Interview: Danny Drive Thru (+ Pick Of The Week)

Interview: Danny Drive Thru (+ Pick Of The Week)

For this installment of our Pick Of The Week we reached out to Danny Drive Thru from the UK. He is fairly known for his Virtua remix of M.O.P’s ‘Ante Up’, but the producer has got way more in store. Reason enough for us to hook up with Danny Drive Thru and feature him with an interview and Pick Of The Week. We talked to him about music, his productions, upcoming releases and he recommends a lot of good music to you.

For this installment of our Pick Of The Week we reached out to Danny Drive Thru from the UK. He is fairly known for his Virtua remix of M.O.P’s ‘Ante Up’, but the producer has got way more in store. Reason enough for us to hook up with Danny Drive Thru and feature him with an interview and Pick Of The Week.

Listen to a snippet of the song ‘Dr. Cranckenstein’ below, or head over to Danny’s Soundcloud page to hear the song in its entirely. This week Laid Back Radio will broadcast the song frequently as well.

Can you introduce yourself to our readers who don’t know you yet?

I’m Danny Drive Thru, turntablist, producer, beatmaker, nerd. I come from Manchester UK, and have been DJing for 10 years, and making beats in some form or other for 13 years. Jesus, I feel old…

For people who have no clue what to expect from you, how’d you describe your own music?

I primarily make cluttered hip hop-flavoured beats, and I like them to be dusty and moody. Like me… yeah not really. Well, not moody anyway. I like to re-conextualise things, hence ‘Virtua Ante Up, and its follow up, ‘Virtua Rap’, which is a medley of Mobb Deep’s ‘Shook Ones’, Gangstarr’s ‘Full Clip’ and Pharoahe Monch’s ‘Simon Says’. Also I like to try and get as many of my musical tastes in there as possible, which manifests itself more in my DJ mixes.

You don’t have any official releases yet. Are there any in the works? If so, can you tell us about it?

Sneaky (from seminal Manchester band Fingathing) is releasing a remixed version of his solo album Feel Like A King… Pluck A String, and I’ve done a couple of things on there which I’m really proud of. The originals are just dope, so I’m really chuffed to be part of it. It should be out digitally in December, with a limited vinyl release around January/February.

Manchester night Hoya:Hoya is expanding its empire with a forthcoming label which will only be releasing tracks from artists who’ve played there, and I’m lucky enough to be one of them. The first two releases are planned, and I kind of remember being told I was gonna be on the third one? Or something.

I’ve been asked to remix a track by Zoir for the new Mind On Fire label. Not started that yet, though, so who knows what’ll happen!

‘Virtua Rap’ has been gaining attention thanks to Kutmah and Illum Sphere amongst others dropping it worldwide, and it may (may!) be getting a release… Watch this space.

‘Dr. Crankenstein’ is our Pick Of The Week. Can you tell us more about that track?

Well, it gained its name from the fact it ran away a bit and gained a life of its own while I was making it. It was one of the first things I made with Ableton; I started with a long sample with no real rhythm and really abusively warped it to get it in time, added some effects and then started kind of throwing things at it: drums, percussion loops, bassline, ragga stings, Street Fighter II drops… And then when I got to mixing, it just did its own thing really. I created a monster.

What else can we expect of you in the (near) future, music wise?

Expect some more ‘Virtua’ things, I’ve got a few ideas which over-reach my abilities at the moment, so when I’m proficient enough that’ll happen. Plus I got some projects in the pipe with vocalists which may be individual projects or might end up collaborated. And some interesting things coming up with other producers which I can’t talk about now, but will be ill!

What inspired you to remakeAnte Up’ by M.O.P.?

I’d had the idea to type Hip Hop lyrics into a speech synthesizer a couple of times, but there was one drunken conversation I had with some mates that really made me want to do it. Initially I was going to do Rapper’s Delight because I thought it’d be funny, but then I realised that something really thuggy would’ve been funnier. So I thought of a few songs which are big enough for people to recognize but also still dope as well, and Ante Up came top of the list!

Once I’d chosen it and synthesized the lyrics, I kind of struck upon the idea I should synthesize the beat too, so I sampled a ZX Spectrum and used a few vintage drum machine samples to make it sound as old school as possible, which to me made it hilarious. Just totally pacified it. You can’t take the lyrics seriously, which to me is kind of like how I hear them anyway.

How do hip hop fans respond to it, since it’s considered as a classic track – and we all know lots of heads think producers shouldn’t touch classics-?

People are generally a bit like “what!?” when it gets played, but they’re usually laughing too much to get mad at the sacrilege! I think it’s like a different way of looking at a classic. Plus because I love the original, I stuck as closely as I could to it (apart from the “wish I could bring Dilla back” part), so it’s still identifiable. Besides, anyone who gets angry at some spectrum bleeps is missing the point!

To people who wanna hear more by you, are there any specific things in your catalogue you can recommend to them?

Hoo… All of it! If you go to my Soundcloud you can hear a ton of other stuff. I like Puke/Tea Leaf Dancers; I really enjoyed making the beat, but I can’t do anything with it because it’s an unofficial remix of a Hidetake Takayama track and I promised I wouldn’t put it out! Plus the Andreya Triana vocal…

I also particularly like Do Svidanya, just a really nice melancholy beat, right up my street… And I love Alice Coltrane’s ‘Journey In Satchidananda’ so much I had to flip it! When Chima Anya gave me some acapellas from his Higher Ground mixtape I slapped one of them over the ‘Journey’ beat; it fit like a glove and became King Of The Swingers (Danny Drive Thru FIRRRE).

And besides your own music, can you recommend any other artists we should keep an eye on we most definitely don’t know yet?

There’s so much good shit coming out of Manchester right now, it’s a good time to be here! The Mind On Fire collective is starting a label with the first release out really soon, featuring local bombs from G Kut, Neko Neko, Zoir and Woli Wols to name a few. They’ve got a cracking music policy so I reckon their label is gonna be fire. Also, the aforementioned Hoya:Hoya label is gonna be putting out some seriously sick records from artists you’ve definitely heard of, and some you haven’t.

Check for My First Moth records, they’re releasing a ton of brilliant 90’s nodding hip hop beats and getting support from Gilles Peterson. The Mouse Outfit is a sick live hip hop band, I think 8 piece, they should have some stuff out soon I think, really good vibe stuff. And there’s the Big City Beats lads (Kuartz, Nyquist, Shez), and Plato (duo consisting of Pitch & Bedos), and C’mon Feet, and Stretch Trenier, and Slave 1, and Broke N’ English, and MC Chunky, and Indigo & Synkro, and far too many more for my pickled memory banks!

Plus not just locally, I’m sure you will have heard but Om Unit’s Corridor EP is out now and it is NUTS in a massively good way. Fulgeance’s Glamoure EP is due out tomorrow and it’s brilliant. Kelpe’s Margins EP is out on Black Acre and it’s all killer. Anything by Oddisee, he’s King Midas right now. Mux Mool, Shad… whoa, I could do this all day!

If you wanna add anything else, feel free to:

Yeah, massive big ups to everyone who feels what I’m doing, and everyone who gets in touch, it means tons! And large huge ups to everyone supporting: Kutmah, Illum Sphere, Jonny Dub, Groovement, Kelpe, Fulgeance, Debruit, Free The Robots, Kidkanevil, Part Time Heroes… And anyone else this lump of mulch I laughingly call a brain refuses to recall right now.

Get me on Twitter, Soundcloud or Mixcloud. And check my mix pour Musique Large or my guest mix on Part Time Heroes’ Hideout Sessions. And that’s it, peash!

More info: Danny Drive Thru
Archive: Pick Of The Week

Just an ordinary guy always on the hunt for extraordinary music. Not just as the founder of The Find Magazine & Rucksack Records, but also as a freelance music journalist (bylines at Tracklib, Bandcamp, Wax Poetics, DIG Mag, among others) and—above all—out of love for all kinds of good music.