In the few years since his 2011 debut, Danny Howard has already established himself as a legend in the dance community with his renowned presence on BBC Radio 1.
Along with a monthly podcast that consistently hits iTunes #1, over 1.8 million listeners tune into his Dance Anthems show on Radio 1, and his weekly show on SiriusXM receives an equally impressive figure. It’s no question that Danny Howard is one of the most influential figures in todays dance scene, and we we had the privilege to speak with him about his new label, Nothing Else Matters.
Launched but a few months ago in partnership with RCA Music, Nothing Else Matters Records has already breached the UK Top 10 with their debut release, 99 Souls’ “The Girl Is Mine.” The label aims to give budding UK artists global exposure, and will be using its reach to educate the dance community on the genre’s abundance of flavors.
Read on to hear Danny’s thoughts on the UK music scene, the importance of having an underground scene, and what we can expect from Nothing Else Matters.
Additionally, Nothing Else Matters will be hosting their first show at London’s The Steelyard on April 30th. For tickets and more information, click here.
First off, what was it like finally bringing Annie Mac to Blackpool Rocks!? How was the reception?
“It was long overdue! Of course she is a colleague at BBC Radio 1 so it was nice to have her in my hometown and she was one of the most requested artists prior to any Blackpool Rocks event, so I’m glad we could finally make it happen. The reception was as you would expect… BIG!”
Some folks might not be aware that you studied Sports Science in university and are quite an avid runner. Have you ever come up with any ideas for your brand or music while out on a jog?
“I would use the term ‘avid runner’ loosely but I do like to try and keep in shape! Running is great time to let thoughts roll around your head and I guess it does help towards thinking ideas up, but… I’m always thinking and trying to come up with ideas… A lot goes on inside my head! Ha.”
You’ve mentioned time and time again that ‘energy’ is a key factor when you’re selecting tracks. How has this influenced the concept/brand behind Nothing Else Matters?
“I’m influenced in the fact that I’ll only sign records to the label that I would either play on the radio or in the club (obviously), and in both those entities, energy is the key factor. I like to have a party, so whether that’s on-air or on the decks, it has to have a vibe!”
The driving factor behind the Nothing Else Matters label is supporting UK talent. How do you think the rest of the world perceives UK’s dance music scene and what do you hope to show everyone with this new project?
“The UK music scene is respected worldwide and rightly so because we’ve produced so much amazing talent and music. I just want to contribute to the ever-growing UK scene with our network of producers through putting out quality dance and electronic music. I hope to show a new wave of talented producers that are either from the UK or influenced by our scene.”
What’s it been like working on this with Nigel?
“Nigel is such a respected figure, not just in dance music, but UK music as a whole during his time as a music team executive at BBC Radio 1, and that is where we first started working together. He has a natural passion for dance music and he helped me with the show in the early days, so it made sense to join forces on something outside of the BBC after he announced his retirement. His opinion and ear for a good tune is invaluable and can only benefit the label and the music we put out.”
You mentioned he’ll be more on the creative side developing acts, and you’ll be feeding the label its sound. Can you describe this sound you’re shaping and looking for?
“It’s hard to pin-point the ‘sound’ because my taste is so varied but there will be two tiers to the label. The mainstream tier, which will essentially the mainstream cross-over records like 99 Souls – The Girl Is Mine and Ryan Blyth & After6 – Trust Me. Then there’s the club level tier which will be the real spirit of the label in terms of ‘sound’… these are the records for DJs to hammer in the clubs and will be on a more underground tip! Look out for these releases… there’s some serious fire in the pipeline!”
So the first Nothing Else Matters show is coming to The Steelyard on April 30th… How is this event going to set the tone for future installments/label showcases?
“The Steelyard is the perfect venue as it’s almost going back to basics with it’s exposed brick, warehouse feel and simplicity. It’s exactly what I wanted… dance floor, DJ set up and huge sound system! I’m super happy with the line-up and can’t wait for the actual night.”
On your radio shows, you’re known for mixing both familiarity and education into the track selection. What are your thoughts on the importance of having an underground scene and why is it necessary to educate a more mainstream audience?
“Great question! Firstly, the underground scene is important for the future of dance and electronic music. It’s the place where artists usually start their career, some strive to grow and cross-over into the mainstream and others are happy honing a particular sound that only appeals to niche markets. It’s important to educate for many reasons but one is that there is so much incredible music and so many talented producers that they need to be heard!”
What is one topic that you’ve always wanted to speak on, but never had the opportunity to do so?
“I’ve always wanted to know why people who cut keys, also mend shoes. Weird mix if you ask me :D”