Breaking Through | 5 Questions with Dame Bonnet

The enigmatic producer absorbs Berlin's rich industrial, socio-political heritage to create cold, harsh soundscapes that are equally as danceable as they are nightmarish. With new single 'Corridor' out today (1st May), we caught up with Dame Bonnet.
Posted: 1 May 2020 Words: Tom Curtis-Horsfall

For Fans Of: Public Image Ltd., Andrew Weatherall, Curses

Enigmatic Berlin-based producer Dame Bonnet shied away from the rampant raving culture of the German capital having relocated there several years back, instead absorbing facets of the city's varied history. Europe's now distant politics of isolated individualism and political paranoia throughout the 80s proved a catalyst for Dame Bonnet's cold, harsh, but infectiously danceable new-wave/synth-punk aesthetic, the producer drawing parallels with the disillusionment felt even today. Albeit clinging to a dark corner of a dank club. 

Straddling both the dream-like and nightmarish states of mind, Dame Bonnet manages to conjure an emotional response despite the majority of his work being masked by trademark reverb. We caught up with the producer ahead of his new release 'Corridor' out on Ombra International today (1st May):

 - Who or what inspired you to make music?

I've been playing in bands or sessioning for artists since the age of 15, and wanted to make something I could completely call my own, use influences from the music that I'm really into like new-wave, or post-punk with an 80s vibe. My biggest influence in terms of bass-playing Chris Squire from YES, and wanted to create songs that centred on the tone of the bass. I moved to Berlin in 2015 - the cold, industrial side to the city played a huge influence in what I create today. 


- How would you describe your creative process?

When I started the project, I had to learn to use recording software and even after four years of using Ableton, I’m still very much a 'beginner'. On the plus side, I feel this has helped me write tracks by the straight-forward way I use it, by not over complicating effects and plug-ins etc. Generally speaking, I'll base the track around a bass line, introducing kick and snare as it progresses. A lot of the early tracks are just drums and multiple bass lines playing every role in the track. 


- Which of your tracks is your favourite to perform live, and why?

My favourite track is a track called ‘Bens Friday’ that came out on my first EP. I love it because it’s simple; just a bass and drums, but that’s all I felt it needed and it transgresses in a live setting as there’s not much that can go wrong.


- If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and why?

I've always wanted to collaborate with a vocalist, as a lot of the tracks are instrumental - I haven’t quite mastered singing, let alone singing and playing bass at the same time. Artists that I would to work with would be Agar Agar, BEA1991, Drab Majesty or Keluar. 


- What's the best advice you've ever been given?

I received two bits of advice that I believe are vital: it’s better to be a 'nice guy' who performs consistent and is reliable, rather than be the best musician, but rub people up the wrong way. Secondly, write music that you like - not because you think it might be cool for someone else. I think people see straight through tracks that aren’t genuine to the creator.


To listen to more Dame Bonnet, click here.

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