RFB Artist Profile: Dan Berg interview with Girl Wunder
Welcome to RFB’s editorial team Jessica Wu (a.k.a. Girl Wunder of Virtual Voyager) and congrats on your first interview!
Edited by Michele Carlo
Greenpoint-based electronic-soul-jazz-house music producer Dan Berg, (a.k.a. Fireberg), released his new mix, Supernova, on January 15, 2021 and appeared on RFB host Jessica Wu’s (a.k.a. Girl Wunder) latest episode of Virtual Voyager. Jessica had a chat with Dan about his new mix, making music during a global pandemic — and the sounds you might find in outer space.
GW: Hi Dan! Thank you for sharing your sounds on Virtual Voyager. So, Supernova was originally a special release for When We Dip’s Prima Lux series and features collaborations with some other artists in NYC. Can you talk about your process behind this production?
DB: Thanks, Jessica, for inviting me on the show. The feature on the Prima Lux series was a result of working with the label Eyedyllic Music. They released my EP, Undoing the Future, consisting of three original tracks, and a remix by South African producer FKA Mash. We also put out a music video for the track, “Lone Beholder,” which I made in collaboration with the visual FX artist, Matt Foglia. As part of the promotional campaign, Eyedyllic asked me to make an hour-long mix which ended up becoming Supernova. I love the way it came out. It ranges in tempo and mood and has a little something for everyone.
GW: You’re originally from Philadelphia. What made you decide that Brooklyn would be home base for your career? What are some highlights in the music scene and how has it evolved since you’ve made NYC your home?
DB: About 11 years ago, I knew that I wanted to move to Brooklyn. At the time, I was writing a lot of groove jazz and fusion jazz, and I figured this would be the place to find hip audiences. I was right. I played a lot of shows and met a lot of incredible musicians throughout the years. Then, a good friend of mine, Chuffing Buffy, moved to the area and he showed me around the house-techno scene. Some of the parties were at established venues; others were in random warehouses or lofts. The ethos at these events was so different from what I knew from jazz and rock events. There was a sense of individualism, freedom … a devotion to dancing and a commitment to the hang. It was almost like a sacred ritual. I just wish the city would be more supportive of the music scene in general. So many great venues have shut down since I’ve been living here.
GW: You record out of Silverman Arts Recording Studio in Long Island City, Queens — a space you founded and currently co-manage. Can you talk about your goals with the studio, and any hints on future projects we can look forward to?
DB: The studio was part of a larger vision for an arts organization with three main tenets: building community, helping artists in need and working on reforms in the music industry. Before the Covid-19 pandemic began, I was organizing a non-profit program with the Sound Mind Collective to provide artist development for musicians. With the restrictions imposed by the lockdown, I had to rethink where I wanted to devote my energy, and decided to reinvest in my own music project, Fireberg. With the help of my girlfriend, I’ve been working on renovations at the studio. Before, the live room took up about half the usable space (designed for bands to play together in the same room). The new design will give more space for production, while creating better acoustics and aesthetic decor.
It’s incredible to learn how a space is constructed and get involved in the interior design. It feels nice to be connected to the creation of my own workplace. That gets me excited about the music I’ll be making in 2021 … and inviting other artists/collaborators into the studio, once the Covid-19 crisis is resolved.
GW: If you could travel into outer space, what do you think you would find or experience out there?
DB: First thing that comes to mind would be the sound. I imagine new types of white noise and new versions of silence. I think mostly I would find a new connection to “self.” The further I could distance myself from the habits, associations, and other systems of this planet, the more I could make space for a new inner world born entirely of my own making. The concept of “nothingness” and the act of “letting go” have always fascinated me.
Of course, I would love to meet another being that could help me understand consciousness on another level, or perhaps a cool community that made bomb-ass arepas filled with tasty space goo … but those expectations might get in the way of appreciating the truth of the “beyond,” so I’d rather remain open.
Fireberg’s new mix, Supernova, rebroadcasts on Virtual Voyager January 19 at 4pm, and will be archived January 20 at 10pm. Tune in!