Danny Howells has been whipping up music infused with house and techno for about 14 years. Chided by some for his loud, paisley shirts (but hey, some of us like it that way) and loved by many for his ability to read the crowd, he has been touted “the clubber’s DJ.” His 10-hour sets in New York, coupled with his love for throwing the occasional obscure track, made him even more lovable. We chat with Howells about music, homesickness and his quirky fashion sense.
How did you first get into music?
All of my family members are really big music fans. They’ve been buying records for me since I was around four or five-years-old, for my birthday or for Christmas. So I’ve been collecting records since I was a young child. When I got older, it turned into a crazy obsession and so I became a DJ.
You’ve remixed for artists such as Madonna, Robbie Williams, BT, Stonebridge and more. Which is your most memorable collaboration?
Madonna. It’s a big dream to do something with her. I grew up with her music and one of my friends is a huge Madonna fan. It’s one of the more exciting challenges I had to work with her.
Now that you’re successful, does it get more stressful making music?
Making music is about the same. But for DJing, it’s more stressful. The more people know me, the more I put pressure on myself to be better. In fact, I’m more nervous now DJing than when I was first starting out!
You’ve toured around the world DJing. How do you deal with homesickness?
Nowadays, I try to not to leave home for more than two weeks. I love traveling. But if it’s for too long a period, I’ll miss my family and my girlfriend. It’s difficult. It’s boring playing in the same place, so I love playing in different countries. Whenever I can, I like my girlfriend to tour with me.
How does it feel like to be ranked as one of DJ Magazine’s “Top 100 DJs in the World” for the last seven years?
It’s a great feeling to know that people have voted for you. But DJ Magazine’s Top 100 is different now from what it was. Now it’s mainly about who can create the most amount of support in the poll. People send out emails, asking others to vote for them and saying in return, they’ll vote for them… so the poll results don’t really matter a lot to me.
What do you think you would be if you were not a DJ or a producer?
Before I was DJing, I was a nurse in a mental hospital. So I might still be doing psychiatric nursing if I weren’t a DJ or a producer!
Wow. Besides music, you’re also known for your loud shirts! Anything to say to people who dislike your clothes?
Get some taste! Haha.