Last Friday, John Dahlback was in NYC for a show at Space Ibiza. I was given the opportunity to interview this amazing young producer and sit down and talk about his newly released track “Raven” and his new album that will be coming out in 2015 (album title has yet to be disclosed) Dahlback, I consider to be one of the most artistic producers in the EDM scene at the moment, and in a slim field of peers. He is in a league of his own and I really wanted to pick his brain and see what it is like to see tracks and track lists through his eyes.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Welcome back to NY, its been six months since you’ve been in NY are you excited to be back?
Thank you, yeah I’m very excited to be back.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: So you’ve played in cities all over the world. If you could pick any place to do a lifetime residency where would you pick?
I know this sounds bad, but I love New York. This is the city I would love to move to if I were to move. I would love to play here everyday if I could.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Coming from a New Yorker that’s great to hear. What is it about NY that you love?
It’s just the energy honestly, everyone here has such great energy and they have so much love. It’s great.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: When it comes to touring and picking and choosing shows, do you have a say at all? Or is it more I don’t care I just want to play for the crowds?
Yeah I mean in some ways I can always say no, but I just let the agents and managers handle their jobs. I just play, and I mean, if I liked a place and I want to play there again I can just tell them to set something else up there.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What’s your favorite kind of show to play?
I love to play at nightclubs. I like them more than festivals I think. I love to be at the same level as the crowd. And at some places its ridiculous, I’m way up in the sky and there is no connection with the crowd.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: When it comes to you playing a show. Do you have a set gamplan? Or do you just feed off the crowd and take it from there?
I sort of take it from where it is. So if the warm up (opening set) is playing something the crowd really likes it makes no sense for me to start changing it. I always believed in building nights and not just bang it out straight away.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: So you have a busy schedule coming up. You of course, have Creamfields next weekend in London and then youre off to the Middle East for a couple shows, what are you most excited about.
Next weekend is going to be a lot of fun, I have the Creamfields and then I will be in Ushuaia with Tim (Avicii).
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: So on to the major topic at hand, you recently dropped the first record on your new album ‘Raven” July 31st. Now this is an amazing song and you’ve gotten a lot of support from a lot of major artists: Laidback Luke, Nicky Romero, Sidney Sampson. What’s it like for you to make a song and then have so many peers support it as well?
I mean it’s a risk taker that you do every day when you make music. And it’s a great feeling to know that so many people support it. I mean, it’s a fun track. To me, I cant stand still when I’m playing it and I mean, I don’t dance often. So if I’m dancing to you it, I know a lot more people will dance to it.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: I just want to get into the song a little bit, what was your inspiration for this song. What did you want to achieve for this song?
Well its kinda funny because the breakdowns are very energetic with the piano and the drums but then the drop is very straight and the breakdowns are funky. And I love pianos and I wanted at least one track on the album to have a very good piano riff.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: You have an album coming up. And I just want to figure out the thought process that went behind “Raven” being the first song to be released?
We thought it would be fun to do a club single as the first single. Because the rest of the album is very different from what “Raven” is. We have some songs that are in the same veins, but the rest is very melodic and not as club driven.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What was the moment for you, when you were making this song that you were like, “Wow this is going to be a hit.”
I mean, to be honest, I thought it was just okay when I first did it. Because I did it on my laptop, I think I was somewhere in the US and it was right after a show, because I was thinking I would want to make a track like that. And then I played it two nights after at a show. And it sounded okay on the laptop and I thought it was an ok song. But then when I heard it on the speakers in a club I was like “WOW this sounds HUGE” so I was really happy about that and I haven’t changed a thing since that day.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: It’s funny you say that, because I originally heard it on my headphones as well, and then Laidback Luke did a show recently in NY and he played it that night, and the crowd roared, and everyone was bouncing. There wasn’t a single person standing still.
Yeah it was a lucky shot, if I’m not happy with the mix I can get some help from someone who can master it. This was a song that just sounded great from the original version and I mean, that almost never happens. And it’s an unbelievable feel when it does happen.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: So you have a new album coming out, is there anything that the fans should be looking out for? Any special collaborations or vocalists?
There are a lot of vocals on this album. There are no collaborations on this album. And it’s very broad. It’s 12-13 tracks and none of them sound the same, none of them are similar. And I am very, very, happy about that. Most tracks that are on the album I just started like just hitting something on the piano, and then sending off to a vocalist and then producing the actual track when it comes back with the vocals recorded. This is a very melodical album.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: When it comes to you creating a song, what is your selection process as far as what vocalist you use for what tracks?
Not particularly, no. There’s just a certain vibe I like to have, a certain feeling. And I need to have some sort of feeling when I hear the vocal.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: One recent collaboration I do want to talk about is your collaboration with Kaskade on “A Little More.” And I mean the song is just amazing. Can you speak about that a little?
I’ve actually known Ryan (Kaskade) for years. We were never in the studio together. I got the vocal from someone and I wrote the track. And I sent over the parts and Ryan just said give me everything and I’ll work on it. And I mean he just took it to the next level. And the thing is sometimes you do get disappointment with collaborations. You think that there are six people behind this track, it needs to be the best track in the world but I am very happy with the way this one turned out.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: So you had a big 2015, over 100 shows. You're coming out with an album later on this year. What is next for John Dahlback. What’s the next move for 2015-2016?
So, yesterday we finalized the track listing, and every signed off on it. And honestly, now it’s just on to the next one. I just love being in the studio and its so much freedom when it comes to making an album and I need to feel it. But when making an album I feel free and it’s a great feeling.
Dahlback, as I said in the beginning, is a very unique artist. He is very concentrated on the vibe that comes out of a song rather than just giving the crowd something they want. There are some common assumptions that can be made about Dahlback and every single one was reiterated upon meeting him.
The attention he puts into his songs, the way he likes to create a different vibe for the listeners. Its more than just giving the crowd what they would like. He of course can do so, but it takes a very special skill set and creative mind to show listeners something different and cause them to like it just as much. Dahlback is able to do this, and I’m sure we will all see this in his upcoming album.
AUTHOR CREDIT: ALEX ZADRIMA