– Interview by LIV –
In preparation for his upcoming Toronto show – as well as just in time for his forthcoming single on Hospital “Blaze the Fire” – I had the opportunity to chat with Danny Byrd to help us get to know the man who will be rinsing us senseless when we celebrate 10 Years of Soul in Motion on September 21st, along with A-Sides and the whole SIM crew.
The brandy drinking, James Bond loving, Hospital Records veteran, discusses everything from his future projects to his love for hip hop; the Toronto DnB crowd and his thoughts on the future of Electronic music.
Get to know the Byrdman and see you all on September 21st …
LIV: It’s been awhile since you’ve been to Toronto and this will be your second time coming out for the crew Soul in Motion, how are you feeling about coming back?
DANNY BYRD (DB): Well it feels well long overdue, but none the less I’m very excited about it. Canada is one of the few places that truly get D&B/Jungle in all its many forms. Canada understands the history of jungle music; I saw that for myself the past few times I passed in the city. I could play an old classic tune in Europe and the crowd may just stand there, but in Toronto I know they are going to get it, that’s why I have a lot of respect for the city.
LIV: You have your new single ‘Blaze the Fire’ coming out in the coming weeks, with it being premiered on 1xtra for their 10 year celebration earlier this month – anything else you are working on for the near future? Album, singles, collaborations? Maybe experimenting with different genres?
DB: Working hard on my third album, I’d say its 70% done, maybe a few more months and it will be complete. I’ve def experimented a lot more on this one, but have also made an effort to retain tunes that I’m known for, for example I’ve been back in the studio with the Brookes Brothers as we always have such good chemistry. I’ve also just finished a wicked tune with Roni Size, which is perfect marriage of both our sounds, all these tunes I can’t wait to play in Toronto!
LIV: You signed to Hospital Records back in 2001, the early years of the label, how do you feel that working with Tony and the rest of the Hospital family from the start has influenced your sound?
DB: To be honest me doing my own thing was what attracted Hospital to me in the first place, this was before the word “liquid” even existed. I guess all the artists on the label have influenced each other in some way or another, but my greatest inspirations have always come outside dnb, and I think they always will. More healthy for the music I think!
LIV: You have said in the past that R&B and Hip Hop have influenced some of your production style, which you can really hear in the track you did with Cyantific ‘Judgement Day’ – what aspects of the genre do you find speak to you the most?
DB: It has to be the perfect marriage of the vocals and the beat, and the attitude it has. Also the fact that Hip Hop is like a live music soap opera, their lives are so much more interesting than a dnb producers haha! If you check the Hip Hop forums you’ll always see this rapper has beef with this one, or this one got caught for having a loaded gun in the car! Dumb stuff, but more entertaining to read about than some bedroom producer (myself included!). I still think there is a lot more room for hip hop influences in dnb to be honest with you, its the perfect half speed, it hasn’t been exploited nearly enough. The best example of this for me was Roni Size’s “In the mode” LP! That was way ahead of its time.
LIV: There has been a lot of time between your releases, especially between the release of your first single ‘Manhattan’ and your first studio album ‘Supersized’ back in ’08, why the wait between your releases? Can’t rush perfection or what is it?
DB: Haha… I dunno general life shit, moving out of my parents’ house. Also there was a big shift in technology from Hardware studios to Software and that took me a while to adjust to. I wasn’t ready to do an album till 2008, but now I feel like I have an album in me every year. It’s the perfect platform for me to express all my variety. If I wasn’t doing albums you would of never got tunes like “Shock Out” as I just wouldn’t of felt I had the artist license!
LIV: All the time you spend in the studio you must have some random studio habits to keep yourself from going insane from mixdowns… what’s yours? Jerk Chicken feasts? Brandy binges? James Bond movie marathons?
DB: None of the above in the actual studio, maybe outside! I find myself Mc’ing to my own tunes in the studio though! The better the tune the more mc’ing ill do. Generally, if it’s a real good beat ill spit like skibbadee, if its more rolling it will be a Dynamite or GQ style! ha!
LIV: You have been DJ’ing a ton, with your own shows as well all the Hospitality nights, how do you feel that DJ’ing has shaped your production?
DB: It helps, and you get to test mix downs one night and then go back and tweak it the next. If you were not DJ’ing that would difficult to do. Ive had to adapt my DJ style a lot due to big hospitality line ups where essentially a lot of the DJ’s would play the same stuff, so its spurred me onto to do my own little bootlegs and intros etc, which can end up in finished tunes, so it all fuels the same fire really.
LIV: Speaking of DJ’ing it seems that anyone with a macbook and the right software can be a DJ these days, what is your view on the future of the EDM scene? Do you feel that fans are starting to smarten up to who the true talent is or are they under the illusion of a smoke and mirror shows?
DB: No the kids are just as dumb! lol! I’m sure people are aware, but in terms of those massive dub step or house light shows, I think people more go for the experience. Not saying that I wouldn’t want to have a wicked light show etc, but I think real djing needs to be at the core of that. I hope people do smarten up but i really don’t know, luckily the dnb scene is still pretty die hard when it comes to mixing and things like that so you can’t fool too many people and do a Mitsubishi. Although I wonder if he would of got as much stick if that were to of happened in 2012? Hmmm..
LIV: In the past few years Electronic music has come to the forefront of popular music. What are your feelings towards Drum and Bass moving from the underground to the radio? Optimistic?
DB: Dance music has always been on the radio, you had loads of rave/hardcore tunes in the charts in the 1990’s, so it’s nowhere as big as that was again yet. The music goes in cycles, but regardless of the popularity there will always be the diehard fans, that’s why dnb is self-sufficient!
LIV: Can you name three tracks, Drum and Bass or other, that you regard has having changed your life or made you really want to get into DJ’ing and producing?
DB: The Prodigy Experience LP – This was the album that really made me want to start producing my own music. The production even to this day is outstanding! I actually stole this from a record store on cassette in 1992. See problem is these days people want to steal music from the comfort of their own home, come on guys grow some balls!
Adam F “Metropolis” – Heard Doc Scott play this at a rave called Tribal Gathering and I’d never heard something so dark but with such futuristic beats. Groundbreaking production for the time, and also catchy! Woooorrrrpppp Worrrrrrrrrpppp…
J Magik “Love is Not a Game” – The first real housey dnb tune in my opinion, and what a killer vocal from Kathy Brown. This shone like a beacon of light during the old Bad Company era of 1998/99..
LIV: Any last words to the Toronto ravers and maybe what we can expect when you touch down for Soul in Motion’s 10 Year Anniversary Party? Birthday shoutout to Mr. Brown?
DB: Big respect to Soul In Motion for representing the true dnb heads for the last ten years… I can’t wait to come and drop lots of exclusives and test out some new tunes! Do I need to bring Mr. Brown a cake?
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