An awesome producer who knows how to make the floor move like few others, Dorian Craft is a man who’s on the cusp of something really great indeed. Prolific but also someone whose releases are full of quality to boot, he’s set for a busy few months, with releases on Saved, Monaberry and most recently, Behrouz’s Do Not Sit to boot. A native of Cannes in France, such is his appeal that he’;s beginning to make a name for himself outside of his native country. Hugely inspired by the likes of Laurent Garnier and Daft Punk, Craft is a man with an eclectic flourish that’s hard to pigeonhole. We put a few choice questions to the main man recently…
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What is your day to day job like as a producer? Is it something you do full-time now?
Yeah, producing music is a half part of my business. From Monday to Friday I spend half of the day in the studio, tweaking my synths. But I would not call it a job because it’s all inspiration related, and sometimes I’m on holiday for weeks!
What do you consider your big break?
I used it to question myself about how to improve my craft. I decided to widen my target, by producing different music in different styles and by collaborating with musicians to add acoustic elements in my productions. There will be a huge amount of music on the market when things will be better and I think I have to bring something fresh on the market.
There will be a huge amount of music on the market when things will be better and I think I have to bring something fresh on the market.
What were your plans for the year before Coronavirus messed things up?
It was a terrible day for me, and March 12th is a day I will always remember. All my sets were suddenly cancelled on this day. I was booked in New York and Miami the following weekend and then Milan, Marbella, London and Doha were on my map… plus the Cannes film festival and the summer season in Ibiza… I’ve lost all my plans, so I went back to south of France during the lockdown.
Have you found it hard to stay positive? Has music helped in this regard?
To be honest, the first 2 weeks were a bit stressful because my income depends only from music. Nobody had a clear vision of the future (and it’s still the case now), and we have heard all the craziest rumours about how our industry will survive to this. But I always try to focus myself on what I can control, and all these events are beyond my control. So I locked myself up in the lab and produced… and signed a lot of new stuff to some very cool labels!
What music have you found yourself listening to over the past while?
I listen to music depending on my mood. Actually, for example, I like to listen to 80’s synth-pop songs. I don’t know why. It’s funny but I consider electronic music as music fas my job. In my Spotify personal playlists, it’s only 15% of the selection.
Tell us a bit about your alias — what’s the thinking behind it? Are you a crafty guy?
Dorian Craft was born in 2008 after several aliases that I will keep secret! I have learnt to DJ and produce by myself. I never got somebody to help me with the technical aspects of it all. So I spent time tweaking Ableton live, watching tutorials on YouTube, and I used to take part in Beatport remixes contests to practise. CRAFT for me puts a word on how I’ve made it myself.
CRAFT for me puts a word on how I’ve made it myself.
We love your new EP on Behrouz’s label. Can you tell us a bit about how that one came to pass?
The Monaya EP is composed of two tracks. Monaya was produced in November: it was more an afro house style with some percussion loops. I tested it in Tulum in January, and i’ve found it could be improved. It was too messy, so I remixed it with more of an indie dance flow which leaves space for this main arabic riff that caught Behrouz’s attention. I’m aware that people will either love or hate this track cuz it’s something that we are not really used to listening to, but this is what’s thrilling me. Divination is afro and melodic. I love this combo. It was produced during lockdown and I started to arrange the song around this dreamy lead I tweaked from the DIVA synth. Two days after the track was born.
What have been some of your favourite shows and moments as a DJ to date?
I think when I played back to back with Black Coffee in Cannes or Monaco. It’s special because we didn’t know each other well, we have a totally different background and we come from a different continent, but nobody sees it when music speaks. It’s clear!
Do you think you can still improve as a producer? If so, how?
I think I will improve all my life. We are never at the top. There is always somebody more talented above you and I’m aware of it. I just try my hardest to achieve it. I widen my vision and I go out of my comfort zone by collaborating and I try to understand how I can i make the difference. I have just finished a song with the talented singer Jono McCleery that is very powerful and unusual and that i’m dealing to sign on a top artist label.
Obviously you’ve worked with some incredible labels, but do you set yourself goals? And who else would you like to work with?
When I was younger I used to think that signing on this or that label would open doors for me and make me the next guys to follow. But there is no truth to this anymore. I know top producers sign on the best labels who don’t tour at all, and at the opposite, DJs who have 2-3 unknown tracks out and tour the world.
So my goals are a bit different now, focusing more on what I have in my hands to make it happen: Who supports me? Who do I want to work with? Where do I want to release? And from this, I go with the flow. I’m happy to see my music supported by the biggest names of the industry which is an achieved goal, and I want this to keep going on which is another goal.
What is the future of live streaming do you think? How much can it improve and get better?
I did a stream during the lockdown and honestly I felt a bit lonely in front of my camera. Magic happens at a party, when the DJ brings a vibe and unites the dancefloor. This is not possible with a livestream.
Magic happens at a party, when the DJ brings a vibe and unites the dancefloor.
Moreover, as a viewer most of the time you don’t have the proper gear to enjoy the music, you miss the bass, or the network messes up. Streaming is an alternative to me.
Is monetising streaming the way forward? Iis it right to charge people for mixes these days?
I think it’s right for a cause like for example the stream organised for Lebanese explosion. But it should be used only for this kind of cause.
Music aside, what else is keeping you busy this month?
I’m trying to buy my flat !