Interview with Daniel Avery

Blisspop was fortunate enough to catch up with groundbreaking British producer/DJ Daniel Avery ahead of his appearance at U Street Music Hall later this month. While most might be familiar with Avery’s status as a Fabric resident and DJ extraordinaire, the young artist has proven himself to be in a league of his own when it comes to his own creative endeavors. With a slue of stellar productions to date and an album forthcoming on Phantasy this Autumn, the world of dance music can’t help but have their heads turned upside down by Avery’s twisted sense of groove.

Can you describe your writing process/how you approach writing a song?

It generally happens quickly, I don’t like to labour too long over stuff that’s intended for the dancefloor, it can often lose some of the immediacy that’s required. Saying that, however, a lot of my time in the studio is spent listening to records and reading. I love the feeling of being inspired by a totally different genre and translating it in your own style.

Your music and mixes feel very calculated. Is there a certain mindset or goal you try to approach  them with?

It’s a cliche to say it but I make stuff for me to play in my own DJ sets, that’s the only way I can do it. I still consider myself to be a DJ first and foremost. If I play something in a club and the crowd goes crazy, I know I’ve done something right.

You have a knack for playing records that are a bit more obscure than your standard DJ. What’s the weirdest record you’ve gotten to play out or enjoy playing out?

One of my favourite things in life is going to a club and hearing a DJ play a mind bending record that I have never heard before. It’s a joy. I try and remember this every time I play out. I don’t know about weird but “Rollergirl” by Jimpster has a real psychedelic heart to it, that’s one I’ve been loving recently.

Can you describe your musical background? Did you ever play in bands, take key lessons, sing in a choir?

I played bass as a teenager (and still do) but, other than that, I have no musical background whatsoever. I started DJing at an indie/alternative night when I was 18 simply because I was such a music nerd. I had no plans to take it any further. This whole thing has been one happy accident.

How’s the album going? Should we expect surprises?

It’s done! It’ll be out on Phantasy this autumn. It’s very much rooted in clubland but I let a lot of my other influences pour through too. I think it’s something you can lay down and listen to as a whole.

Coming from a largely rock background, what’s your opinion on the role of the LP in music at the moment? Have you heard any recently that have struck you from start to finish?

I think it’s vitally important. Dance music, by its very nature, is a functional and somewhat throwaway art form but that needn’t always be the case. I recently revisited that last Chems album “Further” and reminded myself how beautiful a whole electronic record can be. As for new stuff, I’m really into James Holden’s album, I still listen to Byetone’s record and, after a long wait, I think Factory Floor’s debut is going to blow some minds.