DJing, working as a drummer, running his own label JEUDI Records, composing for other acts and, of course, producing his own emotive, wistful signature tracks that have cemented Doctor Dru’s reputation as a purveyor of the finest house music.
Years of deep musical knowledge are reinterpreted through Doctor Dru’s electronic productions, fueled by his dedication to beats, rhythms and melodies, which began long before his first records got their groove going. Seeing any sort of sticks made him drum, hearing every genre of audio constantly inspired him to bring his ideas into musical life.
Doctor Dru’s scores of machines were fiddled with, investigated and pushed to their limits. Ahead of his latest release, titled ‘Barial’ out now Mobilee alongside fellow artist, M.E.M.O. we sat down as part of our behind the headphones series.
It is no secret that you have a love for synthesizers. What is it that first drew you to them & what makes them stand out compared to other production methods?
In my opinion, the analogues just have more character, they are more joyful to play with. My first synth was the Moog prodigy. I loved the rawness of the synth. Also, I had the Juno 106 which is such a simple synth you instantly fall in love with. When I’m working with analogue synths I can get lost in it. Maybe it is also the haptic feel to turn knobs and do stuff in a way you won’t do with a VST. But I’m not a purist. At least 50% of my stems are internal plugins. Or sometimes I work only with analogues or vice versa.
Since the eighties how has dance music changed
I was a kid with a taste from hard rock to old school hip hop back then but I like playing the old stuff. The industry obviously has changed a lot since then. You could write a book answering this question. Electronic music has never been so popular. I mean, the possibilities have never been so vast and the crowd of supporters is growing.
Focussing on the artists’ side nowadays; making music has become a more democratic process. The technical possibilities are endless and with just a laptop and a pair of headphones, you can create a perfect sounding piece of music. I think it’s an inspiring kind of boost and there is a lot of great stuff coming out of this.
On the other hand, we see an overflow of releases which is making the timespan for a tune to sustain shorter and shorter. It is more than ever about creating a brand and social media is the hub. The music you are releasing is only one part, Instagram the tool of the moment and this as well changed the music. For some, it is the 50seconds that’s important, the big drop that makes you shine, when everybody puts their phones up. For the timeless pieces with a good hook and melody, you still have to dig deep though.
and how do you see the art of the DJ evolving?
However, technology will always evolve but when it comes down to the classic art of DJing it will always be about the art of being a good selector. Curating a night or your two-hour slot and being able to anticipate your crowd and take them with you requires masses of experience and skill. If you want to get the best out of an artist performing make sure there is a good monitors and a well-tuned sound system.
We get the impression that you are one of those people that live and breathe music. We have heard that if you see any sort of stick you start drumming, the right rhythm and you’ll start swaying. How important do you think music is in today’s society & do you think it has a role to play in social, political & environmental change?
Haha, yes I’m really 24/7. Music has dominated my life since I was 12 and started playing the drums. It is not so obvious to me but when you ask friends they are like “you always hum something or play on something.” I guess music is evident for everyone because there are always waves moving making our body swing.
Music unites humans. Imagine spirituality, religion, political or environmental movements without music. Music has always played the role to empower a certain standpoint, to unite people or to differentiate each other from others and define a cultural standpoint.
Have you ever done anything, made a record, released with a label, taken a gig you wish you hadn’t?
Maybe, I m not aware of. Of course, with more experience, you would have approached things differently. But in the end, life is like this. There are good gigs and others that lead you to the good ones. It’s a constant process of learning.
You have made some truly classic House records. How hard is it not to repeat yourself in the studio and evolve with each release, but at the same time stay true to your sound? Do you wrestle with this?
I guess every artist who had some big tunes out is struggling with this. It’s a fine line. It is human that people like to repeat what they already know. However, you want to evolve and take your fans with you on your path. You might lose some on the way but I don’t like to repeat myself and I find so many styles interesting that it is hard to stick to the same pattern.
Also, we are evolving with time just naturally. The experiences I’m making out there playing, I’m bringing back to the studio and this reflects in my music. It takes courage to trust yourself that you are doing the right thing. In the end, I’ve learned that it all sounds like me anyway and I’m not approaching my tunes with a strategical point of view. At least I can play all my tracks in one set.
Finally, if you could make a track with anyone past or present who would it be and why?
I said a lot of times Prince as an artist. Or a day of production with guys like Scott Storch or Jay Dilla. But what would be really out of this world would be to produce a track with Johannes Sebastian Bach.