Radio 1 DJ Danny Howard: I would definitely do a gig with Paris Hilton – just out of curiosity!
From Blackpool DJ to Radio 1 superstar, Danny Howard’s journey has seen him go from debt-ridden student to global superstar in a matter of 14 months. Travelling the world, he plays the music he loves in some of the biggest clubs and with some of the biggest names – a lot of the biggest names I should say. Yet, despite his sudden success, the 24-year-old still treats every day as a gift. I caught up with the man who brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘life can change in an instant’.
From Blackpool DJ to Radio 1 presenter, how did the whole experience feel to you?
When you say it like that it just hits home how crazy this year has been for me and that’s the only way to describe it… crazy! It’s always been my dream to be a successful DJ but I never even imagined I’d end up on Radio 1. I pinch myself every week!
How did you get the opportunity to host your own Radio 1 show?
The opportunity came after winning a DJ Search Radio 1 did for their Ibiza weekend. The prize was to play for Radio 1 in Ibiza, that is an amazing prize in itself, but I just kept in contact with them and after a number of pilots/demos, I ended up with the show. That really is the short version though. I make it sound like it was handed to me on a plate, I can assure you it wasn’t!
What would you say then to people who want to follow in your footsteps?
Someone once told me to be ‘tenacious’ and by that I mean, give more than 100%. There’s always something more you can do to keep furthering yourself and pushing yourself to the goals you set yourself.
Your show is called ‘Dance Anthems’. For those who haven’t listened to your show before, firstly – where have they been? But secondly, what can they expect if they tune in?
Yes, where have they been! Pfft! They can expect three hours of the biggest dance tunes on the planet! A word of warning, you probably will end up going out raving after listening to my show. It’s so nice to get so many texts and tweets saying that I’ve ‘made people want to go out’. To be a part of their weekend routine gives me a real buzz.
Your first task as part of the Radio 1 team was to open Radio 1’s Ibiza Weekend, how did that feel? Was that the first time you had taken to the decks on the island?
It was my first time playing on the White Island, but I can honestly say it was the most exciting gig of my life! I wasn’t nervous because DJing is what I do, so to be able to do it on such a stage, as the huge one at Ushuaia, was something that got me so hyped. I nearly exploded!
What were you doing before you won the Radio 1 competition?
I was a rave-loving, bed-hugging, long-haired baked bean addict (a student)! I did Sport & Exercise Science at Edge Hill University near Liverpool but I also DJ’d every weekend too! I was resident at the UK’s biggest nightclub, The Syndicate, in my hometown of Blackpool. Then, when I left uni, I had a brief stint DJing for Ministry of Sound in Egypt for three months so I was well in the scene! Then Radio 1 happened!
You also run your own club nights, tell us more about that?
Yes, well Randy Ron is something my friend Alex and I started in Blackpool. We did it more for our mates because there were no decent house nights going on! But then it became really popular and it’s now targeted more towards students! It’s all about not taking it too seriously, no egos, just dancing, loving the music and getting on it! No one knows who Randy Ron is though… Mysterious or what!
You’re starting to release singles too. Your debut ‘29‘ came out in April, what’s the story behind the track and what was reception did it get?
Yeah it was my first ever release and it got to number 33 in the Beatport progressive chart, which I was over the moon about! That chart is dominated by the likes of David Guetta, Tiesto, Avicii, etc., so to be as high as 33 in the top 100, it was a pretty successful start! Since then I’ve remixed the likes of Cedric Gervais, Bingo Players, Chicane and Ferry Corsten. My next release is a house re-make of Sting’s Message In A Bottle and it’s huge! Coming out on Spinnin’ next month.
Earlier in the year on your show, you said that Avicii – ‘Levels’ was the biggest tune of 2011. I’ve seen him play at the o2 in London and that song still gets everyone jumping. Was it still huge round the clubs this summer?
It was the biggest tune of 2011 for sure but I’ve just got so sick of playing it. Now I just need a rest from it to carry on appreciating how big it is! It definitely gets everyone jumping and there’s no denying how big it is, but come on, there are so many more great songs out there! This summer it’s all about Porter Robinson – Language and Otto Knows – Million Voices! Madeon is blowing up too on a global scale and he’s only just turned 18! I hadn’t even switched on a pair of decks at 18!
You were all over the clubbing scene this year, which gig stands out in your mind.
It has to be the Hackney Weekend. That was the day I look back on this summer and go, ‘Did that actually happen?’ I played alongside the likes of Calvin Harris, Annie Mac, Pete Tong, Deadmau5 in front of 5,000 people in London, then was whisked off to the airport to go and play in Ibiza that very same night! Madness but amazing! Although, my wellies from Hackney didn’t go down very well in Ibiza!
In terms of DJing, there’s been a lot of advances in the technology of it. Critics think it’s easier to DJ now but is it or do people just expect more from DJs rather than just song after song?
People expect more than just some dude stood there playing one song, then another, then another, then another and so on! They want energy, they want entertaining, they want something visual as well as amazing music! In terms of DJing being easier, there is technology that could suggest that the art of ‘mixing’ is just the push of one ‘sync’ button, which I completely disagree with! You’re only cheating yourself if you don’t bother to learn the fundamental basics of ‘DJing’. But then there are artists that push technology to the absolute maximum, that just blows my mind from what comes out the speakers as an end result. When used in the right way to do more than just ‘play the tunes’, then it’s OK.
So as a fellow DJ I’ve got to ask you about two recent stories that caught my eye over the last few months:
Steve Angello and the ‘Fake DJ’ rep he’s got. What’s your view on the whole situation?
My view is that people want a show and they got a show. The last 15 minutes that was ‘faked’ was to ensure it was in sync with the amazing visual production that the crowd got. There’s no doubt that Steve Angello can mix, of course he can, he’s just pushing the boundaries of technology to ensure he keeps raising the bar in terms of a ‘show’.
On a very different note, Paris Hilton announced her first ever DJ tour – what do you think about that? Do you think there’s scope for you two to get a gig together?
Well that’s just stupid! What is she thinking? I would definitely do a gig with her though! Just out of pure curiosity!
What can we expect from you in 2012 and the start of 2013?
Next is just to keep progressing in my radio career at Radio 1 and then once the summer is over and I have some more time at home, I’m going to be a little beaver in the studio and get some more productions out there!Tagged in: Avicii, Calvin Harris, Danny Howard, David Guetta, Ibiza, Paris Hilton, radio 1, Tiesto
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