Dean Demanuele Interview

Dean Demanuele is part of a small but spirited Maltese scene that’s helping to put his small country on the map with regards to electronic music. With releases on the likes of Mobilee and his own Dazed & Confused outpost, he’s undoubtedly a man on the rise, while his country’s stock is only set to rise even further this summer thanks to Annie Mac’s Lost & Found festival, which takes place in April. We checked in with Dean to see what he had to say about it all recently…

You’re from Malta, right? Was it a good place to experience electronic music as a teenager? What were your first experiences of it all?

Yes I’m from Malta, its been a year or so since i moved back and it feels great to be back home. As i was growing up i was more into sports, so i can’t really say i was that much into the scene, it was at a later stage when i got to know what the underground scene was and got fascinated by all of that.

I remember back when i was a teenager there were quite a few events in Malta and the vibe was great because it was for a very selected few, but i always wanted something more, i was hungry to discover new sounds and new people, so i started traveling around.

My first big influences were of course Daft Punk. I was a big Daft Punk fan, (mostly of the earlier stuff). From then on i started my own research which lead me to meet some spanish friends and then eventually Ibiza. This was a first boost to take everything to the next level.

And what was Malta like as a place to grow up in general? All year-round sunshine, can’t be wrong!

Malta is amazing, yeah its mostly sunshine all through the year, the people are very warm and the food is amazing. I loved growing up here and i’ve always said that my main studio will always be in Malta. I had to leave to follow my dreams and i always felt sad to leave, but it was hard to start my career without moving.

Do you think it’s better or worse than it used to be in Malta for house music these days? Or just different?

Malta has changed a lot in the club scene and i can see this happening every day that passes by. It is still very restricted and all the event have to be very limited so you can’t think big. There can’t be a big evolution just because there isn’t the people to do so. So i guess it hasn’t changed much in that aspect, it’s just different.

So wheres the best clubs to go to if were visiting then? Where would you recommend?

I would rather recommend outdoor events and secret location parties, those are always very exciting. They have a bit more effort in them to make them happen and the outcome is always the best in my opinion.

Have you any residencies there? Where has the most educated crowds?

We are trying to host our Dazed and Confused Records parties every now and again with some friends from and outside the label. Its always nice to get together and have a good time. There is a small crowd of educated people which we try to attract for our events, they are sparse a bit everywhere in the island.

So is the scene one that allows house music to flourish? What are the licensing laws like for example?

I don’t think it’s an easy place for new sounds or talent to flourish, the clubs are very limited and unless you promote yourself every week its very hard to get to people. Everything seems a a bit stuck unfortunately.

And are there a lot of generic and EDM clubs there too?

Nowadays clubs are closing down and the majority play EDM just because they take the easy way out to earn money, so the choices are not a lot as you can see.

Do you ever think therell be a stage where Malta becomes like a new Croatia or Ibiza?

Croatia maybe, but to be similar to Ibiza it would be a bit hard with all the restrictions we have, plus lack of space. Malta is a fantastic place to live with all the pros and cons. A good quality movement with an intimate vibe is enough i feel.

Are there ever times were you struggle for inspiration then? What do you do in those instances?

I can say that at the moment i haven’t had any struggle with creating new stuff. Fortunately as soon as i get started i always get to finish what i have in mind. So luckily I haven’t had this problem until now.

And aside from yourself, what other Maltese DJs should we be looking out for?

There are a few producers like Jewel Kid and Deepfunk who are doing well in the international circuit.

So do you go out clubbing much these days? Who was the last DJ/producer to really impress you in that regard?

Lately I am trying to find a good balance between music and my private life and try to live a normal life as mush as possible, so i cut down from going to clubs this last year. I can say John Digweed always leaves a mark when he plays and Konrad Black was someone who also impressed me when i heard him play at watergate.

Has the Internet played a huge role in the advancement of the Maltese scene?

The internet made everything easier and more reachable to get new people interested in the events point of view.

On the other hand for me it was essential, if it wasn’t for the internet i couldn’t have stayed connected so much with the people i work with and for getting involved in the scene, it would have been a nightmare.

You produced some really great music recently with Lee Van Dowski. Is that relationship still going strong? Have you much else more in the pipeline?

Yes i have a great relationship with Lee and we’ll definitely do something together this year. I’m working on having him on my label again very soon.

My focus this year will mostly be to develop my sound even further.

What constitutes success for you as a producer? Who influences your work the most?

For me success is when i create something in my studio and get a positive feedback from the people in the clubs and the Djs. Understanding what makes the people flop and want to hear more about you.

Can you tell me a bit about your latest EP? Should we look into the title, Lucky, at all?

Unfortunately this last September my grand father passed away and he was a very important figure in my family. His nickname was Lucky and i wanted to dedicate the title name of my next release to him. He was someone who believed in what i do and I still treasure his thoughts to this day.

Did the EP end up as you hoped it would? Or do you find you always go off on tangents when youre producing?

I always have an idea of what i want when i create music but i leave it to my gut to see what’s good or bad in the end. I always go a bit off tangent but thats the best side of getting in the studio.

How do you come up with the idea for the basslines, for example? Do they start out as a melody in your head?

When it comes to basslines I start looking for sounds i have in mind and play them on the piano. As soon as i get the sound i like, i start creating notes and a sequence. Then finally refine what I’ve done.

Do you generally structure your tracks around the bassline then? Or how does that work for you?

I start with a groove and then add everything later on. It depends on the tracks, with Lucky and We are well i knew i had to go with a strong bassline so i tried to add both the groove and the bassline together.

If you could produce on one other label and with one other producer, what would they be and why?

Well I would to love to work with Apparat, his music is a big influence for me and his ideas are always avante-garde. With regards to one other label i think it would be Innervisions at this point, its a label that has changed the sounds of many.

So are there many cool places to go record shopping in Malta these days? Where do you get most of your new music from?  

Record shops unfortunately have gone extinct here, sadly there is no demand for record shopping and nowadays you do it online. I mostly get new music in my inbox and get new material from my DJ friends. I play my stuff quite a lot as I’m always creating new stuff in the studio.

What are your goals and aspirations for 2015?

For 2015 i want to play my music, travel and get everything out there as much as possible. I also want to keep on developing my studio and label. An album is also at the back of my mind but i don’t want to rush it.

You can follow everything about myself and the label on

Thanks for having me

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