Dale Howard has come a long way since his 2009 debut EP, Gotta Be Deep, which left a trail of Beatport #1s in its wake. His unwavering contribution to the house music genre has found his tracks home on various labels such as Objektivity, VIVa MUSiC, Noir Music, Suara, Get Physical and Off.
Keeping with classic house genre combination of soulful vocals and a piano melody after the drop, "Retrospect" is a groovy delight for those who love a sweet beat that gets you moving. Howard's new EP, Pulsar, consists of two originals and two remixes of the title track by Berlin producer Santé and Be One Records label head Miguel Bastida. The EP drops on Wreck< at the end of this month! You can check out Magnetic Magazine's exclusive track premiere of "Retrospect" below:
Howard is perpetually producing tracks that impact our dance floors whilst gaining support over the years from talents such as DJ Sneak, Luciano, Reboot, Solomun, Dyed Soundorom, Dubfire and Groove Armada. Currently coming off a tour in Brazil which ends his summer schedule, he's set to appear at Kater Blau Berlin and the outrageous, Elrow Closing Party at Space Ibiza on September 24th.
In addition, Magnetic Magazine had a chance to talk to Dale a little about the EP and his new label, Wreck<:
Who would you say has influenced your sound the most over the years?
There have been way too many to narrow it down to just one. My sound has changed significantly since I first started producing too; but over the years, Sebastien Leger, Switch, [Richie] Hawtin, Dubfire, Gaiser, [Sven] Väth, Len Faki, Pan-Pot, Kerri Chandler, Dennis Ferrer, Martinez Brothers, Mountain People, Jordan Peak, Burnski, Huxley, Ethyl, and Larry Heard/Mr. Fingers are some. There are so many!
What would be the defining track that led you into the electronic music scene?
Nick and Danny Chatelaine's "Is Killing Me" (Ovum Recordings). It's a track that I still play today sometimes, and it still works exactly the same as it did when I first heard about 11 years ago. There have been lots of pivotal tracks over the years, but this one has stayed with me the whole time.
You’re about to launch your new label Wreck< with the first release being an EP produced by yourself. What motivated you to start your own label? Was it a natural progression for you?
Kind of. It was never my plan to go from DJ to producer to label owner, but now I've got to a point where I feel I need to create and build a label that is my own -one that has its own set of core artists, and most importantly, has its own identity as a label.
What’s the mission for your new label?
The mission statement for Wreck< is to be a platform for great house music, whether it's from the world's most established names or the most talented new artists that you don't know about yet.
Where would you like to see your label in five years time?
By year five I plan on Wreck< being an established and well-recognized house music label. My main hope for the label is that it is able to actually launch somebody's career as a producer. To be able to do that as a label owner would be an amazing privilege, and I think that too many labels are dismissive of newer and less established artists, which is wrong. It should always be about the music. If it's good enough, sign it. So I hope that Wreck< becomes big enough to be able to do that for artists. Apart from that, I want it to be exactly the same as it is from the day of its conception: a label that consistently puts out great house music.
How do you think your sound has progressed since you first came on the scene in 2009?
Thankfully it's improved - a lot! Around 2009 I was making 116-120 BPM deep house as I didn't really have the confidence to try to make people dance. Eventually, I had a bit of a "fuck it" moment and had a go at a peak hour kind of track - and it came out sounding half decent, so I went from there. After that, I just became more and more confident and eventually found my identity as an artist.
Do you ever struggle with creator’s block whilst in the studio, and if so, how do you overcome it?
Yes, it comes and goes really. For me, the writer's block isn't the biggest problem to overcome; I either go in the studio and fish for riffs and sounds through my plugins or just walk away from the studio for a few days, listen to different types of music - chill out, electronic, bands. I'm currently learning to play the piano, too, so I sometimes stumble across ideas when I'm playing that.
We’re in the last half of 2016; what do you have planned and what are you looking forward to the most?
Well, I'm currently on my way back from Brazil, played two great gigs over there at Vibe in Curitiba and Sailor Goes House in São Paulo. Then I'm in Berlin at Kater Blau, Elrow closing at Space Ibiza, Amsterdam, a two week Australia tour, an Argentina tour, and some more UK and European dates, too. In between these, I'm finalizing releases for early 2017 for Wreck<, so there is loads I'm looking forward to.
What is your end goal as a DJ, producer and label owner? What would you like to achieve?
I try not to spend too much time looking at an end goal. The way I look at it is that long-term goals are the result of many successful short-term goals, so I just try to take things step by step, release by release and try to keep moving forward. If I keep doing that, eventually I'll get to the place I want to be.