Eddie Halliwell is a DJ's DJ and a legend in the scene who has been active since the early 2000s. He was named as DJ of the year by Mixmag in 2003 and 2005, and is still very active today with a yearly residency at Cream in Ibiza. EDM Canada has managed to talk to Eddie prior to his 2 Canadian gigs which take place tonight at the Hoxton in Toronto, and on New Year's Eve in Ottawa at the Casino Lac Leamy. Check out what this legendary DJ has to say about his career, the current scene, comparing the late 90s boom vs. today's EDM boom, and more.
EDM Canada: Give readers a bit of history of the legendary Eddie Halliwell
Eddie Halliwell: My history comes from the north of England. I started my residencies with the likes of Gatecrasher in Sheffield where I gained my experience. I was doing events up here like with Cream Nation where it was only 30 minutes from where I lived so that's where things started in the UK. Things progressed to the things I was doing with the BBC Radio 1 show where I did that for three years. From a DJ's perspective things have just evolved internationally. That's a pretty basic history of my career.
When did you get that break at the BBC?
Eddie Halliwell: I did a couple of essential mixes with them early on. I think my first one with them was back in 2003. I did it live from a club in Manchester at a club called Good Grief. I did other Essential Mixes live from Cream and Amnesia from Ibiza. I started initially with the BBC doing a monthly show which was called a residency at the time. After about a year it progressed to a weekly show. Now I do a syndicated show called “Fire It Up”.
Which is still on today.
Eddie Halliwell: Yep. We offer it through via Podcast and it goes out to FM stations from around the world.
Describe the Eddie Halliwell style.
Eddie Halliwell: I always describe my style as energetic, uplifting, and interactive. My style of music always has energy and it spans from house, to trance, to techno. There is so many genres and sub-genres of dance music, but I tend to play good energetic dance music.
You recently completed another residency at Cream Ibiza, how was the 2013 season on the Balearic island?
Eddie Halliwell: Ibiza for me and from my experience it just gets better and better every year. The Cream events have been phenomenal this year. They always pack it out and they have a great range of artists and DJs which obviously they change it up and mix it up every year. The past couple of years we've had Calvin Harris as a resident and it was a fantastic season.
You have been around this scene for a long time, seen it change time and time again, how do you view the current state of EDM in North America and around the world?
Eddie Halliwell: It's at the healthiest that it's ever been. There are so many new acts and new people and it's a massive community now. If you go back 10 years ago it was smaller, and if you go back again, it was smaller then. Dance music has just been moving forward. So I just think it's gotten huge now and I think that's a good thing.
So you think it's even bigger today than the last boom from the late 90s?
Eddie Halliwell: Without a shadow of a doubt. When you compare the boom now to the boom in the U.K in the late 90s, the events then don't compare to the events that are going on today. When you see certain DJs doing arena shows, and we're not talking about 1 or 2 as there are a whole host of new acts that are pulling in massive audiences. This shows how big the scene has gotten to and I think it's much much bigger than it was in the late 90s.
Where do you think the big room/progressive house/electro sound is at the moment?
Eddie Halliwell: It's reached a massive high, and all of the good things from this current sound will be taken and developed into the new styles that come along the way. But too much of a good thing can get stagnant as there are a lot of the same things happening in some tracks. This will inevitably going to change because from my perspective you hear one good track and then you hear 10 others that sound the same. I think that the best elements of the current sound will just be moved forward into the next thing.
What do you think is the next thing?
Eddie Halliwell: Who knows, I don't have a crystal ball. (laughs) I don't think I could predict it. I just think things change, and it all follows the same sort of foundation as it adapts.
Are you more focused on DJ'ing now?
Eddie Halliwell: For me I've always been first and foremost a DJ but as time moved on making productions has to go hand in hand where you have split your time between the two. When I started, I 100% focused on the DJ'ing but now music production is in the mix as well now.
You're coming to Toronto on Dec. 28th, and playing in Ottawa on New Year's Eve – what can fans expect from Eddie Halliwell when you return to Canada?
Eddie Halliwell: Full Fire It Up party! If people want to go party then they will surely get it, and that's what they can expect. The role of the DJ is also to entertain and I like to engage with the audience as much as I can, so getting into contact with your crowd is a major thing for me. I feed off the energy from the room and sort of test the waters with different styles of music to see what people want. Give them a party.
2014 is right around the corner, got any exciting projects that you'd like to share?
Eddie Halliwell: In January I will be working on getting some new tracks finished off. I'm also mapping out what's going on for the rest of 2014, and I have ideas that need to get finalized at the minute.
Which DJ/Producer do you think will have a huge 2014 and why?
Eddie Halliwell: There's loads of new acts and if I had my music infront of me I would have a long list of them but let me think... D.O.D is a guy who's doing good stuff at the minute, he's a great DJ who entertains people and is consistent with his music. He's got some good stuff going on. Kryder is another act that has been doing good stuff. There are so many new acts that have been breaking through with their production and since I don't have a crystal ball you just don't know who will break out.
Before I leave you, Manchester has been such a breeding ground for musical talent and has such a rich clubbing history that includes Sankeys. What is the state of electronic music in Manchester today?
Eddie Halliwell: It's absolutely fantastic at the minute because of the Warehouse Project here in Manchester. Manchester has got a rich history with clubs, like the Hacienda which had its day in the late 1990s. When that closed the scene had its ups and downs while Sankeys help put Manchester back on the map. The parties over at the Warehouse Project are absolutely fantastic with their sold out events and their great bookings. They're doing a great job at putting Manchester back on the map.
Has the party scene gotten more gritty over there? It seems like its a return to the 1990s rave scene with the big word-of-mouth warehouse parties.
Eddie Halliwell: I suppose yeah it is, but you got events that are booking the obvious stuff as well so I don't think we're sticking only to one area. We're booking acts from across the board but the best events you go to are the ones that tend not to stick in the same area, they take risks and change it about. Those turn into the best brands and events. The Warehouse Project book acts from across the board and whatever party they do always sells out so that shows we've got a great healthy scene. Sankeys was doing well but they weren't obviously pulling in the same amount of people that the Warehouse Project were bringing in. They are massive.
My thanks to Eddie Halliwell for this interview.
You can catch Eddie Halliwell playing tonight at the Hoxton in Toronto, and in Ottawa for New Year's Eve at the Casino Lac Leamy.
Click here for ticket details on the Ottawa New Year's Eve event.