Few in electronic music do as much as Chicago’s Dani Deahl. Counting credits as a DJ, producer, journalist and blogger, Dani’s reach within electro is all encompassing. We chat with her today to get the scoop on how this modern day Renaissance Woman does it all!
You’ve been called a Renaissance Woman (rightfully so); what is your favorite part of all you do? At this point in your life, what do you really live for?
The actual sets – the gigs. Nothing compares to a good live show and the unexplainable feeling of the vibe being just right in a venue. To have everyone connect with you via the songs you love is a really special thing.
You said in your Effort Chicago interview how hard it is these days to stand out as a DJ because of the sheer volume of people doing it. What would you say characterizes your music and differentiates your music from the crowd?
I try to not play the same songs everyone else is playing. Especially now, dance music is suffering from top 40-ism – you’ll hear the same songs being played from set to set to set because it gets a guaranteed rise out of the crowd. I feel that, as a DJ, you should have people come to hear YOUR perspective on music. People like Baauer, Andy C and Justice wowed me this Summer because of that. Even with the open format guys I respect like Mick Boogie, Tina T and DJ AM (RIP), they have their own unique flavor in format and technique. It’s important.
It’s amazing that you have had so much success with music journalism. How did you launch the journalism side of your career? Would you say blogging is one of the most important, if not the most important, aspect of artist promotion these days?
It was accidental. I mean, I had always been into writing from a really young age – I even made a mock newspaper in grade school called the Wall Street Junior and just learned how to write along the way, pitching articles on myself that got picked up from outlets like Teen Vogue and URB. It was the URB piece that made me a professional – they liked how I self-edited the piece and invited me to freelance for them. I eventually became their House Section Editor and when the print version of the mag folded, started the blog. I don’t know if I consider the blog the most important part, but I know I can’t stop writing. I have stacks of journals, short stories, lyrics and more. I’d go mad if I didn’t write.
Looking back, what has been the single best decision you’ve made on your career path in music?
Not letting anyone tell me no. An agency I really wanted to be on turned me down, so I kept in contact with them over the next six months, sending them my updates as projects came along – they signed me. I was initially turned away from being sponsored by a company, so I found someone else there on Linked In and messaged them on Facebook, eventually securing that sponsorship. A track of mine was turned away from the label I wanted, so I went down an alternate route, getting it signed by a sister label and now it’s going to be repped by the original label I pitched. I don’t think people realize how many potholes you have to avoid in order to get where you want to go. There’s a lot of ‘no’, but it’s all about getting the right ‘yes’.
Similarly, what is the single worst choice you have made over the years?
I feel like there are no bad decisions – it’s only bad if you don’t learn from it to make yourself better. If I dwelled on ‘bad’ decisions, I wouldn’t have any room to move forward.
In your opinion, what’s the next big genre in electronic music?
That’s so hard to say because there’s room for everything right now – it’s so global that niche genres can fill rooms just as easily as the go-to sounds. I can say that right now I’m really excited about drum & bass inching its way back in to different countries and trap continually being reinvented with flavors of different EDM genres.
Though you’ve already managed to accomplish so much, do you have any long term goals for your career in music or elsewhere?
The goal right now is to shift some focus off of the blog and focus more on being in the studio. Readers shouldn’t be scared! That doesn’t mean that the blog will be stopped – I have an AMAZING team of writers in place that continue to give it life in new ways I couldn’t. I just have a need right now to be collaborating on music with others, to finally give all my lyrics a musical home. I’ve been doing studio sessions lately with Manic Focus and it’s really inspiring.
What’s your next step on the DJ/production side of your career? Any upcoming releases?
“Pocket Porn” is out now on Beatport and been doing AMAZING. We hit the electro top 100 as well as the Beatport overall top 100 and the video will be out on September 17th. My next single will be out on a really exciting label, but we’re finalizing contract details right now so I can’t say anything. After that I have a track coming out with Dirty Fabric.
You truly seem to be one of the most fiercely disciplined DJ/producers I’ve ever read about. Anything to say about the value of treating your art as a business?
This goes for all successful artists – no matter how crazy everything looks on the surface, you better believe there’s ALWAYS order underneath the chaos. Without it, you’re lost.
Check out her latest single below entitled “Pocket Porn”