Interview with Danny Howells (2005)

The records that my mum would play, things on Motown and stuff by James Brown and so on.

Interview with Danny Howells (2005) Photo by Renaissance

Who is Danny Howells, tell us all a bit more about yourself as a person ?
I'm a 24 year old male who lives near the sea on the south coast of England who wears horrible shirts and is a bit of a tequila drinker.

What do you do to relax? Any hobby's besides music ?
I love catching up with my friends and family, watching crap television and driving around in my Mini Cooper! I don't have any hobbies outside of music, there isn't enough time for anything else!

What is your first memory of music ?
The records that my mum would play, things on Motown and stuff by James Brown and so on. I had my first record player when I was about 3 years old.

What is your favourite movie of all time, past or present ?
The movie I've probably watched the most is "Midnight Cowboy" - it's such a sad film. My favourite ever would probably be "Gimme Shelter". It's the Rolling Stones documentary of the Altamont free gig they did in 1969, with the Hells Angels as security. Everybody is just totally trashed on drugs, and the film climaxes with the Angels stabbing one of the audience to death. It's such a tense film.

You have a new mix compilation out in January 2006 on Azuli called "Choice", can you guide us thru, what to expect from this 2 CD mix compilation ?
It a selection of the tracks that influenced me during my first few years as a dj, as well as some of the music that inspired me long before I ever had a pair of decks. Disc one has got legends like Morales, DJ Pierre, Todd Terry etc., is is quite a housey mix which goes quite acidy towards the end. Disc two is the one I'm most proud of - it's a bit more eclectic and a lot druggier.

We heard that, when you got the question for being part of the Azuli team and also be able to compile 2 CDs of your all time favourite records, you said that it was a dream come true. How come ?
Well I think any dj who is passionate about music would feel the same way about being asked to compile 2 cds of their all time favourite records! And I'm in such amazing company on that roster, Tenaglia, Kevorkian, Knuckles, Jeff Mills etc.

What would you say is the best mix compilation that you've mixed in the last 5-10 years and why is it so good, in your own opinion ?
The only two I ever listen to are the new one and the day disc of my 24/7. 24/7 was the first time I did a non-house mix on a cd, and I'm just really happy with the tracks I was able to use on it. It's a disc that I put a lot of work into, and I think it captured the mood I was in during a particularly weird time!

If you were to choose one producer, that you haven't worked with and that you would like to produce tracks with, which ones would it be and why ?
Christ knows! I've always wanted to work with Ashley Beadle, but we're friends so hopefully that will happen one day.

When you are about to step up to the decks in a nightclub, do you have a ritual that you go thru ? Tell us about it (if you have such a ritual).
There's no rituals except for tidying up my cd wallet and my record bags, showering and brushing my teeth, and eating a good meal if I'm playing a long set!

You have always been known for your loud shirts, when DJing. Any tip on good stores that one can buy these or similar shirts, like the ones you have ?
Any charity shops, vintage stores, sometimes even ebay! I've got a few stores in the States that I frequent on a regular basis, and a couple in Amsterdam too, but I'm not giving away any secrets!

How many shirts do you have, by the way ?
Oh god, way, way too many! They're stashed away in drawers and cupboards and trunks etc, so I can't even make a guess! I'm going to have a clear out soon though and give some to the charity shops.

What is your favourite piece of equipment you use in the studio or for DJing and why ?
Technics SL1200 record decks - will always be the king of the dj set-up!

What is the best advice you have to beginners who would like to get into producing and also DJing, in reference how you started out ?
The best advise is being able to take advice! When we first produced "Crash" on Jackpot, we thought it was wicked. John Digweed listened to it though and said it was great but the breakdown was rubbish. We didn't really agree then but we went and changed it completely, and when I hear the original version now, I realise how completely right he was!

What is more important to you, when it comes to skills and DJing ? Ability to please the crowd or music choice ?
I think they are both equally important.

What do you think would be the next big thing in the electronic dance music industry over the coming 3-5 years ?
I had no idea whatsoever, but I'd love to see deep house become more accepted, because a lot of crowds don't really seem to enjoy it much yet it's one of the genres I'm most fond of.

What do you have planned for the autumn/winter of 2005/2006 and where can we hear you play ?
Well this year's nearly over, except for a few gigs in the States and Canada. Next year I'll be promoting my Choice cd as well as focussing on my Dig Deeper night. You'll have to check my website for my dates as my brain doesn't remember anything!!

Please list your favourite all time top 5 tracks, that have changed you and your music ?
I can't, but check out my Choice mix cd, because all the tracks on there are in my list of all time favourites!

Mathias Haegglund Code Collector, Globetrotter, and Occasional Gamer.