DJ DeT Vibe - "The persona of DJ DeT Vibe is that of a noir detective, one who transcends space and time." - Stereo Stickman

DJ DeT Vibe “The persona of DJ DeT Vibe is that of a noir detective, one who transcends space and time.”


Backed by the full-length storytelling project The Case Of The Missing Twin, alongside plenty of original manga artwork and a multitude of equally conceptual singles, mixes and remixes, creative instrumental duo DJ DeT Vibe have built an impressively distinct repertoire as independents.

We caught an interview with them, to find out more about their process and what inspires them as producers. Here’s how it went.

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Dj DeT Vibe – thanks for the interview! I’ve been massively enjoying the quality and content of your extensive repertoire, brilliant creative production in every case. To introduce things – who or what was the inspiration for you to create this style of immersive dance music?

Leo: All music comes from within. Just by playing a melody on the piano or guitar, a blank appears. Then an arrangement is written. By the middle of the track, you already have a vision of what instrument to add and what to remove.

You’ve released so many different tracks over time, which two would you say remain your most important or personally impactful, and why?

Leo: In my opinion, each of them is worthy of attention and will certainly find its listener. I really like the track Slide. And both with and without vocals. It has a special energy and there is something that makes you listen to it on repeat.

Dave: It is a bit difficult for me to narrow it down to one track as each one is special to me. I can give you a couple that have importance for me. First, California Dreaming, which features the amazing talent of Angleia, she is Leonid’s teenage daughter. English is not her primary language. Her voice has the tone that I had been wanting for nearly a year. She is absolutely amazing, all her vocals. I hope to feature her more often, I leave it up to her and her father.

Second, Gentle Motive. When I listen to that one, I can picture it as the opening theme for Pagu Panku, if it becomes an animated story. Third, Little Girl. That was a tribute to long time friend, and business partner, Eric Rizer. I met him in high school back in 87. We had an auto business together and recently, we created the Pagu Panku manga story. He loved Jazz music. I wanted an EDM/Jazz track to honor him. He was going through old jazz songs, making a list of possible ones to be remade with the EDM flair and for Angleia to add her voice to it. Oh and Slow Down, that is dedicated to all the pugs out there; pug owners would understand. Lol

Tell me about last year’s album The Case Of The Missing Twin – what was the concept behind this, and why the intriguing title given that instrumental music will leave the rest of the story to the listener’s imagination?

Dave: The persona of DJ DeT Vibe is that of a noir detective, one who transcends space and time. I wanted to do something different, very different from other albums. To me, the tracks all tell a story.  Each track can be weaved into one overarching story or a case. The Case of the Missing Twin tells a story/case from start to finish. The starting track picture Detective Vibe sitting in noir detective office. It is dark, his face hidden as the door opens and a woman enters, near panic, telling him about her missing twin. This matches the beat of the first track. Then as you follow the tracks, they tell of his search for her, locations, etc. The ending track bookends perfectly with the starting track; instead of panicked sister the case concludes with joy as the sisters are reunited.  

Each listener will have in their mind the locations, the people DJ DeT Vibe meets while on this case. Each listener will imagine their own twins, their appearance, etc. I know every listener will have their visualization of the case while listening.   

The switch from Her Story to Slow Down is a musical story telling. With Slow Down, the detective is taking it slow, calming her down, asking the important questions and then starting off on the case. It is him being methodical, getting all the details, deciding where to start the search.   

You then switch to a distinctly different style, the sci-fi tones and electronic rock warmth of Slow Down. How important is genre to you, and how do you get started with any new track, given the versatility with which you approach things?

Leo: As I said before, it all starts with a tune played. Basically, the style is determined by the mood. An important factor is the complete freedom in choosing the style. This allows you not to think about the framework, but to give yourself over to the flight of fancy and just create. The thing is that sometimes, people ask to write a track, and they themselves do not really know what style should be and how the final product should sound. Do this, I don’t know what. It’s complicated. It’s like, I want a car. What kind of car? Green, red, blue, big, small. You know, you know. Sometimes, the style is dictated by the instrument you choose. Like a duduk, you know, something oriental, soft, sad, etc.

Sax & Sex is almost everything its title implies. Do you enlist organic musicians for this kind of piece, or is everything programmed electronically?

Leo: Sometimes we bring in musicians, sometimes we use samples. I think it’s perfectly normal to use samples. You could say that we give the material a second life. Yes, it can be used somewhere else, but it will be a completely different story. Maybe not even interesting at all)). Many DJs use samples. For example, if there was no sampling, there would be no such bands as Prodigy, Fat Boy Slim and others. Even the material of session musicians is subjected to cutting, and can be in the end completely different from what the musician played. So, it’s experimentation, it’s creativity!

Dave: I would love to work with an organic saxophone player and a violinist. I have reached out to quite a few with no success. I am looking for someone who wants to push themselves creatively, who wants the freedom to do what they want while adding to a track. Until that happens, it will have to be electronic.    

What are your must haves in terms of software as a contemporary producer?

Leo: While in the past you needed big studios, expensive time, a big console and a lot of iron, now everything is much simpler. A good computer, a sound card and monitors are enough. Of course, there are analogue synths, I believe that the sound of analogue synths is different from VST instruments. But I’m sure it’s possible to have expensive equipment but make terrible material. Or you can have a laptop and the whole world will listen to you. Anyway, it’s up to you.

The skill with which you produce is phenomenal. There’s a clear professionalism at work that allows both the structure and mix to wholly envelop its listener. How long did it take you to master this craft, and what would be your best piece of advice for new producers looking to achieve that same quality and ability?

Leo: I’ve been writing music since 2000. Initially it was a hobby, a desire to get feedback from scrolling my tracks at discos where I was as Dj. Then it grew into a more professional occupation. The desire to make your tracks sound as good as other European DJs and musicians. It was a difficult time for musicians who want to write music at home. No internet, no software, no good powerful computers. Now it’s not a problem at all. Today’s young people can easily find everything they need. The only thing that remains is inspiration and honing of skills. I wish all young producers not to give up and to go to their dreams!

Is live performance part of what you do or of your plans, and if so, how different is the live delivery of music when compared to the solo studio experience? Does the music sound or feel different to you when you can see and feel other people’s reactions?

Leo: I guess the animal has nothing to do with our music. Although, if you write music in nature, seeing beautiful birds or animals…. Maybe it’s an interesting option. It’s worth a try.

I try not to show presets until they are finished. I mean people not related to the project. If you mean someone else’s opinion, then no more than one person. I’ll explain why. Everyone has their own opinion, their own taste. Each billet can cause some memories, let’s say not being by design acceptable or similar to mine. There were cases when I had to go back to the original form of the billet, having written practically the whole track, because the final result did not satisfy. Although it was not bad.

Dave: As for live performance, I am leaving that up to Leonid. He cannot leave Ukraine due to the war. He also has a family, and from my point of view, family comes first, not traveling around the world. My point of view is to make the music a success outside of live performances. From the feedback I have received from one DJ I allowed to play one track at a summer club in Sweden, the live performance of Summer Day was incredible. He played it as it is, no changes aside from merging it into his play set.   

“Today’s young people can easily find everything they need. The only thing that remains is inspiration and honing of skills. I wish all young producers not to give up and to go to their dreams!”

Tell us about the manga artwork on your social profiles – when did you first get into visual art, and how does this tie in with your musicianship?

Dave: The manga art is sample from my manga I am working on, it is called Pagu Panku (Pug Punk).  DJ DeT Vibe is one of the main characters in the manga, he goes by Detective Vibe. He works as a detective in the human/spectral police force. The manga takes place in an alternate universe. Earth is similar to ours, similar is a loose term. The area he lives/works in is Silk punk in aesthetics, tech, etc. On this earth, the spiritual world is part of the regular world.   

If the manga was made into animation, then I would use some of my music in it. For example, I think Gentle Motive or Geisha Dreams would be the opening theme.   

My friend Eric Rizer and I were offered an opportunity by Doomed Scholars Studio to write our own manga. This is something we had talked about for decades. We had a very good idea of what we wanted to do and not do. After Eric passed away, it fell onto me to keep this going as we had outlined.  

In addition, the fashion Detective Vibe from Pagu Panku, may be appearing in a fashion show next year.  And if I can make the cut with his design, then one of my tracks would be played during his fashion show walk. I am cross platforming DJ DeT Vibe into many businesses, making sure I have full control.   

The tie in is I have been writing stories for a couple of decades. For me, telling a story with music is no different. Instead of weaving with words, I am using beats to achieve the same outcome.  

Over on Soundcloud you’ve got a wealth of original music, tracks like the cinematic and powerful From Hell. Is making music for TV and Film one of your ambitions, and if so, how does writing to a given story or scale compare to writing with a blank slate?

Dave: The remixes. I try to avoid remixes altogether; I feel the same songs and tracks are remixed too often. I tried out a few remixes to see how they were received, for example remixing Glenn Miller. There is so much music, older, that is just overlooked, that I feel would be great in EDM format. 

The vocal remixes were for my singer, keeping to what she enjoys listening to. The version of her singing California Dream’n is a fire track. I know this because of the response it is getting on Swedish radio. My latest remix, Slade Remix, is just a remix of one of my first tracks, Slade. It is awesome with lyrics, haunting. I felt if it had lyrics, it would be on another level, and I was correct. I worked with a talented singer, Fe Malefiz, who is also a songwriter. I asked her to write an original song for it, and after listening to her samples of her singing, I knew if she sang it in German, that would elevate the track.  

You’ve also posted a number of remixes over the months What is it about any given track that makes you keen to work with it or recapture its essence?

Leo: Each remix, gives the song new life. Maybe it’s poor quality, not the current style of music, and other variants. I like to make mixes. In most cases, they become more danceable, get more fashionable sound design. In general, I like it.

What’s your most ambitious aspiration?

Leo: I would really like to play Dj set at some big festival. Where there are a lot of people and a good atmosphere. If people will be waiting for our tracks, let’s say that the dream of youth has come true).

Dave: I have several ambitions, it will just depend as to how things play out. First, I would like to become well known for my music, the intrigue behind what I am doing, always working on creating something new, pushing EDM in another direction. I do not need to be famous like Daft Punk, Swedish House Mafia, etc..I am not saying I would turn it down. 

Second, making Pagu Panku a well know manga and animated series. I have been thinking on this and what I would do, if it became an animated series, would be to seek out the unknown DJ’s looking for a break, to have them create background music. Maybe feature one DJ per episode.  There are a lot of great DJs out there grinding to get noticed.  For me, if I could pay it back in a small way, I will do it. 

Third. My own nightclub. This is something my sweet is very interested in as well.  I already have it designed and have the designer/builder in mind to make it a reality.  In fact, the club design will be making appearances in Pagu Panku, just sneak peaks.   

Fourth, my own record label. I have sent demos to several labels (large and small) receiving the typical no response as most DJs receive. My label would be for new DJs who are ignored. In fact, I would love to make it a source where DJs could find violinists, saxophone players, etc. To be connection point for artists who are overlooked or who want to be able to be creative. 

Fifth, Pagu Panku fashion. I currently have over 150 fashion designs for the manga, and I see no limit to how many more will arise. My wife has already started on Trademarks and copyrights.  She has her own businesses and has a very keen idea on what to do with the fashion I am coming up.  In the future, if had our own fashion line and show, it would feature my music. 

What’s the best way that people can support you?

Leo: It’s really nice when people like our work. When people say that your tracks helped us in a difficult situation or when they listen to them they are immersed in pleasant memories.

Is there anything else we need to know?

Dave: Other things to know. All the track art is selected by me. Whether it is A.I. Art I have my artist create, work I have done by a few models I know, licensing images or making use of free work by photographers from Pexels (I always give them credit for their work), I feel choosing the right cover art is just as important as the music itself.  I try to find the right image to convey the essence of the track. 

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Find DJ DeT Vibe on Instagram.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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