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Danny Howells Interview: Spoilt for Choice

Author: Terry Goldfain
Thursday, 4 May 2006
While the lifestyles of dance music's jet-setting elite may be considered glamorous by some, there is nothing exciting about the procession of interviews with dance music journalists that inevitably accompany this success. And sadly for those considering a career as a dance music demi-god, the more popular you become, the more interviews you are forced to do. As a journalist you can only hope that if you're have a 'phoner' (phone interview) you are one of the first to speak to the artist, before their patience has been sorely tried.

Then there are that small number of interviewees, such as Danny Howells, who can make a journalists week. Articulate, warm and engaging, he combines these qualities with a reputation for being somewhat of a 'human headline'. Simply revist my interview with Howell's in 2005 for evidence: "I'm very anti-sterile- Fucking hell, what a crap quote," Howells remarked in mock disgust, before exploding into laughter. "I can see the headline now! 'Danny Howells says 'I'm anti sterile'."

He was in fact using the term to describe bland music. In contrast, it would be fir to say that the musical legacy spawned by Howells to date is a most fertile one. With his recent addition to Azuli's compilation series 'Choice: A Collection of Classics' proving to be one of the most popular to date, Howells took the time to chat to Tranzfusion before embarking on his annual Australian tour.

You mentioned last time we spoke that you weren't as happy with your gigs last Australian tour due to such factors as jetlag and illness. Is this a necesarry evil of a hectic touring schedule-
It does become a factor. You always want to make a mark and ensure people have a good time. But there are a lot of other factors that go into it such as jet lag and home sickness. When you are away from home for months on end you get sick of the records you're playing as well. I'm not traveling with a laptop so I'm not able to get new tracks during the tour unless I'm in the States where I know there are some really good record shops. I just get very bored of playing the same records over and over again.

You try and mix it up a little bit with what you've got in your box but in terms of peak-time stuff you find yourself relying on the same tunes over and over again and it just gets boring. Jet lag can be a bitch, especially when doubled up with a really grotty flu.

IS there a reason you don't take a laptop while on tour and generally avoid following the technological side of things-
Not really. Everyone says you should move with the times and stuff. And I believe that musically you SHOULD move with the times and make sure you're playing stuff you really enjoy. It's silly to stay the same all your life because a certain part of the crowd wants the sound you played ten years ago. You have to stay true to yourself and express what you feel musically right now and not worry about anything else.

Technologically speaking, there's no right or wrong. Everyone has to do what they feel comfortable with. And I feel comfortable with vinyl and CD. I kind of get a bit sick of people going 'oh you still play records' like it's some really avant-garde, outrageous, cutting edge thing to do. I've spent my whole life being excited by vinyl. The look of it, the smell of it and the sound of it. It's always been my passion since I was three years old. If for whatever reason I had to change then obviously I could. But I feel comfortable with vinyl and CD and imagine I will be for a long time.

I think that part of your appeal is tied in with your individuality. Am I right in saying you feel very strongly that to change for no reason other then to stick with the latest technology wouldn't be a true reflection of who you are-
No that's right, it wouldn't be true really. Kind of bowing down and doing what people expect you to do. How boring would it be if everyone did the same thing- On the other side of the spect
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