A Sit Down With DJ Deniz Koyu

German DJ Deniz Koyu has established himself as one of dance music’s go-to producers, a he cites Fedde Le Grand, Sebastian Ingrosso, Axwell, Avicii and more as some of his biggest fans. Musically-minded since he was five years of age, Deniz has constantly been immersing himself in the world of DJ’ing and producing, pumping out high quality releases through acclaimed labels like Refune, Axtone, and Flamingo Records.


“Music wise, I think my music is getting more energetic, and you spend so much time in the studio and you just evolve with your production techniques, so everything is getting better.”


You’ve definitely hit world stage at the right time with the EDM surge, which you’re no doubt a part of. How does it feel to see dance music blow up in such a big way?

It’s awesome to see the huge commercial success of dance music as a worldwide phenomenon right now. But to be honest I totally wouldn’t care if that wasn’t the case and dance music would not be mass compatible, not crossover into radio, and remain in the clubs only. I make this music ‘cos I truly love it, not for the reason of commercial success in that sense.

Most DJs end up defining themselves by a signature sound, but your songs are all very unique. Is the variety a conscious decision?

Well in the beginning when I did tracks like Tung and Bong I started with a very specific signature sound that everyone immediately labeled the “Deniz Koyu sound”. However I didn’t want to be reduced to only this one sound, so I took it from there and kept developing my sound and style. That keeps it a lot more interesting and I get the chance to show people my wide range of production skills. What matters to me is that I only create music that I personally feel and enjoy, and that is how you end up with a signature sound that is more of a musical fingerprint rather than just one synth patch. When you listen to a track like “To The Sun”, it’s musically much more complex and melodic than my older work, but my fingerprint is still all on the groovy bassline, the beat and the sonic character in terms of mixing and mastering, which I do all by myself. And since I do everything by myself from the empty project until the master file, there’s no way to get rid of your fingerprint whether you want it or not.

I’ve heard through the grapevine that Tiesto is a fan of both of your music. He said that Danny was up and coming and he also plays Deniz’s music at his shows. What’s that like?

It’s like one of my dreams coming true. It’s one of the biggest goals of a DJ: getting respect from Tiesto, or someone like him. That’s amazing. It’s one of the biggest goals.

Do you find you get noticed a lot when you walk down the streets here?

Especially during Miami Music Week. There’s always someone who recognizes you. There’s a lot of fans down here and I’ll often get stopped. It’s cool, though.

We found out that piano was the first music instrument that you played. Can you still play it?
A bit, though I’ve forgotten most things. I learnt piano when I was a kid, took lessons for about 4-5 years. Today, I think I wouldn’t be able to play classical piece of piano. But what’s important for music production is that you know how to grab the chords and how you move your fingers on your keyboards. That’s how you can compose your music. But again, I think It would only take me a short amount of time to learn it again and to play some classics.

Who were your big DJ influences?

To be honest, I never had a personal superhero DJ who I wanted to be like. I always listened to many artists from different genres including indie/electro pop, house, rock, some trance, and a lot of techno, so I somehow got inspired by the sum of these. In terms of DJ live performance it would be guys like Fatboy Slim, Carl Cox, Erick Morillo or Erol Alkan.

Where’s your favourite place on earth and why?

That is a tough question as there are so many great places on earth, but one of my favourites is Rio De Janeiro. It’s a paradise on earth and really beautiful. If I had time for vacation now that would be my first choice.

So, what’s the craziest show you’ve played and what happened?

This is always a tough question. I can never pick out one favorite show. I can only say my favorite ones in 2012. Those for me were Ultra Music Festival, the Cosmic Opera show with Axwell in New York was a really good one, then one show I did in Ushuaia was really good. Then I played 3 Sensations. All of them were amazing, especially one I played in Istanbul in Turkey, which is my home country. I came there for my first time to play, plus I played back to back with Fedde la Grand, so it was double the excitement. Then, I had a couple of really great shows at the end of the year. I play on New Year’s Eve with Dada Life in New York, in Brooklyn, in a warehouse to 8,000 people. It was really sick. Just the night before that I played in Chicago, and I think that show maybe was my favorite show of 2012. I played with Porter Robinson and Hardwell at the Congress Theatre. I think this was my favorite.

If you could talk to yourself at age 18 what advice would you give yourself?

The number one advice that I would give to myself is to be careful with what kind of contracts you sign. When I was 18 years old I signed a couple of really shitty contracts just because I didn’t know what I was doing and there was some bad stuff in there. I had to get out which was a bit tricky but in the end I figured out that it would be smart to read all of it and maybe change the contract a little bit.

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