Interview: 5 minutes with Durante
Image: Last Night On Earth
Durante lives by his passion. It’s evident in the LA based producer’s work; there’s an obsession with melody and layers of texture that define his explorations at the edge of house and techno. And while he’s informed by the four on the four pulse of these two forms, he’s not tied to them. Rather, he takes the foundations of what makes these so propulsive and builds them in his own image. There’s a subtle italo-disco flair to his flavourful and dynamic dancefloor formulations, a synthesis of his inspirations and cultural heritage. Thread Tension, his latest EP on Last Night On Earth, exemplifies this. The stunningly rhythmic title track goes in an unexpected direction toward synthwave, while Winder is a rolling piece of tech-house. Fresh off the release, we caught up with the producer to get some more insight into his process:
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
I specifically remember driving home from the beach in Florida when I was 18 years old (10 years ago now). At this point I had been making music on the computer for about 4 years. I closed my eyes for a moment as I was driving over the bridge, and like a flash of lightning I saw myself performing music for a crowd of people for a split second. I think I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since. I didn’t fully commit right away, but I specifically remember that being the first taste of realizing that not only is this something that I wanted, but it’s something that I needed to do. I feel so lucky to have realised it from such a young age, and though I know it’s still a lot of hard work, I feel that the hardest part is letting your passion choose you.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?[It] depends on the day, there’s no science to making music for me.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
I feel my “sound” is a product of the gear I have in my studio, and how I’m able to manipulate these instruments and effects to create something I can dance to. Right now, it consists of Minilogue, Peak, Grandmother, HPD-20, SM-7B Mic, Big Sky Reverb, & random fx/distortion pedals. For now, I like to keep the amount of gear fairly minimal compared to some other studios I’ve seen, but mastering & using only what’s available to me has always been my style of creating.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
A big shot of espresso and listening to a really great song will usually get me going no matter what.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
This is an interesting question. I don’t have any rituals of material possessions that I have to keep close or anything like that. Just need the essentials, headphones & SD card.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
Not this time, but I’m lucky to have a lot of talented peers to create music with.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
I think the biggest change in the direction of my sound was when I got my first piece of analog gear. My Minilogue was my first foray into analog synths, and it’s become a staple of my music ever since. The way analog gear changed my workflow helped develop music with character that ebbs and flows over the course of a track. The limitations of printing directly to the DAW and only being able to adjust it afterwards with effects really shines in my music. The little mistakes add so much flavor & flare, it’s really some of the best parts of music in general in my opinion. If you listen back to the classics, there’re always slight mistakes in the recordings of the individual parts, but when you put them all together it makes an amazing piece of music. I feel these mistakes get lost a lot in current popular music, but I think there’s a happy medium to be found.
What’s on your current playlist?
I’ve been re-listening to a lot of Mathew Jonson recently. I update my Selects playlist every Monday with new music. I’ve been updating this playlist every Monday for the last 4 years! Kind of crazy to think how long it’s kept going. I love choosing new songs to add each week, it lets me calm down from writing and reminds me how important it is to listen to music as a part of the writing process.
Any emerging artists on your radar?
I really like this band Low Island, they are putting out some killer music. Super fun to listen to, I think they will do amazing
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
When I DJ, I see it as a sort of feedback loop, like when you place an active microphone too close to a speaker. You play songs to emit an energy, and the crowd returns an even greater energy, so you respond with something to match. It goes endlessly until the entire crowd is dancing together. My favorite part about DJing is being able to bring people closer together. Connecting the dots between us with music
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
I have a couple more things coming before the year is up, but nothing that can be named yet!
Listen to Thread Tension below