3D discuss their legendary union, Danny Howells’ return from hiatus, and more ahead of debut tour [Interview]
Danny Howells, Dave Seaman, and Darren Emerson are icons in their own right. Each of these three stalwarts has spent well over two decades on the international circuit, pioneering the sounds of house, progressive, and other groove-centered strains of dance music. Their unrelenting standards and passion for what they do drives their continued success.
When these three come together as one, the result can only mean destruction — in the best sense of the term. Much like the nuances within their own respective styles, “3D” thus comes about as a multi-faceted new project that sees Emerson, Howells, and Seaman’s sounds merging into a complementary union. The project has already bred a notable occurrence: Danny Howells’ first release after an extended hiatus. It appears on their eponymous EP, which explores the history of house music with a modern sensibility. Meanwhile, the mixes they’ve assembled thus far as a group points to their excellent chemistry as a team.
Now, 3D are about to set forth on an expansive North American tour which commences March 29 — the first round of dates that will secure their impending domination as the new powerhouse group on the block. We got ahold of Dave and Danny ahead of time to talk about forming 3D, their pipeline, and more.
Hi guys, tell us what led to the creation of 3D. Whose idea was it and what’s your goal with the project? Plus do you see it as something long-term?
Danny: We’ve all known each other for years, so when we ended up playing together at Ministry we obviously loved it and wanted to take it further, which is where Dave really came into action in terms of tying it all together.
I think we’ve all done so much during our careers that our goals now are to enjoy what we do, as well as getting into some new areas, both geographically and musically, that we might not have strayed into before.
Dave: I suggested branding the night at the Ministry Of Sound as 3D as a bit of a joke initially. I really didn’t expect it to take on a life all of it’s own and turn into an actual thing. But now it is, I think we’ve all realised that it’s going to be a lot of fun travelling and playing together. Who knows where it will all lead. For the moment, we’re really enjoying it and long may that continue.
3D’s creation lead to Danny Howells’ first original material getting released in years. Can we expect more 3D EPs like the last one on Dave’s label Selador coming soon? Plus will the three of you be creating a track together in the coming future?
Danny: I’d taken a massive hiatus from production although I always knew I’d start again when the time was right, and this project gave me the nudge I needed.
Dave: Yeah we were so happy we managed to coerce Dan back into the studio. I think you’ll agree he was ready as his output has already proved, but he just needed a little push. We’re already talking about the next EP and there’s definitely an appetite for us all to do something together at some point. Goodness knows how that will turn out but I look forward to it.
Danny: I don’t think any of us see ourselves as being a legend, so when we get in the box together there’s only two goals – play as well as we can and have a blast doing it! There is a musical adjustment to playing as a threesome instead of solo, but we always pick our sets to pieces afterwards to see what worked and what didn’t, and how we can make it better next time.
I think we’re all capable of going off on tangents, but as we usually wind up doing just two or three tracks each, so we tend to stay in check!
With such a history of success behind you all, what motivates you to continue pushing things forward and searching for new audiences?
Danny: For me it still boils down to the buzz I get from playing the tunes I adore to people who hopefully enjoy them as much as I do.
Darren: I’ve been doing this for 30 years now and never get tired of seeing the reactions big tunes get on the dance floor. I still love discovering new producers and searching for the perfect beat. Guess you could say it’s become a life-long habit.
You’re touring the States soon. Will you be creating a special playlist for the shows? Or just ‘freestyling?’
Danny: We tend look at each gig, room size, set time etc to get a rough idea of what we’ll do, whether we go straight in with the bangers or whether we’ve got time to work through the genres a bit. There’s no planning as such and we tweak things up during the night if we feel it needs it. We’re all very honest with each other and tell each other afterwards exactly what we thought. Our post gig autopsies are pretty epic!
Dave: I think part of the fun is the spontaneity. Not really knowing where each of us might take the narrative keeps us all on our toes. Being slightly out of our comfort zones is stimulating and as all of us have been DJing longer than we care to remember. We’re relishing the challenge!
If you each had to choose one track from your repertoire that you had to play at every gig the rest of your lives, which would it be?
Danny: Damn this is a hard one! If I had to choose one of my own songs then I’d maybe go for “Laid Out”, purely because I’ve already played it out so many times and never got bored of it. If it was someone else’s tune then maybe something like “Accadian” by The Mole, or Jimpster’s old remix of Robert Babicz, for the same reason. I’ve absolutely rinsed those.
Darren: I’ve always loved Speedy J’s – Rise. Still sounds fresh today.
Dave: One of mine you mean? I’d probably go with ‘Nightfalls’. It’s very easy to get bored of your own productions, especially when you spend so long in the studio making them but I never seem to get bored of that one, largely due to the timeless vocal by Gaelle Adisson if I’m honest.
What are other stuff are you guys doing for the rest of the year? Plus are there any special projects coming up you want to talk about?
Danny: We have a load of 3D gigs lined up which I’m really looking forward to, as well as further studio escapades as discussed before. My next release will be out in the next month or so.
Darren: I’ve got some remixes coming out next month plus also some big collabs on the way, including another one with John Digweed and Nick Muir. Our last one ‘Tracer’ got a lot of traction, so we decided it would be good to do it again. As well as playing with 3D, I’m also looking forward to playing some summer dates with Carl Cox and his crew.
Dave: My focus for the next couple of months is on my label, Selador’s 5th Birthday. We’ve got 24 artists making exclusive collaboration tracks together that we’re releasing as 3 separate EPs. We’re launching the whole thing at Watergate in Berlin at the end of April. It’s gonna be a big statement project for us and we’re really proud of it. I’ve also got releases lined up on AFFKT’s Sincopat label and Alex Niggemann’s Soul Fooled, plus remixes for Martin Eyerer & Tim Engelhardt. So it’s going to be a busy year.