Daniel “Danny” Berman (or Red Rack’em) is a Scottish producer and DJ currently residing in Berlin who broadcasts his own weekly pirate radio show “Smugglers Inn” from his studio, directed mainly towards contemporary club and dance music. His label Bergerac has released four EPs and I have somehow stumbled upon these records in various European record shops and they have thus become a staple of my setlists.
To be honest, it wasn’t really a coincidence that I came across Bergerac: Red Rack’em performed at a Mutant Disco a year ago, where his long-time friend Raul Saaremets had invited him yet again. We met in Tartu at the backstage area of the club Kink Konk and again at Tallinn Music Week this year. We agreed to meet up the next day in his hotel lobby, because Danny had mentioned his new record which was released this year under Sonar Kollektiv. Turns out that he’s changed his direction and in the meantime has put together an actual band.
Hot Coins is made up of professional jazz musicians and the album The Damage Is Done is 100 per cent produced by Danny himself. This is a surprise to me as tracks released under Bergerac have staunch deep house and techno influences, however, the debut by Hot Coins is pop music with punk, funk and jazz vibrations. This production of Daniel Berman – I wouldn’t want to call it safe, but it is definitely less edgy and refined than his previous work.
In some ways the project is directed towards a wider mainstream audience, but at the same time the embracing of his softer side is also in a way stepping away from his comfort zone. I would say Hot Coins would be a great festival and live band, but I would like to see them step even further from the comfort zone in the future. However, I have to admit that this album is light and bright enough to be a suitable kickstarter for some mornings.