He’s already been designated one of SoundCloud’s 2018 Artists to Watch and he’s receiving major support from Canadian bass duo Zeds Dead, so it’s safe to say that DNMO is poised to have quite breakout year.
Popping onto the scene in 2017 at the age of 16, the Cornwall, England-based phenom (aka Aiden Morgan) made with an impressive remix discography, which includes his smoldering re-rub of “Knock Me Down” by MAKJ & Max Styler feat. Elayna Boynton on Dim Mak.
Soon he began to drop singles like “Sakura” (a jittery collab with KRANE) and the pulsing “Hollywood” (featuring Nevve). Now that he’s back with the radiant “Do It Better,” DJ Times caught up with the rising teen.
DJ Times: When did you first get introduced to EDM?
DNMO: Around 10-11 when it first caught my attention. I was just about to start high school and I used to download a ton of UKF Drum & Bass mixes, which honestly blew my mind. It was so new and fresh at the time… unlike anything I was listening to.
DJ Times: What producers have influenced you?
DNMO: Skrillex, Zeds Dead, Flux Pavilion were the three main players for me. Everything they were coming up with was so new, and I honestly had heard nothing like it. It was just so far ahead of its time that it became something I ended up looking up to.
DJ Times: What’s your musical background?
DNMO: My dad used to design hi-fi stands and was always playing a different style of music almost every night, which was a really great thing to experience. I got into really playing the drums when I was about four and, from then until I was like 10 or so, I was dead-set on being a drummer… until, of course, I came across the world of electronic music and have been completely sidetracked on that ever since.
DJ Times: What’s current studio set-up?
DNMO: I’m running everything using my old MacBook, which can be a bit frustrating at times when dealing with large project files. I’ve got a Focusrite interface, a pair of Yamaha HS7 monitors, beyerdynamic DT 770 headphones, and I produce on Ableton Live 10.
DJ Times: What’s your process?
DNMO: I almost always start with drops first. I always seem to get stuck with writing a drop for verses I’ve written, so I like to do it the other way around when I can. I usually start with making a cool bass sound as the core foundation. I normally follow up with writing a bassline then building chords off that. Then, I work in the drums, and layering a ton of sounds to fill it out. I spend way too long going over the same sounds trying to perfect them.
DJ Times: How did growing up in the U.K. influence you as a producer?
DNMO: I think it’s given me more insight to other fields of music, and to not be afraid to combine different sounds/instruments that you wouldn’t normally. I’m a really big fan of some of the liquid drum-n-bass that gets made out here, which definitely inspires me to step up my chord progressions and melodies.
DJ Times: After making a handful of stellar remixes, was it nerve-racking to unveil your first single?
DNMO: I still remember how anxious I was in the five minutes before posting “Sakura,” my first original, on SoundCloud. It was a pretty tense moment because I wasn’t sure how people would respond. But in the first few minutes, the track got such positive comments and I’ve been so motivated to focus on originals ever since. Working on remixes has always been something I was used to, so when I started writing originals it was definitely a challenge. Looking back, I’ve always felt a more emotional attachment to my original tracks. I look at them almost like my children, so the first one was high stress for me.
DJ Times: Tell us the production process behind your new single “Do It Better” with Ayelle and Sub Urban…
DNMO: I reached out to Ayelle last year to say I was a fan of her work, we got talking and she sent over a bunch of demos. I fell in love with this one particular verse and just knew I had to work with it. I wrote the initial idea pretty much that day, but when it came to working the second verse, I had a gut feeling that Sub Urban’s voice would be a perfect fit so I sent it over to him. He wrote the whole verse in about a day. The song was pretty much born from there. I knew I wanted to keep a darker vibe with this release similar to my previous ones, but felt this one needed a bit more energy. I wanted something I could see people jamming out to.
DJ Times: Zeds Dead has been one of your biggest supporters – what’s your relationship with those two?
DNMO: Hooks and DC have been the best this last year. We met when I had just finished my song “Broken,” also with Sub Urban, and we were pitching it to labels. The label was rather new at the time, but my manager had a contact at Deadbeats, their label. The track seemed so obviously fitting that we had to send it to them, even just to get their feedback. The boys hit us a couple days later saying they loved the track and we just hit it off from there. A month after that release, they asked me to remix something from Northern Lights, which was so mind-blowing. That album was one of my favorites of the year, so having that opportunity was really amazing. We worked on some stuff a few months back, which we’re super-excited about as well.
DJ Times: What’s planned for the rest of 2018?
DNMO: I have a lot of big things lined up that I can’t share at the moment. Definitely plan on seeing your first round of shows from DNMO in 2018. I can’t say anything specific yet, but I’ve got some cool events coming up. You can expect loads of originals and a few collaborations from artists you may or may not have expected. I’ll be dropping some new merch throughout the year, which I cannot wait to share with you all.