It was October 30th in 2009 in Los Angeles, and CONTROL — the longstanding Friday night weekly at the Avalon in Hollywood — was throwing their annual Halloween Masquerade. It was a big night, as CONTROL had opened up all three rooms of the entire venue (including Bardot upstairs) with a total of 11 artists playing throughout the night. Headlining the event were Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard of Hot Chip, who were supported by two of electro’s most exciting names at the time in Drop the Lime and Danger, both of whom had brought their live sets to the historic venue. (Side note: a young, pre-Skrillex Sonny Moore was billed second in the smallest room that night.)
Danger, the masked mysterio who blew the blogosphere away a couple years prior with his debut EP 9/14 2007 as well as the early 2009 release of 9/16 2007, was the night’s focal point, as the faceless figure with giant circular eyes conducted a flawless set that felt equally cinematic and dynamic. From that moment on, Danger was solidified in my mind as electro’s enigma. A patron of pushing the genre forward and exploring the depth of a sound known mainly for its “Is it a banger?” mentality.
Now in 2017, 10 years after the introduction of Danger, the Parisian producer returns with the project’s debut album titled 太鼓 (Taiko). Inspired dually by ancient Japanese culture and traditional anime narratives, 太鼓 is score-like in its composition and, as Danger reveals to NEST HQ, exhibits some of the French musician’s most emotional offerings to date.
While the official drop date is yet to be revealed, the album is expected to see release sometime this summer, so we jumped at the rare chance to have Danger answer a handful of questions about 太鼓 and preview a grip of the new music in this week’s NEST HQ MiniMix. Listen in and read on below.
It’s been a few years since we’ve gotten a solo body of work from Danger. What inspired the hiatus and is there a significance of the timing of your return?
It’s been 10 years since I’ve started Danger. I’ve never been into the album format, but after all these years I find I’m ready to tell a more personal story with a fully thought-out format rather than putting 4 club tracks on an EP.
What has changed for you in that time? Approach, artistic mentality, sound, etc?
I think as an artist and as a human being I’m primarily influenced by the changing landscape of musical trends, video games, and movies. And everything there is evolving so quickly – even the way we feed ourselves all of that content. This has directly affected me and where my sound has come to now as I’ve always been grounded in developing a hybrid sound between club power, soundtrack chills, & romantic melodies.
How did your linkup with Porter and Madeon late last year for the Shelter Live Tour come about? I’m guessing they were fans of yours? How was that experience?
Even if I wasn’t used to collaborating with proper EDM acts it was pretty obvious that touring with Porter and Madeon would make sense because we all share the same influences on anime manga and video games. Artworks, visuals, and cultural elements are essential in our worlds. Mine is just a darker, stormier place. It was a nice match for a tour, with both very bright and very dark chapters as we took the stage. It was great to talk with those guys about how we all consider music: the take-away is that music is only one aspect of a larger and deeper visual narrative experience. To P+M: Thx again guys.
You recently dropped the lost tape for 太鼓 as a bit of a teaser to your upcoming project. Would you say this is representative of the other unreleased music you’re currently sitting on?
Yes, 太鼓 is my upcoming album title. The music’s very eclectic as it embraces many different influences. Creating that sort of elixir between shadows, spooky basses, and religious ethnic taiko drums was a real challenge for me to create. Even if the common theme is the asian/religious aspect.
There’s always been a dark sense of drama in your productions, as if composed more like a score. Is this an accurate interpretation of the way you make music?
Yes, I consider the music I make to be my life’s soundtrack. And in a way I think you can wear my tracks as costumes – where one song could be a mask then another one could be a helmet and another one a total suit of armor…
Can you elaborate at all on the upcoming release? Is there an overall theme or concept?
The album title is the kanjis “太鼓” which means “taiko”, a massive drum that’s been in use since ancient Japan. The taiko drum is such an interesting instrument to me as it’s used in many aspect of the Japanese culture – it was used in war-time as a guide to battle, but also in many delicate religious ceremonies. I witnessed a baptism last year in Kyoto, and it has nothing in common with those we have in western culture. They are playing these glorious, ancient drums that connect the present moment with their deep tribal roots and past generations. I thought it was so powerful. As a French teenager I embraced both Asian culture and comic-book culture. 太鼓 is loaded with childhood feelings and many emotions that were almost absent from my past releases. The recent violent events in France have also brought me to contemplate my relationship and connection with innocence, even if I always try to be on the very darkest edge of it. The juxtaposition between ultraviolence & innocence – that’s what I was exploring with this album. It’s the same narrative you get when you’re watching anime afterall. And my goal has been to design a musical feeling that’s equivalent of that when you’re watching anime.
Finally, the mix you’ve put together for us appears to cover a lot of ground sonically. Could you tell us about how you’ve arranged this and any standout records we should be keen on?
Yes – this mix basically introduces and explores the tone and contours you’ll find in my upcoming album. You’ll hear the hybrid between eastern and western music & between 80’s retro and more contemporary sounds. In this mix I also incorporate a lot of anime voiceovers from famous Japanese directors to really hammer home the Japanese film/video games/anime soundtrack influences that guided the creation of this whole album. Hope you enjoy.
1789 Records Intro
Danger – 7:17
Danger – 11:02
Danger – 8:10
Danger – 11:03
Danger – 8:02
Danger – 11:50 ft Lil Brain
Danger – 10:00
Danger – 19:00 ft Tasha The Amazon
Danger – 22:41
Danger – 9:00
Danger – 6:24
Danger – 4:30
Danger – 3:00