Making waves in the ever-growing sea of electronic music we caught up with Radio 1 DJ and Tastemaker Danny Howard to give us an insight into his career, summer and lifestyle.
How are you, what’s good, what’s bad, what’s keeping you busy?
I’m great and thankful to have made it to the end of another hectic, but amazing summer! I’ve been super busy re-launching my record label Nothing Else Matters but more on that later
Firstly, what made you want to become a Tastemaker?
It sounds cliché but simply my love for music! Sometimes searching through hundreds of records everyday can be long, but when you find ‘that’ tune, it makes it worth it. Because music is so accessible these days, it makes me even more determined to find new music that I can showcase on my radio show.
It’s been over five years since you first took to the airwaves on Radio 1, what has been career highlight to date?
It sounds crazy but it’s been 7 years already and I’ve loved every minute! Career highlight ultimately has to be joining the Friday night dance line up. It’s been legendary for decades and I spent most of my teenage years tuning in to Pete Tong & Annie Mac so to then have my own show following them both is totally surreal.
What can we expect to see from you in the next 5 years?
My priorities for the next 5 years are becoming more influential as a broadcaster, making more music that connects on a global scale and growing my label to become one of the most ground breaking hubs for electronic music.
So, you’re in the middle of a few closing parties in Ibiza, How have you found the island this summer?
For me personally it’s been amazing to dip into different parties across the island. I’ve played both Defected & Toolroom at Eden which has been full on energy with a young, up-it-crowd; I’ve played the lush setting of Pacha for Claptone’s masquerade party, Abode on the terrace at Amnesia which for me, is true Ibiza and one of the best rooms in the world. Then Hï with Camelphat, Solardo & Fisher which had the atmosphere of a festival and I’ve even played Heart which was a nice surprise because it was packed with an educated & energetic crowd and all this time I thought it was just a restaurant!
What would you say is your Ibiza Club weapon track that you’ll put on?
This year it has definitely been Roberto Surace – Joys. This track is the track of the summer 2019 and it never fails no matter the crowd or club, it’s the most versatile track around but the one that always boots off. I particularly like the Sosa remix.
In regards to your label, Nothing Else Matters, how would you define the brands sound?
The only constant it that all the releases are electronic music and meant for the club. Apart from that, we have no boundaries. On my radio show I showcase lots of different sounds and styles that fall under the vast umbrella of ‘House’ and it’s the same remit for the label. If it’s fresh, sounds exciting and is pure quality then we’ll look at it. I then like to test tracks out in the club for a good few weeks to make sure they properly bang.
Your most recent track on the NEM label saw you team up with duo Eli & Fur, how was that experience for you?
It was a great example of modern day collaborating, remotely! Even though all three of us live in London, we travel so much, our schedules never matched up. The process was pretty straight forward as Eli & Fur are super talented and professional so their wasn’t much back & forth.
I wrote and produced a rough demo, had an idea for a vocal that would have a similar vibe to classic house record Kosheen – Hide U and then the girls smashed it!
How did it feel dropping your new track If You Were Here for the first time at Sundown Festival (Norfolk?)
It felt great because it was actually the first time I had the confidence to play it out. I always do that with my own tracks, I have to wait until I think it will 100% work because imagine clearing a room but then imagine clearing a room with one of your own productions! I’m my own worst critic and it’s all in my head so it’s something I need to work on but luckily they all stayed! Haha.
Having been discovered through Radio 1s Talent Search. What is it you look for when signing new talent?
Something original, exciting, fresh and someone who really wants it! You can tell when someone is doing the hustle and I respect that, if they have the talent and skills to back it up then let’s talk!
What DJs coming through at the moment in electronic have you got your eye on? (Artists to watch)
Theirs a new guy from Sunderland called ‘Sorley’ coming through that I really like. He makes banging underground house tunes that always have great little hooks which work great for playing out in the club. I actually first heard his music through BBC Music Introducing and now he’s signed to EP’s to NEM as well as a single coming on Defected. I’m excited to see how he grows in 2020.
What was the last show you went to as a clubber?
Paradise at DC10, Ibiza last week! I was only meant to pop in for one drink but then it soon dawned on me, you don’t just ‘pop in’ to DC10!!
What song have you got stuck in your head recently?
‘Hannah Wants & Kevin Knapp – Call Me’ It basically says ‘call me’ all the through, you’ll get what I mean when you listen but it won’t leave your head!
Where was your most memorable performance & why?
My most memorable performance was definitely Ushuaia in Ibiza in 2011 when I won the radio 1 competition. It was the gig that kicked off all this madness and to make it even more special, I got to play Space across the road that same night! It’s every DJs dream to play on the white isle but to be lucky enough to do it the way I did it, wow, it still gives me goosebumps!
How has your Radio Show influenced the electronic music record label (NEM) ?
Massively! My radio show showcases everything from House to Techno, Disco to Progressive and everything in between. If I were to play, release and listen to the same style, I wouldn’t be doing my job properly and the same with the label.
What labels have inspired and influenced you over the years, any you aspire to be like in terms of success?
Definitely Subliminal Records. With Morillo at the helm, this label was significant in my musical upbringing as well as releasing a lot of seminal records into the scene during the early 2000’s. I would love to be able to release records that connect as well as those in the club but build a brand as strong as Defected & Toolroom.
Where can we see you playing next?
We’re now going into the Autumn rave period which is one of my favourite times of the year because theirs so much going on. I have some really exciting gigs coming up including Warehouse Project, Manchester (Friday 11th October), Studio 338, London (Sunday 27th October) and Bramley Moore Dock, Liverpool (Saturday 30th November).
Amongst all that I’ve also got a mini tour in America as well as a Dubai trip to play the amazing Soho Gardens in December.
How do you spend your time away from DJing and presenting the Radio?
Now that we’ve got summer out the way, I’ll mostly be spending my time in the gym, playing 5 a side football and making music