2009: Danny Byrd
Where are you from? Being near Bristol, do you think that has an influence on your production?
I'm from the city of Bath, its about 12 miles away from Bristol. I would never have said Bristol influenced my sound until recently. I've always appreciated the way the Full Cycle guys approached their production, and now the newer school of producers like Distorted Minds and TC. I've got sick of that generic D&B drum sound and it feels like the Bristol guys still have some flava in their drums, they sound more funky, more organic, so in this sense it has been influencing me. Also when I DJ I play a lot of Bristol-style rollers amongst my more uplifting euphoric sets which I guess I'm most known for.
What inspires you to produce?
For the last year it hasn't really been about being inspired, its having work to do. I've always had this remix to do or this VIP, or changing a version of an old tune. So it felt like I had stuff to complete/finish rather than feeling any creative urge to do it. I think you can read a lot into being "inspired" but truth is you just have to get your head down, even if your not inspired. I'm more inspired to watch TV all day and go and buy clothes! Hahah! So I know I just have to get my head down sometimes regardless of whether I'm in a creative zone or not.
So how does the VIP thing work? What's the motivation behind it?
Well the motivation is usually born out of DJing and having a big tune that goes down well, but you want your own exclusive version to play out. Luckily the VIPs I've done have actually got released, so I guess its more like doing your own remix, but you don't usually start them knowing your gonna get paid, they just start out as DJ tools.
What would you say the main reason for cutting dubs is from a producers point of view?
Well I would say its good to hear how your tunes cut to vinyl - its usually the case that if a tune has a good mixdown it will cut well, I'm not sure why but its always been the case. Rather than whacking it on a CD-R and just playing it out. It makes you pay more attention to the mixdown, which is so important in today's club environment.
Also Hospital still sell a lot of vinyl and all the DJs support it, so I don't want to mug the punters/fans off by basically saying "You have to buy the vinyl" but I get to play off CD's/Serato.
I want to actively support vinyl as much as I can, plus from a performance angle it looks so much better to be playing plates, than a load of CDs randomly placed on the slip mat.
When it comes to mixdowns, do you use other tracks as a reference to get the sound you want?
Yes all the time, not just at the mixdown stage, I'll be A/Bing other tunes when I'm working on the beats in the beginning stages of the tune, otherwise your just doing it from memory. I find my room is not great acoustically at my home studio, so I do all my mixdowns in London at the Hospital studio, where they have treated the room. I'll A/B a lot when I'm working out of there, then give the track a few minor tweaks when I get home.
Any recommended tracks for A/Bing?
Its important not to drive yourself mad while A/Bing because you have to remember that every tune has its own character. But you can check whether it has the same energy as your work, or too much highs in comparison, bass too loud, etc.
Recommended A/B material depends on what I'm working on, I have just finished a tune called "Red Mist VIP" where I was trying to achieve some TC-style drums, so I A/Bed the mix to his track "Game Over". Its not so much copying as the end result ended up being quite different, but it does give you a idea of levels and overall balance you need to achieve.
What is the hottest dub in your box at the moment?
I really like a tune called "Eastern Promise" by Logistics, and also a tune by TC & Jakes called "All about". I cut these quite a while ago, and there's nothing better than getting your money's worth out of a dub, when 6 months later its still not out! Saying that, I cut two new Logistics tunes and 5 days later a TP arrived on the mat, so it can level things out!
What is your most caned dubplate?
Probably a bootleg Cyantific did of a big house tune called "Finally". Not many people have it and I have played it every set for the last year at least, plus cut it twice!
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on a bootleg of a old rave tune called "Sweet Harmony", I did a first version for the Hospitality gig at heaven way back in May 2008, and have been meaning to go in and tighten up the beats because I wasn't happy with the mixdown etc. In between this I'm starting to come up with little ideas for my 2nd album, but its all really rough still.
What releases are imminent?
Current releases out at the moment are the budget-priced Hospital Mix 7 which I put together; a remix for Ministry of Sound of an artist called Rudenko; a remix for a guy called Timmy Vegas and also a remix for Sony called "Love Breed" by the Sugarushbeatcompany but thats on iTunes only I believe.
What was your best gig of 2008?
Well I would say the whole Australia and New Zealand tour I did in November was pretty amazing! The best gig was in a place called "Sandwich's" in Wellington, NZ. Actually I would say that was the best gig of my career so far, I was a little bit drunk, but on point with the mixes, the crowd were amazing, everything fell into place to make it the perfect gig.
What are you most looking forward to in 2009?
All my gigs in 2009 have been amazing so far, so its really encouraging and making me ignore the news everyday of credit crunch and doom and gloom. I guess I'm looking forward to playing Hospitality @ Matter in May!
I guess people still party when their chips are down?
I think it is bypassing young people, it basically effects people with jobs in certain areas or people with mortgages etc. Young people always have disposable incomes luckily! Also I think some great music can come out of hard times! Look at the rave scene in 1991!
So when it comes to gigs you are traveling abroad quite a lot?
I used to do a lot of traveling abroad, especially in Europe, but since I got this new agent I have been doing a lot more UK gigs, which is good as its always nice to get into your own bed after a hard night out, but I'll often do a one off show in Belgium or Germany, those can be quite good fun.
I tend to think of DnB as mainly a UK thing, do you meet interesting producers/DJs abroad?
Yes you can meet interesting people all the time that will give you new insights into music making. Like in Australia, the crew we were hanging out with were really into using the Massive synth, and I got to learn it properly through them, as I had never had the time in the studio. Or someone might do a sample swap etc. All these things can effect your music in a positive way. Its also good to see people's perception of music in different countries. But I would have to say its pretty much the same wherever you go, proving that music is a universal language.