TF Archives

Nohno interview - The Soul in Circuitry

Author: Jeremy Balius
Friday, July 28, 2006
Having evolved from his involvement with experimental, industrial and EBM group Clock DVA in the eighties to early nineties, to solo dance floor oriented techno as Sector, Dean Dennis has arrived at his current Nohno project.

Having recently released a mini-album called 'Metropolis', Dennis has created a sublime album filled with ambient tech-house, lush abstract jazzy interludes and a feeling that the metronomic precision of the machine is fused with the humanized ghost in the shell. Soul is created within circuitry.

With the new Nohno project and a new label, Out to Lunch Recordings, Dennis was tracked down to find out where he's come from, where he's heading and everything in between.

In creating the Nohno project, Dennis has arrived at a medium in which he can spread out and stretch his musical creativity. No longer are genre specific demands placed on the music he creates. "The main change of direction with the Nohno project is that it has many directions," clarifies Dennis. "Sector was restricted in a way to a dance oriented format and ended up being a solo project. Nohno is more open. Musically I am setting myself new challenges, looking at different styles and also opening up to working with different artists and art forms including film makers and video artists. [This] has proved to be pretty inspiring and has a long term impact upon the work that I do."

This new breath of fresh air has allowed Dennis to seek out new inspirations, follow experimental creative thought processes and explore territories not yet heard through the years spent recording as Sector and Clock DVA. "It's a matter of playing around with different sources of inspiration and trying to fuse these together to create a piece of music," discusses Dennis as he elaborates on his musical evolution. "For example, some of the work I've been doing has involved using bird song to generate sequences. This has had some pretty amazing and surprising results, with one particular bird song sounding as if Charlie Parker had been at my side." Sound interesting- Trust me, it is.

No longer pursuing solo avenues, Dennis has been teaming up with his partner Jose with refreshing results. "Through collaboration I have also returned to using a lot of samples in my work. The initial process of creating a piece is usually pretty fast; often a matter of days. But then I have to leave the work for a while to try to get some objective perspective."

"I tend to fall in love with something as I'm making it," continues Dennis, "but then in the morning the rose-tinted glasses have come off. If I still think the basic frame work is successful, then I'll try to develop the track further, perhaps adding more sequences, chords, a break or two, new melodies, sounds, etc. Once this done, samples and additional sounds are added by Jose and then the track is finally mixed and mastered. Some tracks will take a year to finish, others a matter of days."

There was initial hesitation by this interviewer as to whether to bring up the Clock DVA days, because of the issue of 'let bygones be bygones'. Dennis was incredible candid in regards to the topic and has a solid view of his personal past, recognizing it as a necessary step in his own evolving. "I don't feel under the shadows of DVA. I've quite recently come to realize how important Clock DVA were and still are to many people in the electronic scene. There was a time after I left DVA when I just wanted to forget all about it. [But] I cut my teeth whilst I was with DVA. Because some people's main awareness of my work is through Clock DVA then they may have some expectations of what new material will sound like and perhaps they'll be disappointed that it's not 'Buried Dreams' or 'Man Amplified'. I guess it's the same for anyone; you just can't deny or escape from the past. I would like to gain the same recognition wi