Dan Liquid and Dan Gresham are collectively known as Danism. Together they form a production team that is synonymous with a high a quality and innovative production sound. As a fully-trained musician and keyboard player, Dan G (Nu:tone) has seamlessly integrated himself with Dan Liquid’s production vision and their tracks have consistently been the subject of widespread support.
Influenced by a whole range of musical genres, Danism’s production output is both prolific and varied whilst maintaining a definite signature sound. This quality and consistency has resulted in major support right across the house spectrum. Recent projects include new collaborations with Lem Springsteen, Michelle Weeks and Arnold Jarvis.
Given their propensity to avoid social media Grant Richards went to find out more.
Thanks for joining us gents. Can I start off by asking you about how you came to work together coming from such different backgrounds?
DG – We’re both from Cambridge, and had a mutual friend who introduced us. We got into the studio and quickly realised that we had a lot of shared influences, although we’d taken different paths with our production.
How do you go about working on tracks together? For instance, if a track came in from the vast array of singers you’ve worked with in the past, how do you decide whether it fits a Danism project or a Nu:Tone one?
DG – Vocals almost always come in as part of a project. We’ll typically write a very basic sketch, which we’ll send to a vocalist for them to get a vibe going. It’s very rare that we’ll get a vocal without a sketch attached to it.
DL – The two projects tend to be very separate and only rarely overlap. Mostly I do a lot of the crate-digging for ideas and inspirations and then take the ideas into the studio where we work on them together. Our vocals work just like Gresham says. It’s an organic process from rough sketches to a final vocal track.
What about with remixes, does that depend on if the label comes in specifically to request a certain style? As Dan G, you remixed one of my favourite tunes of recent times TIEKS – Sunshine, did you do, or consider a Danism remix of it too?
DL – We rarely do remixes as Danism. We prefer to spend the time we have together working on our own material. We need a strong vocal to consider doing a remix.
DG – Labels will always commission either Danism or Nu:Tone for a remix. There have been times in the past where we remixed something as Danism that I had initially been commissioned for a Nu:Tone remix, but we don’t tend to do that anymore. Labels tend to have their release strategy well mapped out these days, and it’s no fun working on a great remix if it doesn’t see the light of day.
I’ve had quite a few Danism tracks in Rekordbox over the years, but I’ll be honest, I didn’t know too much about you. So it was quite a surprise to see there’s not that much on the interwebs about you both as Danism. Is that a conscious thing to not chat freely on your social channels or more a time constraint thing?
DG – We both come from an era when producers focused on making the music and playing it out. To be honest, if I had it my own way, we wouldn’t even have Facebook and Twitter accounts. That said, it can be a great way to interact with the people that actually listen to what we do.
What are your thoughts on the content that’s constantly pouring out, both from your peers and in general? The fact a video of a cute cat gets more interest than a clip of a new track frustrates a lot of artists.
DG – We find the most constructive way for us to spend our time is to focus on the music. Other artists can fill their Facebook page with ripped videos of memes as much as they want.
DL – I agree with Gresham 100% on this. However, with our new collaboration with Train and the fact that we are going to be working a lot together as Danism + Train in the future we have a plan to make a bit more of our presence on the social channels and through a new website. Keep your eyes peeled for that.
You’ve had releases on some great labels like Defected, Noir Music and Shadow Child’s Food Music. With someone like Noir’s label, Rene has a clear vision of the sound he wants on his label. Did you make your collaborations with Arnold Jarvis to fit specifically on Noir Music or just feel once they were finished they seemed well matched with the label’s output?
DG – We tend to write quite a wide stylistic range of music, and it just so happened that we had Reciprocated Love, which was really up Noir’s street.
DL – We were really surprised that Noir was on it. We just did what felt right on Reciprocated Love and then things worked out with Noir. They got some great remixes as well from Deetron on that single which we were really pleased with. We never specifically make a record to fit somewhere. We just end up with quite a varied output that fit well different labels.
The second of those tracks featuring Arnold was out earlier on in the year, will that be an ongoing working relationship now?
DG – We have loved working with Arnold, he’s such a huge talent and has one of the most soulful voices out there. We plan to keep the collaborations coming!
DL – Yes – we hope so for sure, Arnold is a real legend. Our next single for SoSure Music is actually with Arnold on vocals. It’s called ‘All Of Me’ and has a remix from Eric Kupper. We just finished the Danism + Train Dub and it’s set for release sometime around the end of September.
Are there any other vocalists that you’ve worked with in the past in any capacity that you’d like to work with again? Ben Westbeech is back singing again and recently collaborated with Dennis Ferrer on Defected, would that be of interest perhaps?
DG – Ben’s fantastic – I worked on a track with him for my Words & Pictures album on Hospital. He’s very talented, and obviously, knows his stuff when it comes to house.
DL – If Ben is interested please pass on your details. That would be great. Michael Watford, Kenny Bobien, Lisa Millet, Haze and Kathy Brown are all great vocalists that we have worked with in the past and would like to work with again in the future.
Keeping on the collaboration chat you have a new release out with Train on So Sure Music ‘East Coast / West Coast’ and you’ve worked with him previously too. What else is he bringing to the Danism table? Is he big on the studio snacks game perhaps?
DL – I met Steve (Train) in Ibiza and since then we have really clicked both personally and musically. He’s bringing in a new perspective in the studio which is really refreshing and we are going to be working a lot together in the future. We had a collaborative on Nervous earlier in the year and ‘East Coast/West Coast’ is the single that will hopefully mark the start of a permanent studio partnership.
You actually played at a So Sure records event with Train recently at Basing House. I think it’s a great little venue, did you dig it too? What are your general thoughts on the London club scene?
DL – I loved it. I’ve always DJed as Danism on my own (Gresham is always too busy with Nu:tone) and doing this gig with Train was great. These nights the label do in London have a great crowd and it’s always nice to be able to play exactly what you want to a receptive audience. Looking forward to doing more. There are loads of great spots in London but sometimes you just have to dig a little to find them in such a big city with so much going on.
Before we go, I’m going to ask you a few random things and see how we get on: What’s your favourite other ‘ism’?
DG – Optimism.
DL – Africanism
East Coast or West Coast?
DG – Tough call. I think New York just tips it for the East Coast.
DL – West Coast
If you could only listen to one type of music forever would it be D&B or House?
DG – We’d all give different (but expected) answers to that one I think!
DL – HOUSE!!
If both your names were Clive, rather than Dan, what would you have called your act?
DG – CCLLIIVVEE!!