Daniel Wang's first release in 1993, the "Look Ma No Drum Machine EP", was a naive, humorous mishmash of old monophonic disco samples. Now, over 25 years later, he is still amazed at what happened since then!
(This biographical text has been updated for the first time ever in January 2017.)
Daniel Wang - what can we say about his career so far as DJ and studio producer?
He was born in Oakland, California, near San Francisco, but spent 8 years of his childhood in Taipei; went to university near New York, was deeply moved in the early 1990s from hearing classic disco DJ sets by Frankie Knuckles in Chicago, and Tee Scott, Francois Kevorkian, David Depino and Danny Krivit in lower Manhattan. He ended up living in East Village and working for 5 years at a synthesizer shop in downtown New York, which accidentally became a sort of apprenticeship in all things related to the music which he loves so much. He met mentors and heroes there such as Randy Muller (Brass Construction, Skyy) and Robert Aaron (the saxophonist on David Bowie's LET'S DANCE album), took in wider influences from old records and live shows, and even helped Dr. Bob Moog and instrumental virtuosa Pamelia Stickney (formerly Kurstin) sell Moog theremins at trade shows.
After releasing about ten vinyl 12"s on his own Balihu label, he put to use his newfound knowledge and produced 3 solid EPs (Mechanical Birds, Silver Trophies and Nocturnes) for the Environ label of his dear friend Morgan Geist (aka Metro Area & Storm Queen). From that point on, in year 2001, Daniel began to travel and perform much more in Europe and in Japan. He moved to Berlin in 2003, which offered him new chances to learn and to perform for diverse audiences, from the welcoming queer crowds at Horse Meat Disco to festivals in London and Paris, at intimate venues from Shanghai to Helsinki, from Dublin to São Paulo. His DJ sets are well-known for their energetic blend of disco, soul, and old and new house tracks - but most of all for their sheer sense of joy and musicality, and their negation of all that is monotonous and dreary in the so-called Electronic Dance Music scene of today.
Daniel released two personal mix CDs in Japan recently featuring the back catalogs of two of New York's definitive disco labels, West End and Salsoul Records. He finally installed new software and monitor speakers as well in 2016, and just completed 2 well-received remixes for the artists Wolfgang Tillmans and Cerrone. The big question has been if Daniel will get back into his own groove, and will he or can he still make any music under his own name worth mentioning or playing? "Frankly, I'm trying to figure that out myself ... but i feel optimistic, because there's not much else in life which I still really want to do. It seems too late now for my alternative career as a bonsai gardener, doesn't it?"
Stay tuned to see what comes out of his studio after his long period of nesting and soul-searching in that ultra-hip, ultra-banal, mythical capital city of Germania :-)
Selected discography Daniel Wang
Best of Balihu 1993-2018:
2x CD / vinyl compilation
Reissued by Rush Hour, Amsterdam.
CD release on Environ Records, NY.