Öona Dahl paints visionary dreamscapes through sound. Driven by wanderlust fever, she has absorbed creative energy in her travels and where she has lived from Buffalo to Berlin.
The artist moved to Buffalo by way of Orlando, Fla. with her mother when she was seven years old. Around 2004 she moved back to the Sunshine State to attend college. For the past year Öona has been living in Berlin but in June she packed her bags for a tour and has been living on the road ever since.
“Berlin is amazing; my favorite city I have ever lived in and I plan to go back one day when the cards are right. I miss my studio there but I will have one in Florida as well to work in. It was always a dream of mine to move to Berlin and absorb the creative energy there,” Öona said. “All the music is the best quality and you have so many creative motivated people around you that it challenges you to be better at your craft. I immediately felt the creative web there.”
Her productions and sets inspire complexity, a depth of emotional evocation and vision quests. Tapping into the more minimalistic realm, Öona said that playing the more melodic and entrancing style of house and techno comes naturally for her.
“One of my favorite quotes is by Hazrat Khan, ‘The person, who is in tune with the universe, becomes like a radio receiver through which the voice of the universe is transmitted.’ I feel closer to the heavens with the sounds of pure love and beauty. This is my one side. My other side does enjoy the darkness as well. My side project with my good friend Amber Cox has a bit more edge to it, we go by Slumber.”
The All Day I Dream parties were founded in 2011 by Lee Burridge and Matthew Dekay. The events, which now travel across the country, have a foundation built on “technicolor emotionalism” and a specific dream-like atmosphere and landscape. A significant face on the Playa, Lee Burridge established All Day I Dream and maintains the immersive and experience-specific structure that Burning Man is known for.
Sometimes that’s all it takes to find inspiration. Creativity is built, molded and explored through boundless outlets. Öona finds creativity through traveling, dreams and reading. So enraptured by her novels she said that while reading, certain sounds illuminate within them. Her track titled “Soul of the World” was inspired by reading “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. “If you have read the book you know what the soul of the world is and you can hear the music that portrays it.”
When it comes to traveling she said she’s most influenced by Burning Man, even titling one of the songs on her album as “Beached Carny,” which was her Playa name in 2011.
As within, so without, Öona creates beauty through a certain parallel of space.
“My dreams take me to sacred places; I am in complete control of them and sometimes I am not. Wherever the journey takes me, good or bad, it inspires me to create the dream world with song,” she said. “I also have a small case of synesthesia where I can see color in sound. My music has a sparkling aura to it. When I hear chimes, music boxes, anything related, I see rainbows of spirals bouncing off the sounds.”
This fall her album will be released under Hallucienda, as well as a release of her music video by Barbara Klein titled “Wait. Lifted.” An EP through All Day I Dream is in the works and a Slumber EP titled “Body Clock” will be released the first week of October.
Check out her music video for “Somewhere We Can Go” that was filmed in Buffalo.
“We filmed the video in May 2014 in Buffalo. We couldn’t have asked for a more unique day to film. From sun, to sun showers, a rainbow and last a beautiful sunset over the Niagara River. I had two of my best friends featured in the video that I have been dancing with for well over a decade. I wrote the song right around the time I was living in New York in 2011. We would venture out to abandoned buildings to explore and get away. Buffalo in a sense is so much like Detroit, and doesn’t get the respect it deserves. I wanted to represent the city I grew up in and show that beauty lies in everything. Even a rotted abandoned building that has a forest growing on the rooftop. Forest Lawn is present time and Silo City is memories reflecting on a place where we go. A special thank you to my friend Don at DB Media that helped bring this idea to life.”
Catch Öona tomorrow night in the Dnipro Basement Bar for ORIGINS, a party being thrown by Igloo co-founder Paul Kuenzi and Chuck Abbott.
Few others have been as influential to the Buffalo electronic music scene than now Denver-based DJ and Igloo music co-founder Paul Kuenzi. He started the collective in 2011 along with Brandon Chase “out of a need for intimate venues, deeper music, and events more formulated around the music and the vibe.” Since then, the crew has gone on to host monthly events throughout the city, with DJs Rufus Gibson and John Sullivan currently at the helm.
Kuenzi is clearly passionate about the thriving Denver house and techno scene, stating that “every week there’s at least four to eight events going on, I can’t even support everyone I want to in a given week.”
“There’s a lot of creativity here, being a place that a lot of people are moving to from all over the world. I think that energy and intelligence is creating a lot of cool events here.” Having played sets at Beta Lounge, one of the regions premier electronic music venues, the selector has also continued to evolve artistically since relocating. When asked how his current sets differ from his early work, he claims to have “certainly slowed down speed wise, and tried to flow more and be smoother rather than be heavy, hard and slamming,” aiming to “make things more of a story rather than an in your face kind of reaction.”
Making his return to Buffalo on Saturday, Sept. 26 to host and play Origins, Kuenzi expects big things from the techno event that also features Berlin DJ Oona Dahl, Jessica Lyn, Gene Linet, The Abbott, and Drumsound Blvd.
“You’re gonna hear some weird, deep, spacey, psychedelic techno,” he said, specifically excited to hear the unique sounds of Oona Dahl, making her return to the city for the first time in two years.
An eventful Labor Day weekend has come and gone, but the dancing won’t stop. On Saturday, Sept. 26 we will come together once more in the basement bar of the Dnipro Ukranian Center for Origins. Last week the Sequencer spotlighted some of the artists on the lineup, put together by Igloo co-founder Paul Kuenzi and Charlie Abbott.
In the second part of this series, we will meet Jessica Lyn, a fresh new face from Denver, Colo. by way of Buffalo. She moved to this city from the Hudson Valley in 2004. While not a Buffalo native, Jessica adamantly states that moving to Buffalo was the best decision she could have made for her journey through music.
“Buffalo gave me the tools that sculpted the adult I am today, and I’m proud to say that,” she said. With the help of some friends, Jessica found herself falling into the world of electronic music. Lucky to have the musical powerhouse of Toronto nearby, she became enamored with Break&Enter parties, which brought a slew of high-quality underground events.
Finding footholds in the funk, soul, and disco influences of house music, she also found herself drawn to the deep and intelligent sounds that techno brings. Jessica credits a part of her humble beginnings to Buffalo’s own Lydia Wrobel, better known as Bflo Lydia, who strongly encouraged her to learn to spin and let her borrow a set of turntables.
It wasn’t until early this year that she bought her own turntables and began pushing herself to play by ear, making it very clear “no laptops or sync buttons allowed in this house!” Due to her multifaceted interests, Jessica has described herself as “an M&M, with a hard techno shell and an ooey-gooey house center.” With names like Four Tet, Ben Klock, Luxxury, Gene Farris, Maceo Plex, Bicep, and Oliver $ making appearances in her playlists, she will be sure to bring a well-rounded sound to the party.
Stay tuned next week for a profile on Paul Kuenzi.