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Behind The Beat: Danny Howard

Amsterdam Dance Event is one of  the biggest, if not the biggest annual event in dance music. Only The Beat's Senior East Coast Editor, Shendy Hershfield had the opportunity to sit down and go 'Behind the Beat' with some of the best in the industry including BBC Radio1's Danny Howard. He's had a busy year between hosting his weekly Dance Anthems show, touring and running his own label 'Nothing Else Matters'. Howard weighs in on London club closures, artists we need to watch and some new music coming out this year! Only The Beat: Area 10 & What Hannah Wants party is tonight. Planning to play any new music in your set? Danny Howard: There's lots of new tunes that I'm testing out myself or that are on the label or that I've acquired this week. These are my favorite tunes I've been playing the late part of the Summer as well. I'm back to back with Camelphat and who are great guys. I know them from the U.K., known them a long time before they were even Camelphat and I love that they are doing so well. I love their style and their tunes. So, I just think those two together should make for a good, energetic house set. OTB: And it's at Chicago Social Club, have you played there before? DH: No, I've never played there before. I hear it's a cool, intimate venue which I think is my favorite kind, you are like close to the crowd. It just creates like a vibe, you know? So, I'm looking forward to it. OTB: You brought up playing more intimate shows. It's a big difference from playing festivals. DH: Which I like of course. I like both. I think because I came from playing intimate venues and more of that raw scene, it's just familiar to me. I like when it's sweaty. OTB: I was at an event last night to see MK and it was a small, tiny sweaty room. But, I sometimes think those are the best experiences. DH: Definitely. Well, hopefully tonight it will be too. (Side Note: The Area 10 party was sweaty.)

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OTB: Speaking of venues, something that has been in the news lately are all the club closures in London. A lot of people in the industry in U.S. are worried about the impact it will overall on dance music. We don't have as much of an issue with club closures but we have a big issues with shows and festivals getting shutdown because of drug issues and that kind of thing. What do you think the impact of the closures will be? Big? Small? DH: Well, it's gonna have a big impact, more specifically for London. When clubs like Fabric close down, they are so iconic and legendary, have nurtured so much talent and also given people their first experience of what real clubbing is. That could have a big impact eventually. But, I feel that there's such demand for it that if one place closes another place can open and have the opportunity maybe in time to deliver the same. That's the hope anyways. We'll see. OTB: It seems like the topic has brought a lot of people together, kind of unified the dance music community. DH: Definitely. OTB: You brought up your label Nothing Else Matters earlier and I definitely want to hear more about that. You have three releases so far this year. What is to come? DH: Well, we've got a guy KC Lights who is actually playing the Area 1o party tonight. I've got a record for coming before Christmas and also I've curated a four-track EP which is out in November. We just started giving it to DJs across ADE. It has a really, good bunch of U.K. house producers on there; Rhythm Masters, Tuff London, The Golden Boy and MANT and they are all just club weapons. I'll be playing them tonight. So, that's whats coming up on the label.

Nothing Else Matters - Fire Beats Vol.2

OTB: I've just become familiar with Tuff London with the track that is out on Toolroom, Front Line DH: Wait, till you hear this track, it's called 'Get Down'. I've been playing it all Summer in my sets. The first time I played it was at V Festival and it was like 30,000 people. When it dropped the whole place went crazy. I thought, "Yeah, I better sign this". OTB: When I was reading about the label it seems like you are trying to foster a lot of young talent. Is that the direction you are going with that? DH: Yeah, that is the plan because I think there's so many labels signing one off tracks which is fine and we'll be doing that at some point as well. But, I think the best payoff for a label and the most exciting thing for me is starting a project with someone and watching it grow and helping them do that. So, I signed this German producer called SAINT WKND. Not sure if you are aware of? OTB: Oh yeah, definitely am. DH: Well, he's got a massive following on his SoundCloud thru doing bootlegs and remixes, just really amazing productions. And we signed him to the label and we're just finishing the first EP and we already got the second and third EP demos laid down. So, in 2017 you should definitely look out for him. OTB: That's exciting. That was a good segue to my next question, who are you listening to? Young talent, is there any specific standout artist, someone we should all keep an eye on? DH: Definitely him. Cause he's on the label, not that I'm obliged to say that just because he's on the label but I generally believe he has such talent. He's got that crossover potential as well. He makes and loves a real, unique sound but with like poppy vocals in a really cool way. So, I'm excited about that. KC Lights definitely. Again, not because he's on the label but he's a really talented guy. He's been getting a lot of club support recently and I've heard a lot of demos that he's got and they are really strong. And I really like these Dutch guys called ANOTR. Just some really slamming tech house. Just really good energy to it. I think they'll have a good year, next year as well. OTB: Will definitely have to keep our eyes them. Now, I have to ask, anything coming from you soon? DH: Yeah, well I just started meeting with Spinnin', the label I released my last track on and they are asking if I have any tracks. Well, yeah but they are not finished yet. So, probably towards the start of next year. There's also track coming out on Subliminal, which for me is a major goal achieved because Erick is one of my favorite all-time DJs. I love how he is so passionate behind the decks and the energy he brings. He really connects with the crowd and just lifts the whole room when he goes on the decks. I always wanted to aspire to be like that. You know he was one of the first DJs I saw at Pacha in Ibiza on my first trip over to the island. So, to remix one of his tracks, release on his label and see him play that remix at the Space Closing Party a few weeks ago is just like mind-blowing. But, that's coming in November. OTB: Well, that's pretty exciting! Speaking of the Space Closing Party, I was one of those people back in the U.S. that had the stream on in the background work. How was it? DH: I didn't go! The only reason Erick played it was because of stream. I played Pacha the night before and I was at the airport on Sunday night going home and everyone was going to Space and I was like, "What am I doing, why am I not going to Space closing?" but I got back and watched the stream. It felt very emotional, mainly because I wasn't there. OTB: It was on list of clubs I needed to go to. I wanted to go but never had the opportunity. DH: You have an excuse though. You live a long, long way away. I had a two hour flight, I have no excuse really. OTB: Two more questions, this one is not music related at all. DH: You have a good memory, I have to write my questions down. OTB: I try to remember but sometimes I don't. OK, favorite food and where can we get it? DH: Pizza and anywhere. OTB: What kind of pizza? A specific kind? DH: I like to try any pizza as long as it's not deep pan. I hate like really thick pizza. I'm not very adventurous when it comes to food, so that's not a good question to ask me. OTB: Some people are, some people aren't. OK, last question, if there was one person dead or alive that you could collaborate with on a track, who would it be and why? DH: Oh my god, that's such a good question. I've been asked this before and I can never answer it. Hmm, dead or alive? Erick Morillo. I am nearly there because I remixed his track. So maybe the next step is to actually do a track with him? He actually said we should do something, so maybe the dream could be a reality one day? Hopefully soon.

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