Last week we were lucky enough to catch up with one of the UK's most exciting and promising house and garage producer/DJs, Huxley (aka Michael Dodman). Brought up on a diet of early rave, garage and house, Huxley has quickly developed a unique sound for himself that within the current ressurgence of UK garage has seen releases on the likes of 2020 Vision, Hypercolour, Gruuv, OFF Recordings, Tsbua Records and his very own Saints & Sonnets catapult him into the limelight.
After recently returning from a US tour, and with gigs lined up for Circus (Liverpool, UK), Module (Newcastle, UK), The Warehouse Project (Manchester, UK) and Troupe (London, UK), Huxley lets us in on his views on the recent garage revival, traveling the world, his upcoming album, the future of Saints & Sonnets and more.
You've just got back from a bit of US tour. How did that go?
It was really fun. It was only my second time out there as a DJ and I'm really starting to get a feel for the parties and the place. My first tour was pretty hectic, 6 dates in 6 days then straight to WMC, but this one was a bit more chilled and it gave me some time to really check out a couple of the places and enjoy it a lot more.
Over the past 12 months you've played in America, Ibiza, Japan, Belgium, Australia and more. Do you see much variation in the crowds and scenes from country to country?
Yeah, I guess so. I think certain countries expect different things from a DJ, whether it be a style or atmosphere you're there to create. I think generally though people are just there to have a good time, and that's what I'm there to do.
Do you find that you have to mould you sets slightly different depending what country you're in?
Definitely. I think it's fair to say that I have a very UK centric sound, but when you play in different places you have to tailor it a bit. Actually it's something I really enjoy doing. I love to mix it up a bit. But I would say that I still try to retain a certain vibe everywhere I play, and that's just to play great party music.
UK garage has obviously had a huge influence on your sound. What are your first memories of garage music?
I suppose my earliest memory is listening to the tapepacks from events like Garage Nation and Sun City. That's what really turned my attention to it. One of my favourites was a tape of DJ EZ with MC PSG on it from some rave. I can't remember which one and I'm pretty sure that it's completely worn out by now. I think the first tape I actually ever got was one by Mike Ruff Cut Lloyd. At this time I was still buying D&B vinyl though, but after a while that progressed on to garage.
Garage seems to be as healthy as ever in the underground. What do you think has caused the recent revival?
I guess one of the main things is producers making quality garage again. Or maybe not even garage, but garage influenced house music. At the end of the day when it all started in the 90s it was all called House & Garage anyway. It'll be interesting to see how long the revival lasts, hopefully people learn from the mistakes of last time and don't try and put it in it's own box.
How have you found your first stint on Rinse FM with your own show?
Yeah, I really enjoy it. I use to do a little bit of pirate and internet radio back in the day, so it's something I'd done before, but it's taken me a while to get back into the hosting side of it. I'm hoping to make more of a 'show' to it next year. When I have some more time anyway. At the moment I'm happy with playing loads of music I can't always generally play when I DJ in clubs and getting my friends on to do some guest mixes.
We heard that you've been working on some less dance floor orientated productions. Are you able to let us in a bit on what you've been working on?
Not too much. It's weird, I used to make loads of music that wasn't aimed at a dancefloor, but it's taken me a while to get back into it.
Can we maybe expect any releases in the future? Perhaps an album?
Yes, I'm working on an album right now. Actually I've taken january off to try and nail it down as I've found it too hard with the constant touring to get it to a place I want to be. I think albums are so much more important, artistically, than EPs. It's more about showing off all the different sides of yourself, rather than just making tunes for the clubs. Hopefully you'll be able to hear a few of the choice cuts on my album next year.
Apart from that though, I've got my next EP coming out on Will Saul's Aus. I'm really happy with this one, there's a track on there I've been holding back for about a year, just because I wanted to find the right home for it.
… and what can we expect from Saints and Sonnets in the new year?
For it to start releasing again. We've got loads planned, just need to get it all penned in and scheduled. I'm already playing a load of the new stuff out and it's going down well, so I'm hoping for big things!
Finally, what five records are the first into your bag at the moment when you're preparing for a gig?
In no order...
1. Komon - So Easy
2. Todd Edwards - Main Vibe
3. Huxley - On Her Mind
4. Mak & Pasteman - Brown Bread
5. Second City - Love It When Ya
Over the coming weeks Huxley will play gigs for Circus (Liverpool, UK), Module (Newcastle, UK), The Warehouse Project (Manchester, UK - SOLD OUT) and Troupe's New Years Day party (London, UK). Tickets available now.
Interview by Alex Ogilvie
Images courtesy of Circus, Module, Troupe and The Wheat and the Chaff.
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