Sep 07, 2020
D.O.D's Exclusive Mix
We’re thrilled to be joined today by D.O.D, who’s back with an Exclusive Mix that showcases the progression of his sound and celebrates his new debut single on Armada. “Cardboard Box” is an exciting signal of all that he’s been working on, and Dan gives us extensive details on how his sound has evolved and what his lockdown life has been like. Read on as you dance away to his mix!
Dan, thanks for joining us today! It’s so great to have you back on Exclusive Mix duties for us and there’s loads to catch up on in our interview. Since we last spoke, you’ve had some big life changes, and one of those was moving into a new home and constructing a studio. Tell us some more about what crafting that space was like and how it has played into your production output.
Obviously owning your property means you can do whatever you like to it and that’s exactly what I did. The main criteria of buying a house was purchasing one with a basement so I could have my studio there. I designed the studio myself, keeping it pretty minimalistic and making sure that there was plenty of sunlight. Basements can be dark and cold places sometimes, not always the best for creativity. It’s a great workspace for me and such a bonus having it in my house – I can work whenever I like.
An even bigger change was the birth of your first son, Leo, with whom you’ve shared lots of adorable pictures on your socials. What has becoming a dad been like for you?
Becoming a dad has been such an amazing, fulfilling experience. It can be exhausting sometimes with the lack of sleep, but it’s completely outweighed by the fact that you’ve brought this beautiful little human being into the world who you couldn’t imagine life without!
You mentioned in an Instagram post that you’ve gotten to enjoy so many moments with Leo during the pandemic that you otherwise wouldn’t have. Has that had any effect on your studio creativity and productivity as well?
At the beginning of the pandemic, as I’m sure with most other artists, the realisation of how detrimental this could be as a touring DJ was a hard pill to swallow. This feeling quickly emancipated with knowing how much time I’d be able to spend with Leo. I can honestly say this time at home has been absolutely priceless. I’m getting to watch Leo develop into a proper little boy, and it’s really rewarding! It’s also been a great period for me creatively. Having such an extended amount of time to work on music without being jet lagged, or just having to be on the road has allowed me to really focus in the studio. I’ve been more creative than I ever have been. Don’t get me wrong, I have my moments where I feel uninspired, but overall it’s been a positive experience for me.
Can you tell us a bit more about how you’ve found a new balance in life and do you have any advice for others out there who may still be struggling to find their new normal?
When I’m at home I’ve always treated my time in the studio as a 9-5 (or 8-8 in most cases!). It’s not been too hard for me to adapt to the new normal as I would have done this if I had an extended amount of time at home anyway. I no longer work weekends anymore which gives me that much needed rest from making music – constantly creating can be really taxing on the brain sometimes. Getting outdoors has been great for my work/life balance. I live really close to the Lake District here in the UK which in my biased opinion is one of the most beautiful places on earth! I’ve gone from airplanes, clubs & festivals to babies, hiking and fresh air... it’s awesome!
It’s so good to see you back all over the 1001Tracklists charts with your past releases and you’re really ramping up the output with “Down Under,” the “Aftertaste” remix, and now “Cardboard Box”! Can you tell us some more about evolving your sound from the Future Jack sound that so many came to know you for a few years ago to the housier sound that we’re hearing in your latest releases?
Although I took a little time out from releasing music, I was still grinding away in the studio making music and pushing my sound forward. I feel like the “Sixes” era of Future Jack was an amazing time for me as an artist, however to move forward I was always conscious about developing my sound, and this is exactly what I’ve been doing. The new housier D.O.D sound is just a progression in sounds and has come pretty naturally. I’ve started to integrate a lot more of that old school house I grew up listening to. Ravey synths, catchy vocals, straight up fun vibes. Get ready for a torrent of new music from myself!
Alongside the development of your new sound, you’ve signed a new deal with Armada. Can you tell us some more about what makes Armada a good fit for you and the new sound?
I did a few remixes here and there for Armada, the relationship started from there really. Ralph, one of the head A&Rs at their Amsterdam office has been a friend for a while now and we got to talking about joining them on a more exclusive basis. As a label, Armada are in that legendary category so it was a no brainer for me. They cover all styles of dance music which is what I really love about them. They know their shit about electronic music!
“Cardboard Box” is your first single as part of the new deal and the early support has been massive! Can you tell us a bit more about the inspiration and production process?
I actually made this track as a DJ tool for my sets pre-lockdown. I got to test it out at the last gig I played this year and the reactions were insane. It’s got that chunky jackin’ house feel to it, again a progression on from the old Future Jack sound. The record has very loose drums and shuffled synth patterns. This is the last club record from me for a while now, moving into a friendlier house sound till things get back to normal. After all, there’s no point in releasing club/festival records with nowhere to play them, right?!
You’ve also had the chance to do two massive remixes on Armada in the past months, for Loud Luxury and for Armin van Buuren & Brennan Heart. Can you pick one and tell us some more about your take? What did you like in the original and how do you feel that you’ve made it your own?
I love the Loud Luxury lads! I met them at Tomorrowland 2019 and we ended up having a little afterparty back at our hotel room. A few days later Andrew hit me up and sent me their upcoming single “Aftertaste” to see if I wanted to put a D.O.D spin on it. I loved the vibe of the vocal and thought that I could definitely put my stamp on it. Chunky drums, high energy synths and super low subs, all the ingredients for a (after) tasty D.O.D remix.
You’ve always been a master of IDs and your Exclusive Mix includes some more! Anything you can tell us about those?
You’ll get to hear some fresh music, that’s all you need to know :-D
And lastly, what has you excited as we look ahead to the fall? Anything else you’d like to share with readers?
I’m excited about getting all of these new records out! It’s time to show the world what I’ve been working so hard on. Quick message to the readers – if you’re feeling anxious or uncertain during these times, try not to worry, everything always works out in the end :-)
You can download or stream your copy of D.O.D - "Cardboard Box" on your platform of choice today! https://armas1823.lnk.to/CardboardBox
short link 1001.tl/7jgufb