PHOTO CREDIT: Ray Burmiston  



MANY thanks to Daniel (DONSKOY) for chatting...

IMAGE CREDIT: Spotify/PHOTO CREDIT: Ray Burmiston 

about his current single, Cry By the River, and I ask what comes next for him; how the German-born artist feels about his music connecting with so many people and the sort of sounds he grew up around – he provides a few new names worth taking a gander at.

I ask whether there will be tour dates and what comes next; whether there have been changes in Germany’s music scene through the years and how important it is for DONSKOY to get onto the stage – he picks a great track to end things with.


Hi, DONSKOY. How are you? How has your week been?

My week has been incredible. I spent it in London, where I haven’t been home in a while due to filming in Germany and my studio being in Berlin. I got my indefinite leave to remain in the U.K. sorted and had some very inspirational songwriting sessions.

Could I even ask for more?

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

Well. Seeing that usually everyone’s first question would be “Where are you from?”, I’ll start with that. I’ve had the privilege to grow up, live and love in so many different countries. I was born in Moscow, grew up in Berlin and Tel Aviv and spent the majority of the last eight years in London. All the moving in-between countries and cities, different languages and cultures have inspired my music majorly.

Privately, I am a bit of a loner who loves to eat out and spend my Sundays a little bit hungover; writing songs whilst drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.

Cry By the River is your latest track. Is there a story behind it?

It truly is a song about me meeting up with somebody close to my heart, taking our time to sit down and cry with no fear of it being construed as weakness; never scared to be vulnerable with each other. In this day and age, when everyone is trying to scream their positivity to the world and tell us how wonderful their lives are, it is not easy to show your weaknesses.

But, I know that I feel so much better if I have a good cry. Our bodies were designed to let frustration out through tears. It’s a wonderful, near-genius mechanism - and I’ve had the privilege to have someone to cry with.

Might we see more music later in the year?

Yes. I am so excited as I just finished recording my E.P. called Didn’t I Say So with Berlin-based producer Mic Schröder. It’s coming out on 3rd May. In autumn, I’m expecting to go on tour for the first time in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. This year is all about music and I am full of inspiration to keep working on my first album.


Your music has gained a lot of love from fans around the world. Does that make you feel good?

The beauty of music is that it connects people regardless of their mother tongue, sexuality; gender or heritage. It is a way for me to express my deepest and most honest feelings and thoughts. I am so thankful for every listen, share and concert ticket bought. My first concert in Berlin earlier this year filled me with enough energy I couldn’t sleep for two days. I very much hope to play my first gigs in the U.K. soon, too.

What sort of music did you grow up around as a child?

A very varied catalogue, indeed…

My parents listened to Sting and Queen obsessively. From very early age, Classical music played a big part in my life as my grandmother was also my first piano teacher. Chopin still makes me cry. But, the different countries I got to live in also left a big stamp on my musical taste. I love Russian Folk songs (they give me goosebumps!); old Yiddish songs I heard my great-grandmother hum. It was wonderful to get so much musical variety from a very early age.


PHOTO CREDIT: Ray Burmiston  

In terms of Germany’s music, do you think there have been changes and evolution through the years?

Yes, absolutely. There has been a move towards many more acts singing in German. German Hip-Hop/Rap rules the German Spotify playlists. German Pop is on the rise again. I have to say I prefer the Neue Deutsche Welle, but it’s great that the market is full of young and aspiring talent that gets to sing in their mother tongue.

However, my heart beats for music in English.

Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?

The first time I got to hear the master of Cry by the River was such a special moment. We had worked on the most freakish deadlines; I left my Christmas visit at my dad’s in Switzerland after just one day to finish recording the track and when it was all done, it felt glorious. Everything from writing the song in the summer during the Munich Film Festival to recording it with my amazing band was such a fulfilling process. I cannot wait to go into the studio again to start working on my first album.


 PHOTO CREDIT: Sven Serkis

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

Wrong Crowd (East 1st Street Piano Tapes) by Tom Odell

A true masterpiece of songwriting. One rarely hears true and honest storytelling like that with such gripping melodies. I felt like I was sitting right by his piano when I first heard it. Truly amazing.

Horses by Patti Smith

Every time I’m in a new city, I put this album on and start walking the streets. It inspires me so much. I’d love to meet her one day and ask her all about the time back in Hotel Chelsea with Robert Mapplethorpe.

The Times They Are a-Changin’ by Bob Dylan

Can’t explain why but I never could stop listening to it.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

I’d love to support so many amazing artists. I’ve recently been to a Justin Timberlake concert and I can only say he is a true entertainment king. The audience was so remarkable. I’d have loved to support him. Also supporting The Rolling Stones, Tom Odell; James Bay, Tash Sultana…oh man, what a question - now I can’t stop dreaming!

Might we see you on tour in 2019?

Yes. I am going on tour in autumn. I just signed with a booking agency in Berlin and I am so psyched for it. It’s going to be my first tour so I’m also slightly scared to lose my tour virginity. Can it be autumn now, please?

 PHOTO CREDIT: Sven Serkis

Will you come to the U.K. and play at some point?

Although I started my music career in Germany, I have been living in London since 2011 – so, of course the goal is to come to the U.K. to play - and I hope 2020 will be all about that.

How important is performing? Do you prefer it to life in the studio?

I think it’s the combination that is the most important. The songs get developed in the studio to make them the versions I get to play on stage, so one thing couldn’t exist without the other for me. The studio is the safe space where I get to explore the essence of the music - the stage is my playing field where I explore the music’s effect on the audience and me. Playing live is, of course, the best feeling in the I hope there will be much more of that soon!


Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

I recently discovered Hamzaa and Celeste. I love their soulful sound and lyrics that truly go under the skin. Especially You by Hamzaa and Lately by Celeste. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve also listened a lot to Tommy Cash - totally different but it makes me happy.


Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Not really: I am also a working actor and just finished shooting for a German T.V. show called Sankt Maik and a feature film called Crescendo (about an Israeli-Palestinian youth orchestra whilst being in the studio) so, sadly, there wasn’t much time off during that.

But, I’d love to go visit my family soon. They live in five different countries, so it would make quite a trip! I need a week in Tel Aviv on the beach to see my mom and little sister and a trip to Swiss mountains to see my dad and little brothers.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Let’s go with Lately by Celeste. Love it!

Thank you for the interview. Daniel.