Through his releases on Tsuba, Morris Audio, Fear of Flying, Hypercolour and 20:20 Vision and more, Michael Dodman aka Huxley has carved out a nice place for himself in the underground house scene. With robust, bass-led strain of house music, based on his influences from UK and US garage, he’s swayed many many a derriere from Australia to Brazil, the USA, UAE, Mexico and everything in between.
Whether veering towards deeper vibes alongside Ethyl on his own Saints & Sonnets imprint, turning in cast iron grooves for Tsuba or full vocal barnstormers like his lauded ‘Let It Go’ single for Hypercolour early 2012, there’s a clearly defined but pliable and versatile sound to Huxley productions that marks him out as an outstanding talent in today’s scene.
During ADE he’ll be playing at the AUS music showcase on October 16, where he’ll be sharing the stage with other standouts from the heralded imprint’s repertoire. A perfect chance to ask him about his new album, how his own label Saints & Sonnets is doing and what he’s been most surprised of in his career.
You are a person of collaborations and have worked with many different artists. What do you like so much about working together in the studio?
Well, I suppose I just like the feeling of sitting and vibing with someone else, rather that just judging everything myself. It’s fun to sit in a studio and throw some ideas down, they don’t always turn into anything but that’s not always the point. I think that how every far my solo stuff goes I’ll always try and find time to work with other people.working with someone else can help rejuvenate your own ideas and the way you work. it’s especially good if you’re in a slump!!
You’ve released on many different labels over the last years. Many artists also choose to stay closer to one label. What makes you wanna explore other labels?
I think the reason I’ve done that is I’ve always made a lot of different styles of house and garage and whatever, and most labels have a certain direction when it comes to what they want to put out. to be honest I think that they need too. But for me, because I like doing other stuff I still want to release the other music I make, so if it doesn’t fit one label then I want to find the best place for it.
It’s been 3 years since you established your own label Saints & Sonnets. How is that going? Did it move in the direction you had in mind when founding it?
It’s cool. we’ve been stronger than ever this year in my opinion. myself and jimmy have really pulled out finger out and sorted out the release schedule. I say both of us, but really jimmy is the one who gets all the behind the scenes stuff sorted and I just pick the music. It’s a good relationship and it works well. I mean we’ve put out some amazing music this year by who were relatively unknown before we did. I mean we released secondcity, artifact, threebar, jabru. I’m very happy with how it’s going and we’ve got loads of other stuff already planned.
In previous interviews you have mentioned the genres you have passed through, to the point where you are now. In your new album we can hear different influences and different styles. If you look at this musical evolution, what would be the next step in your evolution sound-wise?
At the moment I’m just enjoying making everything again. before, well in the last year or so I’ve felt quite contained about what I was able to make, now I’ve done Blurred I feel like the freedom has opened up again. This obviously was all just in my mind, but yeah, I’m not back to sitting in the studio and banging out what I want to make, and I couldn’t be happy.
You were supposed to release an album in 2013, but now the release is planned for October 2014 on AUS Music. What was the reason behind this?
The first LP I made was shit. So I made another one which I’m really happy with!
So a complete new album, tell us a bit more about the collaborations on Blurred.
Well, there’s a few on there, but really I just wanted to work with people that I really like and rate. It was important to me to get the right people rather than just throw names at the project. Obviously it was a dream come true to work with Roger, who actually came to us originally. We’re already working on new stuff together, he’s such a cool guy to work with. Actually it was great to work with everyone on there, there was no diva attitude at all! I can’t deal with that shit.
You have had previous releases on AUS, but what made you decide to release your album there instead of your own label Saints & Sonnets?
There was probably 2 reasons. the first is S&S has always been about releasing other people’s music that I’m passionate about. I’ve never seen it as an outlet for my own material, to be honest. We’ve always picked people on their own merit. the 2nd is the working relationship I have with Will and Jodie from aus is amazing. They’re honest, open to letting me do what I want and I know they’ll always do a good job at putting it out there.
Can we expect a tour in relation to your new album release outside of the UK?
I’m already on it! I’m currently doing the UK bit (apart from the AUS ade show on thursday). then it’s on to USA then Europe. it’s already been a lot of fun. I think you can find the full dates on my facebook.
Speaking of AUS; the label night at Studio 80 during Amsterdam Dance Event is just around the corner and you will be part of it, next to Label owner Will Saul, Breach and more. What are the great benefits on events like ADE? And what makes ADE different then Sonar or WMC?
ADE is the last proper conference out there. Sonar & Miami are great fun, but it’s not really about the conference anymore, just the parties. ADE is the best of both worlds for me. You can come and meet people, have a meeting and then go party.
At the end of this summer you had a gig in Singapore. That must be quite different from the places you normally play. How was that experience?
It was cool. I was a bit wary of it at first as obviously, like you say, it’s completely different from most of the places I’ve played. but I think it’s a similar vibe to japan, just with a few more ex-pats. It was a whole lot of fun, and hopefully I’ll be back out there soon.
From all the places in the world, which one stayed with you the most?
Japan. it’s such an amazing place. I would suggest anyone to go there.
What would be your ideal after party setting?
At home, in my own bed. I’m no good at after parties anymore.
Apart from music, do you have anything else you are so passionate about?
Food and wine. I can’t live without good food. I’ve been trying to cut down but I just can’t. There’s nothing better for me than going to a nice restaurant and eating. I’m going to be so fat when I’m older.
Over the years that you have been active, playing an important part in the music industry, what would you say has surprised you the most?