It must be something in the water, as many talented folk have emerged from that emerald green isle of Ireland. One of those people is DJ/Producer “Danny Cullen“. A name synonymous with pure quality dance music infused with an emotional substance. Danny has been paving his own way to stardom from early on. He lit the way under his joint project “Tucandeo“, alongside fellow Irishman and friend “Kevin Murphy“. The sound they joyfully forged in the studio went on to influence numerous artists and music enthusiasts around the world, gaining them both a clear advantage, ushering them like a strong current to the forefront of the dance music scene. Their music was heavily supported by some of the industry’s high flyers including a personal interest by none other than “Markus Schulz” himself. In addition to all that, a lifelong dream was realized, the launch of “In Sessions“, a label focused on the search for the next best thing that embodies the sound they love. All good things must come to an end and so the power duo of artists parted ways. Danny continued on a solo career, donning a new name and releasing lots of new spellbinding material as “Artisan“. Many new and exciting adventures lie ahead for Danny and I am fortunate to present you with an exclusive interview I did with the man himself for TranceFix.nl!
Question 1: Could you please share with us all the tale of how a young Irish guy became an active member of the dance music scene?
It was around the early 2000s when I first got involved in the music scene. I had a friend who worked in the music industry and I just said to him one day…how do you do that? Luckily for me, he was happy to show me the ropes! From this point I started to carve out my own pathway onto the dance floor.
Question 2: Alongside Kevin Murphy as the legendary producer duo dubbed “Tucandeo” you introduced us to your own distinct and characteristic sound that was unlike no other, infusing the dance music community with said sound and gathering your own loyal followers as well as the full attention of well known and established artists. What would you consider as your big break and when did you realize this is what you most desired in life?
The “Tucandeo” days will always hold a special place in my heart…our first major support was from “Paul Van Dyk” for a remix competition in 2010. The Tucandeo sound was created and support followed from artists like “Tiesto”, “Armin Van Buuren”, “Paul Oakenfold” and, in particular, “Markus Schulz”. What really made it for me was seeing how much of an impact our music had on people and seeing how happy it made them. That’s what it’s about. One really special moment for me was playing at “Luminosity Beach Festival” in 2011. Watching people’s reaction to the music was insane!
Question 3: After years of vast success under the previously mentioned “Tucandeo” project the two of you went your separate ways and just when we were all wondering what will happen next out of nowhere “Artisan” was born. What was your inspiration behind this alias and what has it meant to you?
“Artisan” was created to share a more progressive big room sound, ideal for clubs. I’ve always loved emotional melodies especially soundtrack music. I wanted to experiment and combine this with a more progressive dance sound that would captivate an audience.
Question 4: There are rumors that you will be reviving your sound under your own name. Is this a fact and what inspired this change?
The rumors are true! I’m really excited to release under my own name this year. I’m going to combine all of the styles of my previous aliases to create a fresh, unique sound. It’ll be a massive year for music!
Question 5: What big plans are in store for next year and could you please share some information about that?
The year has already kicked off with a bang with the release of “Miri” under “Aly & Fila’s” “Future Sound of Egypt“! Expect more great tracks to be released under “Armada Music“, “Universal” and others. I’m thrilled about upcoming collaborations with the likes of “Marlo“, “Christina Novelli“, “Hit The Bass” to name a few…
Question 6: Which artists were your biggest inspiration when entering the scene years back and who are some of the artists that inspire you today?
I’ve always been a huge fan of music with touching melodies… I was inspired by artists like “ATB“, “Moby“, “Tiesto“, “Ferry Corsten” and “Markus Schulz“. These days I draw inspiration from so many sources, from everyday experiences to music produced from artists across all genres. “Hans Zimmer” would be high up on the list. His film scores are incredible!
Question 7: You have been rather quiet on the music front as of late but rumor has it that lots of new music is ready to surface? Care to share some information regarding that?
Absolutely, I’ve been cooking up quite a storm in the studio. There will be lots going on in the forthcoming months. I have a collaboration with “Drew Ryn” and “Hit The Bass” out this month on “Armada” which “Armin” has already shown huge support for on his radio show. As for new releases… watch this space 🙂
Question 8: Running your own label “In Sessions Recordings” is no small feat and you always seem to discover some really unique and creative artists out there. What is the process behind it all?
It’s been great to have the opportunity to promote some really talented, upcoming producers. We have a great team for scouting these artists and helping them develop their sound. I think it’s really important to give honest, positive feedback to an artist. This allows them to find their own sound and add at the richness of the scene.
Question 9: A while back you released a mix compilation entitled “Artisan presents In Sessions Volume 1”. A fantastic two disc journey, packed with some exclusive music by yourself and some of the label’s finest. Any plans for a second installment and if so when can we expect it?
It took quite some time to piece together a two disc package to create “In Sessions Volume 1“. Luckily, we had many talented artists who wanted to contribute. With regards to another installment, it’s definitely a possibility further down the line…
Question 10: Which artists would you like to collaborate with if you had the chance and who were some of your favorites you worked with in the past?
It’s funny that you’re asking me this question now! I’m currently working with one of my favorite singers in the scene, “Christina Novelli“. The collaboration also includes another artist who is massive in the scene but I can’t share the info yet! I’m also working on some exciting music with my buddy Dimitris, better known as “Hit The Bass“. I really enjoy working with others artists as I feel it’s more than just business. I’ve been lucky to make many friends along the way, artists like “Anki“, “Dennis Sheperd” and “Nifra” to name a few and hopefully many more to come 🙂
Question 11: Many know you from your releases on “Markus Schulz’s” “Coldharbour Recordings”. Any plans for a return to the harbour or even participating in one of their themed “Coldharbour Nights”?
I’ve always worked closely with “Coldharbour Recordings” under various aliases. “Markus Schulz” has always been very supportive to me. I would certainly like to work more with the label down the line and would even be happy to get involved in the nights.
Question 12: What inspires you to begin your creative process when working on music and is your music ever based on your own personal experiences?
Inspiration can flow from absolutely anywhere or anything! I’m always aware throughout the day… simple things like a walk in nature, a film, a chat with a loved one, traveling, playing in front of a crowd of fans can really boost my will to create music. Everything I’ve created to date relates to my personal experiences, good and bad. Emotions always come out in my music no matter what they are.
Question 13: When not busy in the studio creating ecstatic beats what else do you enjoy doing to pass the time? Are you one who enjoys traveling or do you have any other hobbies?
I like to spend a lot of time keeping healthy and fit at the gym, escaping the city with walks and socializing with friends. I also find time to get lost in a good book or relax to a nice movie.
Question 14: Some artists choose a place to unwind from the craziness and fast pace of the scene to relax and regenerate themselves. Do you practice this as well and what is your safe haven so to speak?
I often find myself out in nature when I need to take time away from the studio. I really find it peaceful and it often puts me into a meditative state.
Question 15: What are your five all time favorite tracks from the dance music scene and which out of your own creations holds a special meaning to you?
Here are five of my favorites: “Motorcycle – As The Rush Comes”, “Rank 1 – Airwave“, “Robert Miles – Children“, “Reflekt – Need To Feel Loved” and “ATB – Ecstasy“.
It’s amazing how a track can transport you back in time… My collaboration, “Awake” with “Molly Bancroft” under “Tucandeo, is certainly a timeless track for me that holds a special place in my heart. I’ve taken it to many shows and it always receives a great response. It brings back so many great memories for me, in particular from playing at events like “Luminosity Beach” and “Trance Nation“.
A massive thank you for your time and amazing interview Danny!