Danny Howells: EDM Fans’ Attention Spans Can’t Handle a Creative ‘Long Set’
Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2012 14:09
Danny Howells has been making music for a very long time, and although much has changed over the years one thing has remained the same — his love for music.
As an individual in a sea of many, the UK native built a strong following of club heads. Known for his contagiously energetic personality, funky sense of style and unique and lengthy sets, it’s no wonder why he was dubbed “the clubbers’ DJ.”
While Howells claims he has slowed his roll and puts most of his energy into his record label, he continues to play gig after gig at some of the biggest clubs across the globe.
This Labor Day weekend, Howells will stop by Phoenix to drop his eclectic sound on Monarch Theatre.
College Times: So you’ve been in the scene for nearly two decades. What is it about the EDM culture that draws you to it?
Danny Howells:It's just a very addictive drug for me. I'm just hooked on the fact I can go out and play the music I love to people that hopefully enjoy it too and [that I’m] rarely playing songs that people are very familiar with.
You earned the tile “the clubbers’ DJ” for the way you engage with your audience. How important do you think it is to have a stage personality when it comes to DJing?
I don't think it's important, really. Well, maybe it is for the more commercial DJs. But really the only thing that ever matters is what comes out of the speakers. I may have been a bit [livelier] a few years back, but I do think I'm a lot more low key these days. I do interact but only really when it feels natural and I'm in a good mood.
You’ve been known to play long sets. What’s the longest set you’ve ever played?
I was doing around 10 hours every month in New York when I had the residency at Arc. But the longest was at Aria in Montreal. I think it was over 12 hours and I seriously messed my ears up that night. I'm not doing those marathons any more…five hours is a great length for me these days.
It seems that lengthy sets are becoming a thing of the past. Why do you think that is?
There are lots of factors I think. People haven't been raised on the concept of one DJ playing all night long, so it's a bit of a rarity to see that these days. I don't think people always have the attention span. The most exciting thing about long sets for me was the twists and turns they would take and taking things down as well as up. People quite frequently use those "deeper moments" as an excuse to go for a cigarette, so it's a bit harder to be as creative as it once was.
You have a pretty wicked personal style, too. What’s your favorite place to shop?
I pretty much always [shop in] New York, but only because my favorite vintage shop is there — What [Goes] Around [Comes] Around. I love LA also and also buy lots on eBay. The bulk of my clothes are really old. A lot of them are falling apart!
Back to your work – we haven’t seen an album from you lately. Can we expect any releases soon?
The last one came out in March last year. I'm not in a rush to do another, no. I'm happier waiting until I've got a nice four or five hour live set that I'm pleased with that I can put on my SoundCloud. It costs much less than doing an album, involves no bullshit whatsoever and probably gets heard by more people.
What are you mostly focused on now?
The Dig Deeper label's been quiet recently due to a change of label manager, but there are five or so great releases on their way, which I'm really excited about. And apart from that, just generally gigging all over and doing my best to stay healthy.
Danny Howells, Monarch Theatre, 122 E. Washington Street, Phoenix, Sunday, September 2, 9 p.m., $10 to $15