“You might have a strong urge to eat fish, seal, or whale,” the surgeon bleakly told me, crushing all hopes of maintaining my vegan lifestyle. Alas, another trend tried and found wanting, banished to my ever-growing health-fad-compost pile along with the thousands of dollars spent on organic tempeh and chickpea stuffed tofu. But no matter, the operation I had just triumphantly emerged from is one that will push the boundaries of human innovation far into the future, converting plastic surgery into a grandiose art form. You see, I had a prophetic vision after downing four Pete’s iced coffees, one shy of my usual morning allotment, that displayed an imminent Earth completely covered in water, all land masses undoubtedly drowned by the melting polar ice caps. In such a world, man would have to live a completely aquatic existence, which induced waves of worry and stress when I considered my insufficient swimming and boating abilities. Thus, encouraged and influenced by “Shark Week” on Discovery Channel, I had the ingenious idea to surgically attach lab-grown shark dorsal and tail fins to my body, ensuring that I would survive and perhaps even spawn the next stage of human evolution, if, of course, my over-caffeinated-oracle projection proved accurate.
I did not like toys. I was very mature for my age. I was in a drama group and that’s where I developed a fascination of masks.
Naturally, some might deem my forward thinking rash and ridiculous, especially in the present moment. However, I find solace in another like-minded individual: the sensational DJ and producer, Dehasse, who describes his sound as “Advanced Electronic Dance,” music that utilizes the most cutting edge sounds and technology, skirting the shores of the future, today. The Berlin-based musician reportedly maintains a strict diet devoid of carbohydrates, but heavy in protein, as well as an intensive workout schedule inclusive of yoga and boxing, evidencing a lean, efficient, and disciplined aesthetic that similarly shines through in his music; the key ingredient that makes it ruthlessly predatory to the competition. And apparently, this has worked wonders, Dehasse already taking Jaws-sized bites out of the international electronic dance scene by releasing two singles this year, “In Da House” and “The Alchemist,” garnering a healthy amount of attention from the much revered Tiësto, among others. Not only this, but Dehasse has surfaced with vicious sets at TomorrowLand, House Clubbing, and Laundry Day, highly coveted European Festivals that are part of an impressive tour schedule spanning ten countries, concluding at Global Dance Festival in Colorado, where the up-and-coming artist will find himself alongside Benny Benassi, Gareth Emery and Avicii.
I had a chance to dive into dangerous waters with Dehasse, where we discussed the past, present and future.
Let’s start with the basics. Tell me a little about yourself.
I love life, great music and great company. I love to cook for friends and my favorite food to cook is Italian. I eat three meals a day with very little carbs, as I’m on a high protein diet. I’m a fan of interior design and designer clothing. I always appreciate contemporary forward thinking design of any kind whether that be an airport a condo, clothing furniture or a hotel room!
Your fascination with design must fit in perfectly with your profession, considering you get to perform at some of the world’s most prodigious clubs and venues. Which one so far has impressed you the most?
I think Space in Ibiza is very impressive. Very well run, very clean and very well designed, also ironically the same name but different company Space in Miami is also beautifully crafted! Both clubs have fabulous sound and are well decorated and well run.
While on the road, have you ever had a brush with the paranormal or supernatural?
Yes in fact just last week in Los Angeles some crazy things happened.
What kind of crazy things? Did you stay at a haunted hotel? Play at a haunted club?
(Laughs) No I was in my favorite Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills just grabbing a dinner at the bar when I got talking to the guy sitting next to me. It only turned out that the guy’s girlfriend grew up in the same town in Belgium where I grew up. So that was the first coincidence 9000 miles away from home.
Then the guy’s left and a new couple sat down next to me. It turned out the lady was from the very same street in the very same district where I was due to go the next day, which was on the other side of the North American continent! She then proceeded to inform me that she was traveling to Hawaii the very next day with her husband for vacation. This was very strange again as I had just come from there after attending a friends wedding. The lady then proceeds to inform me that she was staying at the very hotel where I have been staying in Maui. Then a couple of days later she proceeded to inform me by email that she was in fact staying in the very same room, which I had stayed in. Further to this, the lady’s husband happened to be one of the greatest record executives of the USA music business with a great history. So a great hook up and wonderful and spooky set of coincidences.
That is indeed quite eerie! Let’s talk about your music. About what percentage of your skills were you born with? How did you go about acquiring additional skills? Did you learn from other people or hone those skills yourself?
I think I was born with most skills, both my sisters were piano players and I sang in a Choir which basically enabled me to write and arrange music.
Were there any moments in your life or experiences that helped you harness these skills?
I think when I started training hard with a boxing coach. I learned a certain level of discipline and fitness, which relaxed me massively. Then taking up yoga and seeing another way. You absolutely need to have discipline to do well in any career and being physically fit helps and is very important also. Boxing is the best form physical fitness training and helps you psychologically, which enables you to deal with the stresses and strains of traveling around and time zones and stuff.
How have you adapted these mindsets gained from disciplined Yoga and Boxing to fit in with your work ethic
I always try to be perfect with my work and I always try to do the best I can, even if it takes working for all hours to get the final result. If a job is worth doing, it should be done properly. When producing music, things must make musical and arrangement sense. I’m also a big fan of killer melody and all the music I produce must be cosmic. Also when producing electronic music, I never allow anything out that I would not dance to or play as a DJ myself. I try always to follow this lead.
Could you describe your music a little more for the readers that are unfamiliar with your work? How would you describe your sound to a deaf person?
Advanced electronic dance. Never too distant. Always accessible. And with lots of melody.
What exactly do you mean by “Advanced,” when you describe your music as “advanced electronic dance?” Does this imply that it will bring electronic music to some new place, previously unvisited? Does it mean that you are using techniques superior to other electronic artists? Is it evocative of music from an advanced, futuristic, and maybe even alien civilization?
Not any of the above really. It simply means what it says that we are making advanced electronic dance as in using the latest sounds and stuff.
Well, I guess you have been doing something right. You have received overwhelming support from Tiësto, who has featured “In Da HOUSE”, “The Alchemist” and your mix of the UK top ten hit “Bring It” by Jodie Connor featuring Tinchy Strider in podcasts and even live shows. What does this recognition mean to you? Has the support you’ve received surpassed your expectations?
It’s awesome! To have such support from one of the worlds greatest electronic stars. Tiësto really is a great guy and one who champions new sounds.
What kind of new sounds have you been championing?
Everything 128, melodic and slamming!
What kind of “older sounds,” musicians or past eras of music, helped influenced your sound?
I think Kraftwerk were my main and first influence. Growing up in Berlin, I was listening to all of the advanced electronic dance of the time, all the time. Also the Scottish band Simple Minds. I also listened to a lot of early electro from New York and LA from artists like Ice T and Captain Rock, and producers like the Aleem and Arthur Baker.
Let's go a little further back into your past. What was your childhood like? Did you play with toys?
I did not like toys. I was very mature for my age. I was in a drama group and that’s where I developed a fascination of masks. Hence why Dehasse has a wonderful mask.
I've seen that mask in some of your promotional pictures. Is there any special significance behind it? Why do you feel compelled to wear it, or at least have it hiding your face in pictures?
Actually the mask is just a bit of fun really. It’s to bring a twist of showmanship in to the whole game. The significance is only to add spice to what I’m doing.
In other interviews, you have offered David Lynch and Debbie Harry as your heroes. Both of these individuals have dabbled in a variety of different media including music and acting. Do you see yourself only pursuing music in the future, or do you plan on delving into other areas of the performing arts, adding some more “spice” to what you are doing, so to speak?
Well I have always been fanatic about film. I studied drama in college so I guess that could be in the cards, yes! I would love to get in to wacky cinema like David Lynch’s style. Of course, as a performer you learn certain skills and who knows, one day I might end up in Hollywood. But for now, I'm delighted to be producing music that means something to someone and the fact that I have had the privilege to play so many great festivals this summer. The Global Dance Festival in Colorado was just amazing and TomorrowLand last week with 120,000 people was just totally off the hook!
Looking ahead into “tomorrow-land,” what do you think the next big shake up or paradigm shift in the music industry will be? What are you doing to make sure your “advanced electronic dance” stays advanced?
We are working on several really exciting online initiatives right now. I think the advancement in digital music is the best thing that has happened to the music business. Once piracy is combated, I think the business will be in very good shape without all the wastage of yesteryear.
Looking even further ahead, how will you feel six months after your heart stops beating?
Great. I will shine wisdom on the world from a great height.