This time round we have an extended Focus On with one of our favourite in-house vocalists, Daniel Wilde. The native German has provided us with his fabulous vocals most recently on ‘Time and Space’, an original production on the 50th Souvenir release from Tiefschwarz. He also recently got bodies moving with his contribution to our podcast series. We met him in the cosy environs of a Kreuzberg bar to learn more about what makes him tick…
Hi Daniel. First off let’s clarify where you got your name. Is it after Tony Curtis’ character Daniel Wilde in the Persuaders TV series? Were you a fan?
You know, the ‘Persuaders’ was kind of my favourite TV show when I was a kid. I never was allowed to watch it alone, just with my mom because I was very young. And it was either for Brett Sinclair or Danny Wilde. I didn’t like the short form ‘Danny’ too much because I was called ‘Danny’ as a kid. So I thought Daniel Wilde will be more appropriate. You know… I wouldn’t say “it is 80% reason for that” – I was really a huge fan of the series, cos I like the cool and slick style of this 70’ series, maybe it’s also part of my persona as Daniel Wilde – but there are many other reasons, too.
You started out as a pop singer. How did you get into the electronic music scene?
I guess I didn’t start as a pop-singer, I was in electronic music even before. The thing with the pop-singer was with a band that I had before, named Bullmeister. We started out doing electronic-pop music, mostly influenced by Daft Punk for instance. And other influences, like Roxy Music, this kind of stuff. In the end, it turned up with the productions going a bit more into a pop direction. First we found it was a good decision, but at the end it was a bit to ‘pop’ for all of us. It was also the reason we decided to split, and quit the project. I mean, the love for electronic music, I had it since like 13-14 years, but it was more the production part on it, for the listening part, I didn’t start like a DJ. I just started DJing five years ago.
What was your first contact with electronic music?
Oh. I remember somebody gave me a tape, I was 13 years old, and it had a track called ‘James Brown is dead’ and another named ‘Everybody is free’ on it. It was the firsts ‘electronic’ songs I listened to. After that, I guess KLF and Snap. It’s like that area around 1997. It was my first contact with electronic music, before I discover Daft Punk’s sound and so on.
Did you start out in Berlin?
No. I’m from Heidelberg. I just moved 4, 5 years ago to Berlin. Heidelberg is small, kind of neighborhoody, but also with a small but nice scene.
How and when did you start working with Souvenir Music?
It was at the time when tiefschwarz was working on the album “chocolate”. They were looking for vocalists for some of their demos, and didn’t seem to have found the right one yet, so they asked a friend, who then passed over the demos to me, without them knowing.. I recorded a vocal track to that the same night, my friend passed it back to the guys and they loved it. The track was “Home”. Funny thing that I had known Ali and Basti for some years at that time, but they didn’t actually know that I sing.. But they loved it =) Right away they asked me to do another track, I recorded it the next night in a night session, that track became “stones”, and as they also liked that, I did a third one – “It’s Time” – the next night. 3 nights, 3 tracks, I’d call that a good workflow, haha..
After that, you collaborated with Tiefschwarz on more tracks. What were your working methods?
First they recorded the stuff, like some loops of the tracks, and then they gave it to me. So I did kind of my feelings on these. I always record 3 or 4 different demos, and then I say “yeah, feel free to pick one”, because sometimes I think “that one could be right, but the second could be too”. I always leave the responsibility to Tiefschwarz to pick the best one. Then they can put it on the way they like to improve the playback more. And when it’s done, sometimes it’s coming back to me to do some overdubs. Actually I work in my studio a lot, because I often prefer to be alone. I need this way to catch the vibe, especially when I’m writing lyrics.
Let’s talk about lyrics. Where do you get inspiration? ‘Time & Space’ for example?
Good question. I guess it just comes when I start singing. Ususally I start with melody first. And then I try to think of what kind of syllables could fit into the melody. But the demo I got from ‘Time & Space’ had a really spacey and techy vibe. My first feeling for this was like being on a Space Odyssey, something like science fiction. You know, with the other tracks that are more housey, I prefer to focus on topics about a relationship, about you and me, love and hate etc. and so on, somehow to stay in a house tradition etc. But ‘Time & Space’ was really particular, almost atmospheric.
You did one of our latest Souvenir Podcasts. Talk us through it..
I wanted to have the real feeling like “I can listen to it at home”. But it’s also pretty groovy, a bit dark, and deep. I though it could have been the perfect podcast to do at this time. I’m not sure, but with the cold weather here in Berlin, the shorts days, etc. It’s a ‘summer is over’ podcast! The podcast does fit the Souvenir vibe, but it’s also my vibe. It’s somewhere in between. I collected the tracks for a long time, and I thought “you have to do a podcast” and Souvenir gave me the opportunity to express it.
What do you prefer: a gig or a party?
Mmmh. I don’t know. I prefer to do a concert and after going on party!
Would you like to collaborate with other singers? And if so, what vocalist would you most like to work with?
For me when one person sings it’s enough. I prefer this way but, when you say it now, maybe it could be interesting with female voice. That would work! I mean, I really love the Florence and The Machine’s voice, but I’m also a big fan on Kate Bush. They are the kinds of voices I would most like to collaborate with.
What can we expect from the future of Daniel Wilde?
Actually I’m focused on my ‘live’ sets. I want to take some time for my own stuff. I think I have some good things coming up. I will try to stay in studio for the winter. But I also love to play, so I’m excited about my gig in Austria with the Souvenir team!
More important than the parties, the plane rides, the magazine covers or the money, every great DJ is first and foremost, a collector. A discoverer of music. A traveller weaving through a sea of new sounds and honing down the multitude of records to those that matter most. It’s this drive for sonic exploration that’s responsible for Souvenir, the Berlin label spearheaded by Tiefschwarz and their french partner Arthur Vélasquez. In little over a year the label has...