Towards the end of last year, we were lucky enough to catch up with Daniel Avery after playing at one of the now-infamous Oxjam parties. Oxjam has featured some of the hottest names on the scene — Hot Chip, Four Tet, Simian Mobile Disco and Fatboy Slim have all given up their time to play these small intimate gigs in an Oxfam shop to a perfectly formed crowd of loyal fans and music lovers. All this in the name of charity — a worthy cause indeed, and one of the best ways to get up close and personal with your musical heroes...
How did you get involved with Oxjam?
“For this particular event, Orlando Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs asked me to get involved. We’ve been buddies for a while, and he asked me to come down to join the line-up and play it with him.”
Why is it important to do gigs like Oxjam?
“In today’s climate, where DJs are once again becoming rockstars, I think it’s very important not to just be playing massive gigs all the time, but also just to do something that is fun and for a good cause. I mean, one of the reasons I really wanted to do Oxjam was because I knew it was going to be a small and intimate gig, I knew there would be lots of friendly faces and I knew they would just be up for a good time, so it’s always a pleasure to do something like this.”
What sort of music best suits intimate gigs like this?
“I have a penchant for playing slow, chuggy records. I think it is perfect for playing in a shop. Obviously I don’t want to be playing nose-bleed techno. I’ve built my name as a warm-up DJ, I like playing weird places like this, or places that start off empty then start to get busier. I feel that I am well-equipped to play these sorts of gigs, it gives me the opportunity to really delve into my music, into the sound.”
Would you say the art of the warm-up DJ is underrated?
“Yeah, definitely, I think that some people think it’s the boring part of the night, but as a punter when I was younger, it was always my favourite part, going to see DJs play weirder stuff or stuff where I didn’t know one record. I like that, I really like that part of the night.”
What have you been doing production-wise?
“I’ve been really busy over the last few months, I’ve got my second release coming out on Erol Alkan’s Phantasy Sound label. I signed the fi rst one to his label last summer and I’ve just fi nished my ‘Fabric Live’ mix CD. I’ve also done a few tracks with Justin Robertson that should be released soon. Can’t tell you what label for now, but it’s going to be good.”
Didn’t you used to record as Stop Making Me?
“Stop Making Me was my first band. It was the fi rst thing I did musically, but about a year ago, I decided it was time to use my own name. I won’t go back to using Stop Making Me, that beast is dead. I am more comfortable using my real name as my recording moniker.”
How did you first get together with Erol?
“I’ve known Erol for a little while now. I used to go to Trash as a fan and we started talking and realised we had a lot more in common than what we probably thought in terms of tastes and what we liked, and what we didn’t like and all that. He urged me to send him some music and it just clicked from there. It seems like a very natural relationship. He is still one of my favourite DJs, so I feel quite at home on the label. I really appreciate the fact that Erol will call me at what ever time of the day saying, ‘We should do this, we should do that’. I find it inspiring and invigorating in a lot of ways, as we are both buzzing about something.”
How do you see yourself — DJ or producer?
“I am a DJ first and foremost, it is how I began, it was my first true love. As a producer, I love making tracks. When I make a dancefloor track, I make something that I want to play in my DJ sets, that’s how I always think about it. I feel that when I make music, if other people like it, then great, but I just want to make it for myself. I wouldn’t call myself a super technically minded producer… novice is the wrong word, but basically I know what sounds good to me, and from being a DJ, I know what works on a dancefloor. I wouldn’t be able to recreate a sound from scratch because I don’t come from a dance music background, I don’t really know how to do the really in-depth technical stuff. I am new to it, really, but I just kind of do what sounds good to my ears.”
So are you quite hands-on in the studio?
“I love using hardware. I only use analogue equipment, so I guess I am quite hands-on. I like sound and I like to be hands-on with it, to get to touch the equipment. I like the physicality of being able to touch a lever or a button, and it really affecting a sound. I am quite tactile in that way.”