DM Ascension ‘Best of Me’ Interview

DM Ascension is the music project of Mike Dooley & Daniel White. Their latest track ‘Best of Me’ features the beautiful vocals of Gold Coast smooth jazz and lounge singer – Jenayla who is joined by Canberra-based Saxophonist Dan Bray, who takes his smooth sax skills on this latest DM Ascension track to an all new high. ‘Best of Me’ is complimented by DM Ascension’s very own 2019 Canberra ‘City News’ Award Winning Artist. Today, we speak to Mike and Daniel about their latest track and their projects!

YMX: Hey DM Ascension, thanks for talking to us. How have these gloomy times been treating you? 

DM: Our pleasure, thank you for the opportunity. It’s definitely had its moments the last twelve months in Australia, beginning with the bushfires at the end of 2019 and continuing into 2020 and then being hit with the pandemic and lock down. Definitely a year we’re all happy to see behind us and we still managed to create our latest track, despite restrictions.

YMX: : How did you decide music was something you wanted to pursue? Are there any particular episodes that inspired you in doing so? 

The purpose and intention of our music is to take our listeners on an explorative journey to a destination – an escape from the daily grind. Having experience in fast pace work places, it tends to make you value your downtime and appreciate chilled out music that’s perfect for relaxation. To provide some background, Mike and I first met ten years ago and managed to keep in touch since then and in 2019 an opportunity came up to collaborate and we discussed the notion of chill-out music as an antidote to the hectic world we live in today. So we decided the best way we could create music to that effect was by including elements of jazz, lounge and electronic sounds. Given Mike’s extraordinary music background and achievements in composition, songwriting and producing, and previous experience in playing lounge and chill out music while he was living abroad in Lebanon, it just seemed perfect!

YMX: Here’s a fun game: name 3 artists, or bands, that inspire you and influence your work, and explain why: 

Steely Dan: Although they are old school, there music is just so sophisticated and their earliest albums were so ahead of their time. For instance, Aja that won Grammy Award for Best Engineered Recording in 1977 is still regarded today as one of the greatest albums ever produced to such a high standard and their younger fan base just keeps growing. We put it down to their sound quality, tight productions and long list of highly acclaimed session musicians who are featured on every album that are second to none.

• Christophe Goze: Christophe is such an incredibly multi-talented artist and his music is so underrated. Christophe not only continues to compose and produce timeless world music, but his skill in playing all sorts of instruments from around the world and ability to constantly incorporate new unique sounds into his iconic jazzy lounge and down tempo music is altogether inspiring. We actually got in contact with Christophe after our debut release and he gave us a shout out to his fans on his social media, he’s just such a great guy.

• Sade: So much to say about a sultry lady with a one of a kind voice! Sade’s influence on soul and smooth jazz today and in-deed the music industry is so wide and far reaching with a career spanning more than thirty years, there’s so much to be thankful for. Sade’s modernisation of smooth jazz, her distinct soulful voice and seductive style and appearance is the epitome of the romantic artist.

YMX: You recently released ‘Best of Me’. Can you tell us how that project came about? 

DM: While visiting Santorini nearly a decade ago while on holiday, the magnificent views of the Cyclades and the surrounding Aegean Sea provided inspiration for this track. From this experience, ‘Best of Me’ was created to reflect the yearnings of young love and capture the timeless Santorini landscape and vistas. Dan Bray gave a stellar performance on the Tenor Sax which really uplifts the feel of the track. And of course, having JENAYLA feature her stunning vocals is a first for DM Ascension as this is our first time writing lyrics.

YMX: How did the pandemic affect your personal music recording experience? Was it easy adjusting to working remotely?

DM: Thankfully, in Australia we have had no major lockdowns for a protracted period which enabled us to meet and record in Mike’s studio. There is definitely so much to say about technology today in that we were able to connect with JENAYLA when making ‘Best of Me’ through videoconferencing and secure her perfect vocals on our track.

YMX: Professional livestreams seem to be really taking over these days. Is it something you would consider doing?

DM: Probably not at this stage, although depending on how bad things get with the pandemic, it may be something to consider in the future.

YMX: Since pandemic began, online music promotion has become crucial for an artist’s growth. How important is that for you, and are there any strategies you are willing to share with our readers? 

DM: We think that there is some validity in being present on the majority of social media and digital streaming platforms. Although you can never be totally across every single platform, there is no harm in having a presence and it provides an opportunity to meaningfully engage with your audience on that particular platform or space. We’ve been adding some video’s on TikTok lately and it’s been great to engage with a wider audience.

YMX: Finally, what are your plans for the future? (releases, gigs etc.)

DM: We’re definitely hoping to play at some live events this year all going well and plan on stepping back into the studio shortly to create a few more singles to release this year.

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