With his new album Magnetise out now, we spoke to Danny Wheeler to get the low down.
Danny Wheeler has been instrumental in the drum & bass scene for many years. After working for J Majik’s Infrared label the DJ/producer started his own imprint, W10. Throughout his career he has helped kick start the careers of upcoming artists. Names like Sub Focus and Brookes Brothers all started working with this guy so he must be doing something right!
He dropped a new album this week Magnetise, on his own label. He has built on ideas from his time in Japan and the results are beautiful. With tracks on the project delving into nu jazz, broken beats and liquid drum & bass it's a really good listen. We decided to have a chat with him to find out a little more behind the man behind this masterpeice.
Hey, how are you doing?
Yer good thanks, how about you?
All good thanks. What have you been up to recently?
I've been working on this project with Sparfunk, use to be Moving Fusion. We have this thing called Hidden Rooms. Now I've finished my album, we're both really focused on this new project. It's kinda like some proper darkcore drum & bass with some more vocal, potentially poppy sound stuff.
What's it like working with Sparfunk?
Sparfunk's a genius man, it's wicked working with him. He's got such a good vibe.
So is Hidden Rooms going to be an album, or a series of releases?
Potentially an album, we might be dropping a single soon in the next month or so. Might get that out on W10 or something.
Talking of your label W10, do you have a driving force/ethos behind it?
Trying to support positive artists. I myself always try to support people. The label name, well W10 is where I grew up in West London and the vibe in that place is real multicultural and inclusive. So I guess that's the vibe I go for on the label. Also there is the West London sound, like the nu jazz scene with 4hero, Bugs in the Attic, IG Culture so it's got that influence as well.
The last few releases on W10 has seen you supporting the Japanese dance scene too.
Yeah, well they have been supporting me. I was living there in 2011. I was there when the earthquake happened. It was mad, like being in a movie basically a really weird experience!
Woah! Must have been crazy, so what did you get up to while you were there?
When I lived there I was DJing, and there's a club called Womb and another called Unit. They're the two big drum & bass clubs which are sick. When I was there I hooked up with a guy called Taku Takahashi. He's got a band, M-Flo and he's got a radio station over there. He's always supported me and introduced me to a lot of people in their scene. It's very unique over there, a different world. Taku loves drum & bass and obviously there's Makoto, he's the main export of drum & bass from Japan and we're really good friends.
You've just had a release with Makoto on Liquid V right?
Yeah we did man. I think it's gone down pretty well. Bryan also gave me the okay to put it on the album.
So how long did you live in Japan for?
About a year and a half.
Why did you choose to move there?
I dunno? I did some tours there like 10 years ago and I just liked it from the first time I was there. I liked the people, the food so I just went over there and immersed myself into their culture. Because it was so different it was a great learning experience, meeting all these people doing similar but different things. It just felt like the right place at the right time.
What would you say the main differences and similarities between the scene in Japan and here in London?
Similarities are. In the club scene you've got somewhere like Womb which is very similar to Fabric in terms of the music and the style of the club. The differences are that there aren't as many people doing dance music.
You new album, Magnetise was out earlier this week. It draws influence from West London and Japan?
Some of the tracks I started over there. After the earthquake I was in a bit of a weird head space. When I got back I built on the stuff I had started.
You've been around for a while do you want to just talk us through your life pre-Japan?
Whilst at uni I was DJing for Bar Rumba, though there I became friends with J Majik. After uni he offered me a job as his label manager for Infrared, I was like woah yeah I'll do that! Through that he introduced me to pretty much everyone in the scene. After working for Infrared I went on and set up W10 and at that time someone introduced me to a young Sub Focus. We did a couple of tracks, Ghost and Lost Highway that we put out on Infrared. After that he signed to Ram so that put him on the right path. I also met the Brookes Brothers and I helped them release their first track on W10 and got them at my labels launch party. I've always been into discovering new artists, sounds and people and helping the upcoming artists.
It's really good to help new artists as it's quite daunting for someone to break into the scene, so it's great to have guys like yourself there to help them take the first steps.
Yeah, I think it's important because people did that for me. Marky, Bryan Gee, J Majik all did that for me so any knowledge that I picked up I pass on to them. A lot of it's confidence. They need to know that was they are doing is the right thing.
From your career is there any highlights you'll never forget?
I remember when I had just started W10, LTJ Bukem rung my mum's house phone for me randomly. I didn't know him, dunno how he got the number! I thought that was really cool, how he's so on the ball and recognising new artists!
Another highlight would be a festival in Serbia with J Majik, Futurebound, all the Infrared guys. It was a pretty mad festival, they took us on a speed boat and we had all these army guys with guns to protect us between the hotel and the festival.
Is there anywhere we can catch you playing soon?
I'll probably do a ten years of W10, and an album launch party but not decided a venue just yet. Gonna be in Europe soon and got another Japan tour in the summer time.
If you had a super power, what would that be?
I guess it would be magnetic power, be able to magnitise stuff, just make things happen right now.
What are you most in love with right now?
Good answer! Anything else that you want us to know?
Just look out for Hidden Rooms and keep checking W10 Records.
Nice! Well thanks for talking to us!
That's cool, thanks for the interview!
Get a copy of Danny Wheeler's new album Magnetise
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