|Solomun: Diynamic house
The Diynamic head talks Ibiza, R&B and his highly successful label.
A residency in Ibiza, a successful club in Germany, a booking agency that takes its artists around the world: It's fair to say that Hamburg's Diynamic has solidified its place as one of the most consistent underground imprints in contemporary house. Solomun, along with Stimming, H.O.S.H., David August and label manager Adriano Trolio are largely responsible, but the family has grown enormously in the past few years. Solomun, however, is undoubtedly its patriarch: The Bosnian-born Croatian has compiled Watergate's newest mix CD, and he's the one flying the Diynamic flag at events like Garden Festival later this summer.
I'm interested that you decided to do a residency in Ibiza at Sankeys this year. It seems like, on the one hand, it's an opportunity. But, on the other—because you're going to be there each week—it's a big obligation as well.
Yeah, it's a big challenge for us. Ibiza is a big project. I was not so into the Ibiza thing, to be honest. I had only played one or two times the last three years there, and I didn't find it so interesting. [But] that's maybe because also I didn't have so many offers like this year. But then we talked to Defected about doing some nights.
And then slowly we talked to Sankeys, who asked me to play for the opening and the closing. And I had the idea to see what they thought about our own label night. Last year I was playing there, and it was not finished. [But] I was very impressed because I had a feeling it was the very first club in Ibiza that I saw that was more like an underground club. It's also, for me, a very fresh club. It [really] opens this year—not last year. So we thought this could fit together, these two new brands on the island.
It really seems like there's a lot of "underground" people doing things there this year.
Yeah, the word I heard last weekend the most on Ibiza was "change." A lot of different people asked me if I can play this year, and looking around you can see that there are so many new things happening now. We are not the only ones who are doing something new there.
Tell me about your Watergate mix. I was really interested when I looked at the tracklisting—even before hearing it—that you certainly didn't seem to go for all the newest tracks.
Yeah. First of all, it was very exciting for me to do a first compilation. So there were so many tracks I made a request about [to see if we could license them], but it wasn't so easy or it was too expensive. But, in the end, I was very happy about the tracks we got. I was trying to put tracks in the mix which I have loved playing the last five, six, seven years, and I also tried to make a bridge between funky stuff, techno stuff and even '80s breakdance a little bit.
I don't think a lot of people would associate you—or the Diynamic label—with '80s breakdance.
Yeah, I don't know. I think you can't be afraid to do this. There are some tracks like Lucy Pearl where you have to be brave to do it. But, come on, it's Lucy Pearl. It's a good track. Yeah, it's a mainstream pop track, but I know that sometimes when you drop it in the right time in a set that people go crazy. Nowadays I have a feeling you have more space. You can feel free to do that. It's not like before—a couple of years ago or longer—where you have to check, "Oh, I'm not able to play more than two tracks with vocals..."
"Music is so colorful,
and we are not so strict."
What else has changed in your mind in the past couple of years, especially since Diynamic started?
I think it's kind of hard to explain, but I think all styles have come a little bit closer to one point. Sometimes you listen to some dubstep track or indie track or normal deep house track... Everything is a little bit closer I think, and everything is a bit slower. I mean slower, like maybe 120 BPM or 118 or 122, so that's actually normal I have a feeling. Or maybe I'm wrong. I don't know. It doesn't matter how fast you are. That's not important, in my opinion.
Tell me about the label itself. How do you feel like it's changed over the past couple years?
Yeah, I think every label has its own challenges. We are always working the same, but maybe now it's harder than before because for years I have always checked with Adriano, my partner, and Stimming and H.O.S.H. about tracks we want to release. But now, we also have David August and Uner and also some other people. So it's a bigger round until we say, "OK, we want to release it." But it gives me a feeling if the other artists say, "Yeah, this is cool, let's do it." But I don't know, it's music... Music is moments, so I don't know. Maybe tomorrow I can release a track that's maybe more dubstep or techno. Music is so colorful, and we are not so strict.
Diynamic is on the cover of Groove this month, and I was surprised to see how many people are associated with the label now. Was it always the goal to build something like that?
It was not part of the concept, but it was—in the end—maybe a deep concept of ours. When we meet someone it's very slow. We check the music, but in the end it's also important when they come to the label or the booking agency that we like them. Sometimes it's not so easy, so we say, "OK, let's take our time. I want to see what Stimming and H.O.S.H. think about these guys, bla bla bla." So we'll invite an artist to a party at our club [Ego, in Hamburg] and see what everyone thinks. And, in the end, if they're really cool guys, we say, "Why not?"
Is it important for you to mostly work with people that are "Diynamic" artists where you can help build their career or their profile?
Solomun picks some of his favorite R&B tracks from the '80s and '90s.
Zhane - Hey Mr. D.J.
A wonderful groovy track. Easy, funky and still a great summer vibe when you listen to it.
Soul for Real - Candy Rain
This track was produced by the Heavy D. "Every Little Thing I Do"and this one are my favorites from the album.
Mase feat. Total - What You Want
Pure sex. Slow hip moves to the funky groove. The girls and boys coming closer and closer on the floor.
Wreckx-N-Effect - New Jack Swing
This was my favorite from the first album. A jamming pumping tune.
Arrested Development - Tennessee
A great group of people. I love the raw ruff beat; it's a bit different than a lot of the other things coming out around the period.
I don't know. I was playing soccer when I was young, and from that I learned that you can do things alone, but in a team you are much stronger. But everything has to grow naturally. That's the most important thing. So when you have a feeling, "I have to do things my own way," it's not a problem. Go for it.
Tell me how you met David August. He seems to have become one of the biggest names on the label.
Yeah, David is a big talent. He was sending us demos two or three years ago. I realized he had talent, but I tried to explain to him that the first stuff he was sending was mostly copies of tracks we had released. It took him a while for him to find his own style. When I heard "Instant Harmony," I said, "Wow, that's it. I want to release that."
He also lived in Hamburg, and knew some people who worked for us at Ego. It was a big dream [I think] for him to come with Diynamic. It was very sweet for us. He's so unique in his own style. I think he will go some other ways. Not only as a DJ. He's working now on his album, and he has finished seven or eight tracks, and I'm very happy and impressed with it.
Tell me about the charity compilation that you just put together.
We had this idea a few years ago actually. We were just so happy with the way things were running with the label, getting really close with each other and we always had the idea to give something back. We learned about a hospice for children in Hamburg, and then we also heard that they were raising money for a music room there, so it seemed like a good fit.
It's labeled a fifth anniversary compilation, right? I thought you celebrated that last year.
When we started to work on the project last year, we realized that there were so many artists that it may take a bit longer than we wanted. And you know how it is when you have artists like a project, but when they get no money for it. It's hard to find the time. But we felt the project was important that we needed to release it—even if it is a year late. So, yes, we are now in our sixth year, but it's our fifth anniversary compilation. [laughs]