It’s Time to Fonk Things Up!
Exclusive Interview with Dannic
by Kristine Kennedy and Michael Beas
Daan Romers, better known to our dance music world as the one and only Dannic, is a 32 year old Dutch producer and DJ who hails from Breda, Netherlands. Dannic burst onto the scene in 2009 and formed a close relationship with both Hardwell and Dyro, working consistently with Revealed Recordings. In 2015, he formed his own independent label, Fonk Recordings, in which he fosters the growth up and coming talents within the EDM producer community.
While in Amsterdam for Amsterdam Dance Event, we got to sit down with Dannic and chat. One thing is clear to us – this man is passionate about his craft and his production quality is proven. Consistently ranked in the DJ Mag Top 100 list, it is clear that Dannic is driven to achieving success for himself, the artists he works with, and the dance music community at large. Here’s what Dannic had to tell us.
Raver Magazine: We’re huge fans of your music here at Raver Mag! If you could give an up and coming producer some advice for this industry, what would it be? What is the key to success?
Dannic: That’s a really good question and I get asked it a lot. During ADE I started my day with teaching a Masterclass on track production, and a lot of the producers in that class were asking this question. They all make music but they want to know how to really make it in this industry because it’s becoming so saturated and everybody wants to be a DJ now instead of a football player or a soccer player. It really all starts with good music and it sounds super cliché but it’s so true. If you make music that comes from the heart and own a certain sound, in my opinion, that’s enough to make yourself into a bigger artist. There’s only one of you and there’s only one of you with your own creativity. Find your own sound, own your own sound, and continue to perfect that sound.
Often we’ll have a producer reach out who has only been producing for a short time – maybe even only two weeks – and they ask what we think of the track. I want to tell them to go back to the studio and perfect the sound. There is that golden rule that says you need to put in 10,000 hours work before you can really own something. Whether you’re a fireman or a DJ, you have got to put a lot of effort into it. A lot of guys tend to think it’s easy to become a DJ but the creativity and being unique are what makes one a true producer.
Raver Magazine: Can you talk to us about your label, Fonk Recordings? Where did the name come from?
Dannic: For me, Fonk was all about focusing on my own sound. I’ve always liked that groovy sound and the funky sounds from Motown from back in the days. Fonk is like a slang for funky music. I also released a track called “Fonk” on Revealed Recordings back in 2015, so I thought this was the most logical name for my label. I wanted to create that Dannic sound and give it a platform. Having my own label was important to me because now I can actually help those who are just starting out and want to become bigger.
Raver Magazine: What do you look for in the artists you sign to your label? What stands out to you as something you want to put your name on and represent?
Dannic: Well, I always look for groovy sounds, but still something that will catch my attention. I get a lot of demos and if they all sound the same then none will stand out from the rest. I really look for a producer to own their sound. Sometimes I’ll get a demo
that sounds super dope but it’s not the genre I’m looking for and I’ll try to help them find a more suitable label to submit to. But back to the question, with the artists I work with, it’s about creating unique sounds, unique grooves and something original. I also really try to make sure that someone is very genuine and passionate about their music. I want to be surrounded by the passion for the music and that, in turn, also inspires me. I can help those people get to the next level through my experience in the industry.
Raver Magazine: Speaking about passion and perfection, we were listening to some Dannic tracks from the Revealed days and one thing really stuck out to us. Track after track, your chosen vocals are just so damn beautiful. How do you go about matching one particular vocalist to a certain track?
Dannic: That’s the hardest part. I’m such a perfectionist about it. It’s the perfect marriage when an instrumental track and vocals come together. I always look for the goosebumps. That’s something personal as well, because a track might hit me but that doesn’t say it will hit you also. And it’s really, really hard. With my latest release, it took me over 20 demos and I sometimes get frustrated with it because the problem nowadays is that music consumption is so fast that if I make a track that is relevant and I wait for a year to find the right vocals, then that track is already outdated.
Sometimes it works the other way around though. I’ll get a guitar or piano part and some amazing vocals and I can already hear in my head the melody I want to put into it to put the track together. My publishing company is really helpful with this. The track “Wait for You” with Shermanology came about like this. I’ve known the group for a while and just hit them up asked if they had anything lying around unfinished.
Raver Magazine: What musical artist outside of dance music, dead or alive, would you like to work with?
Dannic: Michael Jackson! Everything from the early Jackson 5 stuff he did to his ‘Bad’ and ‘Thriller’ albums, there was no one like him. From the groovy tracks to his more edgy releases later on, everyone young and old loves Michael Jackson’s music and it resonates with everyone on some level. MJ is a true legend!
Raver Magazine: What is the most difficult part of being a touring DJ? What’s the most rewarding part?
Dannic: The most difficult part is all the travelling, spending time in airports and in cars and being away from family in Breda – that is always difficult. But getting to experience new places that I never thought I’d get to travel to is so rewarding, and seeing how far my music has spread and all the amazing fans in every corner of the globe, that is by far the best and most rewarding part.
Raver Magazine: Last question is a hypothetical – Dannic and Hardwell have a day off from touring and are out of the studios. What are you two getting into?
Dannic: We’ll probably…uh..
Raver Magazine: …go fishing.
Dannic: Oh no, we definitely don’t have the patience to go fishing! We’d probably go for some lunch and we’d end up at a bar drinking beers. That’s what we usually do. We’ll talk about music and just guy stuff. We’d just be two regular guys hanging out and reminiscing about the good old days when we were just starting out in music. We started out together as friends and now to see how crazy his career and Revealed have gotten – he’s like next level and I’m just really thankful to be a part of that with him as well.
Side note: We here at Raver Mag would love to be so lucky to stumble upon these ‘two regular guys’ (who are anything but regular!) at a bar and join them for a Heineken!