Disco Fan to Burning Man Sensation: Öona Dahl Chronicles Her Musical Evolution
Öona Dahl grew up enveloped in a cloud of disco. From attending shows in her youth to pleading with her mom to stay awake to listen to more music, the adoration for the art translated itself into a fruitful career.
“There was always music being played in the house,” Dahl shared. “She wasn’t a musician or anything, but just always had music playing, and I always loved it myself. I was eight or nine years old and my mom would let me stay up late until midnight to listen to the Kiss FM late-night mix. They would play Pete Tong’s essential mixes and that’s how I discovered so many artists.”
Dahl masters trance tunes splashed with acid waves to mellow and hollower beats and her sound is ever-evolving, evident of her growth as both a musician and a person. Being the nomad she is, Dahl frequently travels the world and flirts with new sounds to dabble with when producing music.
“When I went to India for the first time, that really changed my sound a lot. I feel like I got a little bit trippier and psychedelic from going there. When I went to Australia after I got back, I started [with] more pretty sounds, melodic sounds from there,” Dahl revealed, adding that when she lived in Berlin she pivoted into a more minimal sound.
“I feel like traveling does have a big impact, but I’ve been traveling for so long that I don’t even know if it does too much anymore because I’m always all over the place. So I think that’s why my sounds are all over the place too because I’ve just really put myself out there in the world that I can kind of like pick up different frequencies and inspirations from different places,” she said.
During a two-hour live stream Dahl completed for Mixmag, one of her idols, Kirsty Hawkshaw, wrote a lighthearted comment. That small interaction would lead to Dahl embarking on a journey to Stonehenge to shoot her music video for ‘Love is All We Need’ with Hawkshaw.
“So weird. So synchronistic. And she’s like, ‘hey, I love your music, I want to work with you.’”
Quickly, the women exchanged project ideas and soon found themselves at Stonehenge shooting the ethereal and entrancing music video.
“She’s my idol, next to Björk. I have three tracks out with her and we have more in the works. So that was exciting.”
Dahl has 20 years of DJ experience, flitting across the globe playing venues like Burning Man, Club Space Miami, New York City, Berlin, and she soon will be en route to Oakdale for the All Day I Dream Festival.
While Dahl is playing this year’s ADID fest, she also will debut the joint project created with her friend, Julia Sinelnikova (Oracle 666), HoloRealmz.
“HoloRealmz is an immersive, audiovisual experiment experience,” Dahl said. “Aesthetically the dome is very iridescent, colorful aesthetics, and similar to All Day I Dream. So picking All Day I Dream to debut it, kind of just went naturally for us.”
The Holorealmz dome took two years to bring to fruition, as the pandemic greatly delayed production plans. But, after letting the idea simmer during quarantine, Sinelnikova and Dahl collaborated with their ambient backgrounds and growing fascinations for 3D design to formulate the idea.
“I’m always surrounded by so many creative, talented people and I was like, ‘how can I bring everybody together? Like how can we build on this foundation and give everybody a chance?’ That’s kind of also what created, helped create this dome too, was to bring everyone together. Everyone has something to offer in any way.”
In addition to asking performers already slated for the festival to participate in DJing ambient sets, Dahl gathered poets, fire dancers, LED performers, and jugglers via Facebook and Instagram.
“It’s definitely gonna be an experience. We like to call it a psychedelic circus. But also, focusing on sound and healing as well,” Dahl mentioned.
In addition to debuting the innovative HoloRealmz project, Dahl is releasing an array of new music this summer.
Growing up, Dahl heard music wherever she went. However, a few songs, in particular, followed her everywhere. One of those tunes is titled “Raincry.” In 1993, musical artist God Within (Scott Hardkiss) released the transient, elemental breakbeat anthem which helped defined rave culture in the 90s. The track is still highly revered today.
Unfortunately, Scott passed away in 2013, but Scott’s brother, Gavin, and Dahl are close friends. Gavin recently asked Dahl to compose a remix of the classic tune, to which she gleefully accepted the offer, promising to complete a single remix.
She aimed for perfection when remixing one of her all-time favorites and according to Dahl, she was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. “I knew it was done because I literally started crying at the end of it. I had my “Raincry” cry. Honestly, I think it’s some of my best work yet.”
As most eager superfans do, she underestimated herself. Dahl tapped into her versatility and vast musical knowledge, creating three separate remixes for three different DJ styles. All the tracks will be released in the next few months.
Dahl’s side project, Slumber, a duo with her friend Amber Cox, releases music regularly. Dahl told MP3 MAG, Slumber is, “more of an outlet for my melancholy darker sounds, I would say. Kind of psychedelic too.”
This summer, Slumber will release a six-track EP on Hallucienda as well as a vinyl-only project.
Dahl’s ever-present effervescence matched with tour dates, festival sets, and the introduction of the HoloRealmz dome, it is no wonder her catalog continues to expand and grow exponentially.