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Fresh from the release of his new EP on the 8bit Records label, we interviewed Dilby, number 1 Deep House artist on Beatport

Big supports, global Recognition and 8bit release: Dilby is ready for the next chapter

  • Mia Lunis
  • 19 February 2024

With a generous accumulation of streams on the main platforms, the Berlin-based DJ and producer Dilby's songs have already been covered by industry luminaries such as Maceo Plex, Hot Since 82, Danny Tenaglia, among many others - but of course, this excerpt is just the tip of the iceberg of Dilby's inspiring trajectory.

With more than 20 years on the road, Dilby has experienced the height of the underground scene and its endless raves from the 90s - a golden age of the scene that finds itself lying in a splendid cradle given to thousands of releases by new artists, events and record labels.

In 2001, the artist embraced the movement and his passion with intense determination and without looking to the past, challenging only himself, Dilby revamped the good old art of DJing.

Having played in the best clubs and festivals across New Zealand and sharing the stage with many of the world's top DJs throughout his journey, he also found himself in the creative processes of sound productions that quickly established him among the public and the most acclaimed artists of the world stage.

Living in one of the hubs of electronic music since 2012, in the infamous Berlin, the producer found the necessary embrace for his work and has been climbing the ranks since then as one of the favorite artists in the main clubs in the mecca of House Music and Techno.

There's a saying that goes: “good music is music that appeals to Greeks and Trojans” - sayings aside, we can safely say that the tracks 'Remember Me' (his #1 Beatport hit) and 'Rio Grande' are definitely great examples displayed on the producer's main platforms of his talent in engaging listeners and keeping them attentive to each beat sequence, orchestrated melodies and his impeccable storytelling in the tracks and sets.

With more than 80 thousand monthly listeners on Spotify and having attended the public on the stages of ADE, Off Sonar, among others, Dilby just released his new EP through the catalog of the renowned record label 8bit by Gorge & Nick Curly and comes to tell us a little more than what is beyond the eyes or at the base of the iceberg of its extensive trajectory, follow:

Q+A: Dilby

Dylan, it's a pleasure to talk to you! As good news doesn't like to wait, we want to know about the release of your new EP on 8bit, how long have you been working on this release?

All the tracks were done at different stages across the past 24 months. The Station I wrote in summer 2023 and it has been in every set since then.

As for the track Journey, I finished it in late 2023 and sent it to Gorge and Nick Curly the next day. They wrote me back 15 minutes later saying that they wanted to sign it to 8bit, wild!

Each creative process is unique and bearing in mind that some may last longer or shorter than others and be simpler or more resistant, how do you clarify your process with this new work to be released by 8bit?

The EP came together very organically. The lead track ‘Journey’ was a project that I started a year ago. I felt like it had something special but wasn’t sure how to complete it so I left it for several months.

When I revisited the project files in late 2023 it took me a few hours to complete the track. Sometimes it really helps me to take some time and get some distance from the music so I can listen to it more objectively.

Your music speaks easily to the underground and mainstream spheres, how do you see these extremes that, in terms of scenery, often don't speak to each other?

I would say that I prefer underground music and that is what I try to create. But I always try to write strong hooks in my records, whether that’s with vocals, melodies or some other recognisable theme.

Hopefully this creates something which resonates with more people and maybe extends outside of a purely underground listenership.

This isn’t something that comes naturally, actually I struggled with it for years. So now I try to begin my process with the hook and sculpt the rest of the track around that.

You move very well through other sub-genres of House Music, going beyond Deep House with the track 'Remember Me' which reached number 1# on Beatport, in addition to curiosity and self-challenge, what motivates you to produce or remix certain strands like Afro House for example?

I have been collecting and playing electronic music for years and have a very broad range of tastes and influences and this all feeds into the music I write. I have actually really pushed myself to try and stick to a more focused sound.

In recent years I went through a process of trying to refine what I make and develop a “signature sound”. I guess I would describe it as house music with deep, progressive and tribal influences based around strong hooks and rhythms.

Other DJs say my tracks are very recognizable, but to me my music sounds all over the place, I don’t know, haha.

Going back a little and clarifying the present, what have been the highlights of your career since the release of the EP ‘If the trees could talk” in 2011 until the present moment? How have the steps towards where you arrived transformed you internally and externally?

Wow, that is a blast from the past. When I listen back to some of the early music I released it’s a bit embarrassing now, haha.

Fun fact, the A&R and label manager who signed that EP and some of my other early tracks is Wez Saunders, who is now the CEO and co-owner of Defected.

It has been a long road to get to the point where I am now pretty comfortable with my creative process and the music I write.

What were your biggest references when you fell in love with electronic music?

When I began DJing I was buying vinyl which, at the time, was categorized as Progressive House. It’s still a big point of reference for me and actually quite similar to what I’m releasing these days.

Artists like Peace Division, John Creamer and Stephane K, H-Foundation, Lexicon Avenue / Echomen and a bunch more artists that were doing deep, tribal groovers in the early 2000’s.

I also had a big influence from my roommate who actually taught me to DJ (shout out Skrapes!) and he was playing lots of West Coast House and French disco stuff; upbeat tunes with lots of funk and swing!

You fulfilled the dream of thousands of young Producers by having talents like Maceo Plex, Danny Tenaglia, among others playing your music. What would you say to young Dilby or to the thousands of young people who have started producing now?

I still get excited when I see so many of my hero’s playing my music. John Digweed and Joris Voorn are both big supporters of my stuff which I’m so appreciative for. They're both absolute legends and hugely inspirational DJ’s to me.

My advice for new producers is don’t compare yourself to others, compare yourself to where you were 6 months or a year ago. This is how you can truly gauge your progress.

Everyone has a different journey and for some people it may take longer to break through. For me it took a long time to hone my skills and develop as an artist. An important step was learning to enjoy the process and not just focusing on success.

How did moving to Berlin influence your productions and sets?

It’s changing quickly, but at the time when I moved to Berlin it was very affordable which allowed me the opportunity to focus on music full time. This meant I had to hustle to pay the bills from DJing and monetising my music production.

Ironically this left me with limited time to write my own stuff as I was doing mixing, mastering and engineering during my studio days, but at least I was focusing on what I love and doing it on my own terms, which feels amazing.

In regard to DJing, Berlin really helped me mature and develop patience and storytelling on my sets. Berlin has such a 24/7 club culture which gives DJ’s the opportunity to play long sets of 3-4 hours or more and focus on the long game as opposed to 1 hour festival sets full of bangers, which is so common these days.

What are the ups and downs of the current electronic scene in your opinion?

There is a big shift away from clubs and a focus on large venues and festivals. In my opinion this is a double edged sword. On one hand the accessibility and the spectacle of these events exposes a broader audience to the music and also delivers epic experiences for ravers.

On the other hand clubs are really struggling to compete and smaller venues are closing in most territories. This poses a serious threat to the scene. While we are in a massive bubble at the moment and electronic music is more popular than it has ever been, at some point the pendulum will swing and if all of the clubs are gone it will be catastrophic for electronic music in general. Support your local scene clubs people!

You've played at festivals coveted by several artists from the global electronic scene, what was your first gig as a DJ like?

Oh wow, my first gigs were terrible! I started DJing on vinyl and my first shows were at house parties and small bars. I could barely beat match and was playing quite clubby music, so needless to say I cleared a few dancefloors back then, haha.

But these are great learning experiences and taught me the importance of reading a room and playing to the crowd in front of you. I’d like to think I’ve improved a lot since those days though!

Thank you Dilby! What can the public expect from your project? Any extra spoilers for 2024?

I’m currently on tour in Australia and New Zealand, which is amazing to escape the European winter. We are also working on tours for North America, Mexico, South America and more for later in the year.

Release wise I have some things scheduled with Bondage Music, Sublease, Deepalma, Glasgow Underground and others as well as finalizing the plans to launch my own label.

Follow Dilby on Instagram | Facebook | Soundcloud

Photos: Divulgação / Dilby

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