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October 7, 2023

Dirtybird Member Danny Kolk Interview

Written by Meagen Surowiecki on October 7, 2023

It’s funny how social media can change everything! A few weeks back I posted a FRESH OFF THE BEATS article on Twitter/ X featuring one of the newest rising talents on Dirtybird Records, Danny Kolk, immediately he reshared the article and reached out thanking the team for supporting him and his new release. We started talking more on social media which led to a full-length interview article. Throughout our session of messaging back and forth, I automatically realized he is a hardworking passionate artist who thrives in uplifting other DJs the ones who are unheard of, a place and time where he was once in his career. Along with his EP on Dirtybird Records, he is the label boss of his own imprint, Red Paradise Records which showcases and shines a light on underground artists. "For a long time, I had difficulty getting my music signed by record labels, perhaps because my style of music is different, and I focus a lot on originality rather than closely following market trends. Additionally, I had little exposure as a producer. I noticed that many other emerging producers faced the same challenges as me, with many not even receiving responses to their emails from record labels."

Once I realized this, I was motivated to create a record label to help these producers who faced the same difficulties I did. Of course, I also wanted to release my music. If you're a House Music producer and want a label that will pay attention to you, know that at Red Paradise, your email will get a response, whether it's with a 'congratulations, your music was accepted' or 'not this time,' and even with comprehensive feedback on your music, focusing on improvements to help you evolve in music production, something I've done many times.”

Danny Kolk

Artist Guest Mix: Danny Kolk

01. Maximono - Digits (Original Mix) [This Ain't Bristol]

02. Crusy & Prophecy - Pills (Original Mix)

03. MAGNVM! - Clap (Original Mix) [Dirtybird]

04. Mosimann - Balek (Original Mix) [SANS MERCI]

05. Les Castizos - El Pescador (Original Mix)

06. Ocean Roulette - Sorry About This (Original Mix) [Box of Cats]

07. Max Kaluza & TRND - Hear The Bass (Original Mix) [Box of Cats]

08. Dipzy - Que Pasa (Original Mix) [Box of Cats]

09. Danny Kolk - Easy Love (Original Mix) [DIRTYBIRD]

10. CASSIMM - Freak (Original Mix)

11. Smith & Sorren x Jay Roman ft. Jaymalina - Somewhere Lost (Extended Mix)

12. Wilkie - All My People (Original Mix) [GOODSIDE]

13. Kyle Watson - Lost ft. Evida (Original Mix) [No Context Records]

14. Danny Kolk - Balanced System (Original Mix) [DIRTYBIRD]

15. Malik Mustache & Teklow feat. MC Dablio - Cha Cha Cha (Original Mix) [Dirtybird]

16. Danny Kolk - Abstract World (Original Mix) UNR

17. Cour T. - TRIPPPY (Original Mix) [Dirtybird]

18. Edgvr Romero - Elevator (Original Mix) [Artichokes Are Yellow]

19. Danny Kolk - Drop Me (Original Mix) UNR

20. OldChild, Freenzy - Saudade (Original Mix)


Introduction

Following his label and his own mix series ‘Aloha Mix Show’ which gives underground and undiscovered artists a chance to show the world what they can bring to the new generation in dance music. “I receive many promos, and I have the desire to play most of them. Because of that, I started the Aloha Mix Show to support producers. It's also a way for me to stay updated on what's being released by record labels. It's therapeutic for me, as I love electronic music! Due to the many promos I receive, I'm maturing and starting to have a more open mind toward other styles.”

Listen to the Aloha Mix Show:

The humble and talented Brazilian artist incorporates his native heritage in tracks and throughout his energic sets at well-known festivals. At a young age, the music spoke to Danny, and was influenced by different types of music to expand his pallet to new dimensions. As he got older he started playing private pool parties, where he learned to craft and learn the art of mixing and sculpting a DJ set. “My name is Danilo Morais, but you know me as Danny Kolk. I was born in the interior of São Paulo, Brazil, and I've lived my whole life in the capital city, where I discovered electronic music during my childhood. A neighbor who lived behind my grandmother's house threw a techno party in the '90s when I was very young, I had no idea what electronic music was at the time, but it certainly left a mark in my memory. Many years later, during my adolescence in 2005 with the release of the Summer Eletrohits compilation, I reconnected with electronic music, and from that moment on, my addiction to electronic music grew stronger every day.”

“My interest in mixing music arose as I attended small private parties near my home, where the DJ played for a crowd gathered around a pool, a true 'Pool Party.' While I watched the DJ mixing, all I could think about was wanting to be there, making people dance. From that point, I started delving into understanding the work of a DJ and connecting with people already involved in electronic music, finally taking my first steps in DJing.”

Danny Kolk

Danny Kolk has already stood out for combining humor and synthetic elements, also incorporating his culture when creating new tracks and mix sets. Either at a live performance or in the studio, each set is unique in its own way, always changing up the placements of his tracks and keeping the groove going. “From a young age, I've always been eclectic; I didn't have a specific taste or tribe that I considered my ideal group. My family always listened to Brazilian pop music, and I was the family member who deviated from the norm. During my adolescence, I became addicted to rock, and to this day, rock is what I listen to the most in my daily life. Brazilians love deep bass frequencies, and that strongly influences my music production. As a producer, my focus is on creating fun and danceable basslines. Many of the elements I add to my productions are aimed at making people smile. This doesn't mean I don't take music seriously, but the point is to bring joy to people through music. It's not just about business; it's about having a goal and making people's days better with your music.” Listen to his exclusive mix for MyPlayground Media.

Danny Kolk red paradise recordings press photo
Danny Kolk

Signing to Dirtybird

Creating his original corky, wild, and vibrant sound in house music, quickly led to the signing of the biggest house and techno music label that lives by the definition of weird and wild, Dirtybird. He describes his style of sound “For a long time, I called it Bass House, and then I started to believe it was Tech House. Today, I prefer to say that I make House Music because I'm influenced by many styles.” Staying true to yourself staying unique and passionate and never giving up, leads to a great opportunity as a DJ and producer. “I've been trying to secure an EP on Dirtybird for some time now. Since my EP on Dirtybird Select, I've been trying and even managed to get some releases on Birdfeed, but I never gave up and remained focused until I finally got an official EP on the main label. That was an incredible achievement for me! It was the same feeling as when I signed the EP Doctor. My heart raced, and I was ecstatic in my studio! I was euphoric and trembling, hahaha. Many times, I thought about giving up. Every day, we battle ourselves in our thoughts and persist in what we believe in. It's not an easy task, but we need to be persistent.” The Brazilian-based DJ and producer released his first official full EP on the label called ‘Easy Love’ which received huge feedback from the house music community as well as the Dirtybird family. With it, he joins the likes of Cour T., Bruno Furlan, DJ Glen, and Plastic Robots, other house and techno artists who have come out of Brazil and found a home with Dirtybird. 'Easy Love ' opens with its engaging, funk-riddled titular track. Cut with hypnotic vocals and rolling drum beats, ‘Easy Love’ serves as an introduction to the attention-grabbing listening experience of Kolk’s latest two-track EP. Its complement, ‘Balanced System’, is a shadowy heater that offsets its smooth predecessor with bouncing basslines and a dark, tech-heavy edge. Showcasing his amusing and versatile style through the catchy toplines and lively rhythms of 'Easy Love', Kolk’s whimsical bass house approach is befitting the Dirtybird ethos. The authentic new track from the newest Diritybird member delivers powerful and energetic melody flowers with prowess lyrics. Cut with hypnotic vocals and rolling drum beats, ‘Easy Love’ serves as an introduction to the attention-grabbing listening experience of Kolk’s latest two-track EP. 

Danny Kolk continues about his inspiration behind the crafted EP. "Easy Love" came about at the beginning of the pandemic when I was facing my inner self. With parties put on hold, I couldn't test my music, and I always made music with the dance floor in mind. I had the desire to produce something that went beyond the clubs, something with a more prominent vocal presence and a deeper message, with more consistent basslines and not as "broken" as I usually produced. I wanted something that could reach more people, and that's how "Easy Love" came to be. I've always been a producer who, even though I have many reference producers, I’ve tried not to have direct influences from other producers when creating. But with "Easy Love," I did things differently and used another song as a reference, although I can't remember which song it was now because it's been a long time. This song wasn't necessarily made with the goal of releasing it on Dirtybird, but rather to express what was inside me. As for the second track of the EP, "Balanced System," it was indeed created with Dirtybird in mind, leaning more towards Techno, with small vocal cuts and a somewhat haunting synthesizer going in a different direction from "Easy Love." Basically, both tracks complement each other, with one bringing a happier and smoother energy, and the other a more underground and heavy energy.”

Danny Kolk - Easy Love EP

Creating a single track is very difficult, especially when entering the dance music scene as an amateur with little experience in the business and industry. On top of creating an original track, which every underground DJ should do, it's the only way they can stand out and become something. Remixing tracks is also a good start, but creating fresh and new tracks is the best way to enter the industry and be more likely to get signed to a big label. On top of creating new music and remixes, the DJ has to dive into what he or she has to offer to the industry and create an original sound that doesn’t get lost among the other thousands of artists who are trying to do the same thing. “I always aim to convey a joyful energy through my music. My goal is to make people dance with a smile, so you'll always notice a playful element in my tracks. Sometimes, I produce something more serious, perhaps because of my maturation, which happens over time. But I believe this mindset will continue for a long time. Since deep bass frequencies catch my attention the most, I typically start my productions by creating the basslines, and from there, I build everything else. Sometimes I start a production with a solid idea in mind, but in general, things flow naturally during the creative process.”

Danny Kolk has been permeating the Dirtybird ecosystem for several years. After debuting on the limited Dirtybird Select series with his 'Doctor' EP, Kolk has since appeared on Birdfeed and was tapped to perform at Dirtybird Campout East. At the first and only edition of Campout East, we ask what was his experience. I also attended the festival, the first night for campers was next-level, it was jarring to see how the rest of the weekend could be better. The renegade after-parties made the camping festival unique because of the unbelievable sets by campers and themed camping sites. The crowd was a mix of Burning Man performers and attendees which made the vibe even better. The Campout Eat brought a slew of upcoming names on the label and in the scene, which are now dance music pioneers. It also gave an opportunity to underground artists including Danny Kolk on the ballot. The festival will always hold a special place in his heart. “This is a very special topic for me because Campout was the first major festival since the Danny Kolk project started. I had gone nearly 2 years without playing at any parties! To start by taking over one of the craziest stages I've ever seen was simply surreal! I could say that playing at Campout was my favorite part, but I believe that was my second favorite part. The first was the warmth with which I was received by people! I can't talk about Campout without mentioning the people who welcomed me and treated me in the best way possible. They vibed along with me, even though I couldn't speak English, and during my set, I felt the energy of these people. I was euphoric, and all I could do was thank God for allowing me to experience that moment and feel those positive vibes coming from all directions.” Dirtybird Campout East Coast edition was a festival that went down his history as one of the most creative and messy camping festivals in today’s era. It was also the first festival to hold a Super Bowl event on festival grounds. 

“Since my first release on Dirtybird, my only job has been with music, whether it's producing, performing, or managing Red Paradise Records. Additionally, I also have Cream Dance Records and Word of Kolk Records.”


Motivation & Inspiration

Everyone has to stay motivated in life and constantly within their career. This mainly includes anyone working in the artist and entertainment department in any realm. I stay motivated by listening to music and talking walks, also by journal writing which can also expand my mind when writing new material for MyPlayground Media. What motivates Danny Kolk as an artist? “The love for music and the mission of making people happy through my work were the primary factors motivating me to continue. Nowadays, being able to help other producers through my record label has also become another motivation.” Burnout happens to everyone, even when it comes to doing things that you love. Danny Kolk stays balanced and creative by pushing through his deepest and darkest thoughts, this was mainly during the COVID lockdown pandemic. “During the pandemic, we went through, I experienced burnout, to the point where I had extremely negative thoughts that I had never had before, thoughts that even put my life at risk. When I realized I was on the brink of a point of no return, I decided to take a break from production. For a producer, one of the worst things is forcing yourself to produce and not getting anywhere. You start to put pressure on yourself, which sabotages you even more, leading to frustration and various issues if you're not careful. If you're not careful, you can even fall into depression. When I noticed the signs, I set music aside and started doing things that brought me joy with minimal effort. I watched movies, and documentaries, listened to podcasts, played a lot of video games, and spent hours talking with friends. This, coupled with having my girlfriend by my side, helped me stay on track. I only returned to the studio after months, and I only went when I really felt the urge to produce. With this approach, we made progress without wearing out the mind, and things started flowing naturally.”  Motivation is key to becoming a successful  DJ and producer in today’s dance music scene. For underground DJs and producers, they have to work twice as hard to stay motivated. 

There are many artists that we must also give credit to for the inspirations behind Danny Kolk’s music and mixes. “There are many artists who have inspired my work, and we can separate them into two categories: musical production and artistic presence.”  From a music production standpoint, his list of inspirational DJs is long, which is why his style of sound is colorful and vibrant. “Some producers have strongly influenced my musical taste, production techniques, and many other aspects of production. These include Claude VonStroke, DJ Glen, Fractall, Maximono, Bruno Furlan, Erick Morillo, Walker & Royce, and many other producers.”  From an artistic category in performing and DJ mixing there’s the only name that comes to his mind, the house pioneer, Green Velvet. “ I love watching how Green Velvet enjoys himself on stage, dancing without caring about what others might think. His green hair that stands out in black light is a great presence, and I end up bringing a bit of that into my performances! In Brazil, we had a band called 'Mamonas Assassinas,' and they had an insane stage presence. They were fun! They wore costumes, their songs were fun, and yet they had a critical message in their lyrics, which influenced me a lot. With my EP Doctor, I started performing dressed as a doctor, and today I have red hair, haha. Plus another house music legend, Erick Morillo always threw down a tremendous performance and conducted rare sets throughout his life and career. “His stage presence is a lot of fun. He's dancing and smiling all the time, which makes the crowd connect with the DJ and feel his vibe, and they start doing the same. So, it's very easy to see people dancing and smiling during his performances!” Being a big team player on the Dirtybird imprint, there are many producers and DJs that Danny Kolk would love to collaborate with in the near future of his career. “There are many producers I'd like to collaborate with, including DJ Glen, Fractall, Green Velvet, Claude VonStroke, Walker & Royce, Two Tails, and many other great producers.” 

Danny Kolk red paradise recordings
Danny Kolk performance DJ

From managing multiple projects including his imprint and releasing music for Dirtybird Records. Danny Kolk is becoming a house music staple his today’s underground house music scene. From São Paulo, Brazil with a driven passion for dance music and a hard-working and motivated attitude, he is an artist that everyone needs to know about. His creativity should be showcased on an album, not a lot of DJs release albums these days, mostly compilations which Danny Kolk has been a part of. “Having an album has always been a goal, maybe not now, but certainly that day will come. I intend to work hard to create an album of good quality and invest heavily in marketing, creating music videos, and more, connecting all the album's songs. This is a dream, and I'll make it happen at the right time.”

On The Horizon:

What’s on the horizon for Danny Kolk? There are new projects in the works such as more releases on his second label Cream Dance and more mixes for his radio show. “One thing is certain; I always have songs to finish. You can follow my second label Cream Dance Records; I'm dedicating a significant part of my time to elevate this label. So you'll see many songs being released on both labels. Additionally, I have the dream of hosting a Red Paradise showcase, so that might happen in the near future”  Look out, Danny Kolk is coming through with more music than ever this remaining year. He is a force to be reckoned with and will never slow down or stop from doing his passion. The future is bright and clear with Danny Kolk in it, release the next banger in house music.

Listen to 'I'm Talking' EP


Interview Segment: ‘Either/ Or'

Chicken or steak?

  Chicken!!

Beach festival or city festival?

  Beach festival

Coffee or Tea?

  Tea

Club sets or Festival sets?

  Festival Sets

House Music or techno?

 House House House

Perform back-to-back or solo?

  Solo

Day event or weekend festival?

  Weekend festival

DJing or producing at the studio?  

Producing at the studio

“If you love music and are willing to work HARD to become someone relevant in the industry and make a living from music, know that frustration will often be a part of your daily life, and that's okay, it's part of the process! You need to persist, and even if everyone around you doesn't believe in your music, it depends only on you! You can be sure that somewhere, someone will connect with your production, and your art, and things will start happening. So stay focused and keep moving forward.”

Danny Kolk

Article written by Meagen Surowiecki

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