Once recognised as DJ Funkadelic, now under the identity of Dannic, this Dutch native has pushed his sets beyond it’s limits to climb the ladder and reach new heights to ensure the name Dannic will be cemented in the minds of techno fans for the foreseeable future.
Born in Breda, the same hometown as such iconic names as Tiesto and Hardwell, Dannic hopes to follow in their footsteps and continue the rise in DJing success that is currently being produced in the Netherlands. Real name Daan Romers, this delightful dose of Dutch excellence has achieved so much in his career already – winning the Dancetour DJ Contest in 2009, chiming in at number 74 in the Top 100 DJ Mag poll and working with the likes of Hardwell, Tiesto and Avicii.
We got the opportunity to sit down with Dannic and discuss the difficulties of re-establishing himself under a new name, what he has learnt from working alongside Hardwell and we talked about his latest release, Zenith.
We are sat here ahead of your set at Ushuaia for the next instalment of the I AM HARDWELL tour in Ibiza. Enormous amounts of EDM fans have turned out in attendance to see the likes of yourself, Dyro and Hardwell. What can we expect to see from your set this evening?
Well today, this is my third time in Ibiza this year already. I opened up the Revealed party which I was headlining and I closed the Ushuaia party so it’s really different to what I am going to do right now because now I have an early slot and that means I can go a little bit deeper with a little bit more groove. So no hard bangers, no EDM – just see what’s in front of me and that’s what I’m going to play.
Of course, you have collaborated with one of tonight’s acts, Dyro, in the past and quite recently in fact releasing Radical. What was it like to work with your fellow dutchman and what do you think of Dyro as a DJ in general?
That’s actually a funny question because he is more of a producer than he is a DJ, that’s always what he tells people. But I am super proud of him, what he did – he learned to DJ in just one year. He picked it up so, so well. Actually, “Radical” was born like last year in June when we did our Canadian tour together. We sat down in Montreal for two days and on the first day, we came up with the idea for “Radical.”
So have you always been a fan of Dyro’s work?
Yeah, I am a huge fan of his work. It’s so cool to have a talented guy on Revealed and I think it’s really cool to see that we all have our own individual styles so we never compete with each other, more like we add certain things to each other’s sounds, so that’s great.
Taking you on a trip down memory lane now, you started off your craft 10 years ago now earning your respect on the EDM scene playing in bars and small clubs in the Netherlands. You then won the Dance tour DJ contest in 2009 which elevated your career to the next level. Please describe the journey you have encountered upon since you started out 10 years ago and how rewarding it feels to play in front of audiences in their thousands like today at Ushuaia.
There is a lot that has changed over the years. As you said before, I started off in local bars and clubs and played weddings – I played everything you could imagine playing as a DJ. Professionally, I started playing in clubs and my own music five years ago. That was when Hardwell picked me up as an artist because we were friends already.
Cool. How did you meet Hardwell?
In a bar. We were having a beer. Yeah, a casual college bar in Breda and it all started from there. Then the dance tour competition was one of the first big gigs for me, I had the chance to play in front of 10,000 people and it was awesome. From then, I was hooked.
Switching gears now. You are progressing emphatically up the DJing ladder having chimed in at number 74 in this year’s Top 100 DJ Mag poll and featuring alongside the likes of Hardwell, Tiesto and Avicii. How did it feel to gain such achievements and where would you like to be career-wise in five years time?
Well, it was a complete surprise to me that I ended up as number 74 in DJ Mag, I didn’t expect that. But on the other hand, it shows that my fans are really dedicated, so that’s a good thing and for this year, if I look at all the signs and the amount of fans that actually support my work and me as a human being, I hope to be up there somewhere, a little higher. Who knows? It’s a gamble.
It is no secret you have received the support and huge appraisals of the likes of W&W, Martin Garrix and of course Hardwell. What does this mean to you personally and more importantly what does it mean to your career?
For my career, it means it is going the right way, the right direction. But I will always stay true to my own sound. I will never aim please the DJs or the people that play music. I make music – if you don’t like it, you don’t like it. If you like it, I’m really happy about that. But I will always try to stay true to that but yeah, other than that for me personally, it means a lot because I have been working really hard for seven years now producing and it has only been paying off the last three years. So that means it’s still a long road for some guys who have just started to go. It’s not like I just came out of nowhere, I initially started as DJ Funkadelic, then I changed my name. For a lot of people, they were like “Who is that guy?”
How hard was it to re-establish yourself under the name Dannic?
Yeah, I had the feeling that I had to prove myself even more. I had to explain where I came from.
Speaking of Hardwell, you are obviously apart of tonight’s line-up for I AM HARDWELL. You have also worked with him in the past when you released the track Kontiki. What is your relationship like with Robert and what have you learnt from working alongside him behind the decks?
He is one of my best friends and my biggest inspiration. The funny thing is we started off; well Revealed started off with a track that I made together with him but I met him before all the huge success and we grew in to it together so it was all a natural thing and we still do love doing what we love to do. It’s just great to share that with your best friend.
This isn’t your first time in Ibiza either. You performed alongside Tiesto last year at Pacha. How do you think that experience will compare to performing at I AM HARDWELL at Ushuaia tonight?
It’s totally different, I mean we are a year ahead now and a year further and it’s not your ordinary club gig. This is like a proper festival gig. The production is awesome and of course the music is awesome. Ushuaia is just on the next level, everyone is talking about Ushuaia and I think this is something people will have to experience. If you come to Ibiza, you have to go to Ushuaia.
Now on to your latest release, Zenith. This follows your successful collaboration on Radical with Dyro. Tell us a bit more about Zenith and what your expectations are for the track.
The first time “Zenith” was dropped was at Hardwell’s Ultra Set and it immediately had a lot of people asking know who’s this track by? What is the I.D? There was a lot of buzz going on already and then I dropped it and told everyone it was mine and people were just blown away. I got a lot of good reactions on it, so yeah I can’t wait, I am really happy with the track. It’s a really festival kind of track and it’s a follow up to “Viper.”
How do you think it will compare to Viper?
It’s a little bit different but I am always producing with the crowd in front of me and this is what I was producing with a festival kind of crowd in mind.
Finally, if given the opportunity to create your own festival like Hardwell’s I AM HARDWELL, what would it be called? Where would it be held and most importantly, what acts would you have perform at it?
I think it would be called Front Of House because that’s the concept for my radio show and TV show of course. I think it would be held in Breda, my home town where the dance tour contest was. It is really beautiful, it is a big square and can hold up to 20,000 people, so that’s perfect. I would have Fedde Le Grande because he is one of my biggest inspirations. Hardwell of course and I think new guys like American Criminals.
Dannic’s Zenith is out now via Revealed Recordings. Catch him live at this years edition of Creamfields August 22-24 at Daresbury, Cheshire. For more information and tickets head to www.creamfields.com
Words: Matty Adams