A Q&A with Daniel Donskoy
From Russia, via Berlin and Tel Aviv here’s rising London-based R&B artist, Daniel Donskoy…
How did you get the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
’24’ is an age of grand significance for me. A year of a very unsettling love affair, a year of self-exploration and mind enrichment. To be honest you could also try to turn 24 around and you get 4:20 ( laughs). This song is hugely significant to me as it was a new beginning. I’m an independent artist, striving for utter freedom. Cognitive, sexual but mainly artistically. ’24’ stands for all that.
What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
I have a great team around me who work relentlessly to make all this happen. But of course, there are many hurdles and challenges when releasing independently. There is no machinery behind me, neither huge budgets. A lot of my work happens after writing and producing the track. I’m currently learning so much and am forever grateful for all the arising opportunities.
Who produced the release – what did they bring to it?
24 was co-written by GOLOW and myself. GOLOW also produced the track. We work in a very symbiotic manner. ’24’ was written at around 3AM on a super misanthropic day of mine. The feeling of utter weakness and a longing for a high were so overwhelming that it was hard to concentrate. I was sitting by my Micro Korg playing the melody and suddenly GOLOW said: “Stop, play it again, and again and again” By 9AM the first demo was down. GOLOW and I spent so much time perfecting the song – he is a true mastermind of complex layering and mystical compositions. It was true team-work!
What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
Ideally, I want to inspire them to give in to the feeling of freedom. Whatever that might be for that person. I was very fortunate to delve into a wide variety of cultures, socio-economic perspectives, and political playing fields in my life. This opened me up – but it also put into perspective how little freedom there is in our seemingly liberal western world. We still ask every person we meet where they are from – who cares? Do you like them? What does it matter where they are from? There are still more than enough countries living full-blown patriarchy, the LGTBQ+ community is being repressed and often persecuted, people are not allowed to live their religious beliefs freely in many parts of the world. When I sing – this freedom is my focus, but in order to change something about the world, we have got to have a very close look in the mirror and start right there.
How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us some-thing about the process?
My creative process starts with living to the fullest. I write about what I feel and what happened to me. Of course, the current pandemic makes it challenging to live and experience the world like we used to. But there is so much more time to live internally – spend time with yourself – your inner world. It is invaluable. All of my songs normally start with a jam on keys. Lyrics come easy to me. To be honest I could write lyrics all day long when I see or feel something I wanna share it so I write it down. The whole process, until a song is finished, tends to be pretty time consuming though. I am a bit of a perfectionist. I think my team loves me but at times they’re ready to kill when we go over the mix for the fortieth time.
What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
Artists like Frank Ocean, Mac Miller, Jessy Reyez, Hamzaa, and Kevin Abstract. Artists who don’t always follow the rules. Artists who express and share their most intimate truths. When I listen to their songs I am immediately in their headspace – or at least it feels that way. I want to create just that with my music and let people in-to my core.
When the world is back to normal where would like to tour, and why?
I was very fortunate to tour Germany last year. My first tour ended up being a seven city sold-out club tour and it was the BEST experience ever. We barely had any released music so we live arranged a whole 90 minutes set. The moment it’s possible I would love to tour through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the UK. But this time also adds my countries of origin, Russia and Ukraine. I cannot wait for the day my booking agent calls and says: We’re back to normal.
If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
Well, as there are only two tracks out at the moment I’d say head to my Spotify profile and listen to ‘INTRO’ and ’24’. Listening to one after the other really answers all the questions about where the project is headed. It is going to stay urban-based and the trippiness might intensify slightly 🙂
What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
The moment touring is back up I would just love to release my debut album and head on a world tour. Spreading love joy and ideally some inspiration to a global audience. I wholeheartedly hope that will be possible soon.
Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
‘See you soon’ were the last ones exactly one year ago. Retrospectively that stings a little given the current circumstance.
For more info visit: facebook.com/danieldonskoyofficial