i:Vibes catches up with Anjunabeats' new melodic hero, DJ and producer Daniel Kandi...
The Top UK trance label Anjunabeats is always surprising the world with new trance talents and in 2006, the label of Jono, Tony and Paavo introduced the trance fanatics to Denmarks Daniel Kandi. It is not everyday that a new artist can land a huge hit on the first release, but he showed his immense producing skills with “Breathe”, which was featured on well known compilations like Anjunabeats Vol 4, or Technoclub Vol 21. The response to the first single was so huge, that he had the opportunity to release another track on Anjunabeats. With “Child”/”Nova”, he once again found a place in the hearts of countless trance ravers. These two tracks were added to the Anjunabeats Worldwide CD compilaton. He also did a remix with Kris O Neil for “Nova”, which also got a lot of attention. One of his strengths is recognizing how to create the perfect killer melody. Even though 2006 was a big year in trance for him, trance isn´t the only genre of music he has been connected to. In his homeland of Denmark, he formed the remix team Hit n Run, which have remixed Danish artists such as Tue West, Thomas Helmig, Tv2, Christine Milton, Sisse Marie, Infernal, and foreign artists as Pain & Rosini, and Terri Walker. He also had a track published on Bent Fabrics album, a Danish piano pioneer who made the world famous "Alleycat", which charted higher than Elvis back when it was released. He surely has more new trance gems to present the world in 2007. i:Vibes had a small chat with Daniel Kandi to find out exactly why trance moves him so...
i:Vibes: Hi Daniel, How are you? First of all congratulations with the 2006 success with your tracks for Anjunabeats. Were you surprised how well the tracks were received by the trance
audience? Is it possible to top 2006 in 2007?
Daniel Kandi: Thanks a lot first of all! Well it´s tough to say really, because I have a number of tracks up my sleeve and they all are great in their own way. I guess it´s up to the individual taste from people that decides if i´m going to be just as popular this year. I can only try to hit as wide an audience as possible.
i:Vibes: I read some where, you were persuaded not to produce trance again? Why would some one say this? Did these people never hear your amazing trance tunes like “Breathe”?
Daniel Kandi: Well they didn´t think it was profitable for me since trance doesn´t sell to the extent of a pop song. So they thought it was a waste of time for me. But I gained interest for trance again, and after a night out in town, “Breathe” came to life. Sort of like saying, “wow, love to be back, breathe in & out, take it all in”.
i:Vibes: However you were stronger than that person and kept with trance. Why is trance so important for you and how does it effect you to write such beautiful tracks?
Daniel Kandi: I´m no different than many other producers. Love and hurt can provide you with either a mellow or happy mood, and instead of writing lyrics, I just convert it into melodies.
i:Vibes: You are from Denmark? How old are you and what was your childhood like?
Daniel Kandi: I was born in 1983 and i´m 23 now. I grew up without my biological father until age of 9, which was ok since my mom did a good job raising me, alongside my little brother Philip. He was a pain in the ass, and I never thought we´d be buddies. But that’s what we are now, Best pals.
i:Vibes: Who were your early musical inspirations and why?
Daniel Kandi: You should actually have tried listening to A&B´s 100th TATW show, were they spoke about their influences. I was surprised that many of their 80´s tracks in the show was the same as mine. Quite emotional tunes. I grew up with a lot of top 20 pop from UK, so I know all about Madonna, Samantha Fox and so on (smiles) But when I hit 10-12 years of age, my taste progressed to dance music, and trance later on and ATB´s first hit single “9pm (till I come)” got me going into trance really. I went to buy his album and didn´t like it at first, Up tempo was my main-liking at that age. But quickly enjoyed the relaxing mood he´d put you in. So ATB really got me going. I´m a big fan of his work.
i:Vibes: What was your first record you bought? How did that inspire you musically?
Daniel Kandi: Hmmm, let´s not mention that, or people would mistake me for a fool (laugh) But one of the earliest singles was Dr. Alban – It´s my life. Call that whatever you want, It´s still a tune that can pack a main stream club to the max. Class!
i:Vibes: You were influenced by Above & Beyond. Do you remember where you were, what you were doing and how excited were you when you found out that “Breathe” would be released on Anjunabeats.
Daniel Kandi: I remember almost giving up the track actually, since they didn´t reply the first 2 weeks. So when that mail from the guys arrived, I remember calling a buddy with a shaking voice, and told him to come over, time for PIZZAAH! And we had a blast that day.
i:Vibes: What was the deciding moment, where you knew that you wanted to be involved with making music?
Daniel Kandi: When I bought Music2000 for Playstation. I knew even before that, but back then, studios costed a bazillion pounds! So when that program/game came to Playstation, I finally had somewhere to let of steam and create melodies. Many producers when they start, don´t know anything about melodic sense, since they start music for fun. But I have melodies made that I had since age of 10, so i´ve always been a naturally gifted person for melodies. I think singing at the age of 5-7 wasn´t unusual for me.
i:Vibes: I recently interviewed Niklas Harding, and he said there is a small scene in Denmark. How would you describe the Danish trance scene? How do you get along with your colleagues?
Daniel Kandi: To be honest, there is NO trance-scene at all in Denmark. Hardtrance/Hardstyle is building. But trance as we know it now, in the melodic sense, doesn’t get respected in Denmark. Only among us artists really. We have our small private gatherings, and maybe 1-2 trance parties a year. But the private gatherings include the best we have. Niklas, Stalker(arcane), Kris O’Neil, DJ Choose, Ben Bording (Yamin) etc. We always have a blast at these private gatherings. And quite the headache the days after!
i:Vibes: Before you made trance, you were already a producer in Denmark. How did you get established in the Danish music scene? Was it difficult or was it more easy finding the right contacts?
Daniel Kandi: When I felt I was good enough to start competing, I contacted a management company about a remix I did for fun, my very first call to a management in fact. two weeks later they were keen on working with me. So it went faster than for most. At first, but then it slowed down a lot, even though I made remixes and got known for other names, I didn’t feel it was quite enough. I was stuck sort of.
i:Vibes: Your part of Hit n Run. What kind of music have you remixed under this name?
Daniel Kandi: Infernal was a big name in the late 90´s and had a revival in 2004, made a remix for them, and they got 3-4 remixes from me since. Terri Walker from UK, remixed her also. Alongside those, a lot of big Danish artists.
i:Vibes: You had a track published on Bent Fabrics album, a Danish piano pioneer who made the world famous "Alleycat", which charted higher than Elvis back when it was released. How did this production come about?
Daniel Kandi: They wanted a track with a hint of Fat Boy Slim in it, so I stepped to the plate with an old track, and said “I can do it. I´ll just change my track into something fitting this”. And eight hours later I was done.!
i:Vibes: You have a lot of success in 2006 with trance releases. What new releases can we expect from you in 2007?
Daniel Kandi: You can expect one or two EP´s more. One on Anjunabeats for certain (Make Me Believe/ID-ID), plus another one on an other label. Several remixes coming up, the biggest assignments right now are mixes for Alex Morph and ATB. My hero Andre contacted me week last and are talking about my work and how I could do a mix for him very very soon.
i:Vibes: I simply loved “Breathe”!!!! It was one of my favorite tracks in 2006?!. The melody and breakdown is simply incredible. A pefect produced track. Do you remember how you produced this gem? Was it one of those tracks that took ages or did you bang it out quickly?
Daniel Kandi: The first version of the track was “boom, finished, but I wasn´t satisfied until later on in terms of mastering. I´ve probably used eight hours in total trying to make the hi-end so crisp. So a lot of after-production went into it.
i:Vibes: What inspires you to produce such beautiful music?
Daniel Kandi: Life does. Loving someone, losing someone, leaving someone. All aspects really. Just like when a soul singer writes an album because of one breakup. Emotion is the key.
i:Vibes: When your in the studio, do you have a certain way how you go about producing a track? Some producers look for an atmosphere, while others may look for a bass line or a melody first. How do you do it? What is your secret?
Daniel Kandi: I have no pattern for it. If a melody comes quickly to mind, i´ll plug it in fast. After that start on kick and bass to get the groove going. Other times ill have no melody at all, where I just make the groove first. That was the case with “Make Me Believe”. Then the melody came to mind slowly, and I build around it.Usually Atmospherics are the hardest to sort for me. And they also came very late in the production phase of MMB.
i:Vibes: What kind of studio equipment do you have? Besides your PC, what piece of equipment could you not live without?
Daniel Kandi: My brain! (laughing) Believe it or not, all the equipment I have is this : ShuttleX Cube Pc, Intel Celeron 3,22 ghz (euuw! I know) 512 Mb Ram, SB live soundcard. HD 457 Sennheiser headphones. And NO monitors. How I do it I don´t know. And no-one believes that this is all I have. I don´t use plugins of any kind. All I have is Reason 3.04 for this pc. Plus my few sound banks. True story. So I´ve proven that Reason CAN be pushed very far! Even on a crappy pc like mine. NOTE! If Anyone, is keen to sponsor me with a new good pc, build for music. Please let me know, I so need it hah!
i:Vibes: Are you more a software man, or do you have fun producing likewise with hardware. Where do you see your strengths with each type?
Daniel Kandi: Although I only use software atm. I´m looking into Logic on Mac these days, but it´s hard when you have your pc-habits. So for now I stick to software.
i:Vibes: How do you see the momentary state of trance? Where do you see the trance sound going in 2007?
Daniel Kandi: I don´t know. For my view, my coming productions in late 2007 plus next year, has either more balls to it, or then they are more chilled and laid back. To variate a bit. Plus I see the scene turning more techy now. So it will be nice to see what happens.
i:Vibes: You're not far from Germany. Do you follow the German trance scene? What artists do you respect and with what German artist would you like to be locked away with in the studio making a track?
Daniel Kandi: Stoneface & Terminal. Although their style isn´t groundbreaking, it´s probably the best “generic” energy filled productions around atm. I´m a guy that doesn´t innovate too much, and i´m ok with staying within limits sometimes. And they just spit out some brilliant melodic tunes. “Super Nature” was one of my favourites around the new year and I still play it from time to time. What an Atmosphere! Hands in the air! I think I could produce some great stuff with them.
BUT, even more so, ATB. He was there when I started, and still here. I´m an absolute fan of his work. So emotional. I think him and I could do magic stuff together. My biggest dream has always been making an album with him, sort of like “ATB vs Daniel Kandi – 2 sides of live” . A chilled session of tracks where we combine mystique to the sounds, and euphoric haunting vocals. And a 2nd CD where we make some good clubby bangers, trancy and rockin like his current style. That would be my nr. 1 dream come true.
i:Vibes: Soon you will make a remix for ATB for one of his new tracks. What kind of a feeling is it being able to remix a track for one of your inspirations? I have new album. can you give some insight? Will it be from the first cd or from the more ambient cd2?
Daniel Kandi: It is not one of the obvious choices, its a surprise, I can´t tell yet, but I can say that getting to remix him is a boyhood dream coming true.
i:Vibes: You have made some real incredible melodic trance tracks for Anjunabeats. Do you see yourself sticking to the melodic tracks or might you try a different style in the future?
Daniel Kandi: I will change a bit. I can´t stick to the same all my life. It´s a part in my build. But I need new equipment to do so. Help me ! (2nd attempt of asking :D )
i:Vibes: You also spin music at Afterhours.FM. Are you a fulltime DJ? What is the most important thing for you as a DJ?
Daniel Kandi: I´ll never be fulltime as a DJ, since I´m also a producer. But I want people to know that I WANT to DJ now. Get out and see the world. See the cultures etc. The most important thing, is that I like doing what I´m doing. And if the crowd goes nuts then I´m happy. I want to party with them.
i:Vibes: What do you try to give the listener in your DJ sets?
Daniel Kandi: It´s different from time to time, since you might go on after some techy DJ sometimes, and then another night you´ll come on after a guy playing slow prog. So it depends really. But mainly, I like playing melodic stuff. Energetic hands in the air. And then harder in the very end. Plus also try to give them great transitions in my sets, mixing melodic trance sometimes needs to be planned a bit, in terms of keys, so they fit. And since i´m very melodic minded, you´ll hardly ever see me mix 2 tracks together if they are only 1 semitone apart. I want it to sound melodically correct.
i:Vibes: Where do you see yourself in five years? Do you have any ambitions of starting your own label or doing something else in the music business?
Daniel Kandi: A label might be the case. But right now I don´t want to think about that. But in five years I should meet my goal of being in the top 50 DJ list. Plus I want to play at trance energy, crasher, gods etc etc. That’s what I hope to happen, so I just hope the gods above are kind to me, for my hard work.
i:Vibes: What are your five alltime favorite DJs?
Daniel Kandi: Hard to say, depends on mood. Armin, Tiesto, A&B, Ferry, Carl Cox. That’s what comes to mind atm.
i:Vibes: What are your hobbies?
Daniel Kandi: You´ll often find me at a snooker table. And when I´m big enough on the scene. I´d like to have one perk. (since I don´t ask much really) A snooker table at the hotels. Just a mini-one. I just love that game :D
i:Vibes: If you had the choice to be on a deserted island for a day, what famous DJ would you want spinning there and what famous woman would you want there spending time with you?
Daniel Kandi: Damn! Well probably Tiesto playing some laid back “beachy” trance, and company from Halle Berry wouldn´t be bad. Just lay there and sip the drinks!
i:Vibes: Thanks for the interview, Daniel! Good luck for your musical future!
Daniel Kandi: Thx for letting me share a bit of my life with you, cheers!