To coincide with their North American Easter Tour, Dave together with his partners in crime Danny Howells and Darren Emerson talked to Dancing Astronaut about all things 3D. Read all about it here >>
Hi guys, tell us what led to the creation of 3D. Whose idea was it and what’s your goal with the project? Plus do you see it as something long-term?
Danny: We’ve all known each other for years, so when we ended up playing together at Ministry we obviously loved it and wanted to take it further, which is where Dave really came into action in terms of tying it all together.
I think we’ve all done so much during our careers that our goals now are to enjoy what we do, as well as getting into some new areas, both geographically and musically, that we might not have strayed into before.
Dave: I suggested branding the night at the Ministry Of Sound as 3D as a bit of a joke initially. I really didn’t expect it to take on a life all of it’s own and turn into an actual thing. But now it is, I think we’ve all realised that it’s going to be a lot of fun travelling and playing together. Who knows where it will all lead. For the moment, we’re really enjoying it and long may that continue.
3D’s creation lead to Danny Howells’ first original material getting released in years. Can we expect more 3D EPs like the last one on Dave’s label Selador coming soon? Plus will the three of you be creating a track together in the coming future?
Danny: I’d taken a massive hiatus from production although I always knew I’d start again when the time was right, and this project gave me the nudge I needed.
Dave: Yeah we were so happy we managed to coerce Dan back into the studio. I think you’ll agree he was ready as his output has already proved, but he just needed a little push. We’re already talking about the next EP and there’s definitely an appetite for us all to do something together at some point. Goodness knows how that will turn out but I look forward to it.
With each of you being a legend in your own right, how difficult was it you adjusting to becoming a team? What does each of you bring to 3D and how you balance everything out? Plus how are you able to read each other if one of you goes off on a tangent?
Danny: I don’t think any of us see ourselves as being a legend, so when we get in the box together there’s only two goals – play as well as we can and have a blast doing it! There is a musical adjustment to playing as a threesome instead of solo, but we always pick our sets to pieces afterwards to see what worked and what didn’t, and how we can make it better next time.
I think we’re all capable of going off on tangents, but as we usually wind up doing just two or three tracks each, we tend to stay in check!
With such a history of success behind you all, what motivates you to continue pushing things forward and searching for new audiences?
Danny: For me it still boils down to the buzz I get from playing the tunes I adore to people who hopefully enjoy them as much as I do. And even on those nights that aren’t a raging success, I still get off on hearing my favourite tracks on a big system.
Darren: I’ve been doing this for 30 years now and never get tired of seeing the reactions big tunes get on the dance floor. I still love discovering new producers and searching for the perfect beat. Guess you could say it’s become a life-long habit.
You’re touring the States soon. Will you be creating a special playlist for the shows? Or just ‘freestyling’?
Danny: We tend look at each gig..room size, set time etc to get a rough idea of what we’ll do, whether we go straight in with the bangers or whether we’ve got time to work through the genres a bit. There’s no planning as such, and we tweak things up during the night if we feel it needs it.
We’re all very honest with each other and tell each other afterwards exactly what we thought. Our post gig autopsies are pretty epic!
Dave: I think part of the fun is the spontaneity. Not really knowing where each of us might take the narrative keeps us all on our toes. Being slightly out of our comfort zones is stimulating and as all of us have been DJing longer than we care to remember, I think we’re relishing the challenge.
If you each had to choose one track from your repertoire that you had to play at every gig the rest of your lives, which would it be?
Danny: Damn this is a hard one! If I had to choose one of my own songs then I’d maybe go for “Laid Out”, purely because I’ve already played it out so many times and never got bored of it. If it was someone else’s tune then maybe something like “Accadian” by The Mole, or Jimpster’s old remix of Robert Babicz, for the same reason. I’ve absolutely rinsed those.
Darren: I’ve always loved Speedy J’s – Rise. Still sounds fresh today.
Dave: One of mine you mean? I’d probably go with ‘Nightfalls’. It’s very easy to get bored of your own productions, especially when you spend so long in the studio making them but I never seem to get bored of that one, largely due to the timeless vocal by Gaelle Adisson if I’m honest.
What are other stuff are you guys doing for the rest of the year? Plus are there any special projects you want to talk about?
Danny: We have a load of 3D gigs lined up which I’m really looking forward to, as well as further studio escapades as discussed before.
I’m cracking on with the production, with my next release coming out in the next month or so, as well as keeping busy with the activism stuff I do when at home and trying, but not always succeeding, to stay out of trouble!
Darren: I’ve got some remixes coming out soon for DJ Hell on his International Deejay Gigolos imprint, plus there’s one for Gus Gus and also another one coming soon for Glenn Morrison on his Fall From Grace label. DJ feedback has been great for all of them, so am looking forward to them seeing the light of day. I’ve also got some collabs on the way, including another one with John Digweed and Nick Muir. Tracer got a lot of traction, so we were all really pleased with the results.
Dave: My focus for the next couple of months is on my label, Selador’s 5th Birthday. We’ve got 24 artists making exclusive collaboration tracks together that we’re releasing as 3 separate EPs and launching the whole thing at Watergate in Berlin at the end of April. It’s gonna be a big statement project for us. We’re really proud of it. I’ve also got releases lined up on AFFKT’s Sincopat label and Alex Niggemann’s Soul Fooled, plus remixes for Martin Eyerer & Tim Engelhardt. It’s going to be a busy year.