Music | Bittles’ Magazine: The music column from the end of the world
Dansor is an artist who isn’t afraid to explore or experiment. Originally from Hungary, but now based in Holland, Dansor (real name Anett Kulcsar) is a producer never content with presets, the obvious, or simple four to the floor. By JOHN BITTLES
Debut LP ›Theory Of Love‹ is the perfect case in point. Techno, pop, jazz, funk, house and more merge seamlessly in an album which simply begs to be played from beginning to end. Mixing styles and genres with ease, the whole record is held together by the quality of the individual songs and an abundance of killer grooves. In a world of faceless techno, lazy production, simple samples and the lowest common dominator ›Theory Of Love hits the listener like a breath of fresh air.
The title track opens proceedings in immaculate style, a sleazy bass throb, swirling synths and loose guitar plucks accompanying Dutch vocalist Ayden Vice’s lyrical longing to create an urgent ode to the night. ›Hallo is a deep house jam perfect for any floor, ›Hunger Of The Steel‹ a jazz-inflected alt rock number which recalls Deus at their very best, ›Women Are From Venus‹ is a dirt-encrusted slice of funk, while ›Nobody’s guitar refrain is both laid-back and catchy as hell. Yet, rather than picking out individual tunes, it is when played in one continuous flow that the record makes perfect sense. With the keen ear of a DJ Dansor uses the album format to tell a story with a beginning, a middle and an end, (and how often can you say that about an electronic LP?). It is this narrative structure on ›Theory Of Love‹ which both intrigues and leaves the listener desperate for more.
In the following interview we discuss the album, playing live, ›Comport Records‹, collaborations, the joys of synth pop, and lots more.
By way of introduction, can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
Hello guys, and thank you for having me.
I’m a Hungarian-born artist (DJ/producer/live act) living in the Netherlands for quite a while now, running my label called ›Comport Records‹ and doing visual design work besides.
Your debut album Theory Of Love came out on the 14th February. For those who haven’t heard it yet, what can they expect?
It’s quite an eclectic album with a retro-futuristic sound, there is a big fusion of electronica, deep and tech house tunes combined with jazz, funk, indie and 80s elements and I do hope you will enjoy the »not so formulaic« vibes.
When you first started recording, did you have a specific idea of how the album would sound?
Not really, as I like to keep my freedom and let my fantasy go when producing. I like challenges and making different type of tracks, so I created these tunes one by one whenever I felt inspired. Only about a year and half ago I had this idea that bundling all these tracks together into an album might be a good way to put them out there.
The LP opens with the atmospheric title track, which features the singing talent of Ayden Vice. The song’s moody atmospherics, spoken-word vocals and sleazy bass throb bring to mind the best of early 80s synth pop. Was this an influence for you when making the song?
The answer is yes, I love the 80s synth pop vibe, and I kinda grew up on acts like Kraftwerk, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode back in Hungary – so I guess it’s inevitable to be influenced by them. Knowing that Ayden is a big 80s fan too, I asked him to do the vocals on this when I had the first loop ready and he’s done an amazing job which again inspired me to finish the whole track as it is now.
Tracks such as Hallo, Women Are From Venus and Nobody are fantastically deep and just the type of house music which I love to hear played in a club. How important are the demands of the dance floor to the music you create?
As I started out as a DJ, obviously I love dance-floor oriented tracks, but producing something original in the first place is the most important to me. I would like to add to the music scene and rather combine things which others might not dare, just to see if it’s possible. It’s more like a personal journey of discovery for me than willing to create for the dance-floor only.
For me, one of the highlights of the record is the smoke-filled funk of Hunger Of The Steel, which features some great vocals from singer-songwriter Jeffrey Snijder. What came first, the words or the music?
Jeffrey was super inspired by Steven King’s ›Christine‹ when he wrote the lyrics, and after he came up with a singer-songwriterish arrangement in ›Garageband<‹. He sent this via my boyfriend to me as he was wondering what my opinion was about it and I immediately fell in love with it. Couldn't wait to chop it into pieces and transform it into a more dancey tune in ›Ableton‹. I think it was the very first track I finally finished and Jeffrey was surprised when he heard what I've done with it. It was definitely a fun project to do and I remember being super excited about dropping this into Dave Clarke’s ›Demolition Demo‹ box during ›ADE‹ where it became the best demo that day. However it never got released up until now.
This song is one of three collaborations on the album. What was it like working with the artists involved?
I love spontaneous collaborations and all three were like that. I think with all of them we just thought let’s give it a try as we felt a click with each other musically and if you listen to the results, you probably hear that magical click between us back. With ›Feeling‹ for example, I had the whole track almost done, but I felt it was missing something important when I met Saskia and she improvised her beautiful trumpet piece on it which made it totally complete.
Your Resident Advisor profile claims that your aim »is to combine and apply techniques used in the experimental music/art scene with danceable music«. How well does Theory Of Love meet this aim?
I would like to develop this idea already for a long time and a lot more further, expanded with different disciplines, so definitely not there yet, but I wanted to finish the music on the album first to be able to think about what’s next. For example a cool music video for ›Theory Of Love‹ is something I had in mind for quite a while, and finally it seems we can make this happen, which makes me super excited.
Do you have any plans to tour the album at all?
Yes, I would love to tour with the live band version of ›Theory Of Love‹ the way we just presented it during the premier at ›Amsterdam Dance Event‹ and the second time during the live release at Patronaat in my home town, in Haarlem. Besides playing as a DJ – it’s a great new challenge and experience for me.
If so, what can we expect?
It’s a 1-hour live show, which in the most basic form exists of Wouter de Buck on drums, Marta Golka on bass, and myself on electronica; combined with visuals, developed by Matti Deugeldre. You can see a short video teaser of the premier during ›ADE‹ here, where Saskia Laroo joined us as well on trumpet
A short recap of the second show we’ve just done in Patronaat is on the way.
The album is released on Comport Records, a label you run together with Soundbalance and Von Smir. Is there a specific idea or ethos behind the music that the label releases?
The only ethos I can think of is that a track should catch our attention, sound cool and make us feel the passion behind the creation I guess.
What made you first decide to set up your own record label?
The fact I had no idea where else I should release my own music on and I thought probably others might have similar problems as well.
What have been the key releases for the label so far?
The Joris Delacroix Remixes of Bahlzack’s ›Life On Fire‹, our ›Forget Me Not‹ compilations, and the first 3 singles of the LP – ›Theory Of Love‹, ›Women Are From Venus‹ and ›Hallo‹ – were doing great as well thanks to the amazing remixes by artists like Animal Picnic, Jiggler, Thomas Gandey, Zoë Xenia, Sezer Uysal and Just Her. A day after the release date, the album has entered the ›Beatport TOP 100 Releases in Breaks (#2), Electronica (#30), Deep House (#46) and Tech House (#66) genres, and ›Hunger Of The Steel‹ was already dropped on ›BBC 6 Radio‹ by Nemone, ›Hallo‹ in John Digweed’s ›Transitions‹ radio show – which is of course an amazing start.
What can we expect from Comport Records in 2016?
Releasing more great music, whether it be from new talents or from names we know. For sure expect some awesome remixes coming up on the rest of the ›Theory Of Love‹ tunes by artists like Mattia Pompeo, Mike Ravelli, Edouard!, Anis Hachemi, MESA, Arara and some others, and it would be great to fit in at least one compilation this year again.
Doing our own ›Comport‹ nights with our artists more regularly is another goal as we are still growing.
You have also made a name for yourself with some scintillating DJ sets. What are the key components to working a dance floor?
I like to make up stories and play with those in my DJ sets. For me personally, elements like deep basses, melancholic melodies, vocals with a character, combined with some oddity and/or fun are mostly working.
What five tracks are currently working for you in the clubs?
Green Velvet, Claude Von Stroke – ›Snuffalufaggus‹
Thomas Gandey, ARTBAT – ›Confession‹
12 Stories feat. Digitaria – ›Bright Lights‹ (Walker & Royce Remix)
Dansor – ›Women Are From Venus‹ (Sezer Uysal Remix)
Dansor – ›Inverted Moments‹
Do you have any final words for our readers?
I hope you’ll enjoy listening to my debut album and as I’ve never played in Germany before, hopefully I’ll get the chance to play a DJ set and/or the full ›Theory Of Love‹ live show for you in the near future.