Denis Horvat: “Electronic Music can be Really Boring if it is not Catchy”

Jun 22, 2023

John Cameron

2 min read

On the end of the music spectrum reserved for house and techno, we tend to measure an idea’s merit with a different yardstick. An artist is often less a songwriter and more a producer of tools to be used in DJ sets. Denis Horvat doesn’t subscribe to this notion, however.

This is not entirely surprising, as Denis has taken ample opportunity to express his love for melodies over the years. The self-taught DJ and producer has released his effervescent fare on labels like Innervisions, Afterlife, and Aeon. His résumé ensures he knows what goes over well on the dance floor. It’s a preference you might not expect from a self-proclaimed purveyor of “synthesizer techno.”

In 2016, Denis Horvat sat down for an interview with Torture The Artist. Comments are apparently closed on the article — and a look at one of his answers reveals why that might be.

When asked about his affinity for melodies, Denis answered: “I create melodies, and I think electronic music can be really boring if it is not catchy. There are some good ‘loop-house‘-tunes out there, but if I were the crowd, I’d get really bored just listening to beats.”

A lot of techno fans would likely scoff at this line of commentary. Much of the genre is largely percussive, dating all the way back to the challenging tracks delivered by Detroit outfit Underground Resistance in the early ’90s. For many, this is the essence of what techno is. These sorts of fans leave little room for artists to deviate into the accessible.

But Detroit techno’s first wave in the late ’80s was markedly melodic. Artists like Blake Baxter, Kevin Saunderson, and Eddie Fowlkes introduced a shade of dance music that — despite representing a clean break from house music’s emphasis on derivative works — featured jazzy interludes, contemplative chords, and sci-fi-inspired synth work. One might argue that to negate this legacy is the true crime.

That is to say, Denis Horvat may be onto something after all. Far be it from him to color inside the lines after achieving success by doing the exact opposite.

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