Daniel Wang is one of dance music’s real originals. In a world of trite careerist bullshit, the scene could do with a few more truly insightful, passionate and witty characters like him. A deep thinker who’s also a genuine hoot. Seeing him DJ is always so much fun and it’s going to be brilliant to hear him play at GIANT STEPS this Saturday. He loves a beautiful song and live instrumentation which always sings on that sound system.
To get you ready we asked Danny for 5 of his favourite club moments and he chose to focus on Berlin and its local talent…
“I’ve been saying for quite a while now that I don’t buy all the hype about these DJs headlining big festivals where there’s a huge concert stage but no dancefloor. I sincerely feel that there’s something very wrong about divorcing dance music from the locales where people can listen and enjoy together, as opposed to festivals which resemble populist rallies these days.
Berlin is still an incredible city for nurturing and showcasing talent, so instead of misplaced nostalgia, I’m going to concentrate on what I’ve been witnessing here in my home city, where there is no 4am limit and where a lot of talent still gets a chance to shine.
1) Giovanni Turco and Giacomo Garavelloni AKA Discodromo at Cocktail d’Amore.
They’re often busy these days, but one of the best early morning sets I’ve ever heard here was from them on Ziegrastrasse in a Neukölln warehouse a few years ago. Diana Ross “Mirror Mirror”, Grace Jones “Feel Up”, several obscure soul disco tracks which I had to ask them later about – and everything mixed impeccably at around 108 bpm. Blew my mind! I kept on dancing..
2) Castro Moore from the Kreuzberg record shop SOUND METAPHORS has been getting more attention in the Berlin scene lately. Last year as guest dj at my residence at Paloma Bar, he closed out at 7 or 8am with a slow set including an obscure track by The Eagles, and “Happy Me” by Kleeer. Again, 112 bpm, perfect mood, perfect tempo. Stuff I had never heard before. Go Castro!
3) Juan Ramos is a rising star in the Cocktail d’Amore family. I heard him in the garden at Griessmühle during summer last year, and the flow and percussive energy were simply incredible. We were all in a trance and I thought “oh my God, Juan just served us DEEP deep house. I’ll never know every record which he played, but it doesn’t matter…” and then this skinny bearded Chilean dude and I started making out because everyone was feeling so ECSTATIC. That’s what happens when you GIVE IN to the music..
4) The long queues at Berghain can be distressing, but there are still wild nights and mornings there if you know when to sneak in. On December 26th just a few months ago, I noticed that our favourite long-time resident Boris was playing Panorama Bar 10am until 3pm. You see, tourists don’t go there on the day after Christmas: only the real queer Berliners who say F*ck Off to Church + Family + Bourgeois rituals would go! So there I was at 11am. Bears in harnesses, naked girls and boys in silly unicorn hats and see-through plastic aprons… Boris rocked it with one classic after another, closing out with that new acoustic piano version of Donna Summer “On The Radio” and everyone singing along. I couldn’t stop laughing. Merry Christmas.
5) There’s this club in Berlin about three minutes from Tegel Airport, hidden next to an off-ramp along the motorway. It’s called “Heideglühen” which means something like “Heath-glow”. I stumbled into it just once last year, and it was like entering a parallel universe! The main dancefloor is a huge DIY (?) hand-built wooden structure, and the resident dj was playing some symphonic house track with a thick smooth bassline. I really wish I knew what the track was called – it sounded a bit like some 1990s thing with a big organic string section. Then my friend Behrang started a conversation with me about the importance of arrangement in dance music. The sheer freshness of that space and the double stimuli made me think once again: “OK, I’d definitely fly to Berlin for a weekend like this one…”
Daniel Wang plays at Giant Steps, London on Saturday 30th of April.