By Ryan Meehan
Few in electronic music do as much as Chicago’s Dani Deahl. Counting credits as a DJ, producer, journalist and blogger, Dani’s reach within electro is all encompassing. She’s produced a Billboard charted track, interviewed heavyweights like David Guetta and Tiga for national publications, played Lollapalooza three times and currently runs a successful blog, garnering between 60,000-80,000 visitors a month. And that’s just a sampling. Born and raised in the city that invented house music, Dani was drawn to the genre at an early age, becoming a DJ and landing her first residencies while still in high school. Since then, she’s expanded into production and quickly made her mark. She’s worked with vocal artists from Sue Cho to Oh Snap! and Whiskey Pete, who lent vocals to the Billboard featured “Poppin Bottles”, her songs have been praised by artists like Diplo, Smalltown DJs and Donald Glaude and signed to prestigious labels Red Stick (a Strictly Rhythm label), Royal One, Dirty Fabric, Atomic Zoo and more. With a host of new productions forthcoming along with slated touring, live performance additions and continued nurturing for her journalism and blog, the future looks incredibly bright for this rising Electro star. We are extremely honored to have her as our guest this week in 5 Questions.
FOH: Navigating your blog, there seems to be several contributors that post about all different kinds of electronic music. When the website first got started, was it just you and then eventually more writers wanted to contribute or did you work with others at the start to help get it off the ground? And how many writers do you have that are regular posters on the site?
DD: I ran the blog by myself for the first two years. As I’ve gotten busier and the way people want to get content has changed, I’ve shifted to make sure that we can always get people the best that’s submitted. We’ve changed from multi-song posts to single song, and now use Soundcloud embeds instead of uploading everything to my server. The result is that we can crank the posts out faster and actually get our readers more content. Bringing on additional writers has also helped with that – right now we hover between five and ten guest writers, but I’d love more! I’ve gotten to know some of the vets’ styles – Zoe loves writing about nu-disco and $amroc is my moombahton guy – and really, they’ve become friends beyond danideahl.com. We’ve also started incorporating a little trap and dubstep. Good music is good music, and there still aren’t a lot of blogs like mine that focus on the freebies, the up and comers. I think that, combined with the collective taste of our writers is why the blog’s had such a loyal following.
FOH: What makes your live show so unique?
DD: We’re at a saturation point with dance music where it’s harder for people to play the unknown tracks and get the crowd to respond. I could play the Beatport top 10 all day long, but then where the hell is my identity as a DJ? It takes talent to play stuff no one knows and have them freak out over it – and I love making that happen. I had a show this week where the manager told me to play more mainstream, so instead of throwing on a radio track and compromising what I stood for, I played “Yaow” by Baauer (a trap song off Mad Decent’s Jeffrees label), and people went nuts. That’s where a DJ shines. I also make my own mashups that I keep just for myself, edit nearly all my songs on the fly and love playing around with acapellas. I might have also been documented climbing on speaker stacks and pouring bottles of champagne all over everyone.
FOH: There are seemingly countless subgenres of electronic music, but of those, which ones really click with you?
DD: I have always, no matter the genre, been attracted to drums and really thick bass – so right now I’m still mainly heavy and dirty electro but I have love affairs with moombahcore and trap. Anything that makes you want to want to do dirty, random things with the nearest person on the dancefloor, basically.
FOH: Given that dance music fans seem to come from all walks of life, do you think it’s unfair that the general public has so many misconceptions about EDM fans?
DD: Absolutely. EDM is finally getting the spotlight and the fans are everyone from the guy who owns the 5 star restaurant down the street to your bank teller to the girls wearing the neon tutus at EDC. I mean, my dad even listens to Mark Farina and is pretty knowledgeable (although I did catch him saying “The Punk Daft” one time).
FOH: Can you the describe the experience of performing at Lollapalooza, and do you feel you’re expected to do a different set for an outdoor festival as opposed to a club setting?
DD: Playing this last time at Lollapalooza was a little nerve wracking because I was on a huge stage so all eyes are on you, where in a club setting most of the time you’re part of the environment. Once I was on stage though the time flew by. There can be less subtlety in a festival set but it lets me play hard bangers that might not work at clubs. I also had my team there – long time choreographer Jason Laws, my makeup artist Fredy Anaya and my dancers – that all helped to make the visuals as amazing as the music.
FOH: What big things do you have planned in the next twelve months?
DD: I’m thrilled about “Pocket Porn,” my recent single, and the music video. I also finished up a collaboration with L.A.-based group The Dirty Tees and have some additional singles coming out with other labels. I also just opened my online store (with my favorite t-shirt…Beats, Bacon, Bitches) and have some other things in the works I can’t talk about just yet!
Make sure you catch Dani at 2nd Avenue in the District of Rock Island on Friday, August 17th. The show is brought to you by Civil Entertainment and features warm-up sets by Megalomaniacs, DJ Hi-Tech, and DJ ST3. Also, check out her website for the latest remixes in the world of electronic dance music.
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