This past labor day weekend, I attended my first Electric Zoo in New York at Randall's Island Park. I had the opportunity to witness first hand all the DJs that I've come to know and love virtually and make their new electronic music my reality. One DJ that I've always had my ear on is Dannic. The Breda born DJ has managed to take the EDM scene by storm all around the world with his productions and remixes. From his Hardwell collab "Kontiki" to his original like "Tombo," this producer knows how to get a crowd excited. As the lucky girl that I am, I had the honor of sitting down with Dannic aka Daan Romers after his set, which was also his premiere at Electric Zoo for his very first time.
How was your set?
D: It was crazy. It was my first time in New York and my first time at Electric Zoo, of course. I was really looking forward to this one. Electric Zoo was something that was always on my bucket list as a DJ. The crowd went nuts and I only had the second slot of the day-so I didn't know what to expect.
You had a great turn out.
D: Yeah, it was really good.
Everyone went crazy when you dropped "Animals."
D: Aw yeah, I think it's the theme song... everyone is dressed as animals.
Was there a song you were really excited about playing today?
D: Definitely my new collab with Sick Individuals. I played that one and then I played another track I have coming out on Steve Angello's Size Records. I also played some new stuff and had made some new edits especially for E Zoo.
And the audience had a good reaction?
D: Yeah, they did great.
What did you do before you came to Electric Zoo?
D: Well, I played yesterday in Washington, flew in from Amsterdam. I played Ultra Bar in D.C. It was really good, a really intimate small club. Today, it was on the airplane. Only three hours of sleep and then to the airport.
You're probably a pro at no sleep by now.
D: Well, no to be honest. I love my bed. But yeah, it comes with the job, but I'm not complaining. As long as I'm getting energy from the crowd, I never feel tired.
Lets talk a little bit about your background. How did you get started in the industry?
D: Its a long story, but I'm going to keep it short. I started 10 years ago in a local bar and played all kinds of music from hip hop to 70's to whatever I mixed in all together. I even did Weddings, everything.
What was your least favorite thing that you played?
D: Definitely, Abba.. "Dancing Queen," but you have to play it right? No, but that's my background. Then I started at a smaller festival, where they had a competition- so I attended it and I won! That competition got me a spot on the Dance Groove Festival back in Holland. That was the moment when I realized I wanted to do something with house music and wanted to become a house DJ. From that moment on I started producing.
Do you prefer doing mashups/ originals or remixes?
D: Both. I prefer DJing over producing. I feel like I'm a DJ who is producing as well. I think for a lot of young guys it's the other way around. They are producing, but then they suddenly have to DJ. But if I'm on the stage, DJing is my life- but making mash ups is what keeps my sets fresh and new. I don't want to play the same stuff over and over again. You got to keep it fresh, but the best feeling in the world is when you play your own songs and people go nuts for it. It's the best of both worlds.
What are your musical influences? What kind of music do you like listening to?
D: Basically, everything. I'm really into soul or funk music. Also, Marvin Gaye, I love that, but I think you notice it when you listen to my tracks- it's always there. Always danceable, groovy with a little soul in it.
Where does the name Dannic come from?
D: Of course my real name is Daan and before I had this name I had the DJ name Funkadelic. Of course Funkadelic is a 70's band, so I had to change it. I was like okay, Funkadannic and then I just cut it short.
So like the best of both worlds.
D: Best of both worlds. It's also coincidence that my sister is called Niki. So it's Dan and Niki. So it's Dannic.
Aw, that's cute, keeping your family involved.
D: Definitely, without the support of my family I couldn't have done it.
Do they come to your shows?
D: Yeah, but not in the States. I will try to get them over once, but yeah, my parents they went to a festival where I played and sometimes my father would drive me to the festivals if I'm playing in Holland cause you can do two or three shows in one day.
What do they think about it?
D: They love it. They're really proud. Sometimes too overly proud.
They like to brag?
D: Yeah, I love them. My father is always taking pictures and my mother is always telling people, "Oh yeah, he's playing there..." but it's good. It's what parents do I guess.
When or where was the first time you heard your music being played by someone else?
D: Oh yeah, that's difficult.... It was Tiesto! It was Tiesto. He played one of my tracks during a festival, but I had never spoken to him before and I was watching some YouTube videos and he was playing it. I was like, "I recognize that song, Oh Shit."
What would you say is the best/ worst party about being a DJ?
D: Definitely missing out on family and friends. Sometimes it can be really lonely traveling from hotel and airports. The DJing is great and I get a lot of energy from it, but then again you are always on your own, always traveling- can't attend anniversaries or weddings for example.
What do you do when you need musical inspiration or have hit a creative block?
D: I listen to a bunch of stuff. I've got a lot of music on my iPhone. Sometimes it just pops up in my head like a melody or something, for example like with "Rocker," my latest track. Yeah, I don't know. I've never really had a musical block.
What was your first gig like compared to playing festivals now?
D: First of all, I never expected this. I mean, it's all going so so fast and it sounds so cliche, but it's really a dream come true for me. I try to aim for new goals and make new dreams and hopefully achieve those new ones.
What was your first gig as Dannic?
D: That's funny. It was really funny, they didn't know me or who I was. They gave me a really big round of applause - it was really inspirational.
Now look at the crowds you're playing in front of!
D: Yeah, now I'm playing Main Stages and big clubs.
Are there any other specific venues or events that you want to play that you have on your bucket list?
D: I wanna play in Australia, Future Music Festival-that would be awesome. I've never been there so that would be great. I've heard some great stories. I've already played Tomorrowland and EDC Las Vegas, but I've heard some great stories about EDC Chicago as well,and of course New York. I want to come back here.
What would you say 2014 has in store for you?
D: Ah, that's so difficult. Just keep doing what I love to do and hopefully big hits to look forward to.
Do you have any originals to look forward to?
D: Yeah, I played some here. I couldn't play all of them because my set was being recorded on Sirius, so I had to keep some of them in the box, but I've got like 6 or 7 new tracks.