Danny Howells Advises: Don't Give Up The Day Job
Sunday, July 29, 200110 years after launching his DJing career on an unsuspecting Hastings public, progressive house DJ Danny Howells finds himself amongst the top tier of DJs, recently making DJ magazine's Top 10 poll. With residencies at Twilo and Home (London) both disappearing after authorities shut down both super-clubs, he's been filling the temporary gap by touring the world, spinning in LA, Europe and South East Asia over the last few weeks.
"Find your own style of music that you like, whether it's techno, progressive or deep house, anything, and when you do, stick with it. Stick with it and try and have a day job as well to support you." 10 years after beginning his own DJing career in the sleepy rundown resort of Hastings, progressive house DJ Danny Howells is a globally recognised DJ. Recently mixing a compilation for Global Underground's Nu Breed series, he's indeed a new generation DJ who appreciates his newfound audiences as much as they seem to like him. Skrufff's Angie Ng met him last weekend as he visited Kuala Lumpur for his debut Malaysian performance.
Skrufff (Angie Ng): What's the usual Danny Howells approach to making sure a party rocks-
Danny: "I try my hardest to do the best that I can possibly do, every time. It's the first time I've been in Kuala Lumpur so I've got all the records I carry and I try to give the audience the best time they could possibly have. I interact with them, have a laugh with them, talk to them afterwards and sometimes even during the set. They've come to have a good time so I want to give them something to remember."
Skrufff: You've spent 10 years building up your DJ profile and now you're ranked no 10 in the world, have there been any particular moments when you've sat back and pinched yourself-
Danny: "Pinching myself has been something that's happened quite regularly in the last 10 years ; just the fact that I was doing gigs at all. Even playing in my hometown was amazing because I never dreamt it would happen. I never expected or dreamt that I'd be travelling abroad, taking records and playing in other countries. All the travelling and the amount of gigs abroad have really picked up over the last two years. Every country has been really amazing.
Skrufff: Have there been any nightmare gigs-
Danny Howells: "The last bad ones happened around seven years ago. When I was playing in my hometown of Hastings, a girl came up and asked if I could play 'M-People', I said 'sorry, I haven't got any', then she grabbed me by my T-shirt and pulled me back, snapping my headphone wire in two and ripping my T-shirt. Then the bouncer came over and said, 'You've been picking on this girl, she wanted M-People and you started shouting at her'. That sort of stuff happened a lot when I was just starting out, but recently, it's been brilliant. I still get people coming up and ask for hip-hop when I'm playing house music but that doesn't happen a lot, thank God."
Skrufff : I understand you used to work as a psychiatric nurse; is it true that you had ex-patients following you around…
Danny Howells: "No, no, not following me around…."
Skrufff : I read that there was this middle aged patient who'd show up at your gigs…(*Wax magazine, 2000)
Danny Howells: "No, no, no; she was a friend of my Aunt's. She was basically this patient that I got on really well with, who used music as a sort of therapy, as a way of dealing with her problems. She used to hear voices (in her head) and music was a way to help her deal with the voices, to block them out a bit. She'd bring me tapes of her favorite albums from the sixties and seventies; some pretty way out stuff, really mad stuff. And I'd do her mix tapes and record my sets and she used to really enjoy them. She loved what I was doing and she'd come and hear me play whenever I was playing somewhere local. There were a lot of patients who'd come but she was by far the most supportive and enthusiastic."
Skrufff : You're from Hastings, as is John Digweed; is t Tags