skip to Main Content

Dilby: “It’s easy to put a lot of pressure and expectations on yourself and your music”

Originally from New Zealand, Dilby is taking the world by storm with his unique take on underground music. Crafted from a classic house and techno palette but presented with a fresh modern twist. His sound is rich, warm, and musical, but aimed squarely at the dance floor. His passion and talent for electronic music are evident in the creative and innovative sound coming from his studio. A sound that sees him featured on some of the scene’s most iconic and respected labels and as an in-demand remixer, having worked his magic for artists including Mihai Popoviciu, Oliver Schories, Collective Machine, Tom & Collins amongst others. A firm favorite amongst tastemaker DJ’s his music is regularly championed by a diverse range of top-tier artists from Hot Since 82 to Diplo, Mark Knight to Nicole Madouber, who proclaimed his single Tomahawk to be one her most played tracks of 2021.

Today, Dilby is behind the release of ‘Darkest Night’, his newest EP for Ohral Recordings. We catch up with the producer to learn more about the drop, his life in Berlin, his first ties to electronic dance music, and more.

Electronic Groove: Hi Dilby! Welcome to EG! How’s your year so far? How have you been doing?

Dilby: Hi, I’m good thanks. The year begins in challenging times here in Europe. Clubs are closed in a lot of countries, including Germany, but I’ve got plenty of projects underway to keep me busy in the studio. I started a YouTube channel where I share my production knowledge. It’s an exciting venture, with a steep learning curve, and ensures I always have a million things on the go!

Electronic Groove: Congratulations on your return to Ohral with your ‘Darkest Night’ EP! You must be very excited. What has the reception been like so far?

Dilby: Thank you. I’m very excited about the release. The tracks went down well in my sets last year and I have had a lot of great feedback since previewing the EP.

Electronic Groove: What’s the inspiration behind this one? It seems as if there’s a story here…Or do you view your tracks more like sonic explorations?

Dilby: It depends on the project, but usually I like to spend some time coming up with a bunch of ideas very quickly, maybe five or six ideas in a couple of hours each. Then I will listen back at a later date and select projects I am feeling the most to complete. One benefit of not being out on the road so much in the past couple of years is that I have had a lot of time to focus on developing my workflow and creative process in the studio.

Electronic Groove: Your first EP on Ohral actually did very well…is there some sort of pressure to ‘replicate’ that kind of success? Does that play into the expectations?

Dilby: Yes, I was very happy with the response to my ‘Full Hearts & Empty Pockets’ EP last year. It’s still kicking around the charts on Beatport and continues to be played by the likes of Quivver, Oxia, and more. Of course, it would be amazing to follow up that success, but I try not to create too many expectations in this regard. There are a lot of things that go into a successful release and I can only control a few of those. Luckily my music is in great hands with Ohral. Hardy Heller and the team do a great job and it shows as the label continues to develop as a leader in their niche. I’m confident we’ve all done our best in preparation for the release.

“There are a lot of things that go into a successful release and I can only control a few of those”

Electronic Groove: What is your connection to Ohral? Why did you decide to release ‘Darkest Night’ via their platform?

Dilby: I was a fan of the label for a couple of years and reached out to Hardy Heller about doing something with them. I had the opportunity to get to know the Ohral family (Hardy Heller, Alex Conners, Maxie König, etc) a bit better and we really clicked. They invited me to play at their amazing boutique festival, Ponderosa. It was an awesome weekend with great music from Gorge, Martin Eyerer, Benny Grauer, Danjo, and more. Doing a follow-up release was something we talked about, and Hardy wrote me to ask for some tracks the same day I was preparing some new things to send him. I really value building ongoing relationships with labels, so I’m sure this won’t be my last outing on Ohral. Funnily enough, I was scrolling through YouTube recently and came across a track by Hardy Heller which I bought on vinyl back in 2002… seems as though it was meant to be!

Electronic Groove: By the way…this is your 10th year anniversary since you moved from New Zealand to Berlin. Can you reflect on the journey so far with us? Did you find what you were searching for?

Dilby: Wow, yes, it’s been a long time. As they say, “time flies when you’re having fun”. My wife (girlfriend at the time) and I came for a vacation in 2012 and never left! It has been and continues to be, an amazing period in my life. New Zealand is pretty small and very remote which would make it pretty challenging to develop a full-time career in underground house and techno music. I’m extremely grateful to have been able to pursue it.

Electronic Groove: And, how did you get into electronic dance music? Was there a record or song that kinda pushed you to it?

Dilby: I pretty much got into house music by accident! I was into skateboarding and hip hop growing up, and thought electronic music was pretty lame if I’m honest. In the late 90s, I started going to a local rave festival where I discovered house music. I lived in a small town and there weren’t many options for events, so if something was happening everyone went. I wasn’t into the music but went anyway, to party and talk to girls (laughter). I was really influenced by some of the acts they booked including John Digweed, Way Out West, among others, and ended up really getting into the music over the years and I began my love affair with house music and DJing in 2001. I was really into the deep tribal sound such as Peace Division, John Creamer and Stephane K, Lexicon Avenue, and would like to think you can hear some of those early influences in my productions today.

Electronic Groove: Let’s dive into your studio for a bit…what’s your workflow like? Do you use analog gear? Or is it mostly inside-the-box?

Dilby: I use a combination of hardware and software and this is the approach I took to this EP on Ohral. As I mentioned before, I have been working on refining my creative process over the past couple of years. A big part of this has been minimizing gear, both software and hardware, and developing habits and routines that aid creativity. My philosophy is centered around creating quickly, without judgment. I focus on finishing a lot of tracks and selecting the best ones to release. It’s easy to get in your own head when producing and put a lot of pressure and expectations on yourself and your music. In my experience, this is the quickest way to get writers-block and suck the fun out of the production process. I recommend every artist buys a copy of ‘The War of Art’ by Steven Pressfield. Big up my man Emanuel Satie for putting me onto that one!

“My philosophy is centered around creating quickly, without judgment. I focus on finishing a lot of tracks and selecting the best ones to release. It’s easy to get in your own head when producing and put a lot of pressure and expectations on yourself and your music”

Electronic Groove: What else can we expect from Dilby in the future? What new milestones are you looking forward to in 2022?

Dilby: I have upcoming releases scheduled on Pracht, Glasgow Underground, 43 Degrees, Superfett, Monday Social and I’m working on my next releases for Bondage Music, Mother Recordings, Omnia Rec, and 8bit. I’m also working on tours in Argentina, Mexico, and Australia/NZ amongst others. So there are plenty of good times on the horizon.

Electronic Groove: Thank you for your time Dilby! We wish you all the best for the future!

Dilby: The pleasure was all mine. Thanks for the chat and for supporting the music.

Dilby’s ‘Darkest Night’ EP is out now via Ohral Recordings. Purchase your copy here.

Follow Dilby: SoundCloud | Instagram | Facebook | Spotify

Back To Top