Inside every dance music producer lives a dream of having their music heard. Every producer has their own version of this reverie, but many would agree on the similarities of a single culmination: donning the decks at a sold-out show, playing out on an acclaimed club system, and unleashing IDs to an eager crowd. Many aspiring producers get their DJ start in a friend’s garage or heating up an empty dance floor at a dive bar – a far cry from the cliched fairy tale narrative. Yet, for at least one Trance producer, the pipe dream version will soon be a reality.
On Saturday, November 16, 2019, Danny Eaton will play his first live show ever. As a relatively new name to the scene, it’s remarkable that his first DJ appearance will be to a sold-out ‘Fabric.’ Then again, Danny’s meteoric rise has been anything but typical.
His first-ever release premiered on Solarstone’s yearly label flagship, ‘Pure Trance’ compilation (Vol. 6), and garnered support from names like Paul van Dyk and Aly & Fila. Following his brilliant arrival into the Trance scene, Danny’s debut single landed with Menno De Jong‘s label, ‘In Trance We Trust’ (ITWT), and went on to gain a feature in Mixmag.
It’s been less than two years since, and Danny has not slowed. He’s had 11 other releases – each of them landing in the Beatport Trance Top 100 – and his most recent release from Subculture launched briefly into the Beatport Trance Top 10. “Promotions are already happening on my upcoming track and Paul van Dyk played it this week,” said a cheerful Danny. “I would have never suspected this two years ago.”
Danny has been cramming in preparation for his upcoming Fabric gig but was kind enough to have a Skype chat with me a few nights back despite the five hour time difference. I asked him what it was like to have his first show on a world-renowned system while sharing a bill with Bryan Kearney and Cold Blue. “Someone asked me if I wanted to be on the event, and I thought the guy was joking at first,” said a laughing Danny. “The next thing I know, my face is on the artwork!”
It’s always exciting to speak to an artist who is about to break through or has only recently broken through because they don’t always have the most rehearsed and polished answers off the cuff. These conversations always feel the most real. Danny is also keenly aware of this and embraces staying human. “I manage my socials myself. So everything you see is me. I like to put myself out there. To me, if someone is commenting or making an effort to buy my music and sharing it and [I’m] not responding, they might question themselves if [I] don’t show gratitude,” said Danny as he expressed the strain of pressure to participate on social media engagingly.
I asked Danny what’s different now after having a spree of acclaimed releases. He mostly talked about the confidence that comes with these releases and that his hard work and passion has been validated by some of the biggest names in Trance.
One moment, in particular, seemed to stick out as being most special. “My first memory of success was with Solarstone back in Madrid, and my dad flew with me there for my first ever release,” remembered Danny. “Solarstone played it on stage and brought me up to hug me while the track was playing. I had goosebumps! That release opened the door for me. It hit number 11 on Beatport and got pressed onto a limited edition vinyl – the last vinyl release from Solarstone – and then it was played on ‘A State of Trance.’”
All of Danny Eaton’s work is technically impressive. The tracks are surgically mixed and cleanly arranged to spotlight all the musical data that Trance conveys best, so I had to see if I could glean any insight on his production.
Some producers have a specific DAW or tools they swear by, but this is not the case here. Danny uses Logic X for the most part but is well versed in Reason, Cubase, and Ableton. He uses Ableton for making his own loops and exports them back into Logic. He’s looking forward to upgrading Reason 11 (He’s been using Reason since v4) now that the entire DAW can be used as a plugin within any VST host. He has no boundaries when it comes to synths and rattled off u-he, Zebra, Nexus, NI Komplete, Arturia, Spire, Trilian, Omnisphere, Serum, Korg, Rob Papen, Massive, Sylenth, and ANA. He prefers to work from the inside out, starting with the “peak melody” as he put it. Whatever the process, it’s working.
Besides his releases on ‘Pure Trance’ and ‘ITWT,’ Danny has released on ‘Kearnage,’ ‘Subculture,’ ‘Future Sound Of Egypt,’ ‘Who’s Afraid of 138?!,’ and ‘Grotesque’ (a sublabel of Black Hole Recordings).
It was past 3 a.m. for Danny, so I wanted to wrap things up. I asked him about what he’s looking forward to in the future after this gig at Fabric. It turns out he already has another show lined up for NYE as the headliner. He reflected on his expectations for both shows. “I want to get that first mix in,” said an excited Danny. “And then settle in and get used to the crowd. I need to put my show head on. It’s still going to be me, but this is what it’s all worked up to, and I’m just going to enjoy it.”
P.S. Check out Danny’s alias ‘Notea’ if you like Techno.