Full quality for number 31 in our series - a tight 50 mins gliding through tasteful avenues in jazz, house & electronica from Daryl Knows, one of Singapura's most steady veterans on the circuit. The Darker Than Wax core member and resident DJ at Offtrack & Headquarters has been on a constant up ever since the return of nightlife here, so we thought we'd shine a light. Peep the interview and have a listen below, it's a perfect mix to set the tone before a night out or to keep it going at the afters.
Hey Daryl! Great to finally have you on the series. How are you doing these days and what's been inspiring you?
Hello, I’ve been doing good! Ever since the country opened up mid last year, there has been a renewed energy in the music scene. Everyone has been really creative with their parties due to the lack of venues and it’s a breath of fresh air. Also being on the team that started Offtrack, a music-centric restaurant/bar, has given me an avenue to explore more music beyond the usual club setting. Everything seems to be moving in the right direction now and its exhilarating.
You've been steadily DJing and collecting music for quite some time and have amassed quite the library spanning all sorts of gems. Can you tell us a little about how your obsession for music began, where it has taken you and what kind of digs have been exciting you lately?
I’ve always surrounded myself with music as far back as I can remember. Like a soundtrack to my life, every period has been marked by a certain album or genre. From singing along to The Beach Boys when I was a kid, to blasting Rage Against The Machine to stay awake during my morning commute in secondary school, music has always been an escape. My friends and I would carry out a CD wallet wherever we went and swapped albums on a weekly basis. I guess I’m still doing the same thing now, getting mad excited to share my recent digs at my gigs.
I’ve been a house head at heart and found my love for it again after the recent Musclecars gig. Been digging in that direction again lately.
How have you found your approach evolving over the years?
To be honest, ever since I’d been doing gigs on the regular, my digging became more functional. I’ll listen to a track and picture where it could work, as peak time banger, something for the warm up, maybe to transition genres, or suitable for a beach bar etc. Everything had a function.
I was listening to so much 4/4 electronic music in the years before the pandemic hit, as I was doing club sets on a weekly basis, and constantly felt the pressure to keep things fresh. One good thing about being in lockdown was that it allowed me to slow down and enjoy music for what it is again. Now I try to strike a balance between tracks I love and being functional.
It's a bold move changing your moniker mid career! What was the spark that led the move?
Being a DJ was never on my cards at the beginning. Did it as a hobby at home just for kicks. So when I landed my first gig, I did the easiest thing when they asked for my moniker. First name last initial.
When the gigs became more and more regular, I felt like I switch was in order. Daryl C wasn’t memorable, I could see it getting lost on people when they ask me what my DJ name was. I had to change it soon if I wanted to take it more seriously and wasted no time on it.
The switch was easy because there was a catch phrase amongst the regulars, ‘Daryl see(C), Daryl Knows’. Immediately, I thought Daryl Knows would be fun to use cause it’s something people could play around with.
You've also forged some great musical connections with your design work over the years, can you tell us a bit about a particular poster or design you really enjoyed working on and what you liked about the process?
One of the posters I really enjoyed working on was for the Anderson Paak show that Collective Minds were doing. Usually I’d try a few different styles and designs before knowing what could work. But for this, it struck me while I was looking at the images and everything flowed pretty seamlessly.
The artwork for the recent Tempo series at Offtrack is another of my favorites. Being able to work on a gig flyer again after the 2 year lull felt amazing.
Do you find your approach to design and music to come from a similar place, do they inform each other or do you kind of compartmentalise the two?
They are quite similar and they both scratch my itch to create. I’m thinking about moods, textures, structures, flow, balance etc. when I’m working with them, constantly coming up with ideas on how to elevate what is perceived. But I would say when it comes to DJing, I feel more like I’m curating a show, finding pieces from other artists to make something cohesive, rather than creating from scratch.
This is the first mix on the series to be recorded in a live setting. Can you tell us a bit about the context of the night, what inspired your selections and were there any favourite moments along the way?
The mix was a warm up set recorded during a dinner/drinks setting before a live set by the very talented duo of Bongomann and FZPZ. Was going vibey without being too imposing. Sip drinks nod head kinda mood. I always love listening to mixes recorded in a live setting, its like a memory captured in sound.
Leon Vynehall's Midnight On Rainbow Road is such a beautiful track, really happy to hear that being rinsed still! How did you discover that track and what was the context?
I can’t remember how I discovered it, probably on a Boiler Room Debut. But I'll always remember hearing it being played at Pitch Festival in Melbourne. Its a festival that’s out in the bush, and someone dropped it during sunset. Imagine listening to that while being surrounded by nature, cool crisp air on your face, the land glowing orange from the sun disappearing being the tree line. Pure magic!
What's on your rotation when you're off the decks these days?
Usually I’ll just shuffle all my music and see what happens but recently I’ve been playing a lot of Ezra Collective’s ‘Where I’m Meant To Be’ at home. Pretty great album to start the day with.
Where can people catch you playing next and are there any upcoming projects or events you'd like to shout out?
I guess upcoming gigs will be:
Regular Thursdays at Offtrack, Upstairs with Leland on 17th Feb, Opening for Zimmer with Ulysses on 25th Feb, The Last Mile on 4th March & some regional ones in the works ;)
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