Dale Howard chats to Dubzy about how he progressed as an artist and advice to young producers. He also talks about Sankey’s Ibiza and starting up his label.
Dubzy: This is Dubzy every week here on Unity Radio, we speak to the leading artists on the dance music team today for our real sound of the city feature and today I’m joined by Dale Howard, how’s it going mate?
Dale: yeah I’m good cheers
Dubzy: so for anyone that your name may be new to or that doesn’t know too much about you could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Dale: I just make House music, I reckon thats the simplest way to explain it; half decent House music
Dubzy: (laughs) Definitely, you are responsible for some, more than a few banging tracks I must say, could you tell us how it all started out for you?
Dale: It’s weird, It’s a very long story that I probably don’t have time to say on the radio to you but I kind of got in to music when I was 18 and started going to clubs and stuff in Liverpool when I was in University and then when I kind of started going out to clubs I kind of wanted to get into DJing, so I started DJing at 18 and then when I was 19 I wanted to start actually messing about with sound and tried to make good decent music, I thought I could co produce something but it just sounded really horrible but I just kept messing around with sound and stuff when I was 19, luckily it all took off about 5 years ago, I think I started touring around 4 years ago, it went from there.
Dubzy: Right so how would you describe your style today from how it started out?
Dale: I mean…I could never really get down the ideas that were in my head but I think that kind of just comes from inexperience really so overtime you kind of learn how to channel those influences of those inspirations that you picked up and be able to put them down as an actual coherent track, but when I first started I was in to like Minimal and techo and stuff, then I got in to electronic kind of stuff and then that moved in to actual deep house, I believe that I made deep house because me and my mate at the time used to try and critic each other’s tracks and I was kind of never really confident that I could make a track that would actually make people dance, so I thought if I made deep house and played around at about 116 bpm then there’s no real question on making people dance because no one really dances to 116 anyway, so I did that and then I got offered a remix and I just decided to make a more kind of harder track and I did, and i think it was just the right time for me because I realised that House music was a little more harder and I just went from there and started making more deep House music
Dubzy: So thinking back over the years of your career can you think of a time that you thought I can actually do this full time now, I can make this my career?
Dale: Yeah It was probably after I got sacked from my job at David Lloyd, I was working there as a PT, you’re an employed PT with David Lloyd but I got sacked because I didn’t show up for work for about 3 days because I was at an after party, that pretty much sums up my whole work experience, after that, rather than kind of looking for another job I thought that I never really spend all my time making music and dedicated myself to that and had that as my priority so I kind of said to myself that I would spend the next 6 months just making music solid and if nothing comes from it then at least I’ve had a decent go and I made about 30 odd tracks in 6 months, luckily for me they got picked up by Noir and some of the labels and then it kind of just went from there really, It wasn’t like an over night thing where I was just kind of touring full time but after those tracks I was touring enough to the point where I thought I don’t have to get another job I can just focus all my attention on just making music but it’s one of them where some people have an overnight success where they just make it instantly, but that’s never really happened with me I’ve always been kind of slow in process and theres never been a difinitive moment where I’ve said to myself that I could do this as a career, I’ve just kind of been taking baby steps and going step after step and hopefully been moving forward in the right direction.
Dubzy: Do you prefer it that way? I mean, I guess some people can find it daunting to be just like through straight up there, are you happy the way it’s worked out?
Dale: Yeah, I mean there’s some people that will kind of just have a track thats crossing over in to the dark and stuff but I think if you get the success too soon then a lot of people don’t know who they are as an artist, I sure as hell didn’t because when I first started touring my set compared to what they are now are just completely different, there was another case of not being able to funnel in what sound I was in to so I kind of was playing a very broad mixture of tracks that I liked rather than understanding how a set works, yeah I think some people who get success too soon they haven’t really developed as an artist and they don’t really know who they are, and for me personally i think that takes time but I’m pretty happy with how things have gone
Dubzy: Great stuff, and for any young artist listening wanting to get involved in the music industry, because no one could tell you how to get that over night success, but for anyone who wants to start getting on that path do you have any advice you could throw out there?
Dale: You just need to spend as much time as you can in the studio or whatever you call your studio, my studio at university was my bedroom and then my studio at home was in my bedroom in my mum and dad’s house, but yeah whatever you call a studio, wherever it is, under the stairs, in the bathroom, on the toilet or whatever, just need to make sure your spending as much time as possible in there, any spare minute that you get, even if you don’t get anything down your just spending 40 minutes messing around trying to find a bass line and nothing even comes out, that is a very important phase where your kind of just helping to teach yourself just how things work, I didn’t make it a priority for so long I was just doing little tiny bits and stuff here and there and it took me years to actually polish the sound and understand how things work so the more time you spend and the more hours you put in, the further forward you’ll go and the faster you’ll arrive at your destination
Dubzy: Sound advice, and do you think its possible these days with all the technology that’s about, do you thing that people can seriously make a quality track from their bedroom with their laptop or do you think they still need to be in a top studio?
Dale: Nah, Not at all, this is the thing about music, like so many people will kind of just get arsey about the fact that the frequency and the sounds aren’t right and stuff like that but there’s thousands of people doing tutorials on Youtube and stuff telling you what frequencies and things need to be at but the guys that are doing those tutorials, and I say this because I’ve actually done a tutorial on full production so thats kind of different but the people that kind of stress over all this kind of stuff, those people are only doing that because they can’t actually make a living as a touring DJ or a touring producer, it’s easier to learn about frequency than it is to learn how to make people dance, so I wouldn’t stress too much about about thinking ‘oh I haven’t got any analog gear to run this through’ or ‘I’m not an analog master’ or anything like that, don’t stress about that, the most important question you need to ask ’Is this track gonna make people dance?’ or ‘have I made the right track?’ if it sounds good and it’s not run through analog, 95% of the people who come are completely wrecked so their not gonna notice that its not been run through or that it doesn’t sound as warm as an analog mastered track, that’s not gonna happen, it’s only gonna make people dance, so you need to obviously make, you need to understand that the most important thing is, and the most important thing is; well for me anyway is making people dance
Dubzy: Brilliant advice man. Ok so now turning to Ibiza, Unity Radio we’re gonna be out on the island in September, we’re playing at Sankeys Ibiza, Ushuaia and Space, you are gonna be playing at Sankeys Ibiza for VIVa Warriors, how you feeling about that?
Dale: I’m going out there this Sunday actually to play for them, yeah I’m looking forward to that, Speeda said that they are doing really well this summer so I’m looking forward to getting over there
Dubzy: And have you played Sankeys Ibiza before?
Dale: Yeah, I played there a couple of times last year, so I played there a lot, it kind of feels like they’ve just taken the Manchester club and stuck it in the middle of Ibiza, which is good, obviously the layout is exactly the same, like the basment and stuff, the crowd’s really cool so yeah it’s a good place to play
Dubzy: It’s crazy init, I remember the first time I went into Sankeys Ibiza, I walked in and thought it even smells the same as the Manchester venue
Dale: Yeah you wouldn’t know until you go to the bar and they charge you 12 Euros for a water, yeah that’s the only thing like yeah I’m in Ibiza now
Dubzy: So you were a resident there last year you said, what were some of the highlights of the year for you?
Dale: Yeah it was great to play out there but the highlight for me last year was probably my Argentina tour, Argentina for me is my favourite place in the world to play because the crowd over there is absolutely nuts, the parties are always huge sell out parties, the atmosphere is really great the people are really friendly and really fun, I’ve been totally out of hand there but in a good way
Dubzy: Have you met any DJs or producers that are killing it over there? that you can recommend?
Dale: I haven’t you know, I’m so bad with names, I’ve probably met a few but I mean the residents always kind of know how to warm up a crowd but I’ve met so many I just can’t think of any names, I’m sorry
Dubzy: No worries, so the scene is definitely worth checking out over there yeah?
Dale: Yeah definitely, I mean if you can ever get over to the festival or something in Argentina that’s one place I definitely recommend to go
Dubzy: And just back to Ibiza, what else do you have to come up for the rest of the year for the season?
Dale: Right well I’m doing the Elrow closing party at Space on the 24th of September
Dubzy: Thats got to be one you’re looking forward to right?
Dale: Yeah Elrow is an amazing party so I’m looking forward to playing for them over there, and then I’ve just got to kind of really focus on setting my record label up which launches just after the 30th september and the first release is from me and its got a sante remix, so every release has got some really great names on there and i’m looking forward to getting that off the ground
Dubzy: Great stuff and what made you want to start a label with everything you’ve got going on?
Dale: I just kind of thought that I’ve come to a point now where I don’t want to have to sacrifice my sound to fit on a certain labels and sometimes that can happen and to me that can kind of end ups diluting the message that I want to put out, some labels will say that yeah we like this track but could you change this or we’d like you to do something a little more electronic so you could end up not Djing on the initial path that you set out, and I’ve gotten to a point now where I just don’t want to do that anymore, the reason that I wanted to produce music was to make music that I like, I never wanted to produce music for other people, so now I can just make sure that theres always a home for music that I made and It’s completely 100% untainted, the other reason is because I’ve met so many great producers over the last few years that i’ve really wanted to work with and give them a platform to be able to reach more people, so yeah that’s obviously the other reason
Dubzy: So you can say it’s definitely going to be a label with no limits then?
Dale: Yeah not at all, I kind of want to give people the freedom to create whatever they want, but obviously I trust in the producers that their sound is actually right for the label because otherwise I’d be playing random music that is completely different to the style of previous releases, so we’ve got sante, josh butler, raffa fl and more erm I’m forgetting loads of names because i’ve had to deal with so many different people over the last few months, my memory’s terrible
Dubzy: No worries, so finally are there any plans for you to come to Manchester so we can catch a plane and hear this music?
Dale: Yes, I’m actually gonna be doing some record label show cases and I think we’ve ended up changing one of them to next year but I should be back in manchester before the end of the year, I think it will be November time and in 2017 I will be doing some more record showcases with some new artists that will be joining me on the label
Dubzy: Great stuff man , it all sounds amazing, where can everyone listening key put to everything you have going on?
Dale: you can check out my Soundcloud, most of my stuff is over there
my sound cloud is soundcloud.com/dalehoward
I regularly put stuff out so there’s lots of music for people to listen to
Dubzy: Dale thanks very much for your time man, it’s been a pleasure chatting to you
Dale: No probz mate thanks for having me