Interview: Dino Lenny talks music
A little while ago we caught up with Dino Lenny, a grandmaster in the music industry according to us. Releasing music for about 3 decades and having built an amazing back catalogue of productions, remixes and collaborations with industry finest, it was time for a chat.
We also included some questions about his catchy release on Crosstown Rebels, “Doctor”. Enjoy the read.
How are you doing?
I’m doing great, thanks for asking and I hope you are well too ;).
TGMS:Great to hear. We are doing fine as well.
20 years, 2 decades in the scene. What’s your secret to sticking around for so long?
My secret is to have fun making music & trying different routes all the time and not sticking to one genre. I try to entertain myself as much as possible each time and come up with something new. It can be my weak point sometimes as people don’t really know what’s coming next. You gain and lose aficionados like this but I think it’s the fun part of my job and I’m not boring myself. I feel quite privileged to be able to change each time. The surprise element is always crucial. It’s quite easy and it comes natural, on the other hand, I’m not really that surprised about myself as I know I’m a little nuts.
The only reason for me to be around after all these years is to produce a sound that no one else makes.
Any advice on maintaining a successful working relationship in a crazy space like dance music?
It’s hard, not everybody is going to like what you do. Some people might say you are a legend or a genius, other people that you are over the top and that you are trying too hard or even not trying at all. Don’t try to please everyone, be who you are. It can be a long journey and it goes up & down. Be loyal and honest to yourself, if you have qualities they will emerge and people will understand who you are. You don’t have to be everybody’s friend, it’s important that you show your real soul, some will like that and that’s the kind of people you need to be close to you.
Achieved your dream to become a successful touring DJ, I have to ask: did you get what you wanted? Is it what you expected? Even after 20 years?
Yeah, I got more than what I was expecting. I think I can give more now than before. I have the same enthusiasm as the first day. I owe a lot to music, it’s time to give something back.
Tell us about your passion for melodic house and techno. Where does it come from?
I don’t have a passion for any particular genre. I just love good songs, old or new, hard or soft. I like quality and if it’s innovative it works even better for me.
Who or what is your biggest influence?
Well, of course, the eighties and my first radio experience. Trevor Horn was probably one of my favourite producers in my early years. The excitement in those days was so strong. It still keeps me going. I have so many flashbacks, each time it’s a real boost. They are not nostalgia moments but just reminders of why I’m in this game. I love it.
Your work “Doctor” on Crosstown Rebels is all about that? What a catchy tune that is! Tell us all about it.
Thanks for calling it “catchy”. I’ll add that to my portfolio. The structure of the song is quite classic, has a verse, bridge and chorus over a minimalesque funky & electronic backing track. It’s the story of someone that goes to the Doctor to find out that all his pains are related to his girlfriend. Happens every day, the way it’s narrated though is quite original and modern.
Dino Lenny ‘Doctor’ with a Nuiton remix is released on the 1st November on Crosstown Rebels. Check it out on Beatport.
What is the message you are trying to bring and what was the inspiration behind this release?
Inspiration of course. One of my girlfriends and my Doctor, the message is: “don’t stick with someone if it doesn’t feel right” quite basic really 🙂
What’s your creative process when writing music? Do you have an idea in mind or do you somehow experiment and see what’s coming?
It’s always different, every record has a different story. I record a lot of ideas on my phone. Sometimes they work sometimes they don’t. I always try them over a cool groove and then develop the song changing chords and keys using Melodyne or similar plugins. It’s easier when I use my vocals because I have more elements. When tracks are entirely instrumental I need stronger melodies. It really depends on my mood.
Give us an insight into what we can expect from Dino Lenny over the next few months. You seem to be unstoppable.
I’m in a great place, I don’t have much pressure. I’m very lucky as I’m getting a lot of love from the big guys and releasing on their labels. I don’t know what’s next. The only question I ask myself is ‘How is this track going to sound in 20 years’? If I’m happy with the answer I will probably release it on my own Fine Human Records label or send it to a few mates to play out. At this stage, I want to make memorable and original records. Trying things that have not been heard before. I think “Doctor” on Crosstown Rebels is the perfect example. The only reason for me to be around after all these years is to produce a sound that no one else makes. Otherwise, there is no point. So the next years will be quite interesting.
At this stage, I want to make memorable and original records. Trying things that have not been heard before.
What is your absolute favourite track of the moment and why?
My favourite track at the moment? Wow, tough question. Can’t really think about an absolute stunner. I usually fall in love with old ones on a daily basis. I’m listening to a lot to Led Zeppelin’s “No quarter” this week, but that’s not the answer you were looking for I guess but it’s the truth. Uhm, let me think… Sorry, I can’t think of an absolute one. Would be unfair to mention just one, and I would have to lie to you. 😉
TGMS: Whatever came to your mind was fine. Led Zeppelin is awesome!
What’s the last thing you saw or experienced that turned an instant smile on your face?
My Daughter, every day, every moment.
Dino Lenny shares some tracks that had an impact on his career and contributed to the artist he is today: