“You Have To Make Art”: DJ Dobrel on AI and House vs. Techno

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From Ireland, DJ Dobrel joined us at the HEYDUDE Pop-Up Studio at Nexus Lounge Amsterdam to talk about his love for house and techno music, his thoughts on AI, and his experience attending the Amsterdam Dance Event as an artist for the first time.

DJ Dobrel will be the first to tell you that he’s taken an unusual path to get to where he is now. Having started in the music industry over 20 years ago, the DJ took a fifteen-year hiatus and immersed himself in the corporate world. And what brought him back to the world of electronic music?

DJ Dobrel

“COVID,” he tells us: “It gave me the time to concentrate. When the lockdown came, I was like, ‘Here’s my opportunity to dive deep into production.’

That deep dive has led him to release music under leading labels in the industry, including Loudkult, Blackhole, Noface, Wern, Jhaps, and many more. His music runs the gamut from melodic house to hard techno, and he has received support from Ozgun, Max Vanegli, and Luca Testa.

While it might be Dobrel’s fifth time at ADE, it’s his first time as an artist and about time. The DJ has released tons of new tracks over the last couple of years, including “Sin B Free,” “Let’s Get Wild,” and, most recently, a hard techno remix of “RAGE” with Amber Jaii.

Aside from his many music projects, Dobrel is also being kept busy with the development and launch of Zenbeats, a music production app created in collaboration with Roland and equipped with AI capabilities that will help DJs create music faster and easier. It’s his way of giving back and sharing that users can download the app for free in its first six months of release.

Despite the many advances in music-making tech over the last years and even though Dobrel is involved in the world of AI, the DJ believes that there’ll always be room for human ingenuity in music-making:

"My view is that you will never make consciousness artificial. Consciousness is something separate that human essence is separate. AI regurgitates what humans put into the system, so there's always a place for humans, especially in music. … You still have to make art, AI can make art, but there's always a place for humans."

Before he goes, Dobrel plays a quick game of our Nexus Take-5 series, spilling the beans on the pranks he used to pull in his twenties and where he’d transport himself back in time to. To hear more about DJ Dobrel, including his plans to move into more live performances this year, make sure to check out the full-length and exclusive interview below.

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