Huxley has been one of the UK’s most vital house producers for more than a decade and once again shows why with his fresh new single ‘Man Enough’, the next release in his new creative chapter with Ultra Music. Always staying true to his house roots but taking in diverse influences from the worlds of garage, bass and tech, he explores new ground with yet another impossible-to-ignore, high-impact single. Like everything he does, ‘Man Enough’ is another timeless track that will hit the sweet spot with DJs and dancers alike. Here we chat to Huxley about how lockdown helped rejuvenate his career, overcoming writer’s block and how he’s never invited his parents to a gig…
WWD: Hey Huxley! We’re glad to have you for this interview! Where are you in the world right now and what have you been up to lately?
I’m back in the UK right now. I’ve just got back from Ibiza where I was coaching some up and coming producers with the guys at Mixmasters. Before that I just played Print Works for the first time – it was class!
WWD: You’ve just dropped the garage-bass-house tinged ‘Man Enough’ and prior to that, tech house number ‘Tinpan Alley’ as part of a multi-single deal with Ultra Music. Are we seeing a new creative side to Huxley the producer right now?
For sure. I think a lot of producers were able to spread their wings and take chances when they were making music over lockdown and I personally loved having the space and to be honest, not worry about trying to fit in. I feel like myself again for the first time in years and I’m loving it!
WWD: You wrote a very honest Facebook post about feeling lost during lockdown which resulted in you stepping back to re-evaluate where your career was going. In hindsight, do you think you were heading that way anyway and that the pandemic just spurred you on to have a tough conversation with yourself?
Probably, to be honest. I’d kind of already had that chat with myself and actually, lockdown – like I just said – really helped my headspace. I’m ready to roll now though and feeling more rejuvenated than ever. Constantly touring the world can take a toll on you mentally and creatively. We all get self doubts and being on that hamster wheel can really exaggerate those feelings.
WWD: What does your family think of your career in electronic music? Do they ‘get’ the scene and are they supportive? Do they listen to your music / come to see you DJ?
My dad follows it quite closely as he had aspirations to be a song writer when he was younger, so he’s loving the fact that I get to do this for a living! My brother also works within music and likes a lot of cooler stuff than me. My mum is a singer so gets it too. It’s good, and my brother comes to my gigs sometimes. My parents have never come! Tbh I’ve never invited them!
WWD: You managed to get out to States this summer now clubs are open to play at various events including Sound Dunes in LA and for Wicked Paradise at Hyde Beach Miami. What was the vibe like? Any noticeable changes or does everything feel ‘back to normal’?
Everything felt like there was more energy, people were just ready to let loose. It was so good to be back doing what I love and seeing people getting to go out and see their friends and really get into again, it was a great thing to see. People have been starved of the chance to express themselves in that way, so it’s cool it’s back now (hopefully for good).
WWD: We’ve regularly covered your sounds on WWD; your debut on Shall Not Fade, plus outings on Incorrect and 7Wallace. From the outside looking in, you don’t ever appear to be short of ideas. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? What do you do to overcome it when it happens?
All the time and I write a whole lot of shit. When I get blocked, I usually have a week off or a few days or whatever to take the pressure off myself. If I don’t have that luxury I’ll just start a few ideas really quickly and then throw away what’s not good; sometimes it’s all of them. Another great thing to try is to try and write something completely out of the box and experiment using weird sounds/techniques. That normally spurs me on.
WWD: For someone who has been producing as long as yourself, how do you keep evolving and remain current? Have you found your inspirations or listening habits have changed over time or are they always what they were to begin with?
It’s very hard and sometimes you can definitely make some mis-steps. It’s a hard game to stay on top of but surrounding yourself with good mates and also to make sure you pay attention to trends, but not follow them, means you’re always going to stay on the curve, ahead of the curve and on your own wave.
WWD: We saw you were at a Toolroom Records Academy writing camp recently. How did it go? And how does a typical writing day pan out – do you just jam all day or write with an agenda in mind?
It depends. For that one, I got to spend the day with the amazing Laura Davie and we worked on a couple of ideas. Sometimes you’re put in a room with 2 or more people, and you start from scratch. It’s all very fluid. I love doing them, they create a real excitement about working with so many cool people and they also teach you a lot you can take to your own projects.
WWD: What track did you discover or make in lockdown that you were most excited to actually play to a crowd? And did it live up to your expectations when you finally did?
For me it was Tinpan Alley. I made it to play in Ibiza, and to be honest I still haven’t had the chance yet. It went off at Printworks last weekend though, so I can’t complain!
WWD: Thank you for answering our questions, Huxley! Aside from the tracks we’ve discussed, any other news you’re excited about? What’s on the radar for the months to come?
New label, loads of new music, and just generally loads of exciting stuff to come very soon!
Huxley ‘Man Enough’ is out now on Ultra Music. Listen HERE.
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