Denaas is a London based DJ and A&R and is best known for spotting and connecting emerging talent. Not only was last year a big year for Denaas with lots of projects but the year of 2020 truly was Yasin's year in every way possible. The artist has been the most influential artist in Sweden ever since his first freestyles that was posted on the GSSTV YouTube channel some 6 years ago. As the anticipated debut album '98.01.11' had fed the thirst from many fans, Yasin and Denaas started working on 'More To Life' with the latter taking the role as an A&R. We had a quick chat with Denaas in our INT'L WOMENS DAY series.
TUKIO (T): As a DJ and A&R you seem to have one foot in the UK and the other in Sweden, both professionally and culturally. Tell us more about how that happened?
Denaas (D): Its been a slow but steady journey, I’ve always had love for Sweden however I felt like the environment didn’t elevate me enough and decided at 18 to pack my bags and move to London. I always knew I wanted to work within music I just didn’t know in what aspect and as I settled in London I started pursuing djing, watching YouTube videos, practicing and eventually getting booked and performing. Seeing the joy music brings people is what keeps me going and also made me decide to take it one step further and get my foot in the back side of the music industry: the production (A&R). Being able to be connected to both countries is key as I get to introduce a new vibe to the crowd, producer or artist and watch magic happen.
T: You worked as an A&R to the Yasin album ‘More To Life’ and the most recent project 'Del Två'. Tell us about your role and how it was to work with a top-charting album?
D: Working on 'More To Life' was a great experience as I got to connect my talented people from the UK with Yasin's unique sound and flow. My role as an A&R is to scout/connect for producers/artists that are suitable, gifted and keen on working. Besides to that I make sure the whole process runs smoothly with the artist through schedule, communication and long/short term planning. Working with certain artists like Yasin makes my job a lot easier as he is a very talented, determined and his work ethic is unmatched. One of my good friends fwdslxsh was also brought due to his talent, quality and taste for producing. Once they met it all just clicked.
T: What is next for you, anything in the pipeline that you are currently working with?
D: I'm working on a few projects right now however I can’t announce it just yet but I can say I’m working along side some of the most talented Stockholm and London based rappers and creators, the plan is to eventually execute it all when the restrictions in the UK loosen up a bit. Besides that I am learning to produce and aim to still push the DJ scene forward and prepping for my gig future gigs in London, Ibiza, Sweden and where ever my journey takes me.
T: The music-business is as many other sectors in our society, very male dominated. How has it been for you to work as a woman of color in the business.
D: To be completely honest, I used to get aggravated as I felt like I didn’t receive the same respect and ratings as the males doing half the job as me however as I process and develop I’ve come to the realisation that it’s only as powerful as I allow it to be & to remind myself that I am needed to be a part of the change, it’s also important to have convos like this with your friends, family, labels & generally people in the industry to ensure we are giving space to all the gifted hard working women in the scene.
T: Where do you see the relationship between the UK and the Swedish rap scene in a couple of years?
D: I could go on about this topic for ages but honestly I am just so joyful for the process & collabs I’m seeing generally within Europe/US/Africa. There is so much unexplored talent in these places and all that is really needed is for someone to connect the dots. Obviously I’m extra passionated about Sweden and UK as I have the knowledge and insight to spot and connect the talent. In the next coming years I expect a lot more UK features and producers wrapped in the Swedish rap scene and vice versa. Besides that we have amazing creators like creative directors, videographers, executive producers ets. I can only see the relationship growing stronger and the goal is to continue being the ear and bridge between the two locations.
T: Since the pandemic is holding you back in London we asked if you could send us in a mix. Which scene or situation could this mix be best suited for? And if you’ve got any other comments about
D: It’s honestly been so draining being unable to perform outside, cancelled festivals, tours etc so recording this mix was quite therapeutic as it took me back to a sweaty summer night in London with a shot of henny in my hand and someone asking for a weird song request or the person next to me accidentally steppin on my toe in the DJ booth lol. I think the whole vibe is just patiently waiting for summer and life to go back to normal so we can vibe again. Besides that I always try to ensure my mixes tell a story, almost like opening a book, I
want you to go through the motions, the ups and the downs, regardless if you’re in the club or in your kitchen.