When it comes to unsung heroes of the Bristol music scene, Daniel Davies is high up on our list. And its not because he shuns the limelight - his regular Peng Sound nights at Take 5 are a Bristol institution, and joining the Young Echo crew is hardly the right move for a creative recluse - but in an age where self-promotion has become an art form, we often don’t see the whole picture, especially for someone so deeply involved in the day-to-day running of several record labels (Peng Sound, No Corner, Fuck Punk amongst others) and specialist online store RWDFWD. Not to mention the countless artistic collaborations, and the fact that he doesn’t always take the easiest route to get to his goals. Frankly, we were amazed he even had time to do this interview… but here it is.
Whilst your DJ sets span many disparate sounds, a consistent thread can be heard in what you play. What do you think these characteristics are and what do you look for in a record for DJing?
Ha! That's a tough one already... I guess they appeal to me for various reasons, but generally I seek out music that has something to say, there has to be a certain 'vibe' to it... that can be introvert and thought-provoking or just plain body-moving, it doesn't matter!
Daniel Koehler is one of the most exciting talents to hail from Bristol in recent years and although he is now based in Berlin we are still fortunate enough to be working on his dubs here at DubStudio. Since his debut on the stellar Skudge label, he has gone from strength to strength, with follow up releases on exciting labels like Berceuse Heroique and R-Zone. We spoke to him to find out how he has created his own brand of unclassifiable electronic music.
Your music seems to defy any particular genre. Is that a conscious process, perhaps drawing from a wide range of influences instead, or do you set out to make something totally unique, regardless of genre?
I must say I bloody hate the idea of genre! For me there is almost nothing worse than the idea of a "purist" form of house, techno, drum'n'bass, jazz or rock or whatever. What I truly love is when you hear a track come on, in a club or a shop or wherever, and it just absolutely rips your damn head off because you have never heard anything like it. And so that's what I aim for when I'm creating music. And I think it's very difficult to create a track that can have that effect on you if you are worried about whether certain sounds are "allowed" or "acceptable" as per whatever supposed genre you are working around. You just need to trust your instincts and "follow the sound" ! So for example if I lay some drums down and they are already producing a certain atmosphere or vibe, then the next sound I add, whether it's a melody or bassline or whatever will have to fit with that atmosphere and so on and so on.