Text by CLOT Magazine
Our 35th Mixtape instalment comes from DAHJYN, a musician, producer and vocalist originally from the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. and currently based in Brooklyn.
Dahjyn, or Dan Jyn Suk Ahrendt, is currently a resident with a monthly show at Hong Kong Community Radio and has just recently published his debut EP, The gall (Most Dismal Swamp, 2021) which features additional remixes by Endgame, Thegn, and trngs, the fourth release of the Most Dismal Swamp label.
A newcomer to the swamp family, his sound is entirely akin to the label’s unique sonic aesthetics. With relentless industrial gut-punch percussion, textural power electronics, and reflective baritone verse, the album includes 5 tracks that embody a convulsive tension between an abrasive physicality and a brooding emotionality: a visceral incantation working through aggregate layers of trauma.
Alongside his particular self-exploration in identity and ability to express it, Dahjyn is continually inspired by amazing electronic musicians and producers around the world pushing his boundaries and expectations.
In this mix, the musician tells us, he covers a very solid gamut of his driving nostalgia combined with the newer driving interests in his ears. The personal arc has moved from a past more anchored in post-punk romanticism, moving into the atmospheric self-obliteration of the heavier experimental pulling from the traditional music he’s found himself lost in.
What was the creative process like for the production of your new EP? What were you sonically and conceptually (if so) exploring with it?
I started this EP shortly after arriving in Brooklyn from Seattle in the summer of 2019 and finished it in May 2020. Having the world drastically change within that slim period didn’t change how I produced (loudly, in my apartment), but it definitely changed the timbre of the material. What started as a more elegiac and atmospheric effort exploring a new city and life here swiftly became building a wrecking ball.
What was your creative process like? And what were the main challenges for this production?
I typically derive a lot of inspiration and experience from simply going to shows, be they various club nights or standard 3 act bills. Not being able to do that felt utterly bizarre, which led me to look for support and stimulation from the structures everyone was scrambling to build online. While my initial spacious conceptions for creating were stifled, the frustration had me dipping back into the metal and industrial tensions I associate with anger as energy. This made mangling baritone riffs and screaming into a mic a hell of a lot easier. Punching the wall becomes a lot easier when you feel you need to.
The album was mixed by producer/engineer Randall Dunn; how was the experience of working with him? How did he compliment your work?
I’ve known Randall tertiarily for a few years, and working with him at Circular Ruin Studios was a delight. Given his production catalogue of progressive and heavy music, I felt that he’d breathe greater life and dimension into this EP, and he definitely did like the wizard he is. Everything from shaping impacts into howitzer quakes and DnB percussion irradiation.
What are your main inspirations for your productions these days?
In April of 2020, I had planned on visiting Korea to see family I haven’t been with for 15 years. That not happening has led me to a lot of digging and searching in other ways, giving me a lot of perspective on my family’s movements over the last 70 years and the grim reality that informed them. Alongside my particular self-exploration in identity and ability to express it, there continues to be no end to amazing electronic musicians and producers around the world (Nyenge Nyenge Tapes in Uganda, Absurd Tracks in Hong Kong, Dais Records in the US, etc) pushing my boundaries and expectations, even getting me to bite the eurorack bullet.
What is your relationship with technology nowadays, how do you use it for your practice? And how do you cope with technology (screen/digital) overload?
I’ve been a web developer for almost a decade now. Combined with staring into Ableton’s depths regularly, I often feel like my eyes might fall out of my head. That being said, I have an increasing interest in hardware for my initial production needs. Eurorack has done wonders to keep me childishly fascinated, as opposed to deleteriously losing my creativity in the world inside the screen.