D-Unity is a name that stands for quality in a genre plagued by hangers on and pretenders. With releases on a number of high profile labels and a non stop international DJ schedule, D-Unity is a shining example of how hard work, dedication and perseverance can really make the difference. With peers, music fans and press all behind him, D-Unity continues to improve and grow as a force in techno. His unique, distinctive sound marries tech, tribal, ethnic and house influences and has audiences the world over begging for him to return. Our techno specialist Mick Finucan caught up with Damian recently to discuss his career, his passion and the future of the techno scene…
Hi Damian, thanks for finding the time to chat with us at Decoded Magazine. Hows your week been so far?
Hey guys! Busy as always ;)
For you which came first the DJing or the producing, and now, a little further down the road, which gives you the most personal satisfaction?
Production came first. It started off with simply playing around and making music at home while attending high school which was a few good years back. From there I started getting signed to labels like Toolroom, Yoshitoshi etc…while also focusing on releases with my own label. Once production took off, Djing followed.
Tell us about your equipment rider. What gear do you regularly need at gigs?
The setup is quite simple. Running Traktor with 2-4 channels, some X1’s controllers / F1
Touring can really take it out of you mentally and physically. Do you ever have time to kick back and enjoy the surroundings, or is it all travel, gig, travel, gig?
My schedule got really busy beginning of this year and onwards, but I never try take it overboard. If I am not DJing, you will always find me in the studio. It is very important for me to make sure the label and upcoming releases are on top of their game.
Talking of touring, where are you due to go this month, and are there any places you’re particularly excited to play this year?
Just got back from South America and I have my Canadian, Asian and European tours lined up for the next 3 months following with even more dates in the summer, Definitely excited to be playing in Holland, Spain, Greece, Taiwan, Italy, Montenegro and of course returning to Tokyo to one of my favorite places “Womb”
We understand touring hasn’t always been easy for you. Can you tell us about the visa issues you had back in 2010. Do you think international touring is made unnecessarily difficult?
Yes, I did have some Visa issues in the past with the United States and unfortunately could not visit for a while, which led me to also focus more on other places like Europe & South America, but the good news is that I just received my approved Visa about 2 weeks ago. Already working on a lot of dates for USA
You’ve played in some of the world’s biggest and best clubs. Do you find commonalities between their productions? Is the sound and lighting similar?
Every country and club is different, different in terms of vibe, people and cultures. Yes, Some places are similar, but some are not. For Example, in terms of sound I don’t think any club beats “Stereo” in Montreal, Acoustics in that place are just out of this world.
And how about the crowds, do you find you have to adjust your sound for different countries?
Yes definitely, but again it also depends on different things like time of the set, location , length of the set and theme of the event. In countries like Israel for example where the Psy-Trance scene is huge, you have to take a bit of a different approach with your set sometimes while keeping the original roots of your true “brand name” sound .
When you make a track, whether its an original or a remix, do you find you naturally slip into a particular role. One ideas man and one engineer, or is yours more a meeting of minds?
It all comes to me naturally, there are different things that inspire me, some days when I wake up I feel like making a huge big room techno bomb, on other days add a more groovy touch to it while keeping my original sound. I’ve also had times when I was sitting on a track for 1-2 weeks and other times for 2-3 days or 5-6 hours. It really depends on the flow and the mood I am currently in. For me it’s all about the 4-5 hour bombs. If I sit on a track for too long, I find myself adding and forcing things upon a track that should not be there in the first place. 99% of the time,those tracks never get released.
Whats cooking in the studio right now?
More releases on my label Unity records. Got some big collabs and remixes with Skober, Spartaque, Ant brooks, Loco & Jam, Boris & Alberto Ruiz.
You used to release music as Electroheadz. Did you find you had artistic freedom with other aliases?
Hahah! When was that ? Like 7 Years ago? That’s the past. Electroheadz was directed more towards that whole electro scene that was blowing up back in the day, before D-Unity. It was just a temporary, more experimental take of expressing myself through some productions
Talk us through setting up Unity Records. You have a wide range of DJ interest, but it can’t have been easy to start…
I learned a lot from running my other label Beat therapy Records throughout the years, but I I needed a fresh start and a new take on things in terms of a new label sound and D-Unity. The idea was strictly techno, techno that’s currently “hot” and directed to a more darker and underground target market releasing nothing else but quality techno from established techno Dj’s.
The labels roster is, in a word, impressive. You have a new compilation out at the moment ‘Unity Vol. 8 Compilation’. Can you explain the vision behind these exclusive compilations?
The Idea is to release 1 compilation every quarter with tracks that are licensed and exclusive to push the label in a different way and add some quality exposure to other artists who have not released with Unity records before.
Your own track, Space is out now. When you present a track to another label do you allow them to chose the remixers, or do you prefer to offer a complete package deal?
“Space” was released on my label about a week ago. I decided to approach Loco & Jam as I was digging their stuff for a while now and I thought they would be perfect to include in this release. The result = MASSIVE bomb ;)
In terms of working with other labels, I focus on only working with a few specific ones at the moment, while always having the final say in regards to remixer approvals.
So the techno scene is pretty healthy right now. 2015 looks like its going to be another big year with Amnesia in Ibiza hiring 3 new techno nights for its summer events. Who has been on your radar of late that you think might blow up this year? (DJ/Producer/Event/Promoter)
The techno scene has been expanding really nicely recently and I am very happy with where the genre is going at the moment.
There are so many great producers out there that it’s really hard to focus on one name at a time… Definitely been banging a lot of stuff from Enrico Sangiuliano & Alberto Ruiz, always “fire” always quality.
How do you find the EDM scene bleeds into the Underground in your native Canada? Is there room for everyone?
Even though the whole “EDM” takeover started a while ago, I feel like techno sits right where it needs to. I am not the biggest fan of “EDM”, but I definetly see how it contributed to more underground genres and their general exposure within the industry.
Finally, aside from the ferocious touring schedule, whats in store for D-Unity for the rest of the year?
More techno, more gigs ;)
Drunken Kong – Whispers (Original Mix)
Rob Mirage – Late Night Love (Original Mix)
Dubspeeka – Alone Joe (Joel Mull’s Work Out Groove Remix)
Tensal-A2 (Original mix)
Ejeca – Skitter (Original mix)
Malocca – Whoof (Original mix)
Sonate – Amerode (Original Mix)
D-Unity – Tic Toc (Richie Santana Remix)
The Reactivitz – Voices (Original Mix)
Harvey McKay – Start Running (Original Mix)