Together with my 3D partners in crime Darren Emerson & Danny Howells we were invited to participate in the esteemed Ibiza Voice Podcast series contributing an exclusive 60 minute Mix and an interview that talks about music sourcing, our record collections and avacados!
What’s forthcoming from 3D and what noteworthy shows have you done recently?
Darren: Looking forward to some exciting 3D shows this year. There’s a US tour planned, we’re back at the Ministry Of Sound where the whole 3D idea began, plus we’re doing festivals in Holland and Belgium. The Belgian one is a charity event called Techno for Humanity where all profits go to a whole range of worthy causes. Last year’s gigs were all amazing in their own way. Different vibes for different shows. Latitude Festival, Rhumba Club’s 26th Birthday Birthday, Rex Club Paris, Überhaus, Beirut and New Year’s Eve in Budapest were all fantastic and great fun to be DJing with good mates.
Danny: The same as Darren really .. lots of great gigs coming up and our first US tour will be amazing. We have such a good time but also crack on with the work and I hope we can use some hotel downtime to get stuck into making some music in addition to the solo tracks we’ve been making for the project.
Dave: We’ve actually all just finished a new track each for a 3D EP which will be coming out on my Selador imprint at the end of February. It’s Danny’s first new original music in over 6 years so we’re really happy we got him back in the studio. The plan is to then have a release on Darren’s Detone label next and who knows, we might even get Danny to resurrect his Dig Deeper imprint if we nag him enough!
How did you record the mix and what equipment did you use? Was there a particular theme or tactic used? (Ie. mixed live, ableton, etc?)
Danny: We did two tracks each and passed it round until we were finished so was a combination of Ableton, Logic and live on the CDJs depending where we were at the time. We actually did quite a big chunk whilst stuck in an airport lounge due to a delayed flight, so that was useful!
Dave: Haha! Yes, you heard it here first. 3D live from the Turkish Airlines Lounge in Istanbul Airport!
Darren: We’re all different and bring individual vibes to the mix but try to keep it flowing without it being too disjointed . We’re really pleased with this one. Hope everyone likes it.
Where do you get your music from? What are your favourite record shops (online/to visit in person)? are you checking promos? How much time are you spending digging a week?
Darren: I tend to buy online from different sites. Traxsource, What People Play, Clone, Juno, Beatport, Boom Kat. With promos I tend to use the companies that deliver good quality music. I get sent so much shit that it can be soul destroying and take up too much time sifting through for the odd track.
Danny: I cherry pick a few of the million promos that fly in, but 99% of what I play is bought from whatpeopleplay.com. I don’t know how much time I spend digging but I try and make sure I never miss a new release, and try to check every b-side etc. Then I also spend a large chunk of my time hunting for non-electronic, so will be in Sister Ray, Reckless, FOPP, HMV etc .. keeps me off the street.
Dave: My label partner at Selador, Steve Parry runs a music sourcing service called SMP3. He finds music for Sasha, Behrouz, myself and a few more. He used to serve me vinyl when he worked at 3 Beat Records for 20 years so he knows my taste maybe better than I do! He Dropboxes me a hundred or so new tracks every week which is more than enough really but I also check promos from all my favourite labels and promo companies and then might also visit Beatport every couple of weeks to see if I’ve missed anything. Plus I still visit Rough Trade in Nottingham once a month to get my record shop fix and I also get loads of tracks via Selador as we’re always planning way ahead of ourselves on releases and are inundated daily with demos. There’s so much music coming out every week now that you could literally spend 24/7 doing nothing else but listening to new music and still not really touch the surface.
Tell us about your record collection.. what records/genres/obsessions/guilty pleasures have you got in common? pls give us examples.
Darren: I’ve got too many vinyls that need to be sorted . Got a bit of everything .The good thing about us is we all love our music and we’ love listening to every type of music thats out there. I love Spotify for that these days as it puts me onto new music that I wouldn’t know about. Dave and Danny have a obscure 80’s pop record fetish as I found out in Paris when they were playing non-stop ‘name that tune’. Some serious memory cells being used there.
Danny: It took me years but I finally have my record collection in a manageable state. About 7000 electronic 12”s, about 6000 rock/pop/jazz/punk albums and about 4000 CDs. A lot of it is organised and spans everything from my massive Bowie and Prince collection, to bands like Can, Hawkwind, Boredoms, etc all the way through to cheesy stuff like Phil Collins and Mamas and Papas, and the 80s stuff that we sing to wind Daz up. Like him, I also love Spotify too.
Dave: I’ve got around 7000 records now. I downsized a few years ago. I cleared out about 5000 that I knew I’d probably never play again. Things that were of their time and hadn’t necessarily aged well. I’ve got a lot of 80s stuff from when my vinyl obsession was probably at it’s peak and I have an original 1960s Wurlitzer jukebox at home so I’ve tonnes of 7” stuff right across the board genre-wise. Like Danny, Prince & Bowie are both well represented along with The Jam, Talking Heads, New Order and lots of early Electro. I also have to agree with the guys on Spotify. I only really discovered it last year. Was definitely a bit late to the party on that one but it really has changed my listening habits. I used to think Soundcloud was a good place to get lost for a few hours but Spotify is a whole different level!
Where do you all play most often around the world? what’s interesting about the scene in that particular place?
Darren: Japan for me . I’m on tour there as I type this and have had a mad week . Great clubs, great people, great food . Iit’s just a mad place to hang.
Dave: Greece, Hungary and Mexico are probably the 3 places I’ve visited most. I’ve covered those countries from top to bottom, coast to coast, city by city over the years. They’re all wonderful countries who are very passionate about their partying.
Danny: It was North America for the bulk of the last 15 or so years but now I’m a bit more spread out (oo er) and go anywhere they’ll take me! I’m a sucker for small rooms so my last Argentina tour was extremely memorable – 2 really big gigs interspersed with a small club gig and finishing on a private party for 100 people in a beautiful location. Just amazing.
How long have you known each other and how did you all meet?
Darren: Too bloody long! 🙂 I’ve known these 2 cats sine the early 90’s if I can remember rightly and always got on . We still love what we do ..It’s never gonna leave us. So 3D is such a great thing to do ..Playing , hanging , touring with 2 good old mates.
Danny: Same as. I met Dave in Brighton around 93 and we hit it off straight away. I was totally unknown yet he spent so much time talking to me and had no ego or attitude whatsoever. Darren I met shortly after and again we hit it off straight away. The 3 of us together worked straight away – we take it seriously but have an amazing time, and always try and find things we can improve or better ways of working together.
You’ve all seen a lot of changes in the scene since you started? there are plenty of obvious ones (vinyl vs digital) but what are the ones people don’t talk about as much?
Dave: I think the smoking ban changed things more than people realise. And the smart phone of course. Historically clubs had always been where people went to escape but since the advance of digital technology that’s not really the case anymore. We’re all connected, all of the time. There is no escape. I love that certain clubs have started banning phones like Watergate and Berghain in Berlin because they’re such a distraction from what I think should be the fundamental reason we go to clubs – to dance, be in the moment. to switch off and get lost in the music. Similarly, the smoking ban has had a huge affect on the dance floor as back in the day, DJs used to have a more captive audience. You could take people on that journey as the cliche goes, dance floors were not so transient. People can be outside chatting for ages before they realise they’ve missed half the night!
Dance music has its up and downs and in a lengthy career of being in the industry, it must be very easy to lose sight of the dance floor, how do you stay motivated in a lengthy career as DJs?
Danny: I still collect records but going digital has expanded the range of what I can do and the amount of variation I can bring to each set. Plus my back isn’t fucked from carrying two crates of acetates like I used to! Like Dave said, the smoking ban, whilst I approve, has made things different when it comes to long sets as you used to be able to get away with going more left-field at times without fear of everyone running off to smoke. You still can in certain places but you have to hold back from getting too Emerson, Lake and Palmer. (Or Emerson, Howells and Seaman)
Dave: I think because the scene is consistently evolving. It never stands still. So that means there’s always something new to learn or discover and therefore, you’re never allowed to get into a comfort one for too long before you gets left behind. Ultimately, it’s the music that keeps driving you forward. There’s still a huge buzz to be had playing a track for the first time and seeing a dance floor react with delight.
You all stem from the hard partying early days of dance music, what do you make of the Millenials? the bracket of young people who prefer to spend money on avocado toast and would rather be teetotal than ruin their Saturday with a hangover? is the 2018 version of dave beer/charlie chaster of yesteryear currently arranging a Sunday morning brunch?!
Darren: Well I’m doing the London Marathon this year so I think things have def. changed since the old days. But also my hangovers take a few days to get over these days. I’ll still give it a good go every now and again of course. Just got to pick your battles. I’m sure there are a bunch of young’s getting smashed every weekend. Still out on the Sunday. They just do the avocado on sour dough midweek.
Danny: Yeah we’re all a bit older (a bit haha!) and more sensible so I think we all take more care now. We do hit the sherry when we play together but we tend to moderate that as it can end in airport detentions and horrific aeroplane group selfies. The millennials rock but if anyone wants to know how to make a proper avocado toast or a jackfruit chilli then they need to come to me.