cone magazine

Interview: Daniel Dorobantu – “having a mentor is a great thing”

Interview with Daniel Dorobantu on Cone Magazine

From the moment you listen to a record by Romanian ambience producer Daniel Dorobantu, your perceptions will shift. Your mood changes, your attention diffuses, and any sense of anxiety or dread dissipates into serenity and calmness.

His music is spiritual and meditative. There is a metaphysical approach that you can hear in all its craft. His synth based textures take you on a cosmic wave through benign interpretation and into deep consciousness. The elements of his orchestral ensembles complement one another in such artistic form, and candid beauty.

Daniel was born in one of Romania’s largest cities Timisoara on October 18, 1975. He went onto Study in computer science, automatics and informatics at The Polytechnic University and The Tibiscus University in Timisoara.

By 1995 he released his debut album, going onto release a further 10 studio albums, under the aliases; Daniel Dorobantu, and his orchestral group Thy Veils which he founded in 1998. 

After releasing Thy Veils debut album Prologue, he began receiving attention from press, being picked up in Romania’s most revered music magazine “HMM 69” as a “best Newcomer”. The group then went on to do film scores for cinema, live concerts in Bucharest as well as Audio Visual performances in Berlin.

Daniel is also a multimedia artist, curating intricate visual screenplay and then inviting VJs to perform this content with him. Daniel was the first Romanian to be included in the permanent collection of the Arts Electronica Centre (Linz), arguably the best museum of electronic arts in Europe. His work with Michaela Konrad, named ‘Memories of Now’ is still on permanent display there.

His music is an apparent journey. A journey through life, and into the mystifying enlightenment of incognito. I catch up with Daniel, to learn more about the man behind the synths.

Peter: Hi Daniel. To begin, can you please describe your music for me?

Daniel: Hello Pete, hello everybody. Today I would describe my music as the sonic journal of an adventure into the wonderful unknown. I feel I have to quote Rumi here: “Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.”

Peter: There is something almost religious and spiritual in your music. Do you believe in a deity or higher power?

Daniel: For the first 24 years of my life I lived in a parochial house. I grew up with the sound of church bells and byzantine music. Later I’ve found lots of similarities between the reflexive practices of various spiritual traditions and the creative act that includes being inspired, which was natural to me. I think I am more of an explorer of reality. Contemplation and awareness are my tools and my joys.

Peter: The city of Timisoara is a candidate to become the European Capital of culture in 2021. What is it about the city that inspires you?

Daniel: I always enjoyed its green spaces. I love nature and in the recent years I spend all the time I can outside the city. Years ago the city’s effervescent underground music scene and multiculturality influenced me as it was a fertile climate for new artist.

Peter: You’ve mentioned to me before that your sound engineer Attila Lukinich had profound effects on Thy Veils sound. Can you explain the importance of having a mentor?

Daniel: Yes, he is a great sound engineer, a lovely person and a man of character. He has the great skill of being able to completely immerse into his work and build along with you, expanding on your vision. Since we started working together years ago, the harmony between what I think, feel and envision regarding sound, both in the studio or on location, increased exponentially.

Generally speaking, having a mentor is a great thing. Not only that your efficiency increases in your respective endeavour, but you escape easier from the ego-boosting considerations regarding your merits.

Peter: There is a lot of reference in your work to metaphysics, and self discovery. Getting to understand the self is an arduous journey. Can you elaborate on this idea?

Daniel: I love to travel, to explore and the journey within is the greatest of them all. Sure, like it is with most things, it may seem a bit like a struggle in the beginning, until you gain inertia.

Peter: Away from the music, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Daniel: Creating music or visual pieces, organising live shows or rehearsals or studio sessions, working with or for others, reading, doing nothing, traveling, cooking, cleaning and all the rest … it is a continuous flow.

Peter: Is there any artists you think deserve more attention at the moment?

Daniel: In the last years it became easier than ever to discover new art. Also, one’s attention can become more diffuse. A shift began and we will see where it will take us. For me these times are very interesting and I enjoy them. I will promote music from my local scene in the mixtape you invited me to make.

Peter: And finally, can you tell us a little about your Cone Presents mix?

Daniel: There are some of my all time favourite tracks: Jeff Buckley’s “Dream Brother”, Laurie Anderson (she wants to slip through time), Vangelis (he gives top advice: ask the mountains) or Lisa Gerrard. Also, I included soundtrack music from Harry Gregson-Williams and Bruno Coulais. There is also a track where Thy Veils’ members, collaborators and friends pay tribute to the SF writer Philip K. Dick (NAVE) and there are some recent favourites from the music scene of Timisoara: Sebastian Spanache Trio (Thy Veils’ man of rhythm Radu is a member of this national wonder team), the mysterious Exit Oz and their “Colț de rai” (corner/piece of heaven), the cosmic float of Alchemists, latest work from Romania’s experimental duo Makunouchi Bento and the organic metaphors of Shanyio.

Thank you Daniel for spending time with us. Thy Veils will be releasing a new album soon, and this month begin working with TVR (Romanian National Television) on a Thy Veils documentary.

He has also been kind enough to provide us the first in our new series of mixtapes called ‘Cone Presents’. Check this out below, or click here

Cone Presents Daniel Dorobantu /\ 001 by Cone_Magazine on Mixcloud


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