Danny Byrd Interview Ahead of HD Festival
Danny Byrd is a bristol based D&B DJ and producer whose close association with Hospital Records has seen him release some huge hits and play some of the biggest clubs around the world. Chart success hasn't evaded him either, whilst a number of his remixes have lit up the scene throughout the course of the last decade.
How has the scene changed over the course of your career?
Well quite a lot to be honest with you, but I think when I was first putting out records you could see the direction the industry was going in. It was just as the net was becoming a place to discuss/hear the latest dubplates etc. This was pre-YouTube, but you could stream rips that people had recorded off Hype's Kiss FM show for example. I think in the last decade D+B labels have become a lot more professional because it's really become like adapt or die conditons within the music industry.*
You still get excited about music as you did back then?
Yes and no... I don't think you can ever capture that excitement of first going out to parties and seeing your favourite DJs play, but saying that I also had never experienced the feeling I did on Friday night playing at Hospitality @ Brixton Accademy to 5000 ravers, so there are new experiences all the time that keep it interesting. I think back in the day I thought all D+B was amazing, as now I know a lot of the studio tricks to make the records, its a bit like a magician that's slowly learned the classic tricks, so it sometimes doesn't have the same impact. Saying that D+B is such a evolving music there's always someone doing something new with it!*
What do you make of the new school minimal d&b like on non plus, from commix, autonomic and all that crew?*
It can be great to listen to, but doesn't really work in most clubs that I've heard it in to be honest; its more popular in a intimate setting like room 3 of fabric, I find.*
What inspires/influences you most at the moment?
I find I keep on referencing to a lot of the old Bristol stuff, like Full Cycle mid '90s sound. I find that organic sound is missing from D+B a little bit at the moment, and that stuff had it in bundles. I find what Hospital and Ram put out is still on the cutting edge of the D+B scene. Outside of that I listen to a lot of US hip hop, which I always find interesting.
Does it still come as freely and easily as it always has in the studio?
Yes I probably feel more free in the studio than ever! I had a period of bad writers block back in 2002-2005 and I think I've forced myself never to get in that situation again, so I'm always writing ideas in the studio. I find it's when you try and take a break that it messes up your flow. Making music should never feel like a chore though!
And how important has your relationship with Hospital been over the years?
Essential. I don't think I could really work with another label. We've all grown up togther to be honest. I find it hard presenting my new music to industry people but I've learnt to build up trust with Tony, Chris and Tom over the years. You also slot into their strong work ethic at the label too; there's no pointless meetings over long lunches.They are the independent label that is taking on the majors because of this.
What can people expect from you at High Definition Festival?
Can expect a lot of fun and energy! I know a lot of DJs that play it cool when they play but I can't do that. The way I see it is the DJ should set the example for the crowd, not the other way round. I like to have the most fun out of anyone!
You’re playing a classic set, right? How many older tunes do you use in a regular set?
Quite a lot, but try to do it in a way where it doesn't alienate the new generations of ravers. I like to play some old Prodigy in my sets, or classic jungle tunes. Bascially my sets are always quite varied and fast moving, so I do get away with playing a few self indulgent tunes.*
Currently you have your ‘Rave Digger’ album out. How have things gone with the album so far?
Brilliant! The Radio 1 support was massive and had three of my singles playlisted on daytime shows! I've noticed the tunes are always received when I play them out so I'm really happy with that, but its been out six months now and am keen to write a new album now! :)
The album is described as Drum ‘n’ Bass with a rave influence on it. Can you tell us more about the Rave feel you’ve given to it, and the raves that you drew your inspiration from?
Well all the classic raves I had to experience on tape packs, as a 14yr old kid my parents werent too cool on me going to all night illegal parties! Ha! But the classics were the Universe raves for me, as they were held in the Bath area. I had a DJ friend called "The Producer" who played at all those big parties so he was a big inspiration on me. I've tried to introduce all the classic pianos and rave stabs in a modern D+B way, using all the old synths and modules but with the production techniques of now.
How do festivals compare to smaller more intimate gigs for you?
Well you have to play in a slightly different way on festivals. Its all about big tunes, and a fast moving pace, as the crowds at festivals can get bored easily compared to a club setting. They need constant tricks to keep them on their toes!*
What else are you working on this year?
Still touring a lot, but taking 6 months off at the end of the year to work on a new Danny Byrd album.
DANNY BYRD will be headlining the Drum & Bass arena at this years HD FESTIVAL on Saturday 18th June, Ilford, Essex.
Danny Byrd - Artists Profile:
Danny Byrd - 'Tonight':