Exclusive Danny Howard interview
Danny Howard has kindly spared us some time in the run up to another busy festival season to give his experiences of music festivals and DJ’ing on the road. Danny Howard is best known for his BBC Radio 1 Show on Saturday nights, where he hosts Dance Anthems. He is also the new DJ behind the hugely successful Minstry of Sound Clubber Guide Mix Cds, he mixed the Clubbers Guide to 2013 CD. So without further ado lets start the questioning!.
1. What is your best festival memory?
Had to be at Global Gathering in 2006. It was my first ever festival and Daft Punk headlined, it was an experience I’ll never forget simply because of that historic pyramid set and I guess you just never forget your first time!
2. What is your worst festival memory?
That’s easy… again it was my first time in 2006 so being inexperienced and not thinking ahead to how useless my body & mind would be after a weekend of raving, I agreed to drive…much to the delight of my friends. It was a terrible experience driving middle lane all the way back to Blackpool from Stratford with only Red Bull & Pro Plus keeping me going! Not recommended!
3. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen at a festival? Any other funny festival stories or anecdotes?
Festivals are places full of weird things and activities that most would probably not dream of doing in a normal clubbing environment. I will leave it to your own imagination and experiences to process an outcome to that statement but I guess it was pretty surreal when I was backstage at Creamfields getting a back massage (they were free alright!) and I looked to my right and Example was getting his hair cut! Very random and I don’t know what was more weird, him getting a free trim at a muddy festival or me giving him the awkward lad style ‘hello’ nod oiled up with my top off.
4. What is your festival survival tip?
5. What do you always put on your rider? Anything weird?
I do always think it would be funny to put something impossible on the rider such as Mint Vienetta (at room temperature) but then again, I’ve been a promoter myself so I know what it’s like to run around town looking for parrots trained to say an artists name or packets of ‘just blue’ M&Ms… just not needed. As long as I can enjoy a drink with the crowd oh, and the jager (very important ingredient)… then I’m happy ?
6. What is your festival style tip / what do you wear on stage?
I think it’s important to get into the festival spirit so I’m for digging my wellies out and getting amongst it! I don’t think it matters what you wear at a festival…just don’t forget your wellies!! I see so many flips flops, trainers and converse go to shoe heaven as a result of being stupid enough to think that you are too cool for wellington boots or in fact that you are just a bit of an idiot… ?
7. Who is your favourite electronic music act at the moment?
I’m really excited at what the next wave of superstar D’s are going to be producing this year. So the likes of Zedd, Madeon and Porter Robinson, all have had great early success and will only go onto bigger things, they really are smashing it at the moment.
8. What are your tips for this summer’s big festival dance tracks?
It’s impossible not to mention Daft Punk at this point. At the time of writing this, they’re single ‘Get Lucky’ has gone straight to number 1 on iTunes with in 10 hours of its release! It’s got to be the most hotly anticipated album in years!! I think it will change the trend in dance music and only the robots can do something as radical and instant as that!
9. Who are you most looking forward to seeing perform at GlobalGathering this year?
I’m really looking forward to seeing 2ManyDJs. They are one of my favourite dance acts in the world because they are different than anyone else. They are experts in finding tracks that are either forgotten, shouldn’t work or are way off what you would expect from an electronic dance music act… but they make them work. For example, I had the pleasure/daunting task of going on after them on New Years Eve and their last track was ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life’ from that Monty Python Film and I just remember thinking ONLY they could get away with dropping that! Genius!
10. Can you provide a quote about having performed/been in the crowd (delete as appropriate) at GlobalGathering before, if applicable?
One of the original & best festivals in the UK…pick your spot and dance to pretty much most of the greatest DJs in the world!
11. What does GlobalGathering mean to you?
Global Gathering means summer and good times! It’s where I popped my festival cherry and for that reason alone makes it special to me so it’s an absolute privilege and honour to come back and play alongside some of my favourite people in the scene!
12. What is the best electronic festival act you’ve ever seen?
HAS to be The Chemical Brothers. No one does festival main stage performances like the Chems! Spectacular, trippy, epic and mind blowing!
13. What do you think the biggest issue facing the dance music industry is today?
I’ll be honest, there’s always going to be issues in dance music from whatever angle you look at it from but focusing on the negatives is one issue in itself! I’d like to flip this question around and focus on the positives because there’s so much to celebrate right now. The US explosion of EDM is great because of the snowball effect that has on the rest of the world, the amount of young producers coming through keeps the scene fresh and the fact that dance music is dominating the mainstream music charts right now with Duke Dumont & Bingo Players bagging No. 1s and at the time of writing this, it looks like both Daft Punk & Rudimental will get top spots as well. This really reflects how popular Dance music itself is across the country at the moment and that’s great news for DJs, Producers, Promoters & Ravers themselves! Let’s keep it going!
14. What made you decide to get into dance music?
I’ve always had a natural draw to anything with a good beat so I guess it grows from that and seeing my older stepbrother mixing two vinyl records together (badly) on some 1210s when I was about 10 years old. I was like… what is this?! I want to do that! Then when I was 19 years old I finally started to learn! I was a late bloomer! Ha.
15. Who is your biggest inspiration in the dance industry?
Has to be Erick Morillo! Always say this and never get tired of it! I think it’s so important to have energy and connection with the crowd when stood behind the decks and nobody does it quite like Erick! Capturing that right moment as a result of the specific record you have just dropped that sends a crowd into complete exhilaration and emotional excitement is why we DJ. It takes great experience and timing to be able to achieve this and I’ve never seen him fail…
16. How do you see dance music evolving over the next few years?
Who knows?! Isn’t that the exciting thing about it? Who can predict what the next big sound, genre or trend will be when it comes to dance music and that is the beauty of it. That is why dance music is such an addictive genre because of all the sub genres that fall under its extensive umbrella. I like to reflect this in my sets. Although I mainly play big room house, I often like to throw the odd curveball in which I think keeps it fresh and exciting not just for me, but for the crowd.
17. Who would you most like to perform with on the GlobalGathering line-up?
I would love to perform with Carl Cox! A back to back set with such a legend would be a moment I would remember for ever and probably not quite believe it was happening! I’ve seen him play at Global Gathering before and he literally owns the arena, everyone just dancing and smiling because of the pure energy and vibe he puts through that sound system. He even stopped the music halfway through and said ‘Hey guys, I’m working my ass off up here for you’ and every just cheered and clapped! I don’t think any DJ could do that without getting boo’d except for him!
18. What will be the summer anthem of 2013?
It’s too early to tell but I have a feeling it could be something off the new Daft Punk album! It’s getting so much hype and love right now that their music is going to be everywhere! The big summer anthems usually get labelled with that title late in the summer…
19. What really happens backstage/funniest backstage antics?
In my experience, back stage is just full of ‘industry people’ who work with the artists… trust me, the real party is out there in the thick of it and I love getting involved!! It’s all about the rave so don’t think you’re missing out… or maybe I’m just hanging around with the wrong people…
20. Have you ever nearly missed a set? What was the closest shave?
Yes! It was in Northampton and I wasn’t on until 2am, I got to the hotel at 10pm and thought I’d grab a quick hour disco nap…I woke up at 2:20am! Luckily the hotel was across the road from the club and I was there ready to play at 2:30 so it wasn’t all bad!
21. Have you had any star struck moments?
I get ask this question a lot and I’m in a lucky position that let’s me meet a lot of my idols from time to time but I don’t think I’ve been star struck properly yet! Standing in the DJ box with Tiesto at Pacha Ibiza and him thanking me for having him on the Radio show was pretty surreal. Definitely a moment I thought would never happen in my life!!
Catch Danny Howard at GlobalGathering, 26-27th July at Long Marston Airfield, Stratford Upon Avon. www.globalgathering.com
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About the author
Martin has been covering Music News for over 20 years. His first website was a fans site set up after the first ever V Festival. Martin has set up many music news and information over the years, and built up a big network of contacts within the music industry