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Danny Howells: Don't Call Me Luddite (Or Alvin Stardust!)

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
"Please excuse me, but I've had to look up luddite on wikipedia to find out what it means, and I'm still none the wiser! If it's an insult, then anyone who calls me it can go f**k themselves."

Vinyl fanatic, eye-liner loving, prog-house DJ Danny Howells remains one of the world's most popular DJs, though pointing out to him that Wikipedia says 'the term Luddite has been used to describe anyone opposed to technological progress and technological change' is perhaps a rash move. A former psychiatric nurse in the notoriously rough British seaside resort of Hastings, he's more than capable of defending himself, and more, as he's the first to admit to Skrufff.

"My last fights were when I worked in the psychiatric hospital, about ten years ago. I was getting decked nearly every week, but I was very good at the control and restraint though, and was able to pin my attackers down without causing them any pain, says Danny, "Although they did very frequently get 100mg of largactil via a jab pretty pronto."

"I'm not a scrapper, but I can get very aggressive if someone starts on me when I'm pissed.

"I can become a right arse," he confesses.

"I tried to start a fight with Judge Jules one night after he jokingly called me 'Alvin Stardust'. I tried to chase after him but Hayes from my agency pinned me down. I did see Jules again recently, and reminded him of it and apologised that I was very drunk at the time, but thankfully he hadn't remembered," he laughs.

Fighting talk aside, he's equally happy to chat about digital downloads, mascara, DJ tips and the state of clubland some 15 years into his career.

"As far as I can see it's as healthy as ever," he suggests.

"Obviously there's [sic] good and bad nights, but I'm pretty sure most DJs experience that, except maybe the Tiestos and [Paul van] Dyks. You've got to bear in mind I only get to see a fraction of what goes on out there - I obviously don't play at trance or minimal techno clubs, for example. There are changes, though, of course.

"For example, I don't see the weekly influx of mix CDs in Virgin Megastore like I used to and sales have obviously been affected by the internet etc, but on the whole I think the whole 'dance music is dead' scare stories of a while back were a bit premature."

Skruff (Jonty Skrufff): What are you up to right now-
Danny Howells: "Right now- Sitting on my arse doing this! To be honest, this year's been pretty low-key, apart from a few remixes. Most of my time was spent making the big move out of the sticks to London and getting settled in. I've promised my manager a much higher output next year."

As a DJ Magazine Top 100 DJ does it get easier or harder over time-
"When I started out, I assumed that if you were a bigger name DJ it would all get easier and that self-confidence would naturally increase. But for me, I get more and more nervous as I get older. I think that's probably because there's more expectation, so I suppose it's natural. Anyway, a shot or two of tequila normally helps the nerves disappear."

Do you fees get ever higher in house price type advances-
"I suppose I am like a house in that it does generally move in the upward direction, but never drastically. And it all depends on things like which country it is, or how big the event is, are there sponsors involved etc. Those are the things your agent takes care of. In some countries it stays pretty much the same, in other places it does increase."

I see you have over 27,000 friends on Myspace: how many of them have you met- Do you refuse anyone-
"Oh I know all of them personally. Actually I don't. I do the page myself (as you can probably tell) and it is very time consuming. I find it really good for getting in touch with producers etc, especially when I'm on the blag for a certain tune, but I generally accept everyone. Except for those that are obviously just spammers. I keep my Facebook more private though