002 - How Hard Work & Dedication Pays Off‬ with Denney

Mar 05, 2021 9:11am

Fast receiving global recognition Danny’s latest podcast series continues to deliver some of the best insight directly into the centre of the music industry. With this podcast Danny Savage settles into the hot seat asking Denney what drives his dedication and direction as an internationally recognized artist and reflects back on his past. Featuring on a host of heavyweight labels Viva, Hot Creations, Crosstown Rebels, Pokerflat, 20:20 Vision and starting life in the office at one of the worlds iconic clubs Back to Basics (considered the longest running weekly night in clubland).

Denney provides some exclusive feedback on the current music scene and the transition it took to get to his present  position citing that “he spent educating himself on music, networking and countless hours in the studio before beginning to reap the rewards of his hard work.” Tune-in to gain a greater understanding of what a modern music identity needs to do to achieve industry success.


Podcast:  Download (Duration: 56:48 — 26.0MB)

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In the episode:

02:01 - Highlights of the year

03:08 - Secret Garden Party

04:22 - Back To Basics Residency

09:35 - Leeds music scene

13:10 - Importance of networking

17:50 - Mental health

20:11 - Touring

23:51 - What made you get into the music industry?

28:39 - Writing “Ultraviolet”

30:29 - Social media tips

Get the short summary and all the tips and links from this episode by downloading the free PDF


Danny: (00:02)
Hello, welcome to the second episode of that Danny Savage show. This week's guest is another northern lad, DJ and producer Denney. Hailing from Middlesbrough. Denney is regular gigging all across the world and often releases on Viva Music, Hot Creations, 2020 vision and recently on Crosstown Rebels. Denney has slowly worked his way up the ranks and he saw proof that hard work and dedication pays off. Starting out working in the office at legendary Back to Basics Elite, Denney leveraged his networks and is now making a career doing what he loves the most. Ladies and gentlemen, Denney.

Danny: (00:43)
Hi listeners. Hello and welcome to episode 2 of my podcast. This week, we've got the main man, Denney in. Denney, do you want to give a quick introduction to our listeners. Who you are, where you’re from, what you do and what you're best known for?

Denny: (00:59)
Okay. Hello listeners I'm Denney. I'm a DJ-producer. I am signed to labels such as Hot Creations, Crosstown Rebels, Fever Music, Saved Records, Poker Flat and many more. I originally started Djing up at Middlesbrough and while I also used to run a night called Future and then I moved down to Leeds. Then got heavily involved with Back to Basics where I became a resident. Since around 2011, I've been touring constantly and making music.

Danny: (01:34)
Cool. Not seeing you for a while. It's been quite awhile. Over a year, I reckon.

Denny: (01:39)
Yeah. It has been a while.

Danny: (01:41)
You had a good year?

Denny: (01:42)
It's been great, mate. Yes. There's been a lot of changes going on behind the scenes with the structure of booking agents, managers and stuff like that but it's all good. Everything's great. A lot of new music on the horizon. I've just been keeping busy, really.

Danny: (02:01)
Yeah. What's been your highlights of this year. Where have you been?

Denny: (02:04)
Highlights, definitely America. Things had been going really well over there. I've had a residency at Hi Miami, which has been great. Highlight over there, it was probably myself and Roger Sanchez play back to back about a month ago now. That was amazing. Had some great parties, Elrow in Ibiza, Amnesia Club and Barcelona as well. Yeah, there's been so many festivals, had some great festivals. Eastern Electrics was a highlight and Gottwood festival as ever and the last ever Secret Garden party as well. Sad to see that go and I'm really sad to see that go actually. It was definitely a highlight of the year. I'm just all over really. There's been few South America bits. I'm back over there in January, so I'm looking forward to that for proper tour and yeah, it's been a busy couple of months to be honest.

Danny: (03:08)
Yeah. Going back to the Secret Garden. Obviously it's one of my favorite festivals as well. I couldn't make it this year. I had family commitments. What was the reason that secret garden has to stop, you know that?

Denny: (03:22)
I don't actually know for sure. I think from what I can gather, I think when they started, they obviously, by the name, it was called Secret Garden Party. It kind of didn't become secret anymore. I think that they were very conscious of, not over kind of having to make it bigger and better every year and stuff like that. Also I think another got hit with some bad weather which really affected the festival the year before. So I'm not sure. I think there were many factors but from what I can gather, there's going to be, by the team that make it, that are behind it, They're going to be doing something else. I don't know if that's necessarily going to be at the same place but yeah, it was my favorite UK festival by mile. I don't know. Gluster Brain stuff's amazing but I like the trippy magic secret down pipe.

Danny: (04:22)
Cool. So going back to Back to Basics residency, is it the world's longest running club night or Europe's longest running club? I know he's one of them, ain't it?

Denny: (04:37)
What it was, I think it was the world's longest weekly running club night. I think. I don't know if it is actually, it could well be now because I know they were in their 26th year?.

Denny: (04:59)
No idea. When I work in the office there, two and a half years, I needed to like get out. So yeah, hats off to them. To be fair, the club's completely built on love. It's just Dave's life at the end. It's all he knows. The fact that the lightest reincarnation at church, which breathe some new life into it, there's a lot of new young kids involved as well. I think that how long it's going to keep going. It's going to be quite interested to see.

Danny: (05:36)
Well honestly, what's it like working with Dave for Back to Basics?

Denny: (05:40)
We had some really funny times mainly, there's some quite stressful times as well, because the club we were working out with Stinkys, which obviously you used to, did you do parties at Stinkys?.

Denny: (05:55)
I've done a few, I did a mixed mag pipe there once.

Denny: (06:00)
So yeah, there's quite a lot going on behind the scenes with the actual venue with the club. So that got quite stressful. We were still doing it weekly as well. It's really good fun. We did some great events. We worked to some great events together. We did like Hal Cox, the Victoria warehouse, Sasha. We did Fatboy slim at the O2 and just loved it, we would run the weekly night, yeah. When it's getting into like Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning, you've been trying to get hold to your boss to try and get him up to get answers on things. It got a little frustrating. To be honest with you, with some really good highs and some really kind of bad lows.

Denny: (06:52)
Not through any fault Dave's, it was very much venue. We were fighting against the venue really which sadly is now gone. I think the writing was on the wall when Basics' life to be honest. That was probably going to happen.

Danny: (07:09)
So how did you end up working with basics? You want to tell us this story and how it had effects in your career?

Denny: (07:15)
Yeah, definitely. What it was like, I mean it was totally right place at the right time. I was at Uni in Leeds and I've been running my own night in Middlesbrough called Future for about two years. That was basically just for me to bring, Middlesbrough doing nothing anymore. I just wanted to bring these guests that I've seen in Leeds up to Middlesbrough. We put in people like Leon Bush walker on and Claude Vonstroke, we brought him up there when he was kinda just breaking through and Jamie Jones as well.



Denny: (07:50)
People like that. It was just weird. On my last day of Uni, I'd walked out of my final presentation and I got a phone call of Ralph Lawson as I was walking home and he was like, because Ralph Buckley interest in it all come and played for my nights. So anyway, Ralph called me and he was like, can you come for meeting on Monday? This was on a Thursday afternoon, I think. So can you come on Monday to meet, I mean Dave Beer want to speak to you. So I went over to Dave's house and they basically offered me the job there and then. So it was quite weird because I was thinking, how am I going to stay in Leeds? because I didn't want to move but obviously I've finished Uni then so I was like, right, what am I gonna do next?

Denny: (08:34)
So I think a two weeks off and then started work at Basics straight away. So it was kind of thrown in there. That was it really. In terms of what he's done for me, I mean I met so many people there. We put Jamie Jones on when he was kind of unknown. So that's where I first met Jamie and then Damien as well. He was relatively unknown, nothing like he is now. Just countless other djs and artists, which obviously, it's led to me being signed into their labels now. I remember being in Rockaby Gardens, which was the after-party to basics. Jamie was telling me he was, we were still do rob James and he was telling me that he's starting this new record label and I was like, okay. I was just stunted after party each year. Little do I know he's probably going to be one of the biggest underground labels for years. It's been amazing to see all those kinds of artists grow from when I knew them to where they are now.

Danny: (09:35)
So do you know, say for example, we always hear London and Manchester with referenced as that the big clubbing cities in England. Where's Leeds fall in this?

Denny: (09:46)
So I'd say, ah Leeds. I would say I'm probably being a bit nostalgic here, but I'd say when I started there, which was nearly where would that be, that was seven years ago, I'd actually say Leeds how to kind of more of a bigger club scene than it does now. What I mean by that is we, there's so many nights. We used to have Asylum Technique, Basics obviously, Disco, how do you do in filth?. There was like mission, who were doing their things. Then all the events was Victoria warehouses. Well they were doing stuff. There was so much going on in the city constantly.Then there was the other nights like little nights at Stinkys and mad hatters and all these other ones.

Denny: (10:36)
I think. Yeah, I think back then that Leeds, it was probably Leeds in London rather than Manchester. There was only really Sankeys and I think warehouse project had just started. I would have said it has, it definitely would've been Leeds in London as the main kind of club in cities by then. I think obviously there's been a few venues lost. There's been nights that have stopped. Personally, I think Leeds needs some new venues. I know Manchester is kind of overtaken them a bit now cause they got some new venues popping up and things. So I don't know, I think it's kind of an even like obviously Manchester in the 90's with the Hacienda, then kind of basic, We're not shop basics was one of the main places and then Sankeys open. So I think people have been going between the two for years. In each state, it has to now maybe a good five years and then it'll swap over. So I think probably it's about Manchester is going to come up for a bit and then Leeds. Leeds will take over again. So, yeah.

Danny: (11:43)
Yeah. My view on this is like you say, Stinkys got shut down and then there's not much for the underground scene. The garage, which has the [inaudible] and it's sort of like soft, just fill it out to two clubs in that way. Like I said, when I used to do my events years ago...

Danny: (12:02)
Well they are great clubs, the ones that are in Leeds but it's I mean, what is it, a 70,000 students in Leeds. So I think it is nice to have a bit more variety and go to different places. So I don't know, it'll be interesting to say. I just like to see some most smaller venues there to be honest, like the stinky size venues, the garage size. So there's kind of a healthy balance. The big and the small.

Danny: (12:31)
Yeah. I think like the Garage show for example, we like going to your own, book your own little after party like you got to see all your friends you haven't seen for ages and we're more like a family vibe as opposed to big.

Denny: (12:40)
Yeah, that's what it is. That's what it is I think. I mean, I don't know sir. I don't live there anymore but I think there was always the regulars. You could go at Stinkys every week, you'd see people at things like that. So I think it's a lot more event right now, so that it's not as regular, it's more like there's an event, which is maybe the way it's gone now rather than regular weeklies and stuff. But yeah, that was kind of the work. That was the way I used to like.

Danny: (13:10)
Yeah. So you said like when you went to the Rockaby Garden parties and you met Jamie Jones. You were talking and do you think like networking, getting to know people, do you think that's an important thing, part to play in being a DJ?

Denny: (13:26)
Yeah, I think definitely. Weirdly, I did a lecture the other day at Leeds, Leeds Met Uni. The music students, we were talking about this. So you could be the best producer in the world, you can make the best music in the world but unless you go out there and get that in people's faces, no one's going to come knock it. It doesn't work like that. So it's just great, not even going with the intention to be like, right, I'm going to go get in nests. [inaudible] given nest. I mean it's just quite nice to speak to people on a level because obviously these DJs coming and talk about music constantly. Whenever you go there's always people cause that's what you do. They want to talk about music and what you do and how you, they want a glimpse of your life.

Denny: (14:13)
I think just speaking about other stuff like football or something like that as well are really just kind of put them on a real personal level because I know a lot of people look up to them, put DJs and producers on pedestals. Just kind of hang out with them. I think that's great. You know, a lot of Djs, Manchester's got a lot of Djs go about house parties. You've got like [inaudible] to go to [inaudible] for hot creations. Salado is always after party is so many Djs, still go back. So it's, I mean, God, when you look back at the lineups of who used to play at Rockaby Gardens. I mean just the people you see at a festival line up. It's a festival line up in a basement, studio.

Denny: (15:02)
I mean, God, people had party there now there was like, I mean, Campbell will be there, Laura Jones will be there, PBR street gang would be there, you'd have Ralph Los Interested. Whichever DJs were in the area. I mean, Jamie Jones played there for like six hours and Claude von strokes played there. Luke Solomon's played there. I remember seeing him in there. So I took Damian Lazarus back there. Before that there was Canon Loco, if you remember.

Danny: (15:41)
Well, yeah, it's weird you said that. Just before this interview, I popped upon Chris Holiday's Facebook and they were the DC 15 mixed mag article, I'll just read it. It's literally pops up today. It is a show now. So I was reading that, and then now we're talking about it.

Denny: (15:55)
I think that was when I first moved to Leeds and I mean that was insane. They used to pull back because it was quite very light. It was a very minimal sound back then, wasn't it around 2005. They used to bring all these djs back from them, the disco and stuff. They used to just go. All I remember from it was pure madness, nut house and kind of Kaloko, crazy. Going back to the question, I'd say networking's a massive, very important part of it to be honest. Like I say, I was lucky enough to be just in the right place at the right time. I was booking it, I was booking Jamie for like a ridiculous pay when compared to what he's getting now.

Denny: (16:46)
Few hundred quid. So it's like, I was just lucky to be there from kind of the start of these people's career and then just kept in touch with them. So I had that personal connection and was able to send them music. So I think, to any up and coming DJ, I think just get yourself out there. Get to these nights where these DJs are gonna get to become friends with the people and hung out with them. Then it becomes very easy just to take USB and just slipped into the guest DJ. I definitely recommend doing that.



Danny: (17:20)
Good stuff. So at the moment, I don't know if you've seen the documentary, I can't remember the name of it. The one where the Luciano and Ben Pearce. There's quite a lot going on on social media now about the wellbeing of Djs. I had Ben Pearce on about talking about this last week. So you mentioned the importance of networking and going to after parties to find that. Where does that fit in with, what advice could you give to Djs, how to safely go about networking and getting amongst it all. Controlling your...

Denny: (17:50)
It's balance. I mean, obviously the difference in that documentary is that they're talking about it. Because when you're a DJ, constantly on the road, if you just go into a party and then you get three days to chill and that's fine but I think when you're on the road constantly and you're not sleeping and you leave. To be honest with you, when I tour now I don't even drink. So I just go to do the gig, hung out for a bit and then I'll go back to the hotel because you need to sleep as much, because I've suffered bouts and mental health issues. I think to be honest with you, I think anyone in this kind of job does, I'd be very surprised if they don't, haven't had about depression or something.

Denny: (18:42)
You're on your own a lot of the time. If you're a deep thinker or whatever, you can send yourself a little bit mental. So I think it's just balance. You know your own body and I think it's just very careful not to get led astray. For instance, a perfect example of this was when I was working in the office at Basics. It got to kind of a point where I was like, I had a lot of personal stuff going on anyway and I was just like, I need to step back from this just to, so for my own wellbeing really. That kind of lifestyle of being in the nightclubs all the time and stuff, it really did take its toll. So I did. I just took a step back and then kind of made a little bit of normality in my life so that I think you just got listened to your own body really.

Denny: (19:35)
Make sure it's a balance and don't get caught up in the parties because to be honest with you, that can really hold you back. If you want to get and maybe go for a few hours, but then just go. You don't have to stay there for two days. To be honest with you, I wished someone had told me back then at the beginning. It's all right to go home and don't be scared. It was the fear of going home. So don't worry about that. Just balance. You don't have to go all the time.



Danny: (20:11)
What's a busy week look like for you? So an international touring level...

Denny: (20:22)
Yes. So say if I am touring, you basically sleep when you can. So if obviously a lot of the times you can, say for example, the last tour I did. I flew out on a Friday and I got, it was like a 10 hour flight to Miami. Then get there and then you've got a few hours, then you play in the gig. Then we basically had to go from the gig to the airport and we had an hour. Then I had to go to the airport to fly to Vegas then had like two hours to sleep and then straight to the gig. Then we went straight from there to the airport to go to San Jose I think and then we, it was like a three hour drive to get to David camper and then we had an hour to get changed, have a shower and then get to the gig. So I mean I think we slept, it was crazy.
We slept something like six hours in three days or something. So you just really, if y'all bring an alcohol into that factor as well, I mean for me, it would be virtually impossible. I'm nearly 34 now. So my body can't handle it. You basically got to sleep, sleep when you can. Just be taking a few days off as well. So after I'd done that kind of three days, I had a day off to just totally chill, sleep. Then another gig and then another couple of days off. Then I was back on the weekend. My other day off, day and a half off at home just sitting on the couch when I come back up touring and then you just got to get your body clock back in.

Denny: (22:03)
Then treat every day as working day, really. Getting up in the morning, you've got your agents to deal with, you've got the press agents, your management, you've got obviously studio work, so you need to get back in, get your music, your remixes and stuff like that. If I do want to let my head down, I'll just pick an event, I just pick and choose. Something around I don't have to be somewhere the next day. I always find it hard, quite hard to enjoy myself knowing I've got to like go get up, go somewhere and do something the next day. I think it's important just to get balance again, just eating healthily, that massive factors that I found.

Denny: (22:50)
I don't really eat red meat when I'm touring. Just to kind of eat fish and vegetables.

Danny: (23:00)
Good advice. Strategically planning your vendors now.

Denny: (23:09)
Yes basically, yes. To be honest with you, they're not even really vendors anymore, they come by at nine o'clock in the morning, that's me done. I just need my sleep. But then send out 10 years ago when I was in my twenties, you can go a bit longer. Like I say, just listen to your body and don't get wrapped up in it. It's alright to dip your toe in. Just make sure it doesn't overtake the week. I think that's when it becomes the problem when it's interfering with the way you got work to do during the week. That's when you kind of need to address everything right. I need to get on this.


Getting into the industry

Danny: (23:51)
So did you ever think back when you were a kid that you'd be doing this touring the world, playing music, getting paid money for it and been interviewed on podcasts? What made you get into music in the first place? What's your backstory?

Denny: (24:07)
I've been djing since I was 13. That's when I got my decks. So I've been doing this for good 20 years now. It was really the only thing, good thing I was good at. When I was 19, I went to college, love music production. Then from there I went did a degree at university as well. There's nothing else interested me. I've worked in call centers and I always kind of just pissed around in there and I never took it seriously. I remember I was in retail actually and they put me in the stockroom because I just wasn't very good dealing with the customers because I didn't care. They basically, we used to sell cushions and things. I just made a bed in the stockroom. Just going to sleep in there. Nearly got fired from that job.

Denny: (24:52)
I just really did not care about those kinds of things. The only thing I really wanted to do was djing, so that was really reason why I left [inaudible] as well because I thought that was distracting for making the music and what I wanted to do so while I kind of doing a stepped back and I moved from Leeds back up to Middlesbrough. Flight eight months and then just worked solid. I was working on 14-hour days. I made my 1st Hot Creations release so I made them dad's living room table, where I set up my studio and that was made on there and then that was signed in. That was the kind of breaking point for me to follow the music dream full time. I think you've just got to work for it. I know side tracks leaves to sleep on people's couches.

Denny: (25:39)
I used to engineer for Buckley years ago and I used to go sleep on his couch for three days a week and then we'd be in the studio, I'd sleep on his couch and then we'd be in the studio solidly, sometimes 15 hours a day. So you've got to put the work in. You really got to learn kind of honing your craft really. Nothing like this is easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it. It just depends how much you want to. I don't know any DJ that hasn't been skinned, and hasn't struggled to get there. But once you do break and you do get that, that first track, obviously then other labels are looking at you because you've already, you started to make an aim and if they see demo coming, you'll be top of the pile for them to listen to.

Danny: (26:27)
That's one of the big points everyone thinks because you've released a big track and then suddenly you've catapulted into the limelight. They don't see the 20 years you've had previously grinding away, learning your craft, working in Basics office, networking in there, being a resident DJ years and finally you get your big breakthroughs. So it's all hard work paying off. People don't really see that.

Denny: (26:49)
Yeah. They don't know the back story. Everyone is grafted for it. I don't know anyone, you see, you look at people like for example, Salado, Mark from Salado was a massive German based dj, Mark won. Before he was in that, So it's like they're not, these aren't new producers. There are obviously a few new producers that get lucky and break through, but I mean a lot of people have been doing this for a long time and really kind of honing their craft and getting their sounds right really. I think that's a massive thing. So you need to have your own individual style because there's so much music that sounds alike. Totally recommend just really working on that and putting the hours in.

Danny: (27:41)
Are you a DJ looking to kickstart your career in 2018? So as we all know, not only now do you need to have a mixing skills starting but you also need to have a strong online profile to stand out from the crowd. This is why I've compiled a three simple ebook to help you on your way. The 12 steps to kickstart your DJ career ebook is now available to download for free @dannysavage.com/12steps. We will go through your mindset, your press kit, your website, how to create more content, how to design custom artwork to be omnipresent, posting daily on social media and what tools to use. Launching your own radio show or podcast, building your tribe of fans out to network, set smart goals and invest in yourself. You can download this 12 steps to kickstart your DJ career ebook now @dannysavage.com/12steps.

Danny: (28:39)
When you wrote Ultraviolet back in 2012 where it, that's specifically aimed for the Hot creation sound? Did you specifically write for hot creations and their sounds? Did you know it's going to get [inaudible]?

Denny: (28:51)
Weirdly enough, I'd already had a record signed in 2010 to Hot Waves, actually didn't come out till 2013. I had ultraviolet was the first one that was referred as Hot creations, but I, I actually made that with Damian Lazarus in mind. It was a little bit darker and it was, if you listen to it, it kind of wasn't, Hot creations was very discowy at that time and that was a little bit darker. I remember, I think it was the first year, I think a big thing for that actually weirdly enough was, there was a video of Jamie playing at a time wall and that kind of went viral really. It was one of the first videos, you know how it's kind of common place now you see Djs, there's a clip of the DJ play in a track.

Denny: (29:41)
It's plastered all over social media. It was kind of one of those really, where it just kind of got plastered and there was a massive buzz around it. So that was a massive help. The same happened a few years later with Low frequency when there's a video of Jamie playing at a hideout. The power of a good video. Online now is amazing. I've had recently with my new crosstown rebels, Chuck. I took a video of Daisy Rowe in Mexico, Damian playing it in January and then Techno Bible got hold of it. I think he's had like 117,000 views. So it's like, it's just mental power, social media now in terms of building a kind of buzz up in a word of mouth buzz and around music. Yeah. That's cool.


Social Media Tips

Danny: (30:29)
What's your number one tip for social media for DJs? If you're going to give them some advice, would you say do videos, live stream, [inaudible]? The audience of this podcast aimed at bedroom DJs. We're trying to give advice and [inaudible].

Denny: (30:44)
[inaudible] music caliber and then if you do find out that the DJ you've given it to is playing it and they are a big DJ, try and get video of it, then try and get it out there. If you've got video of a DJ playing, I don't know, at a festival and your track is going off to like 5,000 people, then obviously all these people who like this DJ, all these wouldn't be Djs want to play these tracks. These tracks that are making, that are going off basically. So then they'll, it'll get shared. The reach of these things is amazing. Then there's all sorts of things. To be honest with you, I really don't know that, how the social media side. I'm lucky because I have people at work, management and staff that do that, but I know there's all like targeting, you can target, you can pay in sponsor on like Facebook and target specific audiences.

Denny: (31:44)
So you could always do that so it pops up on their timelines and things like that. I think it's a necessary evil now. I don't enjoy doing it. I don't like this whole, these stories and snapshots of like people just walking down the street or just put video and your lunch with loads of emojis or put in, making your face look like an animal. I don't understand it to be honest. I don't see what the point is. I'd rather go live a real life, you know what I mean? Then all these fill isn't played. I don't know, I'm just, it sound well [inaudible].

Denny: (32:27)
I just don't see the point there that's why I never, I'm not bothered about it. If you're doing a live stream from a gig or something, that's fair enough. I can understand that but just walking down the street and put in rubber ears on, pouting and looping out. Although, yeah, that doesn't, I don't really see what the point there is.

Danny: (32:48)
You never considered doing a gig live stream with the rubber ears on?

Denny: (32:55)
No, never. It's just that always emojis and shit like that. If people like your artists, paid for stuff like that, just try to do your live streams and obviously it's a place to advertise your music and things like that. So yeah, it's all good. One thing I would say, another good way is if you meet a DJ and you get their email address off which I'd say 9 out of 10 djs will always give you an email address. If you meet them and they know your name and whatever, you can get guests, drop them an email. After the weekend, say nice to meet you, whatever. Then also send them a private soundcloud link, so then they can just listen to your music and then if they want to they can download it.

Denny: (33:47)
Just make sure downloads available. I think zipping things up and sending, it can be quite a long process. Obviously we get sent so much music that we just kind of want to flick through it. If we hear something, we'll know instantly if we like it. I think that's always a good point. Every bit of music I send out is always, has a private soundcloud link. So yeah, rather than just having the tracks zip, so you've got to go the effort, downloading it, then finding the download folder then opening it. It's quite a long process and can put people off, I think. So obviously people don't have that much time in between studio and traveling and things. So that that would be a good little tip, I'd say, yeah.


Music Background

Danny: (34:32)
Cool. What was it initially that got you into music? Do you have a musical background? Were your parents into music?

Denny: (34:41)
Yeah. I mean, my dad was a jazz drummer and so I was kind of brought up on jazz really. There was always that kind of music in the house like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock. I was brought up in that. I learned the saxophone and piano when I was younger but it didn't stick at it, so can't remember how to play any of that which is quite sad. To be honest with you, I really wish I'd kept on with the piano because that would really help in the studio now. But yeah, I was always, my dad's a music, not really. He's got massive record collection. I'm always listening to jazz. So I think that was kind of, was in my blood from an early age, really from as young as I can remember.

Denny: (35:30)
My dad was always wanting to kind of talk just to never go for the money. He's always just fun, enjoy yourself. He was like, as long as you're enjoying your life, that's all that matters. You don't have to worry about earning loads of money. The richest people we know. We used to live off Middlesbrough. That I'd never left Middlesbrough but my dad, he even traveled the world and had fun. So that was kind of like, just go and spread your wings really. Which both myself through them, which is a great bit of advice. So yeah, I was very lucky in that sense of my parents totally support me. Because I do know some people who've had quite rough trot, the parents like, get a real job. My Dad was like, don’t get a real job. But yeah.

Danny: (36:21)
Okay. How do you feel knowing up and coming Djs look up to you the same way you did with some of the earlier legends and who inspired you?

Denny: (36:29)
I mean it's great. It's a lovely feeling when people come up to you. But yeah, we’re just normal. I see myself as just a normal person. I think you don't need to put these people on pedestals everywhere. We are just, we're all bedroom djs that have made it basically. It's great to tell people think that and I think it's always important to make time for people. I think there's nothing worse than having it some diva dj, not naming any names, that just kind of wont interact or doesn't have time for people. I just think you've got to be friendly. These people that have paying to come and see you. So you need to do that. Probably my biggest, well, my two biggest, well three biggest inspirations were a Derrick Carter , Roger Sanchez and Yusef.

Denny: (37:20)
They're good friends of mine now, all three of them. I played with Roger a month ago in Miami, we all keep in touch. I've made records with Roger and Derrick. Which was amazing for me to do that but they’re just very humble guys. I think that can really get you, being a nice guy can get you a long way. I mean, perfect example, the nicest guys, Cal Cox. I can't really think of any DJ that's bigger than him in our world. So yeah, I think just stay, just be cool. Don't be a dick. That's my advice really.

Danny: (37:59)
So earlier you were talking about just getting to know DJs apart from music. I think Ben Pearce we're talking last week, he's actually launching a podcast where he's interviewing Djs about everything apart from music because he says he meets up many on the road and everyone's got interesting stories and just sick of talking about music. Let's get some guests on and talk about other things. Tell us something about you that we don't know. What you into? What you...

Denny: (38:25)
I'm a massive art not,

Danny: (38:27)
I didn't even know that.

Denny: (38:30)
Yeah, massively into my art. Specifically, massive fan of pop art and love, buy and collect it. Basquiat Zhang, Michelle Vasquez. Massive fan of his. That's kind of my second love. I have a massive love for art. So that's it. I would probably say music, acid house and art, that sums me up.

Danny: (39:02)
So this next bit, I've got a blog and I asked my subscribers to the blog to ask some questions. So if you want to ask a question, listeners, you go to dannysavage.com, sign up for the newsletter and then every week I'll email you and ask for some input and ask the guests questions. So this week, we've got a few questions. The first one is from Kean-sell. He's part of the house outfit, a Leeds first live juror, he's saying, how do you get your lovely squelchy acid noises?

Denny: (39:38)
Well, lots of different ways. I have a bass bot, which is an emulator, the 303. I just did that. My acid lines are normally always square waves rather than, I just like that, kind of gives it that hollowy squelchy sound. Then just lots of resonance and yeah, just loads of button twisted. But yeah, I'm just going to be honest with you. I've got my specific sounds that I like to work with, kind of have my sound, shall we say. I think that's all, there's always acid leaks in my tracks. There always has been. Whether or not full active lines or just little ones. So yeah, there's so many, three on three laces out there. So just something to play around and see which one you liked the best. I did have one of those Roland TB threes and I really didn't like the sound on that. So I sold that. So I'd say stick away from that and I recommend the bass bot.

Danny: (40:47)
Okay. Next question is from Peta Welsh Merz in Russia. It's always cool to hear what are DJ's favorite festivals. What's yours?

Denny: (40:57)
Favorite festival in the world. Burning man and Danny, you probably know why I haven't been there, will make some good times. Yeah, we had some fun. Yeah, I'd say burning man. Just purely, the fact that it's like visiting another planet for a week and being the trippy alien obsessed fucker that I am. It was perfect for me.

Danny: (41:22)
So have you had to got to play there now as well? Well, I think you've played there that year. You went, didn't you?

Denny: (41:28)
I played there. You know what, we're aiming to go back next year and I think there'll be lot more on the table. So yeah, I didn't made it back, but yes, that is very much on the to-do list for next year. Yeah.

Danny: (41:43)
I think I'm looking at it as well, taking kids. Yeah. Kids come.

Denny: (41:48)
You know what? It's not just about playing it. I think that's such a small part of it. I say that to people, they're like, Oh, who's playing? I was like, it's not live. You could go there and not even, you just fall on these weird parties and it doesn't even matter who's playing. I must say that when Damien Lazarus bringing the sun up was ridiculous.

Danny: (42:10)
Yeah. I'm on top of a magic carpet. There's a video, a massive crane in the middle of desert and these playing these tracks. Sun's coming up over at mountain and you couldn't ride it.

Denny: (42:25)
It was the most incredible sunrise as well. It was just the [inaudible] boys. That was the time. [inaudible] boys' time. Yeah. 15 minutes. [inaudible] yeah, yeah. That version where it was like a scum frog version. It was like we've landed on the fucking moon and it was like everyone was just [inaudible] dressed up and they look like we're all martians and we're like, yes!

Denny: (42:49)
We are on [inaudible]. Okay.

Danny: (42:54)
Yeah. So that was, yeah. So anyway,

Danny: (42:59)
My actual favorite part of the whole Bernie money's working behind the bar and serving alcohol, giving away free drinks. That's my favorites.

Denny: (43:07)
My favorite part in the whole week was in our camp. The barbecue on the Sunday. Everyone just catch right up. We just basically, everyone just cooked food and we just drank all the bar and then that's it. That's when we were all on the bar down south then there was a photo. It was all...

Danny: (43:24)
I think Seth better barbecue, everybody would have been to it. So every Sunday, the last Sunday, Seth made no barbecue. Now, he runs his own barbecue restaurant now down in London. Is that good?

Denny: (43:34)
Yes. And smokey tails.

Danny: (43:35)
Yeah and then they asked the guy from, I suppose side, it turned out we, big drums of ice called apple cider on the last day, you don't understand how good that felt, eating that food and drinking that.

Denny: (43:49)
That was actually my favorite point in the whole festival. I love that. Yeah. It was just ridiculous fun.

Danny: (43:57)
Cool. Okay, next question is from Mark Salter in Wales. Who was your influences when it came to styles of music and why?

Denny: (44:05)
So my big influences I would say as a kid it would be Miles Davis, jazz. I grew up on Michael Jackson. In terms of electronic music, the Prodigy when I was 12, no 10. I'd got, given a smash hits tape for Christmas. The tune I used to have on loop was No good by the Prodigy so then I bought the albums. I'd say Prodigy experience was probably the most inspirational album for me. Then in later life, I would say seen, probably seen Roger Sanchez DJ for the first time. That which turned me in the house music. Because before that, had been into kind of like trance and progressive house and stuff like that. Then I just randomly went to a Roger Sanchez night and had one of the best nights of my life.

Denny: (44:56)
So that was the turning point really. Then in terms of DJ and just seeing him technically. Derek Carr as well and Yousef, all used to blow my mind. When I used to go and see them. So I'd say probably in house music sense, those three are the most inspirational. Now I would say probably my favorite Djs who I constantly get inspired from going to see are Andrew weather and Damien Lazarus. That just, yeah, they just call it that while like they create moments. So they're very good at kind of grooving the dance floor and then at the right time picking a record that will just completely blow your mind. Yes. So I'd say all together, all those people I mentioned mixed in a big pot really.

Danny: (45:50)
Next question is from Lawrence Row. It says, do you see a future where artists will be able to again, make a normal monthly wage through streaming instead of having to gig with the, all this blockchain stuff coming out?

Denny: (46:04)
As a producer, I can't see that knowing the money you make off records now. I don't know. I don't know what's gonna happen with it. The money you make off these things is ridiculous. Like in comparison to when you used to sell records. If it does happen, it's not going to be, do you know what? I can't even see it happening. I think the way you make money now is you buy the touring, and unless you, someone like Ed Sheeran or someone. Well, even still compared to, the money on digital music and streaming compared to when you actually buying and selling physical cds and records is totally different. It's just the illegal downloads as well. I released my crosstown rebels at AP a couple of weeks ago and then a day after, literally a day after if you searched the AP, there was just like so many free download links and I was just like, how can you even fight that?

Denny: (47:03)
You know what I mean? It's like, I don't know, unless the internet becomes very regimented. Which I think for music and that's probably going to be the bottom of the list. I think they've got a lot more stuff than needs to get off the internet before just illegal download. So I think in terms of making money on things like Spotify, I can't see that. I can't. Not good money. Good monthly wage as you were saying. You do unfortunately need to do the gigs and that is how us djs and producers. This has powers, producers make money really. Unless you become a big commercial producer. Yeah. You have unfortunately got to, your bread and butter are the gigs.

Danny: (47:52)
Yeah. Cool. Next question from Craig forest. Leading on for what you just said, in this era of DJ and where productions play a huge part in getting booked, what would you say to DJ who can't invest the time or money into learning or paying a ghost producer? Is there a way to sustain a career in the industry by being just a DJ these days? Is the radio route an option or secure your a residency, is that the best way? If you were to start out now, what would you do knowing what you know now?

Denny: (48:22)
I think an answer to this is it's how much do you want to, I mean, I'd been djing already and I'd been playing and I've been djing for six years. I've been djing out from 17. So it kind of got to a changing point. That's when I decided to go to college and learn how to produce because I knew that it was turning that way, how to also become a producer. You couldn't just no longer hand out mixed Cds and get booked that way. People were starting to look at the productions. So I think there's a few exceptions in terms of Djs who would just Djs, such as Jack master and don't produce.

Speaker 3: (49:08)
But I mean, I think if you really want to be a DJ, you do need to become a producer. I think the attitude you need, hobbies, you make time. I was working. When I left basics, I took for eight months. I took a job working in a call center and I was working a full time job. Then when I come home, I'd be working all into the night in the studio because I really want to do. I think if you really want it, you're gonna work for it. You'll do whatever needs to be done to get there. I think that's the same in any industry. So I think if you do, you could be the best DJ in the world, but unless you get a break. But can I just say as well, with Jack Muster, owns a record label called Numbers. So it wasn't just purely him djing, he also had that behind it. So you do need something. You do need that little extra something. I think in this day and age you can't just be a DJ and make out. I don't think that happens.

Danny: (50:10)
Just to make the leverage. So like the label, little podcast, record show.

Denny: (50:17)
Something like that and if you do want to get residency and you want to start. I mean Danny, you'll know, promoting is the most expensive hobby you'll ever have a have.

Danny: (50:25)
It's addictive as well.

Denny: (50:28)
Yeah, exactly. So it's probably going to be a lot cheaper for you to go and do an Ableton cost and put nights on.

Danny: (50:35)
Yeah. Well there's tons of stuff out there, it's like point blank. For example, you can do stuff online in your spare time. It's like dedicate a few hours a day or just an hour in the morning before you go to work.

Denny: (50:44)
You know youtube, there's so many. Yeah, I still learn stuff off youtube tips and stuff. I was talking to my Mrs probably last night and you should never stop learning. Youtube is a great, great place for learning. So if you don't have the money to do a cost and just learn what you can learn, the basics very easily and for free. So there's no excuse. Yeah.

Danny: (51:11)
Nice. Right. So dedicating that time, putting a time aside. Put an hour aside every night, put in your calendar, make sure you like, this is me, this is me sat in the studio learning. I want to do this and then go about your normal day to day. Just finding that time to work.

Denny: (51:26)
You can find an hour a day without a doubt. Just go to bed an hour late or go an hour earlier. You can, you know. I think if you want something enough, you'll make that time. It's the same with anything.

Danny: (51:39)
Good advice. Okay. So just finish it up now. What's your predictions for 2018? What direction is the music going, what you've got planned in? What can you see?

Denny: (51:52)
Musically I think, I don't know, I think it's gonna, I'm kind of hoping this UK tech house sound starts going out because I'm just sick of it. These big snare rolls and drops. Which is, some of this music's borderline EDM to me, that's kind of coming out. This is sound, I'm just bored stiff a bit. There is good music out that I bought. I think a lot of it is common to [inaudible] medium in terms of like, everyone just wants big drops, rave sounds and stuff like that. Which was all right at first, but now it's been bastardized about 3 million times. I'm sick to death of that. I think music's going to take a little bit more housey like organic house sounds.

Speaker 3: (52:44)
Which is great because I know a lot of the old big house Djs such as Roger Sanchez, Derrick Carr and stuff, they're having a massive resurgence. Bring it on. I say these guys wipe the floor with most people coming through, because that is one thing. Going back to that question is a good thing to be producible. A lot of producers can't DJ. So I think if you can get the balance and be a good DJ and a good producer, then there's no reason why you can't make it. I think musically, it's going to go housey. It's going to go a little bit tribal. That's my prediction. In terms of me, I've got music coming out on, Confirmed so funny deepened sound early next year and then a saved release and I've got a few other bits happening.

Denny: (53:39)
I've got a side project under a different name, which I'm going to be doing. I can't say too much on that at the minute but that's in the plans for next summer, to release music through that. Then I'm on tour in January in South America. I've got a big tour in February in North America and in South Africa. Yeah, just a lot of different shows going to be, the next year. I think I'm going to be playing a few new places I haven't played before, to can't say. Yeah, just keep hustling.

Danny: (54:18)
Make sure you come out and see us when you're in the beefer then.

Denny: (54:21)
I will do mate, for sure. I'll come around and get the barbecue on the show.

Danny: (54:26)
Where can we find you online then Denney? What social media handles, website, soundcloud?

Denny: (54:32)
Just soundcloud.com/denney and then all my social media handles Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is Denney music. [inaudible]

Danny: (54:46)
Brilliant. So just to finish off, have you got one last bit of advice you can give to budding DJ's. They'll have inspiration, where you go.

Denny: (54:54)
Yeah. I'd actually say as a piece of advice that James Holroyd gave me, which is the best advice I've ever had and that's just be fearless and that's take chances. That is the greatest piece of advice I've ever had as a DJ, just be fearless. Just go, if your arming [inaudible] about dropping the track, just go for it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it won't, but I'd say nine times out of 10 when you drop that and it works. It goes off. So yeah, just be confident and take risks as well.

Danny: (55:24)
Brilliant. Great Advice. So it's been absolute pleasure to have you on my second ever podcast and yeah, thanks a lot. It's just great to see you, how you worked your ass off and succeeded. You're doing what you love, especially being a friend as well. It's great to see.

Danny: (55:41)
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