Some call it classically trained. Others call it old school. Many call it the only way: Dennes Deen earned his stripes as a real DJ. Not as a DJ/producer. Not as a producer who has to play gigs to pay for his studio. Not because his management told him to. Dennes is a DJ. A deeply passionate one who’s been hustling for 20 years.
1996: The hustle is real. Dennes, a teenager fresh out of the army, is queuing outside Vienna’s most infamous nightclubs. Too young to even enter the club, he hands out mixtapes to promoters, clubbers, staff, even security. The hustle paid off: By 17 Dennes was afterhours resident at Vienna’s illustrious Volksgarten, one of Austria’s most respected, longstanding house havens.
This is where his life as professional DJ began: Dennes held down his afterhours residency every Sunday morning for many years. Fusing deep, groove-laden soul with robust, rolling techno – a sound inspired by US originators Sneak, Vasquez, Carter, MAW and many more – it’s at Volksgarten where Dennes carved his sound and developed a legendary reputation as a man who could send off the city clubbers’ weekend in style. From regular Sunday disciples to famous DJs passing through, during the late 90s and much of the 2000s, Dennes entertained them all.
Reputation as one of the Austrian capital’s notorious sleep-stealers spread and bookings rolled in: First around Vienna, then around the country, then around Europe, then around the world. Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, France, Hungary, Romania, Spain, Portugal, Japan, USA, Thailand... The list goes on.
Worldwide recognition as a DJ alone: Dennes has spent the last 20 years on this selector’s crusade that’s almost unimaginable in the internet age where all DJs have to produce. From Space Ibiza to Nocturnal Miami and back again, he’s learnt the international language of house and techno playing the globe’s most illustrious venues alongside the game’s biggest names.
Productions did eventually follow... But only on Dennes’s terms. Preferring to focus on fine-tuning his DJ skills, Dennes refused to go into the studio unless he had a real creative message. As a result his first productions landed on Marco Bailey’s MB Elektronics well over a decade after he first began life as a DJ: ‘Skin Deep’ and ‘Break It Up’ arrived in 2009 and were heavily supported by the likes of Carl Cox, Umek and Valentino Kanzyani. It was followed by a remix of Philipp Straub’s ‘Big City Lights’ on Deep Dish’s revered Yoshitoshi imprint. It landed to equally high acclaim... But his discography wasn’t to be updated until 2016.
One of Austria’s most in-demand DJs with a schedule that takes him around the world, Dennes – who beat 40,000 hopefuls to become a Burn Studios finalist in 2012 – has been inspired to rebuild his studio and develop his largest repertoire of releases to date on respected imprints such as Schönbrunner Perlen, LevelNONzero, Alchemy and DJ Sneak’s eminent beat brand I’m A House Gangster... A serious moment in any artist’s career, this is one especially significant: Sneak’s ‘Keep On Groovin’’ was the first record Dennes bought as a DJ all those years ago.
Now with a message he wants to spread, and studio skills he’s proud to showcase, Dennes is ready to channel what he’s learnt during 20 years of DJ lifestyle into a brand new sonic chapter of his career. Call it classically trained. Call it old school. Call it next level.