HigherFrequency  DJ Interview


Danny Howells Interview

'Deepsexyfuturistictechfunkhouse'- how's that for generic tongue-twisting? Having your style pigeonholed usually goes down like a lead balloon among artists, but it was Danny Howells himself who conjured this famously melodic cadence to describe music that few will argue reaches very special areas. It all began in Hastings, an unassuming backdrop for what would become one of the most successful and inspiring careers in the often hubristic world of dance music. It would see him handle three residences (Home, Renaissance, and Twilo), team up with Dick Trevor in the studio under the moniker 'Science Dept.', and be the first DJ to graduate from the prestigious Global Underground's Nubreed camp.

Berated by some of the more parochial punters for paisley shirts and eyeliner, loved by all for corrosively cool sets and crowd rapport, Danny's devotion to his art and endearing character have earned him everything from the accolade 'the clubber's DJ' to his own action figure. His eye for irresistibly obscure tracks has become one of his de facto hallmarks; for a good example take a look at disc one of his Global Underground 027 mix, which includes Tantra's 'Hills of Katmandu', a 70s guitar-driven, bongo-laced disco romp so rare they can't even track down the owner. One of the industry's boldest glamour gurus and bona fide nice blokes, we had a chat with him at Womb, where we talked about Miami mayhem, record shopping and fashion crimes.

* If you would like to view the video interview...Click here !

> Interview : Matt Cotterill _ Photo : Mark Oxley (HigherFrequency)


HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : So, Danny, hello! How are you ?

Danny :Fine thank you. This is the final gig of a five week tour so I am very excited about going home.

HRFQ : This is the 'Miami' tour, yeah ?

Danny: Right, I've been doing it since March. We did six weeks in America, Canada, a month in Europe and then I've done five weeks in Australia, New Zealand and Asia and in ten hours I am going home so, nearly there.

HRFQ : How has it been so far ?

Danny : It has been good, I mean there have been a lot of really good gigs, a couple of 'OK' ones, and quite a lot of homesickness, because there has been a lot stuff going on back home with my family - good stuff - I mean I have a new sister now, but I haven't seen her because I have been away from home so much.

HRFQ : Congratulations, that's good news.

Danny : Oh, thank you, ha ha! It has been a lot of fun, a lot of time spent in hotel rooms going mad, but a lot of good fun as well.

HRFQ : Danny we would like to talk about your 'Miami Global Underground 27' - there for the camera...

Danny : Available in all good record shops. Don't download it !!

HRFQ : No! No downloading !

Danny : Because you get a nice little book if you buy it !!

Danny Howells Interview

HRFQ : Two disks. Could tell the Japanese viewers a bit of a story behind each disk ?

Danny : Yeah, sure. Well, each 'Global Underground' is based on a city and a party, so you have a launch party and the music that is played at the launch becomes the music for the CD. They are not recorded live but based on the set that is played at the launch party. The party that I did was at club 'Space' in Miami, in October, Halloween. I played two sets, one set was inside late at night, that became disk two, and in the morning when the sun was rising I played on the terrace and that became disk one. So there is a different feeling for each disk. The first disk is a little more sunshine, a little bit 'housier', a bit funkier.

HRFQ : We thought that it was one of the best 'Global Underground's' to date, so thanks for the time you put in.

Danny : Oh wow! That's cool, thank you.

HRFQ : Is it still you baby, disk number one, you described as 'your baby' ?

Danny : Well it changes, at the moment I have been liking disk one more, in terms of the feeling it catches, because you know the weather is getting warmer now, and it is more of a kind of 'sunshine' feeling to that disk. Disk two is a little bit more electro, a little bit more winter feeling to it. I am pleased with them both, disk two has a bit more experimental stuff on there which I was very pleased I could use on the compilation and quite a bit more of an eclectic mix so, I am pretty happy with both of them.

HRFQ : You said it was 'eclectic' and it is, there are a lot of eclectic sounds and tracks; how much time do you spend listening to new stuff that comes through ?

Danny : All the time.

HRFQ : 24 hours a day ?

Danny : Yeah, well that is one of the reasons why sometimes I get a little bit frustrated with not being at home, because I don't travel with a laptop and normally when I'm at home I will get records sent to me from the record companies but I don't really pay much attention to them. I do record shopping, a couple of shops where I get two packages a week, sometimes I buy a hundred records every week, as well as recently discovering MP3 shopping with websites, like 'Track-it-Down' and 'Nuphonics' and Compact MP3 and so on. So now I am discovering all these MP3 sites as well as all the record shops I buy stuff from. Sometimes when I am touring, like America, like I know where all the good record shops are like Denver, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, I'll go to all those stores, but yeah all my time is spent listening to music, whether it is stuff I use for my job or whether it is stuff to just relax to.

HRFQ : Can we talk quickly about 'Science Department' with Dick Trevor, is there anything in the pipeline there?

Danny : Not really, nothing new, we have another name we record as which is 'Kinky Funk' and there is a 'Kinky Funk' track which we did, which is on Desyn Masiello's Bedrock CD.

HRFQ : The OS.

Danny : Yeah, the first 'Original Series', and that's going to be coming out soon, and then the only other thing we've done is the remix for 'Destiny's Child'. And then as soon as this tour is finished then we are going to start working on some new singles. They are going to re-release 'Breathe', an old track we did, with new re-mixes, that's going to come out again, you know, to kill a bit of time !! Ha ha!

Danny Howells

HRFQ : We wanted to talk a little bit about the infamous shirts, One for the benefit of the camera, can you see that?

Danny : Beautiful, paisley, shiny. Shiny Paisley ! Which everybody thinks is disgusting but I absolutely adore.

HRFQ : We love it. Ha ha!

Danny : I love that shirt. I always buy Paisley and I buy flowery shirts and things like that, and I love vintage clothes and things which are a little bit different. I am very very proud of that shirt, it has got a very very mixed reaction but I don't care.

HRFQ : They said it was an image crime. Was that DJ Mag ?

Danny : They did actually write that, but a lot of people thought they were being serious. I mean obviously they thought it was a horrible picture and everybody thought they were having a go at me, but I think they quite appreciate it. I mean they gave me the cover of the issue about a month later so they can't have thought it was that bad, or they wouldn't have let me near the magazine.

HRFQ : Have you ever been clothes shopping in Tokyo ?

Danny : Yeah many times, yeah, and got some crazy bits. Yeah, shoes, trousers, this watch, I got this watch in Tokyo, it is an old 1980's Casio with a Japanese dictionary on it and a Japanese translator. So I have been shopping a lot, last time I came over we spent about 2 days shopping. A lot of the places I go to, records and clothes are my big passion. I'll try on and buy as much as I can, because you can't buy a lot of these things at home. I mean when I was in Tokyo about two years ago I found a quite 'punky' pin-stripe suit, and it was a very good fit as well, and I wouldn't be able to find that at home so it is good for me to experience all the different shops and stuff. However I still look a mess all the time. At least I try!

HRFQ : On a final note Danny, a message to your Japanese fans.

Danny : To my Japanese fans, I always enjoy coming to Japan, I always enjoy playing in Japan, I have had some very very special nights here at Womb and I hope it continues, and see you all again soon.

HRFQ : Well we would like to thank you for your time Danny and wish you all the best for the future and tonight's set, thanks very much !

Danny : Thank you !

End of the interview

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