TF Archives

Danny Howells interview: The Obvious Choice

Author: Terry Goldfain
Friday, March 31, 2006

If there's any DJ who makes for a great interview, it's Danny Howells. By night he might work as one of the globe's biggest DJs, but during the day he's something of a walking quote machine. It also allows him to stand out from the mass of automaton DJs who fear offending anyone at all that they end up saying nothing. As you can imagine, Howells has capitalised on this no end - his collaborations with Global Underground have been up there with the best and thanks to a reasonably hectic schedule, he's often playing locally.

The people behind the respected Choice compilations obviously noticed Howells' versatility too - they asked him to mix their latest chapter in the series. What sets Choice apart from other mix CDs is the insight one can gain into the DJ's head. They're not mixing the current crop of big anthems, floor-fillers and guaranteed hits, rather they're giving punters a chance of seeing what songs have stood the test of time for them. As Howells virtually coined the term 'eclectic DJ', he was made for the job. We caught up with him.

What do you see as the concept behind the Choice series and do you have a favourite-
It is a selection of the tracks that influenced me during my first few years as a DJ, as well as some of the music that inspired me long before I ever had a pair of decks. Disc one has got legends like Morales, DJ Pierre, Todd Terry etc. It is quite a housey mix which goes acidy towards the end. Disc two is the one I'm most proud of - it's a bit more eclectic and a lot heavier. The concept is really to create your ultimate set, using your all-time favourite tracks as well as records that have been the most influential. It was one of the most enjoyable compilations I've made. Of the previous Choice compilations, I've no particular favourite but I suppose Digweed's means the most to me personally.

Last time I interviewed you in June 2005 you pledged to tour Australia at least once a year. You aren't going back on it already are you-
I'm coming this year! Hopefully April or May. I wasn't too happy with the last tour, mainly because I was ill for a big part of it and extremely jetlagged. I'm hoping I can come over and play a few longer sets in some more intimate venues.

You've not only attended the Miami Winter Music Conference for a number of years, but your gigs are one of the event's highlights. With the WMC only days away, how has it changed when compared to your first visit and does it still hold the same importance in the dance music industry-
I haven't really noticed any changes to be honest, but that's probably because when I'm there I'm kind of in my own bubble! It's an extremely important event for the dance scene, an event which the whole industry gets VERY excited about.

The recent movie It's all Gone Pete Tong focussed on a DJ who loses his hearing and thus his livelihood. DJing as regularly as you do, and after a similar thing almost happened to Mylo earlier this year, is this something that worries you-
Stupidly, I don't wear earplugs and it does worry me actually. I've been meaning to get myself fitted for about three years now but I'm just a total slacker.

Tell Tranzfusion readers about your one man show 'Dig Deeper' and the preparation needed to play solo for an entire night-
There's no major musical concept other than that it will only be held in clubs or countries which I enjoy and feel a great connection with the crowd. They will always feature just myself playing from open to close which is what I enjoy doing way more than two hour guest slots. And I have to prepare beforehand by making sure I have music of all styles in my box so I can vary the sound throughout the night and hopefully prevent it from getting stale! I like all sorts from deep, jazzy house and disco, to techno, tech house etc. I d