A peaceful Wednesday night in Friedrichshain and through the glowing window pane in the hof at Gubener St 47, a collective of brilliant musical minds sat down to listen to 50 Weapons and NUMBER’s very own “Doc Daneeka”.
The first guest lecture at dBs Music Berlin’s purpose built space was a laid back affair and at capacity; students from all classes and courses lounged comfortably around the hot seat with degree tutor Florian Zwietnig casting the questions. The aged friendship between Mial Watkins (Doc Daneeka) and Florian was there for all to be recognised but the discussions never floated into over-familiarity. The agenda conveyed a fantastic story laced with humility, delving lightly into the follies of artist management, the pressures & joys of collaboration and the wonderful concrete jungle that cannot stop giving: Berlin.
His introduction from Florian was met with rapturous applause and the interview commenced… First up, Doc’s fantastic new collaboration with Apron Records’ new soul maestro Seven Davis Jr – “What’s It Gonna Be?”: a house track straight from the gold vault, jacked to the rim with pure LA funk and destined to be a serious hit at a club night near you. With listeners still cooing over the premiere release on his own label “Ten Thousand Yen”, Doc Daneeka and Florian took the time to delve straight into the intricacies of collaboration and the role artist management can play.
“I had some some experience with management on a more serious and realistic level… It is not necessarily a good thing. There are a lot of people out there just to exploit you. Essentially peddling emails and taking 20% of your money is not hard work. You have to balance out if they are worth 20%, I hope that isn’t too cynical a view for everyone here but it’s a realistic thing for you guys that are just about to make your big move, you can do a lot without management at the start. As you get busier, I think maybe it’s more worthwhile. ”
Hailing from Swansea, Wales – Mial’s weekly excursions between home and London saw him fuse inseparable bonds with some of the UK House and UK Funky’s scene’s biggest artists. His arrival in Berlin back in 2011 was subject to a highly pressured yet fruitful collaboration LP release with lifelong friend, techno wizard and fellow 50 Weapons player – Benjamin Damage.
“Ben’s great with synthesis… when it comes to collaborations, always work with artists who are really good at what you are bad at. So Ben’s perfect for me because I am really good at all the things he is bad at and he is really good at all the things I am bad at.”
The pair crossed the finish line after an incredible amount of creation and determination, a story which by the sounds of things changed Doc Daneeka’s life and career for ever.
“We had a deadline to meet and in the end, one of us was catching 20 minutes sleep whilst the other would delve into constant beats… The inspiration of two people working together was crucial but also the importance of a city. You walk around and everything is different and everything is new, you get excited by little things and you know it’s important to be excited when creating any art. You don’t want to be stuck in some lame mindset. You will never be interesting unless you are interested!”
The evening’s proceedings were wrapped up a little later than usual to no concern at all; Doc Daneeka’s listeners were hanging on every word and were left with much food for thought. The music industry can often sound like both a terrific and terrifying place, but with people like Mial carefully laying out it’s truths with this much care and honesty, students care rest assured that their passion will always provide them with the right type of progress.
“There’s no need to go looking for bookings and management when really you should just concentrate on your art, and everything else will fall into place”