dné (d-neh) is the moniker of Prague based ambient-electronic artist Ondřej Holý. On June 19th, he is set to release his long awaited second album Basic Living via Platoon.
At its core, dné’s new album is about being at home, watching YouTube videos and feeling that life is ok. However, many other subjects are explored; including dating and its many ups and downs, living with chronic health conditions and even taking pictures of plants in cafes for social media content.
Basic Living serves as an antithesis to all of the art that deals with “the end of the world”, climate grief, current social issues or political discourse. “All of those things are valid sources for art, of course. I just wanted to make an album that covers the life in between,” says Holy. “I also find it refreshing when there is a person with a disability on TV or in the press and the story is not focused on overcoming hardships or telling others they “can do it”. And when this one-dimensional view is replaced with showing them as a whole person with complex feelings just living their life,” he continues.
Sonically, compared to dné’s debut album These Semi Feelings, They Are Everywhere (2016, Majestic Casual), on which he deliberately limited his means of expression, Basic Living is much more colourful. Great emphasis is placed on organic beats, field recordings and lo-fi aesthetics. Pure ambient passages blend with sampled and sung voices, ethereal vintage synth pads, a variety of classical instruments and midwest emo influenced guitars.
1. Coma is a mysterious thriller from 1978
2. It stars Genevieve Bujold and Michael Douglas
3. It was directed by Michael Crichton
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
I always say my biggest inspiration is the future self who is happy the songs are finished. And it’s true.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
My dad bought me a drum kit when I was 12. Then I had been part of some bands and when I was 20 I realized I could make music on my own and it all clicked. I started to play guitar and piano without any music theory knowledge due to my laziness and two years later in 2009 I released my first EP.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Khonnor – Handwriting
The Radio Dept. – Pet Grief
Lil B – 6 Kiss
Daisuke Miyatani – Diario
Weezer – Blue Album
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Urban Spree, the first club I played in in Berlin. Hope I come back soon.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
In summer any outside open space where I can chill, meet friends and look at people passing by.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I would never miss a time window for films on Mubi.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
Songs „In My Head“ and „Any Time Of Day“ by The Lemon Twigs off their Bandcamp. The whole album is amazing.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
The first time I played in London in 2017. Gordi was kind enough to invite me on her sold out show. People seemed to care and were nice and quiet and I felt very comfortable.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
I recently upgraded and bought M1 Pro Macbook, 4K monitor and RME UCX II sound interface. Having everything fast and stable is essential to the process. You can just forget about it and do whatever you like. Also, it’s good to have all synths plugged in all the time so when the creative burst strikes, you don’t have to waste energy with untangling any cables.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have sister who is year and a half younger. She’s been always great. A song from my new album called “Thanks For Getting Me Home” is partly dedicated to her.