Blending classic instruments with beats, synths, violin and vocals Berlin based Hungarian producer Norbert Karsai aka Dnte makes compositions of wonky grooves and enchanting melodies. His is a mixture of different styles that results in cinematic sound and surreal atmospheric textures. Recently he released his debut LP Wake Me Up on Resistant Mindz Records. Listen and download the entire album below!
You’re based in Berlin, how do you feel there?
I think nowadays Berlin is the same as Paris was for the painters. It’s a multicultural city, which means lots of nationalities’ and their way of thinking are mixed up and can be heard in Berlin’s music. This musical atmosphere inspires me. It is good to live in such place that gives me more creative energy to make music.
You said before your music is a “living and breathing mixture” which has many musical influences and inspirations. What or who are they?
A lot of things have influenced me. Artists like Bonobo with his downtempo style and the way he arranges his music. Queen for the knowledge of music, Prince for his chord progressions and TokiMonsta as her rhythm technique is great. J Dilla also as his music had a strong influence in the infancy of my music. Actually now I don’t follow any exact style. I’m trying to express myself with my own voice.
You make music using live instruments like the violin, viola and trumpet. Do you play and record live instruments yourself or use samples?
I like live instruments. I like mixing live and synthetic sounds and create a new one. I learned to play the piano s this is my connection to live instruments. I would like to learn to play on the trumpet, too. I layer synthetic sound with live ones because the live sound in itself is so stereotypical and synthetic in itself is not enough of a characteristic. But together they sound interesting.
Do you compose the melodies on the piano or what software do you use for that?
After being able to successfully arrange the drums the way I imagined, there comes the instrumentation. This can be done in different sequences, which depends mainly on the imagined music. Sometimes it is the piano, but sometimes I figure out the tunes by using other instrument. The program I use is Ableton live.
You said in an interview that your album Wake Me Up is about a “guy who has to wake up and face the truth and it tells eight experiences about life”. What is that truth? What are those experiences?
Originally the CD consisted of nine tracks but I left out the one titled ‘Can you dig it’, as it will appear soon on vinyl. The stories of course were inspired by stories from my own life but I don’t want to tell them. I would rather leave it to the listener to find these eight stories within their own lives.
What is your favorite track on the album and why?
‘Wake me up’ is my favourite. That is why it became the title song to my album. It is adequately soft, yet is still emphatic enough to wake people up from lies they are surrounded with.
You have had releases on many labels before your debut album. Is there a concept on labels you choose to release your music?
Sometimes possibilities found me. Sometimes I found a good possibility. I tried to release through labels where I felt my music fits in. That is why my album was released finally by Resistant Mindz Records as I could best identify with their way of thinking. You can find great artists working with them like Duktus or Chris Medleigh whose works are continuously inspiring me.
What is your dream labels to sign to?
Ninja Tune, Project Mooncircle or Tokyo Dawn Records.
What are your plans for 2012?
In the 2012 you can see my live act in Italy, France, Slovenia, Romania, Hungary, England and Germany. I’m making several remixes and I’m also working on my new stuff. The first new song is ‘Fall In Love’ which is released on Beatsolutions by Westwood Connection and Resistant Mindz Records.
Listen to Dnte’s Wake Me Up album:
This year in Budapest was a quite strange one. It started with a horrible disco accident in January that shocked the country and had long lasting consequences for the city’s party culture. During the year the political and economic crises caused a lot of negative vibes. The closure of cult clubs like the Merlin Theatre and the open air Zöld Pardon also sent out shockwaves. But apart from the bad news, there were still many positive moments to be happy about instead. We’re going to take a look at some of the more exciting moments from throughout the year in our Hungary section.
This year was the 200th anniversary for classic composer Ferenc Liszt (Franz Liszt) but there were also some big anniversaries in electronic music too. Budapest’s underground electronic music community celebrated pioneer DJ and godfather of the scene Palotai‘s 50th birthday through the year on several occasions and Chi Recordings also had reason for celebration as they released a compilation for their 10th anniversary. We interviewed a lot of musicians this year, you liked the most Yonderboi on his return, 9b0 on his work processes, Jaffa Surfa on organic house music, ICR on his milestone double album, Sena on her solo project and emerging talent Mongoose on his career story.
It’s interesting in Budapest that there are only a few good club spaces but several cool nights. Decknology by TEST completed their mission of pioneering the local electronic music scene with the project surviving for only one year. Not like the other future music-oriented night Space Is Called which was started by DJ Cadik and A38 Ship or the new hipster-magnet Selected Sounds by NVC with live acts such as Caribou, Gold Panda, Nosaj Thing. Electronic Beats had also three very successful sold-out gigs, a Live Special Launch Party and a Festival, followed by an EB Presents party. There were so many other highlights that made this year, gigs to remember by Lamb, Jamie Woon, Darkstar and Shigeto on A38 Ship, Kink in Merlin, Eskmo at Balaton Sound, Crystal Castles at Sziget, Xeno & Oaklander in Roham Bar and so on.
And so many other things like the new Blind Musician EP by the continuously changing abstract hip hop formation Realistic Crew, or My Rorschach by Occam, the electronic solo project of drummer of Zagar. There was another great solo debut of eclectic singer Judie Jay with her Harmony LP. Our new discovery is Berlin based Hungarian producer Dnte with his beautiful wonky debut EP Wake Me Up (listen here).
Two more scenes were growing up and started to establish in Budapest’s underground, the lo-fi bedroom producers might have got more attention but there is a ghetto-tech community going strong, too. We’re looking forward to seeing 2012, it will be great!