Los Angeles-based artist Johny Dar has worked on a host of creative projects with famed names such as Florence Welch, Elton John, Victoria Beckham and Sam Smith and had his work featured in respectable fashion publications such as Vogue, Elle, Harpers Bazaar and Le Monde to name but a few. Dar has recently decided to express his passion for originality and art through music, delivering a new sonic language that merges organic vocal expression with electronic production.
Johny Dar shies away from citing influences, preferring to keep his ears and mind free in order to create entirely original artistic expressions, therefore does not generally seek inspiration from other artists. However, Dardelica has been described as having similarities to Daft Punk, Moby, Chemical Brothers, Infected Mushroom, KLM, and others.
We caught up with Dar ahead of the release of his new single, “Gigi”, co-produced by Dan Vinci (Faithless, Snoop Dogg, Skream).
Tell us about you, how long have you been producing music? What did inspire you to start?
I’ve been producing sound on my own for some time now. Alien-rap is a new sonic lan- guage that came naturally as I developed my artistic expression in the visual realm, but it was only a couple of years ago that I decided it was time to bring it to the world at large. When I met Dan Vinci, I knew the alchemy was right and that he could deliver the cutting edge production side of the project, so together we started fusing my vocal instrumenta- tion and lyrics with experimental production techniques, and began developing the Dard- elica sound.
The music industry is super competitive these days, was there a moment in your life that you wanted to give up on music? How did you manage to stay focused and achieve what you want?
After growing up in New York and LA, I had to give up the idea of giving up. I felt ready to enter some of the riskiest businesses (art, fashion, music) with the aim to not be taken out by the competitive nature of the industry. The big machine is missing the heart in its dealings. I only create and enter any industry from the heart, with no expectations other than inspiring others not be afraid to create as long as they are feeling it in their heart. I believe the rest of the rewards will come as the love spreads – so giving up is just not an option.
How would you describe your creative processes? Who writes the lyrics to the songs? Are the music and lyrics written in conjunction, or separately?
I write the lyrics, and usually have the vision of the song, which I share with Dan and then he works on the music. Then we bounce it between us and refine the production until we are satisfied that we have taken it to the next Dardelic level! Sometimes Dan is creating the beats while I am creating the lyrics and then we realise we have been working on the same track without even knowing it, and it just comes together. The process doesn’t al- ways follow the same formula – when we are in the studio we just set the intention and go with the flow – anything can happen and that’s the way I like it.
Where the inspiration comes from?
From beyond earth! That’s why it’s alien-rap :) Really, I’m coming from outer space…
What’s your favourite track from the upcoming album and what other bands/artists are you listening to right now?
Generally, I don’t listen to other artists much. I like to keep my ears and brain free to de- liver an original expression, so I deliberately limit my influences in that sense. My favourite track from the Dardelica album – that’s a tough one – I love them all because each of them has a specific purpose within the Dardelica spectrum – each one takes you on a journey through a certain emotion or a certain vibration. But.. Jama is a special one. I don’t need to explain why – it’s something you just feel when you hear it.
What’s next for you?
The Dardelica live show. I’m looking forward to this because it will combine so many ele- ments of my work – art, fashion, music, multimedia, directing… It’s a journey through all the senses – an intimate, intergalactic experience. I believe the music scene needs to evolve, and that people need music that empowers us to move in new ways, and gives us the possibility to rediscover our bodies and expand our perspective through the music alone, without needing any additional supplements. I’m always inspired when I see a gap in any industry – I naturally want to bring through an original creative expression that brings us into the future, something fresh and exciting to inspire the next generation. So that’s what I’m working on – a show that incorporates a 360-degree immersive experience using art, costume, dance, circus performance, and lighting – in ways that have never been seen on earth before…