Dany Neville: What I've Learned
I have spent my entire life battling to be accepted, both in society and the music industry.
Music is more than a job to me, it’s the way I speak to the world. I’ve never been very good at communicating with people face-to-face. I always found that I am better at expressing myself via music.
When I was younger I knew nothing about what music was, or frequencies or the nostalgia and feelings that music can create, I think that’s when music found me. That eight year old who locked himself in his room and listened to old tapes he found in his brother’s cupboard, didn’t make a conscious choice, it was just what spoke to me.
As both a producer and a DJ, I have to be very focused on the details. In my position a lot of people ask favours of me: “Why don’t you give this guy a break?”. The truth is, you have to be very careful because your reputation is based on your judgement. If you help someone who doesn’t deserve it by playing their song on the radio or at a festival, you have to be aware that you could be taking a ‘break’ away from someone who is potentially more talented. Because I am on both sides of it—making the music and selecting the music—I need to be very detailed to ensure standards are met.
When you DJ at a gig you have the ability to make people either love each other or fight each other at the end of the night. I understand how to play with emotions at a venue, I know how to take you up, and I know how to make you feel aggressive, and then bring you up again.
Right now, [because of Covid-19] everything is out of control and there is nothing we can do about it. Nothing good will come out of constantly worrying. I think that all of us need to use this time to assess our lives, and take this as an opportunity to fix something in our professional or personal lives that makes us unhappy. I don’t think the whole world will ever be this mentally free ever again.
My main income stream evaporated overnight. When they announced that all festivals in Europe were cancelled, five months of income disappeared. But, believe it or not, I am at the happiest and most productive I have ever been in my life right now. I have decided to embrace the ideology of making the most of a bad situation.
No one else knows better than you, even if you are wrong. Life is about going through whatever you want to go through, so never go against your gut.
People of my generation are going through a lot of s**t in the Arab world, dealing with things that are culturally taboo and you can’t talk about in our upbringing.
My mum passed away recently, and I decided to talk about it a public forum because I had a lot that I needed to get off my chest, and I knew that I would never be more raw in my thoughts ever again. I thought that if just one person heard my struggles and was able to relate and see that I turned out okay, then it was worth it.
If I take the knowledge I have learnt to the grave without passing it on or helping anyone with it, then that is foolish.