Danny howells interview and ticket news!
SAVER TICKETS SOLD OUT!
The ticket rush continues as all the Saver Tickets have now been SOLD OUT for the forthcoming Gallery NYE party. Early Bird tickets sold out in a week, and the high demand continues with 4 weeks to go until the big night!! Tickets are now priced £45 + booking fee and on sale from www.ministryofsound.com/tickets
/ 08700 600100.
DANNY HOWELLS INTERVIEW
Courtesy of www.djdownload.com
Who or what has been the biggest influence
The music I was surrounded by as a small child, especially the Stax/Motown/Atlantic records which my mum used to play religiously. There's a photo of me on my MySpace holding a record at, maybe, two years old. I was fascinated by music at such an early age; I'd get records every birthday and Christmas!
What’s the first record you bought?
The first record I bought with my own money was (I think) ‘Somebody to Love’ by Queen. I got it from the Disc Jockey shop in Hastings. I had loads of records already though; they were all ‘hand-me-downs’ from my family, records such as Bowie, Slade, T:Rex - the usual early ‘70’s stuff.
What have been up to lately and what can we expect from you over the next couple of months?
I've been touring all over, mainly to promote my Renaissance CD. I'm launching my Dig Deeper label this year, so a large part of 2008 was spent in the studio, trying to improve my skills and confidence as a producer. I've made nearly 20 tracks, I'll probably release about half of these, and the others will stay with me only. I've got some absolutely amazing mixes from artists such as Matrix & Futurebound and Faze Action, to name just two. The music will reflect the range you can expect me to play in an extended Dig Deeper set. It's one of the most exciting things I've been involved in for years.
Who is your all time musical hero?
I absolutely idolize artists who have stuck to their guns and never delivered what has been expected of them. Someone like Miles Davis not only had a truly fascinating life, but always did what came from his heart. He never gave a shiny s*%t for what people wanted or expected. And in the process he managed to change the course of music three or four times. Neil Young has also had a similar approach to what he does. Also artists like James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and so on. Obviously I love all the classic acts too, Pink Floyd, The Beatles and so on. But I feel a lot of the black pioneers are always underrated, especially compared to the classic rock artists we still see on the cover of Mojo and Uncut every single month.
What's more important. The mix or the next tune?
As far as I'm concerned… neither. It's about how and where you take your crowd, during the time you have with them. The true master for me is Tenaglia. I've witnessed him move from deep house, to techno, to Motown, to rock, to Latin, to Pink Floyd's "On the Run" and even Madonna's "Bedtime Stories". He keeps the crowd totally under his control all the way. It's not about the technology or individual tunes; it's about utilizing your years of experience, knowledge and understanding - not just of contemporary house music, but all music in general.
What's your current take on the dance scene?
I think we're seeing a slight negative effect brought on by the easy availability of digital music and software to be honest. I think there is a small wave of DJs whose knowledge of music in general begins and ends with download sites. DJs who, while they are able to string a set of mp3s together using a copy of Final Scratch or Ableton, may not be able to add anything long lasting to the scene. Despite this, I still maintain that some of the best music we've had in years is out there right now. Not necessarily in the Top 10 charts, but if you dig around and go past the obvious, there's some real gems out there.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Doing the occasional gig; I can't see me ever retiring from it completely, but mainly making music. I've saved quite wisely throughout the years, so hopefully I'll be able to live on a very small income whilst doing something I love. I also want to open a vintage store with my fiancé, selling old clothes and cups of tea, along with all my old records and paisley shirts that I no longer have room for!
What do you think about dj mag’s top100 poll?
Young DJs should focus on bettering themselves, making amazing music and so on. The focus shouldn't be on generating the best "Vote for Me" campaigns. In this sense the poll is harmful. I'm extremely grateful that I spent so long in there as people voted for me without me having to push for it. When I was first in there the entire poll was full of people I knew, whose records I was playing, whose compilations I was buying, people I really looked up to - not the case any more I'm afraid. I think it's not a list of "the best", nor is it a popularity contest; otherwise people like Jeff Mills, Garnier, Kevorkian etc would all be riding high.
Is there an all-time favourite track you wish you'd produced?
Unfinished Sympathy, it’s just one of the most beautiful records ever. I can listen to this every day and I will never get bored of it. And there's music like Bowie's "Low" album - to have been involved in something as monumentally amazing as that would have been incredible, even if it was just handclaps or triangle!
Do you sample, use old records, listen to them, or how does your producing process go?
I love sampling; some of my best ideas come from it. I don't do it as much now, but in the past I would always start a track by literally spending a whole day sampling anything. It could have been old Adam & the Ants records, old disco stabs, rock fills etc, and just mess around until a few of them gelled into a groove; and then build from that. With Dusk Till Dawn, we recorded Erire's vocal to a basic track of kick and bass. I sat on that for months before finding samples that were going to work with it, which basically meant playing her acapella alongside any old disco b-side I could find in my collection! It’s a really fun way of working and really useful if you're stuck for an idea or a direction.
If you could have anyone remix any of your tracks, who would it be and why?
I've already had a few dreams come true with some of my forthcoming tracks. But I would love Weatherall to remix a track of mine; he’s an all time hero to me. Plus Carl Craig, obviously, everything he touches turns to gold!
What is the magic hangover cure?
Don't get pissed the night before!
What’s your best tip for getting money out of dodgy promoters?
Have a good agency!
What are the top five most listened to tracks/songs on your iPod?
My iPod is full – 160G of mainly non-electronic music. But the artist I probably go back to most is Bowie. I listen to all his albums from Man Who Sold the World, right through to Scary Monsters. The only ones I don't play much are Lodger and Pin Ups. But everything he made from say, 1970 to 1980, is untouchable. I also cane my Marvin Gaye collection, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin etc. I've got about 80 Fela Kuti albums on there too! Plus about 2G of late ‘60’s/early ‘70’s James Brown. When I've got tinnitus from a heavy gig, I often listen to the Russell Brand podcast (or at least I did until the Daily Mail launched their ridiculous crusade!)
If you had to do something different what do you think you would end up doing?
I'd go back to my old job, psychiatric nursing. I miss that part of my life in some ways. DJs and producers make people happy with music, but there's something so rewarding about really helping people whose lives have been torn apart by something which, sadly, is still quite taboo.