TF Archives

Danny Howells: Madness On The Dancefloor

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Saturday, March 19, 2005
"I do quite miss my old job in a way because it was very rewarding in a totally different way to the job I'm doing now. It could be the most heartbreaking job in the world, and the most rewarding as well."

Nowadays best known as an A list DJ as recently as six years ago, Danny Howells was working as a psychiatric nurse in a British hospital treating patients suffering from serious psychiatric disorders.

"It was in the acute ward of a small hospital, a semi secure 12 bed ward, and you'd get a lot of aggression there, a lot of violence, in fact it could be quite a nasty place sometimes, though on the whole you'd find it very, very rewarding," he recalls.

"You'd spend months and months working with one particular person calling you cunt and wanker and all that kind of shit, then suddenly they'd become your mate after a couple of months. In that sense it could be the best job in the world at times, but then it could be the worst at other times."

Simultaneously developing his DJing career (first making his name as warm up DJ for John Digweed's Bedrock club), he'd also find his two roles merging on the dance floor as well as the clinic.

"There's been quite a few occasions - isolated incidents where alarm bells have been ringing when you come across somebody in a club or you've seen somebody at an after party definitely suffering from some kind of psychosis and they are on a lot of drugs as well, so I'm not sure whether it's immediately drug induced, or whether it's the beginnings of some sort of illness," he admits. "Especially people aged around their early 20's because people often develop psychiatric illnesses at that age."

And just as Danny was spotting potential patients on the dancefloor, some of the same individuals would be noticing him, with surprising results when he'd return to his day job after the weekend.

"On many occasions I'd be out DJiing at the weekend, playing Hastings Pier and Monday morning I'd go to work and be told we've got a new patient coming in. Then the patient would walk in and go "Alright Danny, good set Saturday night'. That was quite bizarre. It was also quite good in a sense, because I ended up knowing a lot of the younger people through the clubs and pubs so they'd feel quite confident in talking or opening up to me."

6 years on, Danny's concentrating solely on his music career, and is just about to release a double mix CD for compilation company Global Underground, themed around his latest gigs at Space Miami (last October)

"The Global Underground series is based around a city and one particular night, so I wanted to stick to that them as much as I could," he explains.

"Every year in Miami I do a Halloween party, but because my surname is Howells, it's called Howellween, and this year we had Josh Wink play so it became Howellwink.

I played two sets there, one set indoors and one on the terrace, and as much as I could I based this CD around those two sets. For CD1; 95% of the tracks were played on the terrace there, and for disc 2 the same applies."

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): As a DJ, are you generally approaching every weekend trying to find as many new tracks in as possible-

Danny Howells: "Yeah, I do that is because when I'm actually playing in a club, if you are too familiar with a track it takes away part of the excitement for me. I like hearing tracks almost as on the same level as the audience. So you're hearing in the same way as them. I like my tracks to be as new as possible so I'm always trying to put new tracks into my sets every single week. When I go away for a long period of time, say to somewhere America for six weeks, you find yourself stuck with he same records and there are always a few records you just get sick of by the end of the trip. If most of the crowd haven't heard them before, it's not too bad, but I do prefer having new tracks each week."

Skrufff: The tracks from this album are they pretty much gone from your box