After ten years of life, the Berlin-based label masterminded by Modeselektor has announced that its curtains are to close for good- 50 releases down the line. In the most hedonistic of funeral ceremonies, 50Weapons will takeover Store Street for a finale hosted by their finest affiliates, one of which being Welsh producer Doc Daneeka who, alongside his collaborator Benjamin Damage, released the LP THEY! LIVE on the iconic imprint. His sound has been perpetually progressive; what started as something tribal and fundamentally UK breached onto the Berlin scene. Whether it’s his floor-focused prowess as a selector or the fresh imprint he made upon Berlin’s techno scene Doc Daneeka continues to produce prolific bangers and put Wales on the map. We caught up with him ahead of his Warehouse performance to trace how he homed in on his niche.
Growing up in Wales, tell us how you developed an interest in producing; what did you grow up listening to? What parties would you attend and who were the influences that began to shape your music? How did the scene in Wales at the time impact the music you were putting out?
I think I was just getting into dance music, the scene back in Swansea was surprisingly vibrant back then. Rave had historically been massive round our way, there were a lot of strong hip hop and drum and bass parties, one of the best funk nights in the UK and also a heartless crew residency at an amazing old club called the palace (sadly now defunct. In fact most of the nights and clubs have gone now). the house scene was pretty big too, but I didn't really hang out much in those circles at the time. I think that melting pot plus a pretty big after-party scene was a great ground for getting into all sorts of things. I was basically in university studying politics and spending all my time partying, djing and producing my own stuff, which to be fair was pretty shitty at the time. Later me and my friends put on a night that played everything from Charlie Parker to Soundmurderer, and we had a really good following. We were a bunch of kids playing whatever the hell we wanted, and I think that attitude and time definitely formed where I am these days
How do you feel about the current state of the UK Funky scene?
Well…. where did it all go wrong? Is there a UK funky scene? I never liked the name of it anyway, and was always scared to be labelled as that. The ideas at the time however, were amazing. You had a bunch of guys bored with what was going on, sharing music and just doing their thing. That somehow became a movement. It was such a fertile time for music. I miss it in a way, but I feel it will go back towards those days, because its all getting a bit boring now isn't it? everyone dressing the same and playing the same tunes… know what I mean?
Your mixes would feature music that we feel took influence from Portuguese and Angolan producers. What are your thoughts on the rising interest in Kuduro coming out of Lisbon from labels such as Principe?
Yeah man, its fucking sick. I need to get down there. I love Lisbon, but I want to get more into what's coming out of there right now. All that shit was so massive on me, same way for kwaito and baile funk from SA and Brazil respectively. I think thats the thing with UKfunky…. I was always hoping it was going towards a more global percussive style. In Brazil they call baile funk just 'funky'. I could have dealt with the world calling global percussive house 'funky'.
How and When did you begin to link up with Benjamin Damage? Did your rapport affect the direction your music?
Weirdly, me and Ben grew up together in a way, he's the older brother of one of my best mates, so we were in contact a lot from early on. We used to make jungle together years ago and always stayed close, passing music back and forth, so it was only natural that we'd keep making tunes together. Once Modeselektor got hold of Creeper they signed an LP from us so we went from there: it wasn't really planned before that.
Tell us how you became affiliated with Modeselektor and 50Weapons. Berlin is notorious for influencing producers’ sound; did you find the capital had that effect upon you?
So when Ben and I did Creeper, they basically signed it within an hour of us sending them. After that, they brought us out to Berlin to their studio to record a full LP. It was a mad time, but I would say that where our heads were at at the time, influenced us more than the city. The whole experience is engraved into my brain and on to that record. It was a huge.
Are you excited to be representing the label at the heart of north’s dance music scene?
Yeah its great to be doing this. 50Weapons was instrumental in shaping where we've all gotten to. Ben and I played together in Paris last week and the place absolutely went up. Manchester is one of my favourite cities to play too so I can't wait!
What have you got lined up for 2016?
I'm feeling really good in my productions right now, so a lot of new music touring and good times!
Catch Doc Daneeka, alongside Siriusmodeselektor, Clark and Rødhåd, at The Warehouse Project, Friday 13 November. Tickets can be found here.
Words: Charlie Fyfe