At lunch with the Showtek
guys during Winter Music Conference
, I was talking to the guy next to me and realized it was Danny Howard
. We had just spoken a few months prior about his “BBC Radio 1 Dance Anthems”
compilation, but so much had happened for the rising DJ/producer that it was definitely time to catch up.
RS: How do you balance Danny Howard as Danny Howard Producer/DJ and Danny Howard for BBC Radio 1?
Danny Howard: It’s quite simple and straight forward. The Radio 1 show is mainly what I am known for back in the UK and everything that I do outside of that adds to the profile of the show. If I do something that gets me recognition outside of Radio 1 it also feeds into the radio show and helps with that, it works hand in hand.
RS: As a BBC Radio DJ you are on the cusp of what is coming next, with all the talk about EDM sounding the same what do you think is coming next?
Danny Howard: It is the music that I have loved, enjoyed and embraced for the last couple of years but music always has to be fresh. People always want new sounds and it has to evolve. I think that over the next year we are going to see the end of the hard, kickdrum sound that has become famous by DJs like Dimitri Vegas, Like Mike, and Martin Garrix. Those guys killed it and people have saturated it by trying to copy them, it has really flooded the market and I think that everyone is wondering what to do next. With how big the deeper sound has been I think that people are going to incorporate that into the big room sound and maybe make things groovier. I think this year is going to be the year of groove but we’ll see.
RS: You mentioned the Hard Rock Sofa and Skidka track with the disco sample in it; do you think that is going to be a sign of where things are going?
Danny Howard: I hope so, I love it and I think that it sounds so fresh yet still has the energy for a festival or a club that you need to send a crowd going crazy. I think that is how it should go and I would like it to go that way. I think it is a gamechanger record, and if it connects with the people then it will connect. People keep asking me this question and I keep asking them the same one, no one knows but I think that Miami music week is a big indicator and a preview of what is going to be big this summer. At the end of this week maybe we will know more.
RS: Do you think the whole ‘90s Nu-house, UK sound that is big right now is going to get bigger and go more international?
Danny Howard: I hope so, I do my show on Sirius XM now and I do a little section of the show that is dedicated to the deeper and techier sound and that is the section of the show that I get the most reaction from on Twitter. I think that is quite significant because it shows that people want a fresher, new sound. Who knows, EDM is huge and it’s not going away, but I think that it’s about time that we have something a bit fresher. Even Hardwell said that same thing when I interviewed him and he said that there is no originality anymore, everything sounds like Martin Garrix “Animals.” I agree and I was so happy that the world’s #1 DJ can see that. I think that everyone knows it but it’s just a matter of when it will happen.
RS: How does being a BBC Radio and Sirius DJ affect your own production and remixing?
Danny Howard: It doesn’t, because the BBC Radio show is huge and so is Sirius. I want to really focus on the broader things; there are so many producers out there that are in a very strong position with the BBC. One day I would love to emulate what Pete Tong has achieved, we will see. During the week, once I have all of my radio prep done and if I’m not doing gigs, I dedicate my time to creating original stuff.
RS: How did the “Mug” collaboration with GLOWINTHEDARK and T3nbears come together?
Danny Howard: That came together in Ibiza last year. We did a gig together when we played at Pasha, and Albert from GLOWINTHEDARK said “hey, we just finished this track on the plane and we are going to test it out tonight.” I stood behind him when he played it and I thought it was incredible and amazing. They went away and at ADE they came up and asked me if I wanted to collab on the track that they showed me in Ibiza. I told them to give me the parts and that I would finish it and so we did. The idea was born in Ibiza, curated in Amsterdam and finished in the UK.
RS: An international track! If you could collaborate with anyone out there who would you want to collaborate with?
Danny Howard: I could say someone that is obvious and big, but my all-time hero is Erick Morillo. He hasn’t been DJing recently but he is an inspiration and a massive influence and one of the nicest guys in dance music. I love him, the first time that I met him he said to me “Danny, anything you need just let me know,” and I thought he was just being nice but I saw him a month later and he said “Do you remember what I said to you, anything that you need just let me know.” I thought that it was incredible that he remembered that he had said that, he is such a humble guy and I would definitely want to work with him.
RS: I love your mix of “Flute,” do you ever hear from the artists that you do the remixes for?
Danny Howard: Yeah, Thomas Newson messaged me about the “Flute” remix, which was nice. The Galantis guys tweeted about my remix of “Smile,” which was a great feeling because there are 10 remixes of that track. You have to do a good job though, there are so many remixes out there that are just organized by the label and just done for the sake of it. If the artists themselves give it recognition, you know that you’ve done a good job.
RS: What is coming up next from you?
Danny Howard: Musicwise it is the collaboration with Futuristic Polar Bears that will probably come out the end of May on Spinnin’ Records. It’s called “Vargo” and it is a big room track with a groovy bassline to it. Futuristic Polar Bears are #1 on Beatport on Hardwell’s label and they are good friends of mine so I am really excited for the release.
RS: Is it an instrumental track?
Danny Howard: Yes, and it has a gypsy feel to it with the vocal and the lead sound that we used. Vargo actually means an old gypsy horse and cart, and we wanted to relate that in the name and it sounded cool as well.
RS: When a track doesn’t have a vocal, how do you come up with the name for it?
Danny Howard: It does have a little vocal hit before the drop like a lot of big tracks have at the moment. Someone will think of something randomly and with “Vargo,” it sounded like a gypsy sound so we literally just looked on Google for worlds and names that related to something gypsy-like. There are so many different ways to look for a name for a track. I had a track called “Apex” and one called “Spire” which means positivity going upwards, and that is why I picked those names. I guess it doesn’t matter what the name of the track is, if it’s a good track it’s a good track.
RS: What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Danny Howard: Thank you for supporting the music, keep listening to the radio shows. I put a lot of time and a lot of work in to making sure that I am giving you guys the best and the freshest, newest, upfront tunes. I really appreciate everyone who tweets and interacts with me.
Images from Danny Howard Facebook and from Urban Snapper.
Interview conducted during WMC 2014.