Danny Byrd interview

Danny Byrd is a wanton ball of D&B energy running riot from his home base, that epicentre of Georgian splendor and demanding ruffneck ravers… Bath. He’s always been this way of course, synonymous both with slamming liquid funk and of course Hospital themselves from early days. ‘We Can Have It All’ been causing serious damage on mainstream radio and right across the spectrum. The fact that Sigma are on board is a bit of a bonus too. As Sigma tend to destroy.

We caught up – full interview after the drop.

Damian Bennett: The streak of high-energy early 90s music (rave, jungle, what have you) runs strongly through all your work: what is it about the era you love so
much?

Danny: I’m not so sure. I guess it was the era that had the biggest impact on me when I was first getting into dance music. So many new techniques were tried out for the first times in the early ’90s but I think as every new generation comes along they haven’t been exposed to these wonderful sounds. The thing that made jungle the envy of the music world was the in-depth drum programming which you just don’t see anymore in D&B which is sad in a way. What I tried to do with my new album ‘Rave Digger’ is explore all these old sounds but with modern production.

DB: Yeah, that totally comes across, it’s infectious.  About where you’re from: people regard Bath and Bristol as hotbeds of creative, anarchic energy. Is it still this mythic land of bass, beats and melancholia? Is the ‘Bristol Sound’ due a MASSIVE revival do you reckon?

D: Well I’ve always resided in Bath, and I read somewhere that it’s one of nine creative hot spots in the UK. I don’t know if I quite believe that! Haha! Bath does have its fair share of arty people but in terms of really getting stuff done and being motivated I think it falls down. Bristol is a bit the same I feel, but obviously over the years has had a massive impact with the so called ‘Bristol Sound’. I don’t know if that sound is coming back, but I don’t think the world is ready for any more trip hop just yet! Bristol has a hotbed of talent for vocalists and musicians, so there is a buzz there for sure, although I’m quite happy living in my ‘Bath bubble’ at the moment.

DB: So you mentioned older stuff and that it’s changed, back to this… what do you love about D&B right now?

D: What I’m loving about D&B at the moment is the support it’s getting from mainstream radio and TV. I don’t think we’ve ever seen as many D&B tunes on the Radio One playlist or on MTV. It’s really positive and I think the average person on the street can hear D&B in a club now and can at least appreciate some of it.

On the downside, the real underground D&B has suffered in a way and become very niche. It really frustrates me as a DJ that I can’t just play a nice bassline roller as they don’t get a reaction, everybody wants big hands in the air build ups, but on the whole I think D&B is healthy and is maybe now getting the props it deserves.

DB: You’re a tutor… do you still do this?

D: I was a music production tutor for a few years but haven’t done this for the last five years. Teaching music tech is a good way of having a part time job but also doing your own music on the side. I don’t know if I could go back to tutoring as I find you give away a lot of your own inspiration to others and are left with none for your own music. Saying that, it’s incredibly rewarding to see some of my ex-pupils smashing up the dubstep scene right now!

DB: Nice. Where’s your fave city on the planet to play out?

D: I think it probably has to be Manchester. I’ve never had a bad gig there and I played the ‘Parklife’ festival in the summer there and it was one of the gigs of the year for me. I was testing some of the new album tunes out for the first time and it was a perfect summer’s day too. Can’t ask for more! I’m playing Manchester Warehouse Project this Saturday, so I’ve probably bloody jinxed it now! Ha!

DB: And finally what’s your fave tune to draw to destroy any crowd? Tell us what’s deep in the box.

D: Tunes that are doing the business at the moment are a dubplate from Distorted Minds called ‘Serial Killers’. It’s a proper instant rewind track. Bit biased too, but the Sigma remix of my new single ‘We Can Have It All’ always gets the hands in the air treatment!

‘We Can Have It All’ on iTunes.

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