A studio rat, a label owner and the face behind one of the biggest tracks of 2011, Toronto-based DJ and producer Daniel Dubb is inevitably pushing his way to the forefront of the underground. The launch of his own imprint, DV8, is allowing him the freedom to produce as he pleases. Though this summer has already seen releases on DV8 by Daniel, Danny Howells and Alex:one, we’re excited to see what will come of Dubb’s new project.
We caught up with Daniel to hear more about the label, his collaboration with Danny Howells, his hit “Sinnerman” and the music scene in Canada. He also takes us through a typical day with him in the studio.
Word is you’re a studio machine, and you’ve recently launched your own imprint, DV8. What is the future looking like for DV8 as far as artists and your own releases?
For me, DV8 is based on pure passion. With most previous releases on other people’s labels, you always tweak things here and there for different ones. With my own label now in the mix, I’m really my only influence in the creative direction of the label. The most-recent EP So Reel I produced with my good friend Alex:one, and the very first release on DV8 was a collab with Danny Howells.
You recently collaborated with Danny Howells, who you consider your mentor. How did you and Danny meet and form a friendship?
Danny Howells is one of the nicest people I have ever met! He was definitely a huge influence to me over the years, growing into the scene. We actually met through Lee Burridge, who has been a good friend for a few years now. A while back I asked Lee if he could put me in touch with Danny because I wanted to remix him on Dig Deeper. I felt like it was a good musical fit. I did a remix for Danny that he really loved (“Liquid Thang”), and soon after, he had a gig in my hometown of Toronto, and we hung out there at the show. Immediately after we started a tune together. The rest is kind of history.
Take us through a typical day at your studio.
A typical studio day starts off in the early afternoon. I usually have a handful of emails and stuff to tend to for an hour or two, but while doing this I am listening to music to get me into the mood. Then I will usually listen to something I was working on the night before and start doing some tweaks on sounds, mix, and so forth. Then I’ll likely break for an hour or two, eat, then comes the night session –when the magic happens. I can usually work from about 8pm through till around 3am or so, working on either an original or some type of bootleg that I really want to play. Believe it or not, when you write it on paper it looks much more boring than it actually is.
You’ve been producing since you were a teenager. When you listen to some old productions, how do you feel about how far you’ve come?
Oh man, funny you ask because just last week I came across the first few tunes I had ever made — they were horrid. The mix was awful, drum selection was not the best. Every year that passes, I listen to my productions and hear improvements, but it is fun to listen back and see how far I’ve progressed since then.
“Sinnerman” has been your biggest hit to date, and for a good reason. What is it like getting so much praise for your own production?
It is wicked to see something that began as just a record you wanted to play in your own sets go so viral to being such a monster track. I still love that tune to date and it holds a very special place in my heart, and I still love playing it if the mood is right.
What was it like growing up in Canada in regards to the dance music scene? How did you break into the industry?
The scene for dance music was amazing here when I got into it back in the early 2000s. We had a handful of amazing underground venues and a very strong crowd. Being in North America now I think it is safe to say that the scene has changed a lot in the last two years, and gone in a direction more focused on big money big acts instead of quality music and proper DJs. But I think everything is constantly moving and it won’t be long till the underground rises back to the top!