Give Me A Break
Danny McMillan headlines Liaison 2 at the Noosa Reef Hotel on Sunday.
Danny McMillan is one of the nicest men one could hope to meet in the heady world of UK dance. He is also the founder (alongside Rennie Pilgrim) of the term ‘nu school breaks’, has done stacks of A&R for record labels TCR, Strictly Underground and In-Flight Entertainment and has had a lengthy career as one of the star DJs on Kiss FM and Ministry of Sound radio in the UK.
And I am his wake-up call I discover early one Friday morning. I react with horror upon hearing that I have woken Danny from his jet-lagged slumber.
“No it was all planned,” he says nicely. “I have literally heard the phone and opened my eyes and run down the hallway. You’ll get me totally off guard.”
So all that talk of Danny being one of the hardest working DJ’s in the land was not just talk then?
“You do this kind of thing when you’re passionate about something, even if it is hard work and tiring. It is easier to do then something you really don’t enjoy.”
Speaking from a friendly promoters house in Adelaide, McMillan has been on a whirlwind tour through sunny Australia, promoting his latest side project Unreasonable Behaviour and furthering the reach of breaks as a genre. He admits that life as a touring DJ isn’t always sunshine and lollipops.
“What touring does to your body is the other nasty thing, all the flying the smoky nightclubs, too much to drink and, you know… everyone likes to have a little flutter.”
Now Unreasonable Behaviour, isn’t that the name of a Laurent Garnier track?
“That is the title of one of his tracks, but we called it that because we use the Reason software, I used to take a month to make each record and now because of the new software… I’m going into geek mode here… you can take a couple of days. You can make a whole record with this one piece of software, it’s like a studio in your computer and it works so much faster. I think if you can spend a month on something that someone else spends a week on, then that’s unreasonable behaviour.”
Loaded question: what of ‘breaks’ in 2002?
“Well, me and Rennie started nu school breaks and now that term has been bastardised, nu school meant anything new over the beat, we wanted a sound that was more finessed, with fresher sounds then big beat, and that’s not to their detriment. Then nu-school breaks became bastardised, slowed down, dark, Drum ‘n’ Bass stuff, it became one sound. It has now dropped the new and is now breaks again.”
And blow me if he doesn’t sound just a little relieved.