thing. All those people coming together to think about the state of our planet, that feeling of togetherness, that is something that I recognize from my gigs around the world and from dance music in general. Creating this ‘Earth Hour theme’ just made sense to me and the guys from a creative perspective. Whenever I play this track out on tour the lights go out and people put their phone lights in the air, which is an awesome sight and a beautiful confirmation that people really feel the intention and the emotion of the track. (All proceeds go to the World Wild Life Fund).”
On the producing front, you’ve just released the new single and collab with Emma Hewitt, ‘Disarm Yourself’, to many acclaim. Was it hard to come up with a follow-up to the awarded ‘Waiting’?
Jeff:”I’m lucky; I work together with fantastic people, my fellow producers are these legendary studio dinosaurs that know how to make things sound huge. Emma is amazing of course; she’s ridiculously talented and so easy to work with. Anthony, her brother, is a genius on guitar, which really helped us in the songwriting process as well. Of course there is always the pressure of the previous hit, but we allowed ourselves to make mistakes and to just have fun with it, just like the first time we collaborated. Like music making is supposed to be at the end of the day. Luckily it turned out pretty good. It’s been number one in more charts than ‘Waiting’ already and we even have daytime radio airplay in a lot of countries as we speak, which is a big kick for all of us.”
You’re also preparing the release of a second Dash Berlin album, the successor of ‘The New Daylight’. How far along is it?
Jeff:”I’m almost never finished, I like to try things out until they are perfect. Some tracks are ready, others still need some additional re-production or re-arranging and some are yet to be made. We’re aiming for the summer to get it all done. The stuff that I’m already road-testing works really well, so the vibe is really good and the force is strong with this one, haha!”
How will it be different from TND? Has the Dash Berlin sound changed or matured, are you ready to try out some new stuff perhaps?
Jeff:”You learn as you go, which atomically influences a certain signature sound one might have. I’ve just recently collaborated with my buddy ATB on a track called ‘Apollo Road’, which resulted in something atypical and it has been received really well by the people, so it definitely feels nice to keep broadening my horizon in that sense. (Hear the preview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gsiuacCI4w ) ”
What about other collaborations? TND had some very interesting ones, what can you reveal on album 2 so far?
Jeff:”Not too much yet, I’m are still in the middle of it all. We are creating a lot of tracks, so I can choose the very best ones for the album. I’ve got some fantastic people working with me on this, so in terms of collaborations it will certainly be interesting to say the least. ”
Even though the Aropa label has grown into a real go-to-place for trance lovers, it’s released only 12 EP’s so far. What’s the secret behind the success?
Jeff:”There’s no secret really, I choose quality over quantity. Credits go to the amazing artists that have decided to join my label with excellent music, which is making my job as a label owner very fulfilling. It’s also great to be able to lean on the expertise and the support of the Armada A&R guys in the search for new talent, which has helped me a lot as well.”
You’re also approaching the release of the second installment of United Destination. How is it shaping up? Is it nearly done yet?
Jeff:”Yes, ‘United Destination 2011’ is ready and I’m very proud of the result. I’ve selected some of the best tunes that I could find and spent quite some time puzzling with the arrangement of the two mixes. I tried to create something that’s nice to test your speakers with and play in the car when going for a long drive or to play at your pre-party at home before going out, all to get you in the right party mood.”
When can we expect it?
Jeff:”It will be available April 29th. Thank you all for continuously supporting the music and the artists involved! See you on tour!”