Dani Deahl is an enabler and a cheater. In our latest interview with the Chicago DJ, she tried to outsmart me on multiple rounds of “Would You Rather?” and admitted that if given the ultimatum, she would give up her favorite food for an unlimited supply of money. As someone who began as a writer, she holds valuable insight into the industry, and is one of the few that understands both sides to the story. But it’s not her insight that makes her a key player; strong productions like last year’s remix of “BADBOI” by Pegboard Nerds and her latest track “Control Myself” with Gazzo and Crywolf do too. Dani was able to carve out some time out her busy schedule ahead of her newest episode of DSquared.
Would you rather play to a big room of strangers or small room of your friends?
A big room of strangers, definitely! All my friends are other artists and people in the industry. It’s hard for us to sit back and just enjoy a set because in the back our heads we’re always analyzing what’s going on! I love playing for big rooms and being able to see their response and have that immediate connection with people. When you drop a track that you personally love and you vibe to it, then you look out and see everyone else having the same reaction, that’s where the connection lies for that moment and that’s really special.
I see you’re active on social media, especially Snapchat.
I love Snapchat! It’s a place where I can be dumb or have a random thought, and it’s in the moment doesn’t feel as pre-planned as other social media outlets. I’m really into horror movies so I’ll ask, ‘Hey! does anyone have any good recommendations? I like A, B, and C; snap me and tell me what you think I should watch.’ Immediately I get personal interactions with people which is better than Twitter, because someone if someone tweets me it’s out there for the whole world to see but Snapchat is like having coffee with someone.
What is currently at the top of your bucket list?
As a DJ, I obviously want to play Ultra or EDC Las Vegas, one of the top tier festivals. Prodcution wise, things are going really well! I’ve had releases on Flamingo, Monstercat, and Armada in the past year, so I’ve been thrilled with the success and the caliber of people I’ve been able to be associate myself with.
Personally, my mom’s family is from Sicily and she’s really big into family history to the point where she flew to the small town that my family is from to see all the town records of my family, even the family crest. I haven’t gone yet because my mom said I’m not allowed to go unless she gets to go with me so we can explore out family heritage together. My husband’s family is from Hong Kong and he’s first generation so we go to Hong Kong every year to see his extended family and we stay there for a couple of weeks and it’s awesome. I get to see where his family is from and I’d like to one day see where my family is from too.
Would you rather have bacon grease on your hands or sweat bacon grease for the rest of your life?
I’d rather…oh God. I would have said bacon grease on my hands, but I’m on this new workout regimen and I hate working out because I get sweaty really easily which sucks. So now I’m imagining working out and just having bacon grease come out of my pores and how terrible that would be. I’m going to say bacon grease on my hands because then I can just wear gloves.
NO, that’s cheating. You can’t wear gloves, you have to choose.
I still have to go with hands then; at least it can be contained to one part of my body.
Hold on, did you just friend request me in the middle of this interview?
Yeah, why not? Most of our mutual friends are bloggers, and Dylan (Party Favor).
Oh BOY. That article. Was that the most difficult interview you’ve ever had?
You know..it might have been. At least [Meaux Green] was a riot. I got approached at least five times over the past few days after and people were asking me about what happened in the interview. So yeah, it was the most difficult, but one of the funniest interviews at the same time.
What’s a trend at shows you’d like to leave behind in 2014?
It’s my dream to host a series of parties where you have to check your phone at the door. Half the time if you don’t have your phone with you, you don’t really miss it much. At the end of the day it’s about being people with the people who are around you not with your phones.
But because we live in the digital age, would EDM have ever been able to become this international phenomenon?
Absolutely not, and especially because blogs and bootlegs and illegal mp3 downloads made this community what it is. I’m not saying we have to go all Cro-Magnon and and throw our electronics away. I just saying that it’s nice to rediscover your humanity when you actually have an opportunity to enjoy and experience that you’re at, rather than experience it by looking through your screen while you’re trying to post something to Instagram. And it’s weird because we want to document everything. It’s like the saying if a tree falls in a forest does it make a sound. If you’re at a show and you don’t take a photo, did it really happen?
What are some other music trends you’d like to see more of this year?
I think a really positive change we’re seeing is that music is getting weirder? I think about Jack U and when they debuted ‘Take U There.’ People are doing really cool, crazy stuff at every tempo at this point and there aren’t any barriers anymore. And this new mix has everything : juke, a little future bass and a touch of jersey club and house; but it all works together and I like that. I love that things aren’t fitting as neatly into boxes as they used to.
Do you notice you’re taking more risks with your music because of the people you’re interacting with lately?
I just finished this one song with a Chicago artist called Hexes and we spent four hours start to finish and it’s really odd but it hits you. It has this powerful saw that weaves in and out and the whole song only has about 15-17 layers on it. It’s really sparse but it’s kind of Snails meets Stooki Sound maybe? It’s bizarre and people seem to be responding well to it.
Would you rather have an unlimited supply of bacon and no money or an unlimited supply of money and no bacon.
I have to go with the money on this one. I want to travel around the world 4x over. I’ll just have some Canadian Ham.
THAT’S STILL BACON. You’re cheating again!
Goddamnit. you keep catching me on my semantics. Can I buy bacon products?
That’s disgusting. Most bacon products just taste like rancid bacon, especially lip balm. And I will make a point to say that I’ve never ever, ever, ever used it, but someone gave me bacon lube. Yeah…
You did a Tedx talk and were on a panel last year at WMC. Do you see yourself having more speaking engagements this year?
I’d like to! To be honest, the Tedx Talk consumed my life for three weeks. It was 18 minutes, no notes, and I don’t think I’ve ever been more scared for anything in my life. Skydiving was way easier than that Ted Talk. For two weeks before I said ‘Don’t talk to me, I’m not working on the blog, I’m not working on music; I’m not doing anything that isn’t researching this topic and rehearsing everyday to make sure I nail this topic.’ And even the day of, just sitting in the audience waiting for my turn…my body was cold but my hands were sweating.
I did mention to everyone in the final few minutes of my presentation that it was my first time speaking and I mentioned that you can’t be scared to say yes to things. You know how some people say, ‘the worst thing that can happen if you ask is that someone says no?’ well the worst thing that can happen if you don’t ask if that you’ll never know if the answer was yes. So many people are afraid to ask, and whether that fear comes from rejection or failure whatever the reasons are, you have to put yourself out there and see if you’re capable of doing something.
The last track on the mix is a new one with Statik Link. How did that collab come about?
Well Static Link are a duo – one lives in Chicago and the other in New York. I know the one in Chicago, but never met the other half of Statik Link until I played at Amazura for New Year’s Eve. He came to the show and we instantly hit it off and went to lunch the next day before I left. He was excited about possibly doing a collab and I said yes!
I feel like I’ve been in this mode lately where I’ve been Jim Carrey in Yes Man where if someone asks me to do something I’m like, ‘Yes! Yeah totally! Let’s do it.’ That was just three weeks ago. Everything’s been so easy because now we have Splice to send the project files back and forth no problem. He started it and sent it to me and I did the second drop that you don’t hear which is a surprise. But I’m really happy with the way it all turned out; it’s a fun track.
What else have you already done this year? You seem busy!
I have another collab with Instant Party that we just started two days ago, and I’m finishing up a remix with Jason Edward out in LA and I have another original and I can’t say who that’s with yet.
The tracklist for the latest episode of DSquared is below. Be sure to follow Dani Deahl on social media @DaniDeahl!
Meaux Green – Whoa (unreleased)
Skrillex – Dirty Vibe (Gladiator Remix)
Umbertron & Tim Turnell – B_tches (unreleased)
Mighty Mark feat. TT The Artist – Pretty Girls (BOEBOE Remix) (unreleased)
Yellow Claw & Yung Felix – Dancefloor Champ (White Gangster & Max P & Katar Remix)
Juicy J – Low (Whiiite’s Future1Hundred Remix)
Knife Party – Micropenis
Steve Aoki – Rage The Night Away (Milo & Otis Remix)
Autoerotique & 4B – Bukem
Ape Drums & 2deep – Move That Butt (Wuki Reboot)
4B – Bomboclot (Esentrik Remix)
Destructo & GTA – Party Up (Beatz Freq Edit)
ETC!ETC! – Supa Hot Fire (unreleased)
Smookie Illson x Fly Boy Keno – Nice Flow
Instant Party! x Hype Turner – Olsen Twins
LAXX – Step Three
Zeds Dead – Ratchet (Jauz Remix)
Dani Deahl & Statik Link – The Come Up (unreleased)