Desyn Masiello was a brand for progressive sound on its peak at the turn of Millennium. He made lots of friends playing solo or as part of SOS trio in the shores of Adriatic sea and its backyards. Now he’s finally returning for a gig at the legendary K4 club in Ljubljana on November 24th for a very special party hosted by Seekers x Phi collective, supported by Alex Picone & Niff.
Hello Desyn, you've made lots of friends in our home region in the past but we have to update them a bit with what were you up to lately.
You mean they are not all retired, pipe and slippers and settled down with kids by now? I have the pipe, slippers and kids, but hopefully, my old Slovenian friends, like me, are not quite retired yet.
Why did you drop the Masiello and started performing just as Desyn? That was a strong brand, so I presume you needed kind of a fresh start?
There is definitely a sense of a fresh start musically. My heart and soul remain the same, yet my imagination has deepened and this side is the fresh start I wanted to represent also by a change in how my name is represented. My love for more minimalistic music with a deeper dimension of sound should be starting to come to the realization to those that are listening carefully. This is less or more the approach to music that I have been nurturing over several years and represented with the name chosen to go forward with as being fewer words than before.
Also, there was this feeling after taking a long break from touring and some space to reflect on from what has happened before, that there was no need to keep using my full name. The purpose of a name on a flyer is only to let people know that you are playing the event and as I have yet to meet another DJ out called Desyn, there was no purpose to use my full name. Finally, there was a strong feeling that using only Desyn gives a more personal and intimate connection with the people.
How much did your sound change since you were regular in Slovenia with the sound of Balance, Yoshitoshi, Global Underground, Bedrock? Where do you fit in now?
The essence of the sound, which I have always tried my best to express, is the same. However, there has been some evolution. There is now a more elegant approach, more spacious and trippy feelings, more extraordinary, dark and funky vibes, and overall more variety and imagination. There is still a sense of uplifting when needed, lots of good party vibes, and still the overall sense of love, mystery and melancholy. I feel there is a new dimension to the sound I play, a new depth, and a more defined structure, in terms of sound quality and rhythmic structures.
Discovering and developing this fresh approach has been partly due to the development of Discogs marketplace also, and myself spending my life savings on vinyl research via the database and a non-stop ethic of digging by hand all over the world wherever I go too - in shops and private collections. Mainly though Discogs has been a focus for me, and this has been a revolution for many to discover music unobtainable before, knowledgeable or physically. I have always been a digger in shops all over the world and especially in and around London where I grew up, however the past 7 or 8 years it’s been 95% focus on the Discogs database.
Unless you literally worked in a record store simultaneously in Europe, Asia and Americas for the past 25 years, there would be no way of finding even 1% of the music that you can now find via Discogs. It really is that important. Some people as a backlash to this will complain about prices and that there are other ways to dig, of course, there are negatives to everything, yet the records on Discogs were not always that expensive.
Coming in late to the game of collecting rare and special music is going to be an expensive way to find music now and that is the hard truth. It's rare, its art, its special - and more people want it every day - prices naturally go up - is the fault of economics - not Discogs. This was something that I saw start happening around 6 or 7 years ago and hence decided to check the database A to Z. In a very frantic and panic way that I shouldn't lose any more time, that this music would remain undiscoverable and unobtainable - and as a man on a mission to share the best music with the world - I haven't rested, not for a single minute. This process took about 6 years non-stop work, day and night. I couldn't afford to buy everything, of course. My savings from my DJ days and old records that I sold since I didn’t feel to play them anymore, generated more income; and so did the occasional DJ gigs.
I had to be very selective and in order to find many fresh and undiscovered records you have to buy lots of them "blind" (without a hearing) as there are no samples online for most. In this way I have found some amazing new music, however, you can imagine how much music I have now for the recycling plant (bad blind buys). :) There is a price to pay for all things, including evolution.
During this period of research and development, I was using almost every day advanced searching on the Discogs database, checking sometimes 20 hours a day, and finding many obscure and lost forgotten gems. I have mainly focused on 90's techno, minimal, progressive, house, early UK bleep, rave, German analog techno + house, French, Belgium, Dutch, Nordic techno and house, experimental, ambient, breaks, IDM, progressive, tech-house, UK garage, US house and techno, Japanese techno and house, Italian house and progressive trance ... I have collected close to 30,000 pieces of vinyl since I started digging around 1990, and half of those have been collected in the last 7 years. As time has gone by, my love and desire to discover electronic music have only deepened.
What can I say other than, I’ve given literally all my time and money to this love to discover and create DJ sets that could touch people, its a tireless and endless dedication driven from the spirit within, which got stronger with age, and I can only see it put on hold for my other love of music which is music production; something that I'm splitting my time doing now. DJ's have always sought the most timeless special records, and this is what has driven me to keep going - to connect and inspire others with wonderful music and feelings.In the end, all this collecting has a purpose, the DJ set. The vision of the DJ. It’s all about representing something you can not put in words, you can only express it from the music.
Why is vinyl still the format of choice for you as a deejay? What’s so special mixing vinyl? One could argue DJ can technically do much more using digital forms, especially laptops and some additional toys, but I’m sure there are also downsides to using too much or the latest technology.
Let’s have some fun with this question. :) Like when we were at school, and we got multiple choice questions, I’m going to give you a multiple choice answer and let's see what you think is (or are) the right one:
Why is vinyl still the format of choice for you as a deejay?
a) Is it a black magic?
b) It’s the artists aesthetic choice for painting sounds, similar to a painter that chooses oil and canvas over Photoshop?
c) It sounds better?
d) It just feels right?
e) It's more challenging to use vinyl, and the challenge is an ongoing and essential part of an artist life?
f) All of the above? :)
I do also like using technology as well. The line between studio and DJing is being greyed out all the time, and I am very aware of the abilities digital can bring over vinyl, and perhaps I'll do that in another way at another time as well. For this moment though, and when DJing alone, vinyl is the artist choice for me.
Can you share an anecdote or a nice memory from your visits to Slovenia?
All I’ll say is that I know how important electronic music is to the Slovenians. I must have played over 10 times there in the 2000's; there were some amazing times and I was able to connect with such strong and warm-hearted people, and although I haven't been there for many years now, I'm sure that the spirit of the people remains. I can tell you truthfully from travelling and DJing almost every country in the world, Slovenians in my eyes have a passion to dance and to love electronic music like very few other, and I feel very fortunate to come back and to play music for you guys again.
What’s the study material we should check before coming to your gig in the K4 club in Ljubljana?
This is my first official mix released in 10 years - the last one was with SOS. I did this mix with my longtime musical friend and partner Rowan Blades. It is 100% still me, and also 100% Rowan. It's the music that we both agreed after years of scouring my collection, that we would like to use in a mix. It is designed more for home listening and after party, yet it is a smooth and beautiful journey through some of the lost gems of electronic music and for sure has elements of what you would hear in any club set I play too. It’s a good place to start for a taste of what’s to come...
"Seekers x Phi w/ Desyn, Alex Picone, Niff at K4 in Ljubljana"
You can catch Desyn alongside his fellow masters Alex Picone & Niff on 24th November in a Slovenian most famous shelter, club K4. Alongside three guests there will be performances by Phi's local favourites Evano, and Nikolaj.