An exclusive interview with Dan Compression - Strange Daze - Feb 2017

Chris Nanook from Strange Daze, catches up with DJ, Sound System designer and free-party vanguard, Dan Compression.

Disclaimer: The article below has been contributed by the event promoter or somebody representing the event promoter. As such we take no responsibility for accuracy of the content and any views expressed are not necessarily those of Skiddle or our staff.

Date published: 1st Feb 2017

Chris Nanook from Strange Daze, catches up with DJ, Sound System designer and free-party vanguard, Dan Compression.

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CN - Tell the readers a bit about yourself...A brief history of "who is Dan Compression"
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Dan - I'm originally from Kendal, Cumbria, I spent a few years in Manchester and now I'm Leeds. I play sporadic club gigs and have been involved in the free party scene. 'Compression' comes from the sound system of the same name, which I have built and designed some of myself. I also occasionally work for a P.A. company, setting up larger systems and running the mix etc.
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CN - What got you in to Djing?
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Dan - I've been into nice noises since I was little. When I was a teenager in to 90's I thought I hated dance music until some friends showed me there was something other than daytime radio chart music . I started listening to the essential mix and albums by Leftfield, Way Out West, Union Jack and the discoveries continued from there. I was also into good hi-fi so having some decks was appealing, as was the idea of making the music continuous.
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CN - You own a sound system (of your own design and construction), and are well known on the underground, northern scene...Tell us a little about why you decided to build your own system?
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Dan - I spent a lot of nights in clubs thinking being disappointed with the sound, thinking I could do better, so I did.
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CN - You certainly did. I remember a festival in the far reaches of the north, which we were both working on... and people were hugging your speakers. I think it's safe to say that is testiment to how good it sounded! haha
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Who were your early musical influences, and who are your influences now...
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Dan - I'm not sure which DJs I'd name in the beginning, but a pivotal moment came a while after I'd learned to beatmatch when I heard John Digweed. It was his Global Underground Hong Kong mix which made me realise there was so much more to mixing. More recently it has been Lucy of Stroboscopic Artefacts.
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CN - That Digweed mix was seminal! ...His L.A one was outstanding too, in my opinion.
You're notorious for not putting out many mixes, but when you do, they tend to be immaculate. Whats your creative process, when you're working on a new mix? ...do they take a while, as you're just THAT picky about what makes the cut?
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Dan - Haha Thanks. Yeah, there's definitely been some dry spells, which is mainly a function of not finding the right music. When I've built up a list of new tunes I'll shuffle them about into some sort of order, check for key clashes and repeat. Normally about 1/3 taken out. I'll often pick out the odd older tune to include as well. This often take 3-4 sessions of 2-4 hours each. Then I'll go for the record which is usually good on the second attempt. I've put a bit more out in the last 2 years as I have let stuff go which I've not been 100% happy with, but thought it's better to get something out than nothing, or delaying it for weeks.
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CN - For what its worth, i've certainly been impressed with the last few mixes, regardless of you not being "100% happy" - They've made the in-car CD wallet, and have had more than a few people bopping in the passenger seat! haha
What is it about techno music that appeals to you as a DJ?
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Dan - Detail. It's all about the detail. And abstract noises which totally disengage the language part of my brain. And percussive bass which has interesting dynamics.
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CN - What is your most memeroable DJ gig from the last few years?
It's hard to pick one, but there have been a couple of times when I've played amongst friends at private parties. I'd rather play music to them than talk to them haha.
I also enjoyed playing on the same bill as Art Of Trance and Union Jack, at an early Strange Daze!
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CN - That was, indeed, an epic event... great sets all-round!
Whats your most memorable you've attended, as a punter?
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Dan - As sound nerd, I have to mention the time when at Bloc 2015, it was about 4am on Friday night/Saturday. I entered the main room for the first time. Robert Hood was playing. I entering from the side of the stage I made my way round the back of the crowd. As I approached the centre of the room the timing of the sound system came into focus and it sounded so good it nearly brought me to tears. (It was L'Acoustics).
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CN - They do make good systems! You can tell me more about that on the 3rd Feb!
Dan - For DJ gigs, I think of Jeff Mills, Lucy, Rrose, Regis, Function, Laurent Garniers L.B.S, but the stand out of 2016 was DVS1 at Free Rotation.
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CN - That is a cracking list, to be fair!
You were involved with the early Strange Daze parties, often playing both rooms, or providing sound system/engineering. How do you feel the northern club landscape has changed over the last 10-15 years?
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Dan - I don't think I have any objective view on this, it seems quite fragmented now. Venues come and go, age ranges vary from one scene to the next. Obviously the internet has totally changed the game for promoting so people are getting a filtered version of what out there. It's not like everyone is buying mixmag and leaving venues via a gauntlet run of people handing out flyers. Music seems to have become more disposable now because of streaming. I've been to gigs and got really annoyed by people having loud conversations on the dancefloor.
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CN - I know what you mean. I guess smart-phones have a part to play in that... but maybe we'll save that for another discussion! haha
You're now in Yorkshire. How do you feel the scene differs from Leeds/Manchester, if at all?
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Dan - It varies over the years. Techno seems bigger in Manchester right now, but it depends what niche you're into. There's a really good night called Alter that been in Leeds for 2 years now, who seem to be playing what I want, I'm just hoping it'll move to a venue with better sound one day. I'm glad that Manchester is close enough to visit for a night.
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CN - Maybe they'll get L'Acoustics after your comments earlier on!
Well.. its a been a while since we saw you over this side of the pennines, so we're really looking forward to hearing you play!
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Dan - Me too haha
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CN - Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
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Dan - I'm not a fan of streaming, but I use mixcloud as a vehicle to get my mixes out there. If anyone wants a high quality download they should get in touch.
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CN - For anyone wanting to listen to Dan's mixes, check out his Mixcloud, or catch him playing Strange Daze on the 3rd Feb. Tickets available below.
Alternatively, contact him on the below links!
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dancomsound.com
facebook.com/dancomsound

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