The deep/tech/bass house producer shares some much-loved tunes and outs himself as a closet pop fan in the process…
It seems crazy to think that it's now been a full 10 years since a young man called Michael Dodman first burst his way into our collective consciousness with his distinctive bass-heavy brand of house that, initially, drew heavily on his roots in UK garage and drum & bass. But it has.
Over the intervening decade, he's slowly but surely worked his way up the ladder to become a leading light of the UK house scene. Blending deep and techy elements with a keen ear for a catchy tune, his work has featured on the likes of Aus Music, Tsuba Records, Hypercolour, Saints & Sonnets and Defected, and his name on a club flyer can be relied upon to draw the crowds all over the word.
With recent Toolroom single Made Up My Mind still riding high in the download charts and the Kaoss EP (a collaboration with Jacky) out tomorrow on Repopulate Mars, right now Huxley is busy juggling the demands of the studio, touring and the promotional grind with the added responsibilities that come with recent fatherhood. But he still managed to find time to talk us through 36 of his all-time favourite records, and here's what he had to say about them…
SIX PERSONAL PRODUCTIONS
Huxley – I Want You (Aus Music, 2014)
"I honestly think this is the best record I've ever written, so I had to include it here! It's a collaboration with Roses Gabor, although she's not actually credited on it, who's an incredible artist. I was also the first song I wrote for my album Blurred, and the first song I had synced to an advert. It's the one track of mine that I'm fully happy with – with most of my other records, all I hear is the mistakes and the inconsistencies!"
Huxley – Made Up My Mind (Toolroom Records, 2019)
"This was my last single on Toolroom. It's a bit of a return to an older Huxley sound, it's a proper groovy house record with a big, unashamedly catch vocal on it. It's a big-sounding record, which is something I've sometimes shied away from – trying to be cool when I'm not! And it's also my first release on Toolroom, so that means a lot."
Huxley & Mark Fanciulli – Lyra (Moda Black, 2017)
"This track came together really, really quickly when we were in the studio together. I like the way it progresses, it's pretty deep but with big moments in it and I think it's probably my best collaboration so far. When I play it back, I still hear mistakes but I think it's something I could listen to in 10 years and still be happy with it."
Huxley – Linked Out (Morris/Audio, 2011)
"For me this was one of my most slept-on records. It's quite a basic track, quite deep and techy, and I love to play it – it's a proper groover. It was, like, D2 or something on the EP, though, so it didn't get a huge amount of attention."
Owl Eyes - You & I [Huxley Remix] (Future Classic, 2019)
"This is quite a recent one. I love her voice and the remix came together pretty quickly. It allowed me to be quite musical, which I've sort of avoided doing so much because of how the current house and tech-house climate is, but for this remix I threw caution to the wind and I love the way it turned out."
Arctic Lake - For Us [Huxley Reimaged] (Arctic Lake, 2015)
"I first heard this band on either 6 Music or Radio 1, late one night. I reached out to them and said could I work on something, and they asked me to remix this. The original is incredible, and when I did the remix I wasn't really thinking about the dancefloor, I was thinking about complimenting their music and their vocal, so it's ended up as being something you can listen to anywhere. I's more of a listening record than a club record, which is a bit a departure for me, so it's one of my favourite remixes I've ever done."
SIX RECORDS THAT NEVER LEAVE YOUR BOX
Marco Lys – The Story Continues (Bambossa, 2017)
"For me, this is a return to great house music, it's the best house track I've heard for the past few years. I wasn't really aware of him before I heard this, but since then I've been a big fan of everything he's released. This is a track I reach for if I'm feeling a bit of a slump during my set: it perks me up, it perks the crowd up and the saxophone's brilliant, too."
Alex Tepper & Paul Harris – Terris [Len Faki DJ Edit] (REK'D, 2010)
"Again, this for me is a great house track, even though Len Faki's better known for making techno. It's got a great festival, fiesta vibe with the live instruments, and I've never seen it not work: it's a slow-burner at first, but once it gets going it's a great record."
Phil Kieran – Basic Pitch (PKR, 2017)
"The ultimate impact record: the bassline and the way the drums work, it'll shake up the dancefloor instantly. I could have picked so many of Phil's records, but this is one I've played a lot and it really shakes up the crowd, which is kind of what I like to do. I'll throw this is in when they're least expecting it."
Alan Braxe & Fred Falke – Intro (Vulture Music, 2000)
"I don't know what I can say about this one – what a classic record! It's got those French elements, that Stardust/Daft Punk vibe, but it's also retained that underground feeling that some of those kind of tracks kind of lost, and the bassline on it is incredible as well."
Rino Cerrone – Crash & Burn (Unrillis, 2007)
"This is kind of in the box for a different reason. Yes, it is a great record, but for me it's a record I can play that will link two different vibes up a bit, it's got big elements and big drop but it's also more just a bit of a roller, and I think those are important records for getting from one place to another in a set."
Javi Bora & Javi Lopez – Fucking Hammer (Roush, 2018)
"The piano on this, the way that they've built it – it really does work like a fucking hammer! And it's also just a great record with a great groove, not too cheesy… I just love it."
SIX DRIVING TUNES
Seven Grand Housing Authority – I Love The Way U Hold Me [TP's Bangin' House Re-Edit] (Ausfahrt, 1997)
"A great summertime house record with great pianos. It's something I might play early doors in a set but really it's something I'd listen to in the car on the way home. It's one of the most perfect house records I've ever heard, to be honest."
Fells Point – Got Me Flying (Clone Royal Oak, 2017)
"Just the way this track rolls, it's nice and deep, it's got some great pads and chords in there which definitely helps with a driving record, and the vocal's instantly recognisable. Just a great record for the summertime, which of course is the best time to drive."
The Whitest Boy Alive – Golden Cage [Fred Falke Remix] (Modular Recordings, 2006)
"Quite an old track, this one. It's something I rediscovered recently: it feels really euphoric and I love the way Fred Falke uses melody. All his remixes are great and I could have put any one of them in this list because they're all great to drive to, but this is the one that really jumped out at me."
Daphni – Sizzling (Jiaolong, 2019)
"A newer track this one, with lots of fun disco elements and a big catchy hook that's perfect for singing along to. Daphni is a great producer but I wasn't expecting this kind of record from him. It's the disco vibes that make it such a great driving track."
Buddy – Trouble On Central (RCA, 2018)
"A bit cheesy, I suppose, and more in the hip-hop vein. But that whole G-funk era, for me this is a great reincarnation of that vibe. Any G-funk record is good for driving to, really, but this one's just so open and airy and that's the vibe I like for my hip-hop."
Ross From Friends – You’ll Understand (Distant Hawaii, 2016)
"This one has R&B elements and again it's a great late-night driving record, if I'm on my way home after a gig it helps me unwind. It resonates with me and kind of encompasses that 'late at night on the motorway' feeling."
SIX CHEESY TUNES YOU CAN’T HELP LOVING
Rupaul – Supermodel (Tommy Boy, 1993)
"I'd never actually heard this until I heard someone play it on Boiler Room: it was a great set generally but this was easily the best record in it! It's just so unashamedly camp, and such a great singalong record. It's funny because it's a bit before my time: I was about eight when this came out, so I knew RuPaul from Drag Race, I never realised what she'd done before that."
Mariah Carey – My All [Morales Classic Club Mix] (Columbia, 1998)
"It feels a bit harsh calling a Morales mix cheesy, but when it's Mariah Carey it's hard not to be! But then I love the original of this as well, if I'm being honest. Sing along and embrace your inner diva!"
Jhay Palmer feat MC Image – Hello [David Howard Vocal Mix] (Bagatrix Recordings, 2001)
"This is a cover of the Lionel Richie song, and I love it because it reminds me of my school days. We used to run parties which were all UK garage, and I didn't like this at first but all my friends loved it so it kind of got drilled into me! This record holds a lot of good memories for me."
Ariana Grande – Thank You, Next (Republic Records, 2019)
"I figured, well, if we're going cheesy, let's go cheesy! The production on this record is great: I'm not particularly proud of loving it but I do. I can take or leave the vocal to be honest, but the way the track is made is incredible. Good pop music that's well produced and it just works."
N*Sync – Tearin’ Up My Heart (Ariola, 1997)
"These last two are kind of similar, they remind me of my youth. This was everywhere during my formative teenage years so when I hear it, it takes me back to that mindset and that era. And the production's good, too."
911 – Bodyshakin' (Virgin, 1997)
"Same story as N*Sync, really. This was one of the last pop music CDs I bought before I really discovered dance music. It's cheesy as fuck but it's great. But no, I never harboured any secret ambitions to become a boy band member… I'm not pretty enough and I can't sing!"
SIX RECORDS THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE
Kerri Chandler – Bar A Thym (Nite Grooves, 2005)
"Again, I could have picked any of Kerri's records. Discovering Kerri was a big thing for me: I was already into UK garage but I wasn't too aware of the US vibe. This record showed me how groovy US house and garage could be, and it made me completely rethink the way I make music."
Human Resource – Dominator (R&S Records, 1991)
"The very first time I heard this was on a Dreamscape album… it was the first dance music I'd heard and this was the first track on it! My mate brought the CD round to my house and put it on, and coming from a small village in Hertfordshire, I'd never heard anything like it… remember we didn't have the internet back then. I must have been about 12, and it blew my mind. I wouldn't say it was my favourite old school track, but it was the first one I heard."
Double 99 – RIP Groove (Satellite, 1997)
"This was one of the first vinyl records I ever bought: it was this and a Hardfloor 12-inch. I'd never heard UK garage before: I was into old school hardcore and drum & bass, before I started DJing, but this was the first record I bought – on a whim, randomly, in Elstree HMV. It got me into speed garage and it's stayed with me, as well – this could have gone in Six Records That Never Leave Your Box."
MJ Cole – Crazy Love (Talkin' Loud, 2000)
"Throughout my career, MJ Cole has been a huge influence on me. He showed me that you can make dancefloor records that went further than the rest: you could have your own style and stand out from the crowd. That track he did with Stormzy recently is brilliant, too."
Chuck Love – Beatdown [Jimpster Remix] (Muve Recordings, 2007)
"This is quite an old one again, but it was the first modern deep house record that I heard while I was still making UK garage. My mate Ethel introduced me to it, around 2007/2008, and it made me realise that house music was the direction I really wanted to go in. The groove on it is incredible."
BodyRox – Yeah Yeah [Instrumental] (Paradise Records, 2006)
"This was around when I was 20, 21, 22, and going to a lot of clubs around Kings Cross like The Key and The Cross. The instrumental was out for months before the vocal version, and me and my friends always wanted to know what it was. The way Dean's done the bassline is brilliant."
SIX NON-DANCE RECORDS
Mathilda Homer – Probably Sorry (self-released, 2019)
"This is someone I've jut discovered recently. I don't know a lot about her but she's a singer-songwriter, quite soulful and laidback but with big hooks to get your teeth into as well. I've liked quite a few of her tracks, she's highly under-rated in my opinion."
Michael Kiwanaku & Tom Misch – Money (Polydor, 2019)
"I'm a big fan of Tom Misch, I like Michael Kiwanuka as well and together they've come up with a great pop-soul-disco-funk record that's on heavy rotation in my car at the moment."
Tycho – Japan (Ninja Tune, 2019)
"Again, I could have picked a few of Tycho's records but this is something I'm listening to a lot at the moment. It's laidback and soulful, with electronic and organic elements, it's catchy and it's just a great record."
Bonobo – Linked (Ninja Tune, 2019)
"I don't think Bonobo's ever done anything that I didn't like – for me, every track is perfect! I like the way that, again, he mixes up organic and electronic elements really well. Every record he releases, I'm like 'Wow', and it makes me want to become a better producer. And then it sort of pisses you off as well, because you know you're never going to be as good as he is!"
Charlotte Day Wilson – Doubt (self-released, 2018)
"Very similar story to the Matilda Horner record, really. She's a great singer that I came across one day somehow, and again I think she deserves to be better known than she is. Again it's that pop-meets-soul-meets-electronica vibe, which I'm quite into at the moment. I am a bit of a pop tart on the quiet, to be honest: I'm not going to sit here and pretend I'm a massive jazz fan or something, just to try and look cool."
Bas, J.Cole – Tribe (Interscope, 2018)
"This is quite a fun track, and it's just a great modern hip-hop record that doesn't have some terrible fucking AutoTune in it. They don't come along that often any more."
Words: Russell Deeks
Made Up My Mind is out now on Toolroom. Huxley & Jacky's Kaoss EP is out tomorrow (6 Sept) on Repopulate Mars)