Dario Dea is an Italian DJ, remixer, and music producer. Right from a young age, Dario always had a soft spot for music regardless of its genre, it was this passionate love for sounds that lead him to explore the musical realm, tap into his full potential and made him the seasoned DJ he is today.
We sat down with him and asked him about how the pandemic affected his music and how he came up with his new remix on Urge To Dance.
Hey Dario, how are you, how has 2022 been so far for you?
Hey DHL! 2022 has been extremely busy so far, which feels very refreshing after the last couple of years! In the past few months I have released a lot of music, played some great gigs and officially moved to Portugal (as of last week).
How was the pandemic for you and what affect did it have on your music taste and style?
I think the pandemic was a blessing in disguise. It allowed me to spend more time in the studio and with my family. I usually find a lot of inspiration by going to parties and listening to great music in sweaty clubs, and when that wasn’t possible it really forced me to find inspiration elsewhere and to listen more to my “inner music”. I was lucky enough to have a day job and I could work from home, and while it was mentally challenging at times, I managed to make the most out of it.
You are Italian born but london based – which place has had most influence on your sound and why?
I am 31 years old and so far I have lived in 8 different cities, 4 countries and 2 continents. Every place has brought a different influence and it’s quite hard to identify which one has played a bigger role. Whenever I play I feel like I can see how my relationship with Italy and Italian artists, the sound of the Middle East and London culture have influenced my production and my sets,.
What got you into dance music, why, when, what sounds?
This is actually a fun story. Until I was about 21 or so, I basically hated electronic music and parties and I only enjoyed 60s rock and blues music. One day, somehow, I ended up watching Berlin Calling and I was hooked. Since then, I started listening to as many artists and genres as I could discover, found out that parties are fun (shocking!) and eventually wanted to learn how the whole thing worked. At the very beginning I started listening to artists like Solomun (when his Dance Baby Album came out), Paul Kalkbrenner, Andhim and many others, which eventually led me to Innervisions, which has a really sweet spot in my emotional music catalogue, and later on to Indie Dance, Dark Disco etc…
How did you approach your recent remix one Urge To Dance of Raly’s track “Boredom” feat. Daniel Mesguich?
First of all, I need to thank Maksim (Urge to Dance owner) for asking me to do this remix. While it would be easier to invest in known artists, easier sounds or “Beatport favourites”, Maksim is working extremely hard to release music that he truly likes, without focusing too much on “what’s cool” or “what’s going to smash the charts”. His approach is simple: 100% quality and innovative music first, and I truly respect that.
Regarding the remix, I think at this point I have developed my own process, which consists in selecting my favourite 3/4 parts, which I think really represent the soul of the track, and then build from there, using my own style. In this case the vocal was obviously the centrepiece, and together with a few beautiful synths it gave me the perfect platform to build what I think it’s a solid groove. The whole original was so inspiring that it really didn’t take much to come up with many ideas.
Are there rules about what you must and mustn’t do with a remix? Like add your own spin but don’t change it too much?
I think the only rule is that you should be proud of your work and follow your artistic instincts, which is why someone asked you to make that remix rather than someone else. Personally, I like preserving the key ideas of the original track as a tribute to the artist. In the end, if I didn’t like the main elements of the original, why would I decide to remix it? At that point I like to add my own groove, my baselines and synth sounds, in order to build this new relationship between myself and the original track. Quite often I like taking the key elements of a track, and then change genre, as a way of celebrating the original, while also putting some distance and creating my own very distinct version.
Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?
My main inspiration usually comes from listening to great club music and thinking “ah! That really makes me want to dance” and that pushes me to work on new ideas. That’s typically how most of my new ideas start: I would go out on a Friday or Saturday, listen to great music, sleep on it and re-elaborate, and then come up with new things on Sunday, which I would then develop in the following weeks. I also get quite inspired by visual arts and movies, but in the end, it’s always the desire to make people dance. I also get very inspired by collaborating with other artists as you get to look at things in a different way.
What is your signature sound? What defines your music?
That’s a really tough question and something that I’ve debated with Maksim (Urge to Dance co-founder) many times. I guess rather than a signature sound, I have a number of signature elements, like a certain groove or a certain choice of lead synths that tends to come up even without me noticing. I am not a huge fan of sticking to a single “style” or “genre”, but I like to think that you can recognise it’s one of my tracks, no matter if it’s more Indie Dance or “clubby”.
What gear do you use and does that matter? Are you fussy over the tools?
I am a total nerd and we could definitely spend a whole interview just talking about gear, tools and processes, but at the moment I am really enjoying working on Ableton, alongside both VSTs (Arturia plugins are by far my favourite) and hardware synths (my two favourites are the moment are my Prophet 06 and my Digitone). I also really enjoy the mixing process, courtesy of my Apollo Twin Duo and it’s amazing plugins (the UAD 1176 compressor is probably my favourite thing in the world). I also love my Neunmann KH120, which I don’t think I will ever swap for anything else.
I am not too fussy over hardware vs plugin, but whatever you use it has to sound good and be fun to manipulate. I find hardware synths a lot more fun to explore and improvise with, but I try not to box myself and be open to different tools.
What else have you got coming up/are you working on?
At the moment I am very focused on a new project with my great friend Packim, as we just signed a new EP, started working on a new EP and now playing together around the world. I am very excited about our upcoming gigs in Milan, Lisbon and Uzbekistan. Personally I also just moved to Portugal with my family so I expect a lot of time spent building furniture and moving boxes around!
What advice would you give yourself as a young artist that you have learnt since you started?
Put the time in, work hard and don’t settle. If you are not 100% satisfied with a track or a sound, don’t be afraid to trash it and start over.