Interview preview (1/2): Danny Howells on commercial music vs. underground

Danny Howells is one of those rare breed of DJ/Producers who has been around since the early 1990s who still retains a passion for the music while continuing to tour around the world to this very day. With a new 2-disc mix compilation series called Balance 24 and a mini-Canadian tour this week, I thought it would be a good idea to talk to him about his latest release while picking his brain on what he thought about the state of the current electronic dance music scene.

In the following interview preview, read what Danny Howells thought about the current popularity of the commercial EDM sound and why old school underground DJs shouldn't be so bothered about it:

EDM Canada: You've been in the game a long time, what's your perspective on the recent interest in electronic dance music over the last few years in North America?

Danny Howells: There's been an explosion of interest in a particular style of electronic music which is completely the opposite of what I do, and it’s catering to a much much younger crowd. I feel like its a different world really, and I don't over analyze it too much, because it has no connection to what I do. The people that are doing it and are exploding have no connection to my own life, because they don't make the music that I play, or the music that I would listen to. I'm not saying that it's worse or better but it's different to what I do. It feels like a different scene than to what I'm in. EDM is filling out the festivals and the biggest venues like at Madison Square Garden. The world that I live in is where I'm hoping that I'm able to fill a room that holds 200 people. I know as little about their world as I'm sure they know about mine. It will be interesting to see as an outsider where the big names will be in 5-10 years.

EDM Canada: Very diplomatic answer.

Danny Howells: You can't be mad about it though. I hear a lot of negative things about it from certain people that have been out there for the same amount of time that I have. I don’t think there’s any point in being negative, because if it's making people happy, you might not like it because its too commercial, or you think its cheesy or whatever, but people like it, so let them do it. It's always been the way. 20 years ago there was still commercial music and it was obviously appealing to more people than the underground music. That's why it’s called popular music in the first place, because it's popular and it appeals to more people. People get wound up about it but you can't do that, you just gotta let them get on with it. If the demand is there than there will be something there to satisfy that demand. Some of the old school can get a bit wound up a bit thinking “Why aren't I getting a slice of that?” but they're still making a great career so stop moaning.

EDM Canada: The scene is quickly evolving right? It's always in movement.

Danny Howells: That's the thing, it's exciting because it's always changing.

I couldn't agree more with the second half of Danny Howells' answer. If the music is making people happy, then why fuss about it? Who knows, maybe some of these newcomers to the scene might just take a trip down the EDM rabbit hole one day and discover the lush world of the underground sounds.

In the second interview preview, you'll get to read what Danny Howells had to say about the recent popularity of the 'Deep House' category of Beatport. Trust me, you're going to want to read it! The full interview will be made available on Thursday afternoon.

Danny Howells will be playing 3 intimate gigs this week in Canada: On Thursday, December 12th, he'll be playing at the Habitat Living Sound in Calgary; on Friday, December 13th, Danny will be at Habitat in Montreal; and on Saturday, December 14th, he'll be playing the "Intimate & Underground" party at Toika Lounge in Toronto.

CDN$ 24.71