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Friday 05th, January 2007
Greg Downey Interview

Apprentice to John Askew and Eddie Halliwell, headlining artist of Discover records, co-producer with John O'Callaghan… Greg Downey is a name you must have heard. He is routinely set-listed by Paul van Dyk, Armin van Buuren, Eddie Halliwell and Matt Hardwick. We catch up with him to find out where he's going in 2007.

Trance.nu: Hi Greg, tell us where you are at the moment, and how has your week has been?

Downey: Hi there! At the moment I am at home in Enfield, London. My week has been brilliant cause I have been putting together the final touches for my new studio at home, im hoping to have it all redone very soon. I have also been working on some new material for 2007 and everything is sounding well. Between this I have been getting trailed 'round the shops by my Mrs. to buy things for our place - its about to be decorated. If it wasn't for her I dont think anything household related would get done!

T.nu: You’ve been gaining a good momentum with your DJ career - what is it that you offer that’s different to other DJs?

GD: Its always hard to say why you think you stand out without coming accross the wrong way, but I think I have always tried to be as individual as possible with the music I play. For years I have been playing and developing my sound which incorporates both trance and techno, but I am never afraid to push the boat out and take risks. I buzz off people being surprised by you digging out a certain tune or playing that off-the-wall track where people ask, "What the fuck was that?!". In my sets I like them to be structured and to have impact, so I spend a lot of time practicing and developing myself and hopefully people will continue to support what I do.

T.nu: Your productions and remixes have found their ways into the boxes of all the top players, tell us about some of the material you've been making.

GD: Yeah the last year or two have been great, with the likes of Paul van Dyk, Armin van Buuren and Eddie Halliwell regularly supporting the music. Its essential when making tracks that you get the big hitters playing your music because so many DJs look to their tracklists to see what tunes these DJs are playing. My main release this year has been "Vivid Intent" on Discover. Its turned into quite a favourite with many people and it featured on Eddie Halliwell's cream compilation and Armin van Buuren chose it for his "Tune Of The Week" on A State Of Trance. It has a really driving groove with punchy beats and heavy bassline, but it is also a an emotional hands in the air trance track, im really happy with it. Its available now, and you can check it out at http://www.recoverworld.com

I have also done a Dark EP for Discover Dark with two different tracks - Jaws and The Instigator. "Jaws" is a rolling old school style techno track and "The Instigator" is really banging, its drilling dark trance. John Askew said that The Instigator is his favourite Greg Downey track to date which is great! In my sets I play a mixture of trance and techno, both hard and soft so I wanted to do an EP that was different to all my other releases to date so this was it. The EP is due for release end of January 2007.

Myself and Marc van Linden are good friends and we have a collaboration coming up too. Its called "What The ---- Do You Mean?" and this is different again. It's kinda proggy, still trancey, but with some electro elements in there too. I recently remixed Marc's new single "False Sense" so the release will have our collaboration, and both his and my mix of "False Sense", so it's a nice package. This will be coming on German label Midway in February.

T.nu: How do you see the trance scene right now?

GD: I think the trance club scene has definately suffered in the UK over the last couple of years but I think it is on the up again. I think after the whole thing peaked back in 2000 it was inevitable that it would not stay like that forever, but there are positives too cause the scene had to redevelop itself and hopefully now it will continue to climb. On the other hand, there is a huge market worldwide, and there are countries where this is all new to them, e.g. China. There is a developing world so everyone should be positive about the future. I played in Poland this year and it was fucking awesome, and the clubs are packed every week. It's easy to start being worried about things changing in the UK but I think it's important to look at the bigger picture and make yourself known to other markets. As far as the music goes I think the level of production is unreal, there are so many great producers out there and with a constant flow of brilliant music, this can only be a good thing.

T.nu: What do you think about DJ technology, for example, do you think soon all DJs will play on CDs or MP3s?

GD: I think DJ technology is a great thing and I definately think that all DJs will be using CD or MP3. Dont get me wrong, in a way it is sad to see the demise of vinyl and it has certainly hit the pockets of many producers out there, but you just have to move with the times. I love all my records but when I started to play CDs along with vinyl I soon found that I was moving away from vinyl very quickly. Being able to finish a track in the studio and play it that night is great, and having access to so many tunes so quickly has changed things greatly. I do miss the excitement of record shopping though, I loved it, and digging deep to find that gem that hardly anyone else had was great. The problem now with the internet means that almost everyone can access the tracks that DJs are playing which means you have to work harder to keep yourself individual, I dont mind though!

T.nu: How did you get into DJing?

GD: I first got into serious dance music when I started listening to The Prodigy many years ago. From this I got into old Carl Cox hardcore tapes. I would listen to these mix tapes constantly, trying to work out what was going on, wishing that I had my own decks to try it out myself. When I finally got them I couldn’t leave them alone, I love music and I love mixing - these are the primary reasons why I got into it in the first place. It’s the only thing that I have ever wanted to do as a career and I have always wanted to do a job that I love.

I first started playing in some small places in Northern ireland when I was 16 and then the next step was to go to Ibiza. I spent a couple of seasons out there and played at some of the big nights after winning the eden DJ competition and after I finished college in Northern Ireland, I moved to England. I had it planned for years, once I had finished my Education, I was going. My only regret is not moving two years earlier because college was a fucking waste of time! I thought having business as a backup wouldn't do me any harm! I knew that if I stayed in Northern Ireland my opportunities would be limited so I made the move to pursue my career in music, and thankfully, after a lot of hard work, its been onwards and upwards ever since.

T.nu: You’ve been taken on by PFA (Promoter Friendly Agency) – how does that feel?

GD: I am over the moon. My main goal for 2006 was to get the right management behind me as up until very recently I have looked after everything myself. I had been talking with Simon Halliwell for quite some time and its thanks, especially to him and also Eddie, that it has all come together. It feels brilliant to be part of the team and its great working with people who are as passionate and focused as I am. I dont think I could be with better people.

T.nu: Name three tracks that have changed your life.

GD: Guns N' Roses - Double Talkin Jive. When I was younger I loved heavy metal and Guns N Roses especially, this was my favourite.
The Prodigy - No Good Start The Dance. This track blew my mind and it got me into proper dance music.
DJ Misjah and Tim - Access. This is probably my favourite club track of all time, I heard it first on a Carl Cox mix tape years ago. I still play this from time to time even now. Quality!

T.nu: Who’s your idol?

GD: It would have be a choice between Eric Cantona and Gordon Ramsey! I love Manchester United and Eric Cantona was a complete legend, he was in a league of his own, talented and charismatic. Gordon Ramsey is quality, Im not a budding chef but the guy is amazing. His passion for what he does and his level of success is massive, the guy is on fire and to be as on form as him in everything you do is a goal of mine.

T.nu: What’s coming up now for you?

GD: At the moment I am compiling the next "Live as" album for Discover. Its being recorded live from Fire It Up/Inside Out at The Arches on 27th December. I am busy hunting tunes and working on some material in the studio especiually for this. It will be a massive night and, not only is it my first compilation, but it will be live and direct with all the crowd action too! In 2007 I have some awesome gigs lined up and the aim is to keep building myself in the UK and Internationally. On the production side of things there will be more original tracks and remixes coming, as well as my new Greg Downey pres. Rico project, along with some exciting collaborations pencilled in for next year too.

Find out more about Mr. Downey at his official website, or add him to your friends list on myspace:

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