Interview: Danny Howells

Over the years Freeze has had a lot of guest DJs. Each has been crucial and important for the story of the clubnight in their own special manner, be it the first time we booked a guest (Chibuku resident Leo Belchetz) up to being able to announce Luciano, and we’re grateful to all of them for their help along the way. But the place put aside in the Freeze heart for Danny Howells will always be up there.

He’s played for us at our three most important venues, each time contributing a memorable set and always delivering much more than simply turning up and playing records. So when we decided to launch a brand new series, talking to the important players over the years about their time at Freeze, he was an obvious choice to kick-start it. From now on in we’ll be asking all sorts of people about their Freeze memories and experiences, but to get things rolling, here’s Danny’s thoughts on us.

So Danny, you’re maybe the guest DJ who’s had the most rounded experience of Freeze, having played firstly at the Tunnels all night, the Cathedral and then again at St Georges Hall. How have you enjoyed your time with us?

It’s been fabulous thank you, and an honour to play at such varied and unique venues.

Has there ever been another event where each gig has been in a wildly different place?

After doing this for years you can get to a stage where you think you’ve seen it all, but then something wallops you out of the blue and you realise you haven’t! A recent gig in Helsinki inside a water park where everyone was in their bikinis (while it was about -30 outside!) was one example. But I don’t think there’s anyone else I play for where the venue varies so much for each event.

What makes the guys at Freeze different than other promoters if indeed they are different?

They’re cool, and obviously the unreal venues they manage to find makes them stand out. And they fact they don’t just push their events but also any project or record label, etc, that the DJ might be involved in, to give the nights a bit of a theme too.

What’s your top Freeze moment? And could you pick a favourite record you’ve played at one of our events?

The cave was unreal… that’s really my kind of venue. But walking into the cathedral for the first time was just an amazing experience. I think everyone who attended that event felt the same way. As far as my favourite tune goes, you need to ask the punters. They have a better memory than I do.

A couple of the events you have done with us, and the next time you play for us, has been around the Dig Deeper concept, both as a label and an opportunity for you to explore your musical collection. How is all that going at present?

I’m going to carry on doing Dig Deeper nights where and when I feel it’s appropriate as I still enjoy occasionally playing from open to close and doing my thing. But as far as the label goes, I will be winding that down I think. There’s some killer releases planned for the next few releases but I think I will knock it on the head after that.

What have you got planned in the immediate future then?

See above! I’m not really getting that involved in things right now which is down to a combination of laziness and being perfectly happy with where I’m at in the scheme of things… I’ve never been a big schemer or been particularly ambitious so I’m not going to start now!

You’re known for your ‘individual’ shirts, something which our resident Jemmy has been getting into a lot as well recently, we’re sad to say. If you two were to have a shirt face off, what item of clothing would you pick and what record would soundtrack your commanding stroll down the catwalk

Yeah, I think Jemmy learnt from the best 😉 But I wouldn’t even need to scratch the surface of my collection in order to give him a shirt off. I could wipe the floor with him…

Only kidding, I did actually give away my prize possession recently, my vintage short sleeve cat shirt. I won’t go into any specific detail but there are various clubbers from around 2003/04 who never truly recovered from it. I’d wear that with my vintage dungarees and probably play some Dokken records backwards.

How important is it to have a sense of humour in this business?

For me it’s very important. Most of the people I communicate with are also very funny people. I don’t really gravitate to the miserable or business-types, not my scene baby.

And finally, you can take Freeze anywhere in the world and bring anyone with you, up to another three DJs or live acts. Who would you take and where would we be putting on the party?

Oh god, I never know how to answer these. I’d love to go back in time to David Mancuso’s loft in the early 70s .. I don’t know what mine or Freeze’s role would be as he took care of everything himself .. we’d just have the night off and enjoy it.