Ryan Dahl

Sitting down with Ryan Dahl after his Movement set at the Pyramid Stage, he talked about what makes a good artist, throwing parties, and artists to watch in Detroit.

This is your first time playing Movement, you’re from Detroit, and you’ve been playing a while. Is there a certain move you made that landed you a spot on the lineup?
I equate being a really good artist to being a well-rounded person. People ask me, “How can I play better gigs? How can I make better music?” I say to make music, be a producer, DJ — play vinyl, play CDJs — play all formats, volunteer your time, throw parties, throw events, do some branding, focus on your graphic design. These things are so important and unfortunately they’re very overlooked. That’s how I think I got booked for the festival because I’m really into throwing my own events, I’m really into supporting my friends’ events, and I’m very into DIY.


What’s the hardest part about throwing parties?
The scene is full of party people. The crowds normally really great. People who aren’t familiar with techno music are like, “Am I gonna get beat up at these parties?” I’m like, “Are you crazy? We’re the chillest people ever.” The crowds are great, but I think sometimes you work with venues or owners who aren’t so ethical and you gotta check that. I’m a huge fan of trusting my gut. If my gut tells me something is weird, it’s normally true. It helps to be able to be calm while not being calm. It’s about enthusiasm.


I just read a recent piece with you talking about incorporating locals’ music into your sets.


Any names you want to drop?
BeatLoaf is an amazing producer; specifically I think he makes great breakbeat and electro music. There are a lot of unknown talents who have been around here forever, like this guy Mister D; he’s this old school cat and his music’s amazing. This guy, Detroit In Effect, an old school ca, is awesome. DJ Nasty is an older booty and electro DJ from the early 2000s and his stuff is unbelievable. There’s also a lot of upcoming people; a lot of my peers are amazing and this is one of the most competitive cities in the world for DJ’ing so it makes us really good.

Are there any cities in US you can compare to Detroit in terms of its techno music scene?
New York is fun and there’s so much going on, but it’s becoming harder to throw DIY parties there because it’s so saturated, but they throw some of the best parties there because it’s New York. I went to a Hot Mess party in Pittsburgh for the first time a couple weeks ago and that’s a really cool city. Baltimore is throwing great DIY stuff. Buffalo — I’m playing out there in a couple weeks — is amazing. Those cities are doing very well. Normally not the cities you hear about a lot. The cities you don’t hear much about, in my opinion, are doing amazing. I’m interested in the cities that are better at throwing stuff that’s unique and eclectic.


Anything big coming up?
I’ve been working my tail off making music. I’ve got a good feeling about it too, so look out for some releases in the next few months because I think things are gonna happen.