That Danny Savage Show – Guest Josh Butler (DJ & Producer) – Musical Motivation & The Steps To Success
Danny Savage engages Josh Butler on his actual birthday to discuss his own humble beginnings before he become a household name, widely regarded as a house music aficionado in the current music scene. They touch base on his in-house recording label Origins Records and what it’s taken to connect the dots to build a successful career recognised across the world.
Looking into the backstory of Josh and his foundations for a model to keep moving forward in the industry Danny discusses what has worked for him and what strategic steps you should take if you want to understand the process as an upcoming DJ or producer.
The guys lift the lid on the overall concept that governs the sound and roots of the Origins brand and the collaboration series he built alongside industry legends Marshall Jefferson, Kerri Chandler and Todd Terry to name only a few key figureheads. Josh discusses his viewpoint on the collectives aim to bridge the generation gap and make music standout in a sustainable way. He looks back into his early days in Manchester where he first met and worked with Marshall Jefferson in the studio, whilst also gaining a universal respect from the old school and the American house legends that have built the genre from the ground up.
Bringing it into the present Josh reflects on his 2017 highlights touring America again, his own ADE parties and a solid 15 dates spread across the Ibiza season.
Josh goes on to inform of his approach to partying and touring which has now been superseded by a gym, wellness and diet regime with a resounding chill-out allocation to rebalance the time on the road and stay at the peak of his game, citing the limited health food options on tour or airports and the serious lack of sleep that can take its toll.
To gain a greater understanding that people really can rise up the ranks the guys discuss that although Josh originally hailed from the UK in his teens his family moved to small town in New Zealand which was very removed from the music scene although it did have some positive attributes in a beautiful surrounding. His connection came in the form of music production which took over from playing computer games and other hobbies and allowed him to keep up-to-date with his homeland UK with Pete Tong and Radio 1 live from the net.
Again Josh shows that educate featured highly in really marking a major change for him, at age 16 he returned to UK where he attended college for a music technology course which paved the way to grasp careers in music actually existed. His positioning between Liverpool and Manchester which were abundant in clubs and awash with house he started out running his own nights albeit college party’s for a nominal £2 entrance but a consistent platform to DJ leading into the birthday party route as a source of income but blended from a mix of styles to entertain. Josh notes that running your own nights is always highly beneficial that provides an industry entry platform teaching you the mechanics of a crowd and essential programming skills.
His forays into clubland as a career DJ started out cutting his teeth at the Attic in Manchester before moving to Idiosync alongside some of todays coolest names including Tale Of Us and Marcel Dettman which transcend the underground to festival line-ups.
Production has always played a part in a DJs driving force and allowing them to reach a greater fanbase. Josh reminisced his breakthrough moment began with a release on OFF Recordings with Darius Syrossian and also released on his own imprint. As a great take-away for listeners he shares that Agents and Managers started approaching once he gained traction to take him to a wider audience. It was really good to see that tracks made in his bedroom could really impact and his ascent began when NTA snatched up his first major track. Chase & Status also loved it and then invited him down to London to speak about the release which happened to be at Pete Waterman’s previous office space (a certified breeding ground for major hits coming from the likes of Madonna and Rick Astley and touting many gold discs under their belt.
Riding the wave after the release Josh saw regular bookings and a consistent pay stream which gives some further insight to todays producers wanting to grasp the timeline. Soon featuring across Europe and throughout the UK clubs his first Radio 1 and 1Xtra appearances became a shock but really sealed his future. In the interim Josh was still providing Ableton tutorials and engineering before turning to becoming self-reliant full time.
Danny takes the opportunity to quick fire out some unique questions firstly enquiring for Josh to name three key people that have influenced him in his life and musical career firstly reciting St Helens College which first connected him into the industry and its potential (so education featuring high), Kerri Chandler (on a Musical level) helping with experience and advice and obviously his Mum (on a personal level). Looking deeper into his influences Josh shares the turning point that provided him another level of knowledge to apply whilst gigging on a professional platform. After meeting with Kerri Chandler in Paris prior to an event he taught him about the crucial component of sound checking on spectrum mixer which was something technical he hadn’t previously entertained. Josh thankfully admits that he has learnt from everyone he ever worked with and name-checks a few on their collaborations, taking on software and production tips continually.
Many of the show guests point out their musical tastes outside of the electronic scene which often broadens the listens horizons or shares tracks they may have never heard. Josh connects with Pink Floyd, dub Reggae King Tubby and Mad Professor outside the standard house and techno box. Taking the opportunity to share 3 of his most memorable tunes Pink Floyd – Welcome To The Machine is mentioned as one of his longest standing memories since childhood, before
Massive Attacks – Unfinished Sympathy, where Danny notes it was actually his birthing music for the birth of his son Felix and taken from a standout Ibiza chill-out compilation. Returning back to his House roots Josh rolls out Atmospheric Beats by Kerri Chandler as one of the best house records ever written in a simple, yet stripped back power-filled emotive cut.
Looking into soundscapes and choice of elements that he enjoys and incorporates into his own musical style Josh interplays hooks from trance to baselines from hard-house and also strings sections from down-tempo arrangements to drive his dancefloor vibes. The one big purchase that has supported his career has got to be Ableton which also plays a centerpiece of most peoples studios and his unique piece of kit is the analogue Culture Vulture.
Something for producers to take note is that Josh’s biggest regret is not getting a specific lawyer to look over his hit record contracts and passes on advice about this. To keep the relativity to success he also shares that even the biggest names have lots of failures … especially in signing demos picking a standard 1 in 10 success rate.
After opening up the avenue for guest questions via his www.dannysavage.com blog Danny interjects with a query from Africa poised towards what keeps you consistent throughout the bad times (or lowpoints)?
Josh says the releases he works on often making 3-5 tracks which are kept on the workbench with the realization that some wont see the light, practicing and keeping standards high and using that consistency as a template. Providing a way to combat writers block he suggests you take time and not force the production process, totally switching off and then returning with a fresh and inspirational spark. His Studio routine is pretty much fuelled on tea and next turning on the machines before settling into the mood with no strict rule to the format until the song takes shape.
Next questions comes in from a DJ formerly living in Bulgaria and now UK seeking advice on upcoming DJs and how they address getting gigs in preference to handing out traditional business cards. The guys both share that anything that stands out of the ordinary normally helps and in preference using a cd (USB) mix or track you’ve made alongside building a network of friends in clubs and bars of like minded people with a common goal. This reminds Danny of his old-school and classic promotional angles from Leeds and they both actively discuss the concept as a CDs being the actual calling card or flyer so to speak, suggesting DJs need to reach outside the box to standout and stick in people’s memories.
Looking at his future plans and longevity Josh answers in 5 years time he foresees continuing to make the music he enjoys and keep the label activity progressing with more events across UK, Europe and USA for his own brand and the Heroes of House legends party.
The following question is considered a relevant one in regards to climbing up the Beatport chart within a smaller label and Josh actually references one of his and Bontan’s own hits reaching number 1 on their own independent before it was a known entity, proposing that if the music’s good it always speaks for itself, something highly motivational for todays fledgling music makers.
All DJs have character and Danny pushes Josh to share something we don’t already know about the international DJ providing some welcome comedy to the mix Josh tells that he used to be obsessed with Coronation Street (a long-running tv series in the UK).
To finalise on an aspirational note its suggested Josh Butler pictures an inspirational quote placed hypothetically in DJ Mag and one we’ll soon see as a Danny Savage / DJ Growth Lab meme “Don’t compromise for anybody, do what you love!” in a very exacting tone which will certainly reassure the shows global listeners.
Hot predictions for 2018 includes a vibrant mix of upcoming artists and younger producers all breaking through. Heritage clubbing landsapes will possibly flip with the focus of Ibiza rolling downhill on the musical front (which Danny questions) and taking in Croatia as the next clubbing destination spot. After sharing his suggestions for the change of territory Josh admits he already has a connection with Croatia and once again this year servicing the Defected festival in Tisno (recently completing a mix for their radio show that was specifically beach inspired), one alongside Dennis Ferrer in Zagreb, before jetting off to Australia and New Zealand in February getting to see loads of friends out there and also his family and the festivals they offer on that side of the world.
Reflecting on family both host Danny Savage and also guest Josh Butler have included their fathers into their own events so Josh could showcase what he does and also Danny’s dad actually becoming the unwitting host and driver for many notable guest DJs over the years including the Martinez Brothers where they struck a solid friendship. Now they both prefer to catch up socially in preference to the backdrop of clubbing with Danny’s father joining him in hos trip to climb Kilimanjaro for charity this year.
Another solid podcast that highlights that hard work, dedication and also a well grounded approach seems to be the consistent thread for many DJ successes. Prepare for the next round as Danny introduces some engaging new guests that share their industry insights and their own unique viewpoints on what makes the musical world move.
Get to know more about Josh Butler here and also check out his music:
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