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Interview: Dan Ghenacia - Not Just Parisian Sounds

We spoke to one of the busiest DJs in Ibiza this year on the back of his gigs at Cocoon, We Love and of course his long relationship with DC10.

Let's talk about The Sound of City mix you did for Ministry recently, what is the idea behind it?

Ministry of Sound approached me to explain a project they had called Sound Of The City, where they take a DJ who has had a big moment in a city and play his music, so they asked me to do like a French touch CD, but so it wasn't exactly what I was playing at the time, I was more a reaction to Daft Punk and Cassius and all this. So, I was not playing this sound and at 2 o'clock in the morning my music was not working that good, so we started an afterhour called Kwality at the Batofar. This is the time and the place where we create our style, this mixture of UK deep house and American classics mixed with this techno after-hour altogether, that was our lab where we learnt everything. This is what we are doing right now and I explained that to Ministry and they we like ok this sounds really good. So, instead of doing like 100 tracks of French music, I'm going to play my records, my big records and try to make a double cd with this.

So it wasn't French music necessarily, it was more your sound.

Yeah, the track listing is a lot of UK and American music. I also put a lot of French stuff because I wanted to have the people who were around me in the scene at the time and influenced me......and also, people who were important to our scene, so that is why there is some French production.

Was there any reluctance to get involved with this because it was Ministry?

I think today, of course I say to myself Ministry is a big brand. It's like I don't compromise with what is inside, it's amazing to be on Ministry, it's a big big big distribution, it's powerful, it's a big brand, I'm really proud to do it for Ministry.

And you have still kept the quality and sound that you want.

I don't compromise with the sound at all, so why not, it's a good sign for the future.

I want to move onto Ibiza, so you're playing Cocoon for the first time this year, why has it taken them so long to give you a gig?

Ask them!! [laughs]

Ok maybe then, what does it say about them that they have decided to ask you now, what does it say about how they have changed musically?

Yeah, maybe they've changed musically maybe, yeah I think they have brought some new artists this year so I'm happy to be in the package. It was a real honour to play before Sven and introduce his house set.

You've played at We Love this year too and obviously you've played for them before, but not in the last few years....

Yeah but I've been one of the only guys who has been able to be resident at We Love and DC10 at the same time, but I wanted to concentrate more on DC10 and show them and to the world that this is my home.

We'll talk about DC10 in a minute, but why are Cocoon and We Love booking you, do you think you've done anything differently in the last year, has you changed your sound or....?

No, no no I think I was resident to We Love, so it's not a surprise to come back sometimes and Cocoon told me they are going to book me for many years so I'm really happy. Also, I think I didn't produce so I was concentrating on my label Freak n Chic and the development of my artists. Now I spent time in my studio for the last two years and I got new tracks, I have my EP on Crosstown Rebels, for example, Sven is playing it all the time every single set so probably what it was missing in my career, so to reach 'the next level'.

Speaking of the next level you've been playing DC10 forever but I was surprised to hear that David Guetta was the person who took you there first.

Well that was my first gig ever in Ibiza. At the time I was kind of a hype DJ in Paris, F*** Me I'm Famous was not that big of course and David didn't produce yet so we were doing this party called Fuck Me I'm Famous at Les Bains Douches club in Paris and I was resident, so I played there for the first few years. The funny thing was that Dyed Soundorom was in charge of PR as he was not a DJ at the time and he was taking care of the promotions for Ibiza for Fuck Me, the deal he did was like "OK David, I will do the promotions if you let Dan play".

How long have you and Dyed been friends for?

Well he has been one of my biggest supporters and now today, I am one of his supporters.

DC10 must be like home for you, as you have played there a lot and regularly as well, is that the place you feel at home most, does it feel natural there?

It's the place where I feel at home it's the place I have been learning my job for ten years and I think its is one of the only mainstream places that I can play underground music, as my music is not commercial. It is unique as I can play some of my very deep stuff and make it hands-up, which is not possible everywhere and this is why I have not left DC10. It's really because of the music.

You've been there long enough as a DJ and have been going there from the start to see how it has changed over the years, there isn't really a DC10 sound now, do you think you can't define what music is played there anymore?

Yeah it is spread what I think is the talent of Andrea and Antonio, it works together, so that time was difficult as a DJ if you were playing the same tunes.....that was very boring. They realised this and are now the selectors, that put say Kerri Chandler and then say me at Dyed, then Matthias Tanzman is a completely different type but the way they do the line-up is working properly.

One of the things that stood out to me was the mixed CD you've done for Ministry, that sound is very prominent and at DC10 now there is a lot of old influence like a classic house music influence.

I think it took me ten years to bring this, I am happy that the music is getting more popular. Also, to tell you the truth there is not people who want to comeback to this music because the sound of the moment is, a lot of people are very tired of the digital music, and just realise there is some very old good stuff, and you don't get so tired.

Do you mean like is this the way things are now with releasing, the sound and everything.

Yes I think there is almost one label for one artist, there is other productions, there are for example, myself, I almost don't listen to any promos because it is too much, I go back to my collection, as I have too many records, I still have my network with my friends and go every week to the record store to buy my vinyl's.

Where do you go?

I go to Paris, we have one of the best record shops, if you watch the Ministry video for Sound of the City you can see it on there. It's called Syncrophone.

I wanna talk a little about Freak n Chic, do you realise the impact that had, do you look back and think wow that was amazing?

Freak n Chic is something I'm really happy about, when I first started Freak n Chic is when I first realised we need a platform and a space for our sound, a specific thing from the group in Paris is we did it all together but we all have very strong personalities and I was able with Freak n Chic, to do what I was doing and do my DJ set, as I like to jump from one side to the other, there is a unity but I don't just like one idea I like to be very versatile. That was the point of the label and that was one of the reports that some people weere saying "what is the sound of Freak n Chic" but ten years after people can say wow that was Freak and Chic, we were maybe a bit in advance.

But we are going to jump to another label pretty soon. The big difference between Freak n Chic is that that was a good label to learn the business and everything because I didn't do any school in music business, I am just a DJ basically so it was a very good school to almost ten years learning and make mistakes and that was a big victory there, like I could play a track and if it wasn't that well produced, if I liked the track I could take more time and be a bit picky about the quality of the production on the new label.

So the new label will be called Apollonia? Is it going to be the same group of guys again?

Yes me, Dyed and Shonkey, we are all hanging out and our booking agency Lola Ed is here and we love to play together so it's going to be a good excuse to bring to bring market from Freak n Chic and make parties together.

Can you tell us a bit about Lola Ed?

Lola Ed is the booking agency who most of the Freak n Chic DJs work. We build a new one called Lola Ed, it's the best Parisian....underground......DJ the world. [laughs]

Last week you did a take over of DC10, Shonky was there and there was a lot of interesting music I haven't heard at DC10 for a long time.

This is our goal, where we go we want to do it very naturally and it is natural from us, so many years we have gone to clubs and loved to have this, like all night long party, so it is cool that we are able to do that now. I can tell you as a professional clubber that we are really tired of really big stars just playing music just for hands-up, we are more like closed eyed DJ's and hands up DJ's.

Do you want to name any names?

No I don't, it's a general thing you go to a club and see a big name and OK its automatic music from beginning to end and think it's the same track, I don't agree with it.

OK, talking a little about music again; Cocoon, Circo Loco, We Love are examples of parties that are kind of underground but also very popular and some of the biggest parties in Ibiza so why has it become like this, why has the underground become so popular in that kind of way?

Because I think you know Ibiza is unique because people have come here to holiday, spend money and party and its one of the only places in the world where people come only here for music. Have you seen the amount of people that came for the opening? I think people are not stupid, and they take what you give them, if they only got commercial they would take it as they want to go out, so if you give them the option to listen to less commercial music there is an audience for that today. You can see for example a global party like We Love, you can see the line up is getting back to the underground.

Do you think that the way things have gone for Guetta and Swedish House Mafia and dubstep, and they way it is in the charts and basically is pop music, makes people go back to underground music?

No I think it is just some clever promoters gave underground a chance to be in that club and finally people will follow, I don't think it is only a reaction, for example David Guetta for me is another scene, a proper pop scene, it's not club culture. It's like I even surprise myself singing his song with Snoop Dogg or I would sing a song from Rhianna and Madonna, as they are all over the radio and TV and the world. It's another world, good for him.

I wanted to ask you before, what you think of the changed they've made to the sound of DC10 cos I know they have changed the sound system, absorbtion, changed the floor does it make a difference to you?

Oh yeah!! Man, it's like when they had this new sound system last year the sound was OK but very loud but now the sound is more precise. I think the club is reaching the next level, this is the idea, at dc10 the energy is unique and people love to be in this place. Now, the sound is getting better and better and better and will be better next year as well.

You talked before about producing for the last couple of years and spending time in the studio, have you got any stuff coming out this year?

Yeah, I have a remix I just finished for Real Tone Music, I'm really happy with this one, it's for a south African artist called Black Coffee, I did the dub and the vocals, so I have this coming in September. I did a collaboration with a young guy from Paris called Gassi, who is running a new label called 9am, we have an EP called Crazy Horse coming in October. I think we have got it going but will be a little late but we have various artists with Dyed and Shonky for the first release of Apollonia our new label.

When will that be?

Unfortunately we have been very busy the problem is the music is almost ready but they guys are living in Berlin so we need to sign the paper and stuff like that which is taking ages, so we might set up in October but I think we will be sometime in January more likely.

Is there anything we haven't discussed that you wish to say?

Yeah, I've just started my own show on Ibiza Global Radio, it will be broadcast every Sunday night 1 and 3am. I'm really looking forward to it.

Circoloco listings - 2022

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