When Danny Ashe relocated to Germany in 2010, he left behind a tangible void in South Florida's music scene. As a DJ and musician, his presence had been felt in the tricounty area for numerous years with his eclectic sets of rock 'n' roll infused with Motown, postpunk, and pop music. As a musician, his numerous projects furthered his selector ethos with a dark wave/"pop noir" aesthetic with outfits Lunabelle and Marqui Adora.
Moving primarily for new job opportunities in Europe's culinary fields, Ashe has had resurgence in his musical recording as Cygne Noir while balancing new surroundings and his growing family. His latest EP, Smile at the Sun is his most accessible and tropical work to date and betrays the nature of the "black swan" as an object of simple beauty.
We had a chance to speak with him about the release and his current musical climate.
See also: Head Spins: Danny Ashe
What, if anything, do you miss about South Florida?
Danny Ashe: I miss being able to see the ocean whenever I want. I also really miss Cuban food and going to bed at 7 a.m. in the morning.
Since moving to Europe in 2010, you've had a real upswing creatively. How did you manage to continue creating music while adjusting, finding employment, etc.?
To be quite honest, when I moved to Europe almost five years ago, I thought I was pretty much done with music. The thing is that change is always a good catalyst for creativity. I find that the busier I am, the more music I write. Then it's just a matter of finding some time to record it. Moving to Europe, and particularly Germany, was a very exciting time in my life which opened up so many possibilities that I think it was only natural for there to be an upswing.
Do you still DJ?
Actually, I'm retired. Although I'm all for a one-off once in a while!
And you're in Bonn now; how's the music scene like there?
Bonn has a great art scene but not much of a music one, unless you're into classical. Cologne, on the other hand, which is only 20 minutes from home, has a lot going on. From rock to electronic, it's full of cool venues, pubs, and a few cool record stores. Although I've become quite the recluse, I still try to get out there and catch some shows from time to time.
You cite the '60s and funk as influences, and they're clearly there, but this EP, Smile at the Sun, has a slightly more tropical feel than the previous ones. Was that deliberate, or was there an underlying nostalgia while you were putting it together?
You know, you're the first to mention that. I hadn't really noticed, so no, it was definitely not deliberate. I mean, I think I've become much more aware of my Hispanic roots living in Europe, so it's nice to hear you felt that while listening to the EP.