Danny Byrd Jailhouse interview

31 05 2012

Danny Byrd is known as one of the king-pins of the drum & bass world.

Signed to the ultimate Hospital Records in 2000 and producer of some of the sickest drum & bass tunes known to date!

He’s played all over the world, including your friendly neighbourhood club The Jailhouse multiple times. His infamous tracks combining jungle/rave/house and much more dominated the drum & bass scene over the last 10 years…

I caught up with Danny to chat musical inspiration, raver destinations and of course, Hospital Records.

OT: How did you find yourself first producing drum & bass?

DB: Well I guess I followed it all the way from Rave, into Jungle, and now D&B? I’ve always been drawn to the complexity of the beats in this form of music as I used to be a drummer in my school days and I think it’s the really unique thing about DNB, although the beats are pretty functional in tunes these days.

OT: Who inspired and influenced you to become a producer and DJ?

DB: I guess stuff like SL2 and Prodigy, anyone that was having mainstream chart success with dance music, as I was only like 11, 12 years old, I’m not going to be into the underground stuff just yet and that’s one thing to remember when people complain about dnb being commercial. Its good to have tunes that do well on a mainstream level as it draws in new fans that wouldn’t of heard the music before. On a local level there was a guy called The Producer who is a big techno DJ, and he played at all the cool Universe raves at the time. So he was major influence on me that I knew someone that was actually making a living from DJ’ing.

OT: How did joining Hospital Records come about?

DB: I just sent them a demo, this was in the days of sending CD’s out through the post. I sent about 20 CD’s to different labels, most of them didn’t get the musicality in the tracks I don’t think. At the time I was going to sign the tracks to Ez Rollers label as I was working with them and my friend Darren (60min man) but I went down and had a meeting with Tony and Chris in like 2000 and I could see that we were all on the same level musically which was exciting as DNB at got very stale to me at that time.

OT: After playing all over the world, in some of the greatest raver destinations multiple times, where have you gained the best reception?

DB: Good question! Well can’t beat my own home town of Bath for a good reception but anywhere can be good to be honest. I’m just always happy to be playing music to people that appreciate what you do!

OT: What do you think about the use of CDJ’s now over Vinyl?

DB: Well all the romance is gone without vinyl I think, but CD’s are so much more reliable, and being totally honest with you I’ll take that any day of the week. My big fear of CDs was that everyone wouldn’t pay for music anymore, as Vinyl was the last un-pirateable medium but it seems like iTunes sales are healthy and the future’s bright.

OT: There are aspects of Hip-hop, house and R&B within your music, have you ever wanted to go outside the drum & bass genre and produce other types of music?

DB: Kind of, but I get more of a kick putting them in the D&B template! Although I do have quite a few diff tempo things I’m working on for my album.

OT: Ill Behaviour and Red Mist VIP both ft I-Kay and Sweet Harmony ft Liquid all made it huge, but with so many new artists about is there anyone you would love to collaborate with in the future?

DB: Loads! but mainly vocalists! That’s what this new album I’ve been working on is about, using named vocalists and artists in their own right. I’m constantly getting my management onto new vocalists and sending them ideas and seeing if they want to work on things. It’s quite a struggle sometimes as you might shot a instrumental to 5 artists before you get someone that is excited by it and motivated to record. But yeah I’m always open to collabs as it always brings out the best in me.

OT: What do you think of the drum & bass scene now?

DB: Well it’s actually in a funny way more popular than it’s ever been, we had fresh with a no1, this week looks like that rudimental tune will go no 1, so in that respect it’s on another level. The crowds have changed a lot though, and a lot of the music has lost its black influences which I think was very important. The beats could be more varied instead of the usual 2 step pattern used, but i don’t like to moan about these things to much as I’m in a position to change these things in my own music at least, but I still love DNB more than ever, you can beat a motoring 175 beat and rolling bass!

OT: Are there any up and coming artists/producers that you’ve been listening to and are a big fan of?

DB: No one new has really come and blown me away in the D&B scene, a lot of the new guys sound like a copy of what has gone before? but outside DNB I’m loving Madeon, he’s a don, musical genius! Also loving Rustie, Bobby Tank, that whole maxmillist music style is right up my street!

OT: There’s a lot of aspiring DJ’s/producers at the moment. As one of the biggest original names in the drum & bass scene what advice can you give them to get there music out there?

Make something different to what’s going on but not so different that you alienate your audience and remember that this is dance music at the end of the day. I think youtube is probably the best medium for putting up your music and then sending the links to different labels and dj’s via email, social networking etc?? Hustle! But good music will always find its way through!

OT: You’ve played at the Jailhouse a fair few times and will be again towards the end of this month, can you give me one thing that has stood out about playing here?

DB: I love playing Jailhouse, it’s just the right sort of venue I like to play, the crowd are always great and right in your face… I remember last time I played there I just literally finished some tracks from the last album and they were the first club I played them in, you don’t forget little memories like that! 🙂

OT: Finally, can you some up your musical career so far in two words?

Roller-coaster ride.

Catch Danny Byrd at The Jailhouse alongside Futurebound on Friday the 15th of june

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