Donkong are duo from Germany who have built a name for themselves in the dubstep and trap genres of bass music, but their newest EP, “No Boy” takes a bit of a left turn, going for a dancehall-inspired moombahton feel. Comprised of Johannes (Cop Dickie) and Thomas (Kosmo), this duo says they’ve been inspired by moombah since they began working together, however, and they’re excited to explore this new angle. For the premiere of the “No Boy” single on Your EDM, Joe and Thomas answered some burning questions about their music, trap vs. moombahton and what’s coming up next for them.
For people not in the know yet, talk a little bit about how the two of you met and started working together.
Joe: About 6 years ago we met via Soundcloud. Not many people in Germany were doing dubstep music at the time so we stumbled upon each other and started talking production and random stuff. After a while we discovered trap and moombahton and since we both had a hip hop background the sound really got us. One day out of the blue Thomas wrote me that we’re a producer duo now and that we’re called Donkong. I said yes. That’s basically how our long distance relationship started.
You’ve built a pretty solid reputation for heavy, grinding trap and dubstep music. Why go with this style of dancehall/moombahton?
We did Moombah from the beginning and have tribal influences in most of our songs. That’s definitely a trademark of us too. Also people that follow us for a while will know that we always try to do something new and push the boundaries. So for us it was just putting Donkong onto another rhythm. But we also have some new trap stuff in the making, don’t worry!
What about taking a new direction like this excites you?
If you make music on a daily basis you get into routines just like in every other job. That can be a good thing because you get very quick with it. On the other side you get bored by your own ideas based on the rhythm and genre you’re working on. So experimenting keeps it interesting.
On “No Boy”, do you think there’s anything there that your fans will recognize as specifically Donkong style?
The sounds and the vibe i guess. It’s just a tempo we haven’t done before besides the feature with Marten Hørger “Feel” and our original “Gunny”, which both came together after “No Boy”.
Are you planning on completely changing to more dancehall-style, or is the “No Boy/Ammunition” EP just a one-off?
Dancehall will always be an influence to us but I think we have many different influences in our songs. Moombahton, trap, future bass, drum and bass. The whole modern bass music stuff that’s out there at the moment. We produced 15 unreleased songs over the last years which are all very diverse and now we try to present them as sweet little packages. These two fit together quite well.
How did you decide to release the EP on RNFR recordings?
There aren’t many labels releasing that kind of music in Germany so we were really happy when we met these passionate fellows. Being able to communicate in your mother tongue is quite important too when it comes to details. So we’re pretty happy we connected and hopefully we can grow together.
Who did what on each track on this new EP? Are there certain things each of you generally work on with each track and did you stick to that model, or did you switch it up this time because it was such a different style?
Thomas: We switch it on every track. I guess all that is constant is that I master the songs in the end. Zorro did the lovely percussion on “No Boy” and some other more melodic stuff we couldn’t use in the end, because the song got too long .
Joe: Production-wise I didn’t do much on both tracks. Thomas sent me different versions from draft to finish and I gave him feedback. In the end I recorded the vocals with Lexie in Stuttgart. Sometimes there are tracks where it’s needed to “collab” on a mindset rather than on a production basis.
What is each of your favorite part of “No Boy”?
Thomas: The line “No Boy no inna ma league” by Lexie. It reminds me of “No one on the corner has swagger like us”. It has the same energy.
Joe: I love chord progressions, so my favorite part in this has to be the breakdown before the last drop.
One can definitely hear the influence from Diplo and Major Lazer on this track. Were there any lessons you took from that sort of style when producing it?
I think these days it’s hard not to get influenced by Diplo and especially the Major Lazer sound. They’re everywhere and I’m so happy to see Diplo prosper as he has always been a big catalyst for bass music even years before the big EDM boom. A big lesson that I learned from Diplo is how energetic and aggressive rap vocals can work over uptempo club music, like in “Express Yourself”.
Any upcoming releases on the horizon? What styles are you feeling at the moment for new releases?
We have a “Brilliant” VIP coming and a drum and bass song together with Marten Hørger. Right now we’re working on several trap tunes and an EP with Germany’s drum and bass wonderboy Voicians.
Any words for fans or upcoming producers you really like at the moment?
Eat more vegetables!
Donkong’s “No Boy” EP releases June 9. Click here for pre-order.