Already an experienced patron of the UK house scene with releases on some of the biggest labels in the scene, Michael Dodman aka Huxley knows how the game works. Approaching a decade since his first releases on Tsuba and Cecille Numbers, Huxley has an album on Aus Music to his name as well as EPs for the likes of Rinse, Defected, 20:20 Vision and more, and has been refining his craft as a DJ with his techno, house and UK bass skirting sets for many years. A popular figure with fans and peers alike, Huxley sat down to answer some questions ahead of an exciting night in Sheffield for Muzik’s 2nd Birthday. Here’s what he had to say In Conversation with Jonathan Coll.
“Callin’”, “Say My Name” and “Box Clever” were (and still are) some of my favourite electronic tracks from when I was first properly taking an interest in the genre. What were the tracks that piqued your interest in house music?
Honestly, I'm not sure it was any single tracks that I can think of. I think it was more of a progression from UK & US House. Mainly stuff by Masters At Work, Kerri Chandler and Armand Van Helden and then onto more UK based stuff such as Sasha and also Pete's show/Essential Mix.
I read in an interview you gave a few years ago that your early taste in dance music was predominantly in happy hardcore and drum and bass. Do you still keep an interest in them both?
Not really. I’ll go back to the old stuff from time to time, and occasionally check out new D&B though.
For people who perhaps aren’t yet familiar with your performances and releases, how would you describe your style?
I used to have an answer for this but I’m less inclined to give one these days. ‘Styles’ suggest you stick to one direction or vibe and I’m really not about that. I’m more comfortable with other people describing me these days.
It’s been an excellent year for new music. Which tunes are currently taking pride of place in your record bag? And are there any new producers we should keep an eye out for?
Loads. I’m particularly fond of Bodhi who have been doing stuff for my label, but there’s this guy called Mennie who I think will be really interesting. My boy Pierre Codarin is on fire too. For any other tips, you can check out my (PLUG) Huxley Heaters playlist on Spotify.
Having released records on 2020 Vision, Aus Music and countless other labels, what inspired the decision to create your own “No Idea’s Original”?
I’ve done the label thing before and liked it. It’s nice to be helping other acts and it’s nice to work with music that isn’t always about you. When I started NIO I already had a bunch of wicked music from acts so it was a no-brainer.
In the number of times I’ve seen you perform you’ve played a range of different styles. House, techno, garage and bass tunes all making an appearance somewhere along the way. Has this been reflected in the records released on No Idea’s Original? And are there any releases which stand out as being particularly significant?
This echoes my point in not defining my style earlier - I like to move around a bit, musically speaking. It’s why I’ve had a few aliases on the go this year with Martinet and Mediman. It’s the same with the label, really. In terms of significant releases, it was obviously amazing to have Mr. G do something for the label but I think we’ve been pretty lucky to have all of the releases we’ve had to be honest.
The nights are drawing in and the leaves are turning brown which means we’re saying goodbye to the summer. Which gigs and trips have you enjoyed the most? Any stories you’d like to share (suitable or otherwise)?
I enjoy 99% of gigs - it’s just the travelling/being away from home that can be a pain sometimes. In terms of stand-outs, I’ve really enjoyed the last couple of US runs I’ve done and it was really nice to do the NIO label showcase with Fabric during the summer. I always love the Dutch festivals too..
Your output this year, and particularly your record with Marc Fanciulli “Lyra”, have been classic house cuts. Is this the sort of style we can expect in the near future?
Well, myself and Mark just dropped another EP together for Moda Black. I guess it’s a logical progression in terms of style, yeah!
My favourite track of yours has always been “I Want You”. Considering it was released as a single following the album, is it safe to say you’re also fond of the track? What can you tell us about the collaboration involved and the remixes that followed?
Yeah, I’m pretty happy with that cut. Working with Roses (Gabor) was wicked, she’s excellent. Remixes wise, we had a very short amount of time to get them together but I’m really happy we got who we did in the end.
On another personal note, my favourite memory of seeing you play was Ape-x for your album launch in October 2014. You closed with the David Morales Edit of “Space Cowboy” by Jamiroquai which capped off a great party. Do you have any memories of playing Newcastle, and Cosmic Ballroom in particular?
Well I have lots of hazy memories, but not loads of stuff I want to own up to, or incriminate by myself by saying! Honestly, Cosmic Ballroom especially, is one of my favourite smaller venues in the UK. I love that place. The vibe in there is ace, plus the always solid Geordie crowd have not let me down yet!!
Finally, you’re back in the North soon enough as you play for Muzik in Sheffield on Friday 6th October, helping out with their 2nd birthday celebrations. How do you plan on making that one to remember?
I genuinely try to make every set memorable but with things like club and event anniversaries I always go the extra mile - usually by packing a few forgotten anthems in box.
Huxley will pop up in Sheffield at Code when Muzik take over for a second birthday celebration on Friday 6th October. Waze & Odyssey, Pawsa, Leftwing & Kody and more will also be appearing. Pre-order his new track with Will Clarke here.
Photo courtesy of Huxley