Made In Breda

Posted on August 22, 2014

Words: Aigail Lowe
Images: NicJ.

Dannic is yet another addition to the line-up of Dutch DJs who are slowly but surely on the road to world domination. Over the past year he’s supported Hardwell, who he counts as his best friend, on his American Bus Tour, and performed on the main stage at Tomorrowland – two things that are sure to signify his imminent ascendance to the top. But, as is customary with the Dutch collective, he’s decidedly laid-back about it all. I sat down with him backstage, before his mid-summer Ushuaia appearance alongside Hardwell for his Tuesday residency I Am Hardwell, and discovered that winning accolades isn’t on his agenda, and neither are early mornings…

Dannic

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Buy tickets for Hardwell at Ushuaia from Essential Ibiza and enjoy great discounts and queue jump entry.

You’re from the same town in the Netherlands as Tiesto and Hardwell, what do you think it is about Dutch DJ contingency that makes you so successful?
Well, it’s a really small country and we all know each other. We have a lot of clubs and bars, so every DJ knows every DJ. When I started playing, one of my best friends was a DJ in a famous local bar and I didn’t have a really big record collection, so he gave me his and said ‘listen to it, play around with it’ – and that’s how I got started with my own career. We all just help each other out.

Do you think working with and having relationships with your role models is something to do with it too?
Yeah maybe. I think every DJ has their own role model. Tiesto’s from the same town so I think every DJ [in Breda] looks up to him – everyone wants to be Tiesto! And for me it’s Hardwell. We met 10 years ago before he was really successful and he’s one of my best friends. He really motivated me to come up with my own tracks and helped me out with producing and that’s how it all started for me. I really look up to him.

Dannic

You’re part of the crew on his Revealed label – is there a healthy dose of rivalry between you and the other DJs?
Yes of course! The good thing about Revealed is that we’re a really close team but we’re never really competitive – there’s a healthy dose of competition I guess. Me, Hardwell and Dyro – the three musketeers – we all have our own style, so there’s some crossover but we never really interfere with the other.

You mentioned earlier that Hardwell’s one of your best friends, so you’ve had a front row seat watching his ascending fame. What have you been able to learn from him about how to handle it?
Well actually he’s just starting to handle his own fame because he went from number six DJ in the world to number one and that’s a huge difference. A lot has changed, even for us – even for me watching him as a friend. It’s surreal because usually when we have time off we got to a bar in Breda and have a drink, but it’s just not possible anymore because everyone knows him. I think we’re really down to earth because of our upbringing anyway, but what I always learn from him is that if someone wants a picture of me, I’ll always have my picture taken with them. Always make time for people, it’s really important. People are so supportive because they like your music and I think you should invest time in them as well. Like today there’s a super fan coming to the show and I arranged backstage entrance for her. It’s the small things which makes people happy.

Dannic

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Buy Tickets for Hardwell

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That attitude probably contributes your huge following on social media. Do you think that relationship and communication with fans has helped facilitate the success of Revealed and to some extent, EDM in general?
For sure, we couldn’t have done it without them. If you look at my Twitter page I have maybe 20 or 30 fanpages – Dannic Bolivia, Dannic Chile, Dannic UK – and I really think that helped spread the Dannic brand. They’ve all told their friends to check out my music and I’m really thankful for that.

So are you looking for fame on a par with Hardwell or do you think that’s something you’d find uncomfortable?
Yes, that’s one reason. Besides that I always told people I want to be second best – I’m not aiming for the number one position. And that’s mainly because I don’t want the fame. I think I could handle it but I don’t want it. The main reason I do this is because it’s my passion. I love what I do and I want to keep it that way. I don’t want it to become a competition, and if you’re number one everyone’s watching every step you make. I don’t think I’d be comfortable with that – I just want to do what I love to do.

Dannic

And touring’s obviously part of that. What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you on tour?
It was this weekend actually! I was at a festival and it was 10 minutes before I went on. I was standing backstage and I could hear the music and it sounded good, so I went on stage… and walked into an empty field with no people. So that was really something different! It was a brand new festival, the line-up was really good with a lot of famous DJs and the whole festival only had about 100 people! I played anyway, for about 20 people, and they had the best night of their life! So that was something out of the ordinary.

I read an interview recently with the Mexican DJ Hector, who was quoted as saying that the rise of EDM and increasing club prices are ruining the vibe of Ibiza. What would your response to that be?
I kind of agree because I know why he’s saying that. I think Ibiza is all about young people; and they’re travelling a long way because Ibiza is still the number one party island. We all know that in Miami the prices are really high but it’s not so much about the vibe, or the DJs, or the shows. And In Ibiza I think it’s getting to the same point. But I really hope it’s going back to its roots, I’d love that. So that fans are able to see us and not pay 100 bucks to get in. But it depends you know, if it’s a number one DJ that’s something different – there’s a lot of production and you pay for a whole show. But if you have a regular club night in Ibiza I expect it to be more affordable.

Dannic

Buy Tickets for Hardwell

Buy Tickets for Hardwell

Buy tickets for Hardwell at Ushuaia from Essential Ibiza and enjoy great discounts and queue jump entry.

As a DJ is it frustrating being criticised by other DJs?
It’s an on-going process. Everyone’s always criticising everyone. I’m not really fond of that – I don’t care actually. I’m just fully focused on my own career and what I do. I just want to make people smile and give them a good time.

So what’s great about playing to an Ibiza crowd at Ushuaia?
For me, Ushuaia is the number one club/festival in Ibiza. If you’re here for the first time and you go to Ushuaia, that’s the main memory you’re going to take home with you. I was in the crowd last year and when I went home Ushuaia was the only thing I was talking about. The whole production is next level, you know – there are planes flying over, great energy, beautiful people. It sounds clichéd, but it’s true.

What else have you got coming up this summer?
Well I’m really happy with all the gigs I’ve already played, like I played on the main stage at Tomorrowland. Besides that, this summer’s really hectic. I’m always working on music while I’m touring so I’ve got a lot of new tracks coming out. My new collaboration with Shermanology will be out around the end of September, and there’s a new track that Hardwell premiered at Tomorrowland as well. Plus there’s more touring – I’m only home three or four days a month.

Dannic

So you do get to go home at some point?!
Yeah, you know, I have to wash my clothes! I’m a self-supported guy.

Touring must be an all-encompassing experience, especially when you’re on the road with your friends. Do you get down when it’s over?
Of course! Life is a tour for me. Sometimes it can be hard, but it’s addictive. I never did drugs but I think being on stage has the same feel to it. If I feel miserable it all disappears on stage. Nowadays everyone wants to be a DJ and I recently aired a series on YouTube so people can see what’s happening behind the scenes. I got a lot of responses from people saying ‘wow, I didn’t know it was so tough – no sleep’. But it’s what I do and I never complain.

Okay, and tell us one thing that about you that people don’t know.
I’m a super bad morning person. If I wake up, don’t talk to me for the first two hours. Just write notes and hang them in front of me. Sometimes I can be a pain in the ass but I just can’t seem to wake up!

Dannic

Buy Tickets for Hardwell

Buy Tickets for Hardwell

Buy tickets for Hardwell at Ushuaia from Essential Ibiza and enjoy great discounts and queue jump entry.