Born and raised in East Germany, Berlin based DJ and producer Jacob Dilssner aka Wankelmut first made his breakthrough in 2012 when his remix for Asaf Avidan’s “One Day / Reckoning Song” soared to #1 in eight European countries, resulting in over three million records sold to date…as well as a multitude of Gold and Platinum Award. Most well known for his massive hits, ‘My Head Is A Jungle’ and his remix of ‘Reckoning Song’, Wankelmut has now taken a turn to the deeper dance/pop side of things with ‘Sunset’. Featuring the vocal talent of Kygo collaborator Andrew Jackson, ‘Sunset’ is a horn-heavy production with a melancholic feel, perfect for both the radio and the club. DMCWORLD dives in with the main man…
Jacob a huge welcomne to DMCWORLD! How did you get your start DJing and producing electronic dance music in the first place?
Pleasure to be here! It was around 2010 when I bought my first pair of equipment — a 1210 record player and a decent mixer. That was simply just for me to be bedroom DJing, and on occasion for a couple of friends. We did those sessions at home after returning from places like Bar 25. Shortly afterward, I had my first stints at small underground clubs in Berlin, which was getting my name out there. I would call it a natural progression.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Berlin?
Since Berlin is changing a lot so too is the attitude toward the city, somehow. The basic idea of “being different” and “being an individual” is still there. You still have many unique characters in Berlin, which makes it a cultural melting pot no matter how high the flat rents are.
You’ve remixed tracks from some of the biggest names in music like Flight Facilities, Hozier, and Lenny Kravitz, to name a few — what does your process look like when remixing versus crafting an original production?
Most of the time, I pick a remix because I like the original song. Normally, this means that I keep a lot of song elements and rebuild something new with it. But the basics should all be there, like a good singer and a strong composition. Lenny Kravitz is an excellent example. We even discussed details about the remix on the phone which was great.
What made you want to start your own label, WKLMT, earlier this year?
I felt the need to get more club music out there that does necessarily work on the radio. Since I am producing a lot of music, there are many good ideas that need to be heard. WKLMT gives me that freedom to have that kind of stuff out there.
Your newly-released single ‘Sunset’ features the vocal talent of British singer/songwriter Andrew Jackson — what was it like collaborating with him on this release?
His manager sent me the original song which I really liked. We exchanged ideas and additional parts to make it a big one. His voice is very good and works very well with my approach toward the production.
How would you describe your unique signature sound, and how has it evolved over the last eight years?
Since quite a few of my tracks and remixes made it overground, it is my challenge to find the right balance between the club music bangers I play as a DJ and the music I produce. Most of the time, I start with a solid house music groove and add classic Wankelmut drum and percussion elements.
What aspect of performing live do you miss the most?
The interactions with the crowd, especially at the larger festivals.
Post-lockdown, if there was any festival in the world you could perform at, where would it be and why?
Fusion Festival in Germany.
Are there any upcoming projects in the works worth mentioning?
There are many. A new remix for Norma Jean Martine is coming up and a couple of new singles. I am very happy with the productions in the pipeline.