You may know Danny Daze from his massive 2011 summer hit ‘Your Everything’ on Hot Creations, a perfect slice of warm, neo-deep ’ouse dance-pop released when the label was at its pyramidal pomp. And that could be a problem. A former pop producer and remixer who was pretty unfamiliar with the new ‘deep house’ sound, Danny reckons that “subconsciously I went and made an underground pop record, I made a record that fell into a label that was known for that, which is totally cool. It’s why I’m here talking to you today.” But while the huge success of the tune made Danny’s name internationally, its disconnect with his DJ sets and the rest of the music he produces and loves trapped him a in a strange pincer movement of expectation from promoters who thought they were booking a ‘deep house DJ’.
“I’d go to one of the parties where I was booked [as a ‘deep house DJ’] and I would play techno,” he explains, frustration still evident. Word spread that ‘Your Everything’ didn’t reflect Danny’s DJing style. “There were a couple of very big parties where I got pulled off the line-up. I also wasn’t getting booked to do what I really wanted to do – although at the same time, my name was still buzzy. It was a really weird time.” Thankfully, by now most people have got the message. Danny Daze plays and makes bass-heavy electro and techno: highly danceable, but fifty shades darker than anything than the summery sound of 2011–2013. Almost as dark, in fact, as our first destination.
Churchills Pub is not exactly what you’d expect in an area called ‘Little Haiti’. Stretching around a street corner like the kind of low-slung windowless aggro box you’d find in those parts of Glasgow where supporting the wrong football team is asking for a kicking, it boasts a giant painting over the door of the man himself at his most pugnacious, and emits a smell of grime, cigarettes and sodden beercloths that triggers a Proustian spasm of pre-smoking ban nostalgia in at least one of our party. The dingy interior features a long central bar with two pool tables on the shallow side and a big, dark pit of an old-skool live music venue on the deeper. The toilets are a riot of yellowed paint, graffiti and stickers for punk bands with terrible names. It’s awesome. We can well believe it when Danny explains that this is one of a handful of epicenters for alternative music in the city. It’s here that we’ll be meeting some of the city’s dance music royalty.
Danny’s early experiments with production were concerned with bass in its purest form. The kind that shakes booties and loosens fillings. The kind that Danny used to make aged 14 on Fruity Loops software for car bass parties, a Miami tradition that involves kitting out your vehicle with as much sub-woofer as it can carry and blasting out specially produced tracks that push the limits of the human ribcage. And if there’s one thing that still characterises Omnidisc, Danny Daze’s productions, and this city itself, it’s the love affair with bass.
The Miami bass sound was invented by one of the legends that Danny has invited along to Churchills today, Dave Noller. A large, affable character in his forties, Dave is better known as Dinamix II. His 1986 track ‘Give The DJ A Break’ synthesized the electro and hip hop of the likes of Planet Rock and Man Parrish with early hip hop, and was the first tune to play the 808 bass sound as a melody in its own right. “Maybe it’s the heat down here,” says Dave, “but people seem to gravitate towards that breakbeat and that heavy bass.” The peak years of Miami bass were ’86–’94, but the sound is still hugely influential – not least on Danny’s productions like the monstrously rolling ‘POP’, premiered last month on Mixmag.net.
Also here today is one of Miami’s most unique artists, Otto von Schirach. A fruitarian evangelist who’s currently working on a follow-up to 2012’s ‘Supermeng’ LP for Monkeytown, the exuberant, long-haired mystic met Danny back when he was playing obscure hip hop and r’n’b for Full Moon parties at a funpark (“arcade games and go karts”) called Malibu Castle. Danny was 15. “I think we changed his brain a little. He was more an observer than a raver, always interested in my gear. We started hanging about seven years ago, and I started realizing; this kid’s music is fucking epic,” Otto says.