Danny Daze on Miami Bass, Music Tech
Danny Daze has directly influenced the resurgence of electro with his prolific Omnidisc label and technical DJ sets that blend bass and techno with classic Miami sounds. We caught up with Danny in advance of the Omnidisc label showcase in LA to talk about bass culture, car stereo modifications, and his favorite parts of the studio.
MW: What was the first Miami bass record you remember hearing?
DD: I have no clue because it was constantly played in Miami. But it was more than likely 2 Live Crew’s "Me So Horny." That record resonated all over the world.
MW: How does Miami bass and electro differ from similar bass music cultures that appeared in Detroit, New York, Los Angeles?
DD: Just like Detroit having ghettotech or their version of electro, Miami has Miami bass and freestyle. Both really focused on the TR-808 being a big driving factor when it comes to drums. I grew up listening to car audio systems blaring as loud as possible and thought this was normal all over the world but quickly realized it wasn’t once I started traveling. Miami bass had much more of song structure with radio play accessibility and many of the artist were trying to breakout as pop acts.
MW: Why do you think these music cultures appeared at the same time in history?
DD: I would say the biggest contributing factor to all of this was where we were with technology. The fact that this music was new and explicit was a big factor in it all becoming a thing for a while. 2 Live Crew is responsible for the “Explicit Lyrics/Parental Advisory” sticker we all see now on albums, so I’m sure the fact it was a bit taboo to listen to them became that much more intriguing. Dance culture at the time blended all sorts of music, so it was very common to hear LA’s Egyptian Lover, New York’s Afrika Bambaataa and Miami’s DJ Laz all in the same set. This was all booty shaking music. People wanted to go out and thoroughly enjoyed shaking their asses and forgetting about the weekend. Smart phones weren’t around and it was definitely felt on the dance floor.
MW: I’ve often wondered if bass culture owes a debt to car culture and the rise of car stereo modifications in the 80s and 90s. Did you have bass in your ride? And how much did that drive your ongoing love for subby breakbeats?
DD: In high school I first started driving my mom’s 1993 green Dodge Caravan which I ghetto-rigged a 15” subwoofer inside of it. I would bump stuff like Techmaster PEB all the time in it. I then got my first car and immediately rigged it with two 15” Rockford Fosgate subs. You’d hear me coming from 3 blocks away. Those days were absolutely incredible. I thought car audio culture was a thing in every city, but it seems like it was mostly prominent in Miami and Los Angeles. I owe my love for bass to this culture and to this day I still play and sample a lot of the music.
MW: How much did Power 96 play a role in your electronic music education?
DD: Power 96 was absolutely insane in the mid 90s. The 5 o’clock traffic jam mixes were some of the most underground Miami Bass mixes you can hear. They’d also mix house and techno in there as well so I was subconsciously getting exposed at 8 years to the music I play today. I remember hearing The Beat Club - Security on there for the first time and thinking “this is some weird sounding stuff ..... I FREAKING LOVE IT!”
MW: With the popularity of electro rising in the past few years, the formula is being pushed into new directions and it’s starting to morph into different genres. Where are these sounds headed for 2020?
DD: I have absolutely no clue to be honest. This cycle of electro happened in the late 90s and early 2000‘s and we have now seen it again over the past couple years. The only difference is the fact social media tends to make things a bit more filtered. Meaning a certain sound becomes the norm and the younger generation doesn’t necessarily venture out too much into the more experimental worlds. Saying that, I do think we’ll slowly start seeing more IDM and experimental music become prominent. At least I’m hoping so.
MW: We’re fans of your music production posts and your photogenic music studio. What are your favorite parts of the studio currently?
DD: Every piece of gear in my studio has a reason for being there. I’ve removed most of the stuff I do not use and consider it one organism. If there was a fire and I had to leave with one synth. It’d be a tie between my Alesia Andromeda and my Studio Electronics ATC-1X. I particularly like the ATC-1X because I somehow managed to get a version that has four filters built in it and I’ve never come across another one of those.
MW: Do you sample things? What things do you like to sample?
DD: I sample a lot. I sample absolutely everything. Old disco records, dogs barking, flight attendants asking if you “want ice with that?” ect ... I usually mangle the samples though so they become completely unrecognizable. Turning that dog barking into a snare .... or the flight attendant vocal in randomly pitched hi hats.
MW: Favorite sampler?
DD: I just use Ableton now. Not music of a real need for me to have a physical sampler. Although I do like all the elektron stuff and will be using it for my live set up next year.
MW: Why do you make music?
DD: Haha. That’s one of those questions I have no clue how to answer. Music has been my life ever since my first memory of me dancing at 4 years old. Simply put, I just need to make music. I’m not sure where I’d be right now if I didn’t decide to start DJing 20 years ago.
MW: What keeps you inspired in creativity?
DD: currently it’s been many of my friends. I also get quite inspired by absolute silence and lack of studio time. The feeling of anxiety I get if I’m away from my studio for certain amounts of time usually leads to me going back in and going absolutely nuts in there which I’ve learned to try and harness the energy as much as possible.
MW: Tell us about a Miami DJ or artists that we should know about.
DD: I’m excited as hell about what we’ve going on in Miami. So many new artist out there that are extremely talented. Please look up the Space Tapes Label which has artist like Nick Leon & Jonny From Space, please look up INVT as well. They are dope cats with a wide range in sound. Sister System is a DJ and promoter putting on some great events in Miami . Anshaw Black who’s my partner at Omnidisc is another artist making really dope stuff. Greg Beato is another artist who’s been releasing for a while and has a unique approach to his sound in general. If you wanna go a bit more old school with artist from the fast couple decades you should know. I’d say start with Murk, Phoenecia, Dj Craze, Otto Von Schirach, Dynamix II.
MW: What will you be playing for us at Into the Woods next weekend?
DD - I never know until I actually arrive to the show and peep the vibe. Lately though I’ve been on a bit more of an experimental tip. Experimental in both the music and the mixing of it so I’d say just come with and open mind and your most worn in dancing shoes.
Join Danny Daze, Anthony Rother and Anshaw Black at Into The Woods on October 25, 2019.