Label owner, producer, remixer and DJ: there isn’t much John Dahlbäck hasn’t done during his decade-young career. Now, at just 28, he sits atop the global dance scene with a forthcoming album on one of the world’s leading (and largest) electronic labels Ultra and a diary that defines the term transatlantic as he jets back and forth between America, Ibiza and beyond. Rewind just on eleven years and we find John at the start of his professional journey, signing his first releases at the tender age of 17, which even by the youthfully dominated standards of the world of dance, is remarkable.
“It wasn’t that surprising I signed a track at such a young age,” he humbly explains, “I come from a musical background so it had been a part of my life from day one. Both my parents are musicians, as are many of my immediate family, which includes my cousin Jesper who a few of you may also be aware of!”
But, this debut turned out to be the tip of the iceberg, as the release marked the birth of a four hundred title discography. Whether it was deep house and techno for legendary imprints like Kompakt or Dessous, through to the later expansion of his style to incorporate the energy of big-room electro for the likes of Ultra, Spinnin’, Protocol, Toolroom, Dim Mak Big Beat, Phazing and Wall there are few - if any - who can boast such a varied and impressive musical CV. However, what makes this achievement even more historic is that he also found time to establish and develop not one, but two labels all of his own.
His first, Pickadoll ran for five years from 2005 to 2010 and featured some of the world’s most cutting-edge producers; alongside his own recordings, which included two artist albums, it notched-up close on fifty releases and provided John with a very clear understanding of what it takes to run a label, a knowledge he admits was invaluable come the launch of the new imprint Mutants.
“I had a real vision about Mutants. I can now hear within a couple of seconds whether a track will fit, which is important because, although I feature some of my more experimental material on there, it’s really a showcase for who I currently think are the most exciting producers in the world.”
And, just in case there was any further doubt regarding his mission statement, John’s summer highlight of 2013 is the first in a label artist led ‘Mutants Presents’ compilation series, which he personally mixed and describes as “... (a) merger of Mutant’s past, present and future... a testament to the skill and talent of the producers we’ve featured and, in some cases, discovered.” So, keep a close watch on this space, there’s no doubt John’s devotion to Mutants will continue to help cement it’s position as one of the planet’s most exciting independent dance brands, although by hid own admission it is keeping him on his toes,
“It’s a good job the process of A&Ring the label is a by-product of my DJing,” he expands,”I’m not sure where I’d find the time otherwise!” This is no understatement; John Dahlbäck the DJ IS a very busy boy! In recent years his diary has bloomed and taken him around the world. Repeatedly.
Most recently it has paid the ultimate acknowledgment as he secured a residency in the fast emerging clubbing Mecca of Las Vegas at the Wynn XS, which puts him in the rarified company of a handful of notable A-listers who’ve also turned to the city as a residing base.
“I’m honoured and delighted to be one of the few who get to play in America so often,” says John with glee, “Whether it’s Vegas or beyond the crowd’s are always amazing and enthusiastic.” When not acquainting himself with one of the fifty states, John’s equally happy touring the globe, establishing himself at seminal venues and festivals such as Pacha & Ushuia Ibiza; MoS, London; Mansion & Liv, Miami; Tomorrowlands Belgium, Tomorrow World Altanta, Dance Valley, Holland; Green Valley Brazil, EMPO Mexico, Stereosonic Australia and so the list goes on...
Despite the fact John can only play one city in one country a night, he keeps his global fanbase happy (over 200k Facebook likes and counting) with his weekly Mutants Radio Podcast. Whilst John thinks being in front of a microphone ‘feels weird’, he’s fully embraced the importance of digital and social media and uses it as way to interact with his fans as much as possible as he explains,
“Feedback’s really important to me. It helps shape my output and decide on future endeavours. I know it’s been said before, but I wouldn’t be where I am without my fans so their voice is crucial. They’re the future really.” Wise and fitting words indeed: John Dahlbäck and the future are two things that undoubtedly go hand in hand.