Between the love of music and work - a portrait of a DJ from Basel

Between the love of music and work – a portrait of a DJ from Basel

“Music is life itself. What would this world be without good music? No matter what kind,” jazz legend Louis Armstrong wrote to a fan in Vietnam. It’s no wonder some people make music their job. One of them is Dan Whyte. In an interview, the Basel-based producer and DJ tells how his love for music developed and what now also connects him professionally with music.

Dan Whyte is a DJ, producer and promoter. He also works as a light jockey at Nordstern, a techno club in Basel. In the current pandemic situation, Dan and we at the Beast blog consider it important to make it clear in advance that cultural events are always held within the restrictions necessary due to Corona and that the health of the participants has the highest priority. .

How do you become a DJ, producer, promoter and lighting engineer in your twenties?
I really can’t explain it exactly. Despite wishes, contacts, and work, it was possible to look at the whole thing philosophically. I think the question is too broad.

If you had to choose a place to start, where would you start?
First: love the music! So much so that you want to make them yourself. Actually, it can all be explained by my love for music.

And where did this love begin?
That was the age for me when I developed my own taste. I would say that was my case when I was eleven. My cousin introduced me to music then. He showed me music that was unusual.

What do you mean?
Back then, I mostly listened to music on the radio around me: Moby, Pink Floyd, Heather Small, Cat Stevens, or came across CDs in stores. I am a child who still knows both worlds, digital but also music as a physical object. That’s when my cousin sent me the music, that’s when I heard electronic music for the first time – different music, not the music I heard before. He got them from the internet then. I also listened to BBC Radio 1 in the evenings – growing up in England – very interesting music, which also broadened my horizons. I was inspired by DJs like Annie Mac, Pete Tong and drum and bass shows with Fabio and Grooverider, later with DJ Friction.

How did England influence you musically?
Electronic dance music is very widespread in England, it was already on the radio back then. Also, when I was 16, I went to my first electronic music festival in London. I started actively looking for music in England and eventually found Dubstep. With dubstep, I also wanted to know how to produce music. The music, these tones attracted me so much that I wanted to know and learn how to make such tones. So much so that I ended up becoming: a DJ, producer and lighting designer. My musical inclination is no accident either, I started playing the trumpet at the age of six.

How did you start making music yourself?
When I was 16, I downloaded the free version of Frooty Loops, a music production program. So I made my first attempts. After a year I switched to Ableton and learned how to design sound using very simple YouTube videos: drum loops from different drum samples to create beats and even my first songs. I created melodies using synthesizers.

Music was a hobby at first, how did it become your profession?
I always wanted to make music my job. That’s why I constantly expanded my knowledge of music production and continue to do so to this day. My first professional interface was when I was learning to be a sound engineer in Germany, which came with my move in 2013. My first performances were at “unofficial” parties, then still unpaid, but always with love for the cause. Thanks to my own actions and a growing circle of contacts from the scene, I ended up as a lighting engineer at Nordstern in 2019. This time between parties and working at Nordstern was very formative for my musical development. I think many artists need time to develop and I also believe that artists should take that time, especially in our busy world.

And can you still manage this time? In addition to the lighting technology at Nordstern, you are also booked elsewhere for events and performances.
Yes, by all means. I’m still constantly evolving and experimenting when I produce alone at home, but also in Studio 353, a collective of different music producers and DJs. Under this collective, we also organize events at Kaschem in Basel. We, that’s Kaleiko, WNZL, Monte Forte and Frank Apollo, make music and throw public parties together. There we play music that we produced together in the studio.

Has the life of artists changed as a result of the Covid pandemic?
Obviously, there were far fewer events. Because of these missing opportunities, it is especially difficult for young people to develop, that is, for those who have not yet really established themselves on the scene. What changed for me was that I spent a lot more time in the studio. I produced almost every day. This also affected my skills. Until a year ago I hardly worked with vocals, in the meantime I am working on several projects, Techno, House and HipHop, including vocals.

Have you thought that events are no longer possible?
Extreme. From day to day I had no work at Nordstern; no event, no light. It went on and on in the team, we got closer. But being with people on the dance floor, sweating together, seeing people with smiling faces, celebrating the life that is missing. I want that back more than anything. We had it back in no time. We had a successful Clubnacht 353 event in Kaschem before the clubs had to close again.

Did people notice the pandemic situation?
It was a strange mixture, at the same time longing and at the same time knowing that it was not over yet. I think there was an ambivalence.

How are you?
For the team, hopefully in March with our next event in bar. At the end of January, the first events took place in North Star further. Personally, I will be releasing a new single at the end of February, check out mine Instagram profile and also on ours studio page over.

If you haven’t had enough of music from Basel, then blogger Philip invites you to his A collection of Basel music artists continue browsing.

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