One of the very first signings to the now absolutely massive Hospital Records label, Danny Byrd has been making cutting edge drum and bass for over a decade.
Danny´s unique style of using vocals and elements from other genres like house and rnb are among the building blocks for the ´Byrd´ sound that has become so popular. His complex and detailed arrrangements give Danny Byrd tunes an epic and full bodied feel that engages the listener.
In 2008 Hospital Records released ´Supersized´, the debut album from Danny Byrd which included the anthemic ´Red Mist´, a track that received extensive support from UK Radio 1 DJs including Annie Mac and Zane Lowe. Then October 2010 saw the release of ´Rave Digger´ and the lead single ´Ill Behaviour feat I-Kay´ launched Danny into the UK Top 40 singles chart for the first time.
After hearing that Mr Byrd was a big fan of Rob Papen software, we got in contact to find out more...
Right, an easy one to start Danny, how did you originally get into making music?
I got into making music the same way a lot of people did pre-daw´s with a 4 track tape recorder and a casio keyboard. I was trying to emulate all of the hardcore records I was hearing at the time, people like Altern 8, Prodigy, & various other producers.
Of course none of the early tracks sounded anything like that good, but it did get me started and how to stimulate my creative mind, doing it rather than talking about it, even if it was amateur at best. In 1994 I got Atari ST and a copy of Breakthru´s Replay 16 sample cartridge, so the beats got a little bit better after that.
For anyone that might be new to Danny Byrd, how would you describe your musical style?
I think that would of been a little easier a few years ago, because half of musical style I find these days is my variety. But I´d say its often quite musical, and fun, with a lot of vocals style of drum and bass.
How do you feel your sound has changed or evolved over the years?
I think its moved with the change in technology, with advent of DAW´s drum + bass music got a lot louder and harder, with a lot more layers in the breaks due to the sample accurate timing you could achieve within a computer.
One big point for me personally was in 2005 when I realised how much mix downs were reliant on mixing in a properly treated room. Now I will very rarely mix down at home, in favour of hiring professional big studios or using the Hospital in house studio up in London.
For you personally, what has been the high point of your musical career so far?
I´d say it would have to be getting into the Top 40 with Ill Behavior. That track took so long to make, even though it sounds quite simple, it took a long time to come up with that baseline.
See this is one of main problems, coming up with a big intro without a drop! ha.. then trying a million different baselines trying to match the excitement of the intro. But it does pay off, and that track is a example of that.
In 2010 you released ´Rave Digger´, an album that paid homage to old school uk dance music. We heard that you used a hardware sampler on some of those tunes - is that true and can you tell us why?
Actually I didn´t use a hardware sampler on Ravedigger, although I did use a Akai sampler for my track "Shock Out" which was on my 1st album "Supersized".
For Ravedigger I did use some old synths like the alpha juno 2 and a U220 for prodigy style strings. Although they were quite expensive considering I only really used 3-4 sounds from them on the album, but it did give me the 90´s authentic feel. No way does the hoover patch in Sylenth sound anything like the original Juno!!
Can you talk us through what music software you regularly use in the studio and what your favourite plug-in instruments and effects are?
I´m on a new 27inch iMac, with a UAD card, with Logic running the show. To be honest I have been using Logic so long that I could probably just get by with the Logic plug ins. But theres some essential 3rd party plug ins that I use like Massive, Waves SSL package, Camelphat and of course the Papen stuff.
Do you have a ´desert island´ plug-in, one that you could not live without?
I was doing a collaboration with a big D&B legend recently and he turned me onto SubBoomBass. We were after those classic Bristol D&B bass sounds, so what we did was spend about 8 hours doing sound design, fiddling with the synth and then resampling these sounds into the sampler, that's the key to those bristol baselines, resampling and looping etc.
We got some great bass sounds that you're just not going to get from something like Massive. SubBoomBass is like much warmer and pleasing to the ear synth than a lot of other Bass patches from other synths. The little in built sequencer is wicked too.
RP Distort I haven´t had long, but I´ve been using it quite a bit. Sounds great on baselines, giving them extra movement with the built-in LFO´s. Also been using it a lot on vocals, to dirty them up a bit.. there's a million distortion plugins out there, but RP Distort is my choice for 2012, it's like a swiss army knife of distortion!
Now, you´ve put together a live show which sounds very exciting. What was your main motivation to leave the comparative comfort of the DJ booth and get up on stage?
Well, I think it had always been in the back of my mind for years, but I guess it was all the radio success I had with Ravedigger, and having a great team around me like MC Risky that made me think it was time to put it together.
Its been such a learning curve for me, its nothing like DJ´ing, even both are performances essentially. I do love DJ´ing and will never stop, but I think its all about upping the ante for 2012!
What are your plans for 2012? Can we expect a new album?
Working on it! ;)
Thanks, Danny - we look forward to checking it out.