Huxley: “I imagine a lot of people think I’ve come out of nowhere”
Michael Dodman, AKA Huxley, has been making music for years and earlier this year he really made an impression with two tracks that have helped to cement his place within the electronic music scene. Let It Go and Box Clever are probably two of my favourite tracks this year, off the back of those Huxley has continued to put out great releases and recently put together a brilliant mix compilation for 1Trax. I caught up with him recently for a chat about what he’s been up to.
For the full interview, visit my website: marcusbarnes.com
What are you working on?
I had a few meetings about a couple of new bits, sort of working on some original music and sorting out what my next remix is going to be basically. I think it’s going to be something quite cool but it’s not set in stone, so I’m not going to say yet cos if it fucks up then I’ll look a right twat.
So have you been in the studio this week then?
Yeah a little bit. I’ve been trying to finish off my Rinse EP and my Tsuba thing.
Are they quite different from each other?
Yeah, one’s more like straight deep house and the other is sort of garage house if you know what I mean. It’s quite cool though. I like working with lots of different people cos it gives you a chance not to have to do the same stuff all the time.
So how did it all kick off for you?
Yeah I’ve been DJing since I was 12. I did stop in the middle for about three years when I was at uni. But I started off DJing drum and bass, then garage and then house basically, and it all kind of naturally progressed from there. What is that like 15 years or something? So it’s been a while. But I didn’t DJ out for ages because when I was making garage, I was still selling a few units but I wasn’t making any waves or anything. So I’m loving it now, being able to play out all the time.
So you were into drum and bass to begin with. What kind of people were you in to?
Mickey Finn, DJ SS, MC GQ, Fearless, all those kind of guys. Actually, when I was about 16 I used to sneak into the Helter Skelter raves. So yeah I was kind of into that jump-up sound, started listening to that in about ‘98. And then I moved to garage because the record shop that I was buying from started stocking more garage. I hadn’t really heard it before. The first thing I bought was that Keli Le Roc My Love thing which got me completely hooked on garage. And then with house, when I was about 19 I started going to minimal nights every week. So that was fun. Deep house is essentially just garage these days anyway.
So was garage and that kind of thing big in your local area?
Sort of. We used to put on parties. Tring isn’t exactly the most thriving town, but yeah me and my friend used to set up parties. I’d like to say people came for the music but it was basically the only place you could get served if you were 14. Because we used to do it every few weeks garage became quite a big thing in Tring for a while. A lot of the old Tring people come from a garage background.
Are we talking about UK garage as opposed to the US stuff?
Yeah mostly UK. I suppose in those days two-step was massive so I was playing quite a lot of that. But obviously I was still buying the Tuff Jam and Nice N’ Ripe bits, though most people wanted Jameson and shit like that.
Do you ever drop any garage tunes into your sets?
Yeah I do. I play Nu-Birth Anytime, it’s kind of a good one. And I started to play Gant All Night and Wookie Down On Me as well. It’s quite cool but you’ve got to be in the right place to play that.
Ibiza has a lot answer for.
Yeah it’s ruined more than a few lives I’m sure. I know what you mean though. Some of my friends are minimal DJs and I used to go around with them when I was like 18, and that was when I would say I started listening to house music, or at least traditional house alongside the minimal house. I fucking loved it but I couldn’t take minimal house for shit, and then I found deep house which was much more up my alley anyway. It just fitted what I wanted to make. But yeah when I was listening to drum and bass and even a bit of happy hardcore I thought house was shit.
So where did your name come from?
It comes from a book called Brave New World that’s written by Aldous Huxley. He’s like an old school author from like 1910 or before, and basically I was reading the book when we started sending out the demos of my first stuff. It kind of sounded good with Ethyl and it’s a fucking good book.
So how did it all kick off production-wise then? Did you start doing stuff with Ethyl exclusively or were you doing stuff on your own?
No I started making music myself when I was 15. I made garage. I put out my own record when I was 17 or 18.
I read this on your RA interview actually.
Yeah, so I used to just make music on my own really. But then Tim Ethyl lived around the corner from me. He was really the one that put me onto deep house. I was still very garage-oriented in my own productions. We started working together because we were mates basically. He was making music before as well but I don’t think he’d released anything. Just mates working together basically. We’ve kind of gone in different directions though recently.
Yeah I haven’t seen much Ethyl and Huxley stuff about recently.
The last thing was on my label Saints & Sonnets, but that was fucking ages ago. We just haven’t had time. I live a little bit outside of town, he lives sort of Bethnal Green kind of way. I’ve been busy doing my solo stuff at the moment so it’s kind of hard to lock down a day. There’s no bad blood, just laziness really. I’m sure there will be more Ethyl and Huxley stuff again soon I just have no idea when.
So it seems that stuff is really kicking off for you at the moment.
Yeah it’s cool I’m really enjoying it. I imagine a lot of people will think I’m really new and that I’ve come out of nowhere. But it’s nice to see hard work paying off. I’m pretty sure my parents are pretty fucking pleased cos they don’t have to support me anymore. It’s good that if you stick at something it does pay off in the end. It’s nice to get offered good gigs and remixes as well. It’s been a good year so far. Hopefully it doesn’t just drop off but continues.1Trax, garage, House, Huxley
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter