By Paul Rodgers
CALGARY – In 2014 the United Kingdom’s Michael Dodman, known to the world of house and techno as Huxley, released his debut album entitled Blurred. It was a stunning first release for the already well-established artist. Comprised of not only rich, soulful house music and more driving techno, it also contained elements of jungle rhythms, breaks and R&B, with a heavy focus on the vocals. In fact he said in a previous interview that the album was called Blurred because it was a mishmash of all of his collective influences over the years.
“I think Blurred was very much around the time when house was very commercial and I was doing more commercially kind of stuff,” says Dodman. “And when [in a previous interview] I said that I was going a bit more underground again, I think that was just a reaction to what was going on. Not just in my music but kind of everything that was going on in the scene at the moment.”
In 2016 he released an EP called Widow through reputable label Aus Music. He explains that Widow represents a jump into darker musical territory.
“But since then I’ve, like I do with everything, I’ve changed my mind about a million times. Right now my next few releases are quite housey and kind of bouncy again. I’d say it’s kind of, not taking a step back, but I’m finding that I’m going back to my roots a little bit with more of a very much traditional housey sound with a bit more, maybe a kind of a slight edge to it or whatever. And I think that’s currently where I’m at.”
Lately, he has been releasing a steady flow of singles, including collaborations with many different artists from different worlds within the realm of house and techno. For example in October he put out a tune with Will Clarke. “My Body,” as it’s named, is a prime example of that bouncy, more lively and fun style of house he is adept at making.
He’s also worked with Dirtybird artist J.Phlip, house music legend Roy Davis Jr. and the ever-versatile Shadow Child, just to name a few. He says he takes two main things away from the process of collaborating with this diverse collection of other artists.
“Normally you take a little production secret that they’ve got, on the more boring side. Maybe which you then can use for yourself, something you didn’t think about,” he says. “But then I think in terms of what you take from it in a more creative side, you see how other people think. When you’re sat in the studio with someone they may think very, very differently to you, to how to add a creative flow or where the tune should go next. Through all the collaborations I’ve definitely tried to take that away from every single one.”
As well as having released music on some of the finest labels around including Aus Music, Knee Deep in Sound and 2020 Vision, Dodman also runs his own label called No Idea’s Original, named for the song by hip-hop icon Nas, that he started around two years ago. He says that he had just finished at one label with a friend of his after starting to go in different directions, and starting the label was his reaction to that.
“I just want to do what I want to do and release music that I’m actually playing out when I DJ and that’s kind of the influence behind No Idea’s Original. I haven’t released a track on there yet that I haven’t wanted to play out at all, so that’s kind of the ethos behind it. It’s really quite a selfish project but I hope people will kind of go along with the ride.”
He has a busy next few months coming up, with new releases on his label, new music under his belt set for release and shows in places like South America that he’s never played before.
Catch Huxley make his Calgary debut on November 10 at the Habitat.Calgary, DJ, Habitat, Huxley, UK