INTERVIEW: Dont Look Now

INTERVIEW: Dont Look Now

With the release just last week of his debut artist album, ‘Presence’, on Swiss label, Enormous Tunes, UK producer, Dont Look Now, follows up previous tracks on imprints such as Nervous Records and Anjunadeep with a 12-track, emotive house LP, under a brand new alias.

The Brighton-based artist has previously had massive success with releases under his birth name, Ad Brown, as well as aliases including Maxi Valviona, Lethal Legend and Dub Delay, on labels such as Sony BMG, Pacha, Toolroom and Ministry Of Sound. His track ‘Feels Like’, has picked up 2.1 million plays on YouTube, and he has remixed for the likes of Kylie, Usher, Example, and supported Calvin Harris, among many others. All this while holding key residencies including M1NT in Shanghai and touring the world, playing at venues as prestigious as Pacha NYC.

Under his new alias, Dont Look Now is showcasing a more refined house music sound; one that’s described as “passionate and passionate and emotively driven”. We find out more about the man himself and the new direction he’s taking with his music…

For those not in the know, describe your sound in three words.
Silky. Analogue. Beats

Why now to release your debut album?
Dont Look Now is a relatively new project, so I wanted to release a body of work which enables me to showcase a range of tracks in the house music spectrum. And to give people a real flavour of what I can do in the studio under my new guise. I also think singles can get a bit lost in space, because it’s such a noisy and crowded market, so releasing an album will hopefully give me a slight edge!

Probably something you’ll get asked a lot, but do you have favourite tracks from the album?
Yes, I’ve got a couple! – ‘Drink Talk’, ‘Ammunition’, ‘Want You’ and ‘Higher’ are among my favourites, they all feature very different vocalists. For example, on ‘Drink Talk’ I worked with Charlotte Turnbull from The Voice UK and ‘Ammunition’ is a great collaboration with a girl called Hannah Talbot who is having a lot of success in the D&B space currently. Plus, I have a hideous singing voice, so vocals are the part I absolutely can’t do! Working with a talented vocalist really helps to take a track up a gear in my opinion.

Which track represents the real Dont Look Now – the deeper producer on Rap Music or the more laid-back vibes of Higher – or somewhere in the middle?
Absolutely somewhere in the middle! I’ll flex depending on what I am trying to create in the studio, and equally, if I am Djing, the vibe of a club night. I think that is the wonderful thing about house music, it can flex so much depending on the setting.

When did you last play out?
I played in Murmansk Russia at the end of last year. It was -23 degrees when I landed, and I was not prepared! I’ve always loved DJing in Russia, they are very accommodating, and I quite enjoy drinking vodka straight – does that make me sound bad?! Since then, I’ve had a baby, so I am probably getting even less sleep than when I was touring!

What’s your favourite DJ setting – huge festival stages with big production or intimate clubs?
Both have merits, and I’ve played a few big festivals, but I would say an intimate club setting. I grew up going to clubs like Turnmills in London and I love that dark, sweaty, underground feeling when you lose track of time.

Who are you looking up to at the moment – who’s ‘doing it right’?
I like Sonny Fodera as he switches it up between vocal house and tougher stuff which I try to do, Michael Calfan and Blonde write some great music too.

Under previous guises, you’ve remixed Kylie, Usher and Example. How do you approach a remix – are you respectful of the original?
That’s a good question. My own brief was always to translate the original into something which would land well and resonate on the dance floor, whilst remaining credible. It’s an awesome experience downloading the original STEMs and hearing raw vocals from some of the biggest artists on the planet. I’m most proud with the Usher remix, which got a lot of airplay on Kiss 100, plus internationally.

Tell us some tales from your residency at M1NT in Shanghai. How long did you hold this for?
The Shanghai residency was an experience for sure, I was based out there for a couple of weeks and played three or four times a week. Sometimes we would host guest DJs, which kept me on my toes and kept the sets interesting. The club has a rocking sound system and state-of-the-art lasers to boot. I saw all sorts of crazy stuff from dancers grinding their crotch with a metal saw and sparks going everywhere (and all over me while I was DJing), to people getting over excited and falling off the stage. Towards the end of the residency I was drinking espresso martinis to give me a quick energy boost before my sets!

Music aside, what else are you passionate about?
Training and fitness. I do these crazy, intense circuit classes 3 times a week where it feels like you are going to pass out. It’s better than it sounds, honest! I also live by the coast in Brighton, so I will crack out a 5 – 10 mile run a couple of times a week, which is much easier to do in the summer months. At the completely opposite end of the scale, I love making cocktails and normally get roped into doing them at parties – you name it, I can do it!

What’s next for Dont Look Now?
Up next is the third single from the album. ‘Ammunition’ which will be out, together with some cracking remixes in a month or so. I’m also working on a collab with Sonny Fodera which I think has real potential and will be worth the wait. Finally, I have a couple of cracking unreleased vocal tracks which I am lining up to be released in the autumn, so it should be an exciting couple of months!

Check out a mini mix of ‘Presence on the Soundcloud player below!

‘Presence by Dont Look Now’ is out on Enormous Tunes:

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