Coffee break with Denis Horvat

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From the studio to the dance floor, Copenhagen based DJ and Producer Denis Horvat has conquered the electronic music scene with his fresh and consistent sound, which he likes to call “Synthesiser Techno". With multiple releases on AEON, Innervisions and Exit Strategy, Denis has recently signed his latest quality record on Afterlife.

Let’s have a coffee and a chat with Denis about his music upbringing, his relationship with some of the labels he’s been working with and how it helped build his music career.


In your bio you mentioned listening to your dad's records and playing the drums as a kid. How did this influence your production? 

My dad is definitely one of my inspirations. He listened to all kinds of music. The artists I remember most are Depeche Mode, Blondie, Donna Summer and Billy Idol. I guess the 80’s sounds inspire my productions. 


In 2009 you moved to Copenhagen to focus on your music career. Almost 10 years later, are you satisfied with this choice? Are you planning to move somewhere else in the future? 

I had to move to Copenhagen since all the underground clubs are here. And I wanted to start networking as well. In the past few years I managed to build my dream studio here in Copenhagen, so I guess it was the right thing to do :) For now I’m staying here - I love my city. 


In the past you mentioned that you are a ‘Synthesiser geek’. Which synth had the biggest influence on you and why? 

Do you have any particular routines when you make music? 

I love analog hardware in general - but yes, I have a passion for vintage synths. I bought a Moog Model D recently, which is my favourite synth for the moment - but that changes from time to time. In my latest EP ‘Modelo’ I used my Mono/Poly for making the crazy arpeggiator in ‘Natural Causes’. I think it’s hard to tell which synth has an influence, my ideas usually come up when I’m jamming. That’s actually how I start to make a track. 



Your relationship with Alex Niggemann and his label AEON was definitely a turning point in your career. Can you tell us more about this? 

I’ve always been a fan of Alex’s music, and when he launched his label AEON 5 years ago, I sent him my demos. My second EP ‘Cedevita’ was particularly a turning point for me. It received heavy support from the Innervisions guys, and gave me a good exposure. I guess it was a combination of hard work and good music :) 


Last month you released a 3-track EP on Afterlife, ‘Modelo’ EP, which has already become a club favorite. What is the story behind this record? 

After my contribution to Afterlife’s ‘Realm Of Consciousness Pt.II’, Matteo and I decided that I should work on an EP. Originally ‘Natural Causes’ was supposed to be on the compilation, but when I sent him ‘Bruto’, he insisted on going with that one instead, and use NC on my next EP. Slowly we found 2 more tracks that fitted in.


Your ‘From the studio, to the dance floor’ videos have thousands of views. Have you ever considered teaching music production? 

I’m really happy about the engagement on these videos. My idea was to show people how I came up with the elements in my tracks - just easy basics of course. I don’t think I’d be a good teacher to be honest. I just think I have my own workflow which would be hard to teach others. For me it’s all about having a setup, which makes your workflow and process easy. 


What do you like to do when you are not playing around the world or making music in the studio? 

There’s a lot of stuff to do. I love riding my cafe racer during summertime. Unfortunately we don’t have the best summer in Denmark. But when the sun is out, I enjoy it to the fullest! I also have a nice crew of friends to hang out with. And then I try to stay healthy with gym and running. 


What are your plans for 2018? 

There might be a live set ready by the end of the year. It depends on how busy 2018 will turn out to be.


Interview by Dario Dea

Coralie Lauren