If you were to attempt to create a tracklist to define the career of Daniel Avery to date, it would be pretty damn eclectic.

Words by Yasmin Arrigo,
Global Editorial Director, Amplify.

From fuzzy shoegaze to abrasive techno, ethereal ambient to off kilter IDM and everything in between, the sounds continue to expand, united only in their energy. Welcome to the world of Daniel Avery...

Musical beginnings

My dad is a huge record collector, so the house was never silent – there was always music playing. I became really interested in his vinyl and that’s where it all began. I never considered this could be what I did for a job, it was just a hobby. I always put musicians of any level on such a pedestal. They seemed to come from a different planet and I was in complete awe of them – any artist who was able to build a world, through their live shows, their music videos, their merchandise ... I was really drawn to that whole idea from an early age as a fan.

I started making music in my teens, just messing about in my bedroom with a 4-track recorder, guitars and a drum machine. Then came DJing. I didn’t really know what it
was until I came across a club night in Bournemouth, where I grew up – an alternative night playing lots of guitar music, some electronica and the more leftfield pop music of the time. I hung around there so often and was so taken into that world that I became obsessed
with it. It felt like a really exciting underground corner of the town where I felt I belonged. I began DJing there for the opening hour every week and completely fell in love with it, instantly. From there, I had a number of jobs within music – as a booker, a promoter, working in a record shop – and DJing was a constant throughout it all. Gradually, my hobby of making my own world defined my entire life.

Early influences and collaborators

I loved bands like Nine Inch Nails and Smashing Pumpkins, obsessed over directors such as Chris Cunningham and David Lynch – all while pouring hours into video games like Silent Hill and Metal Gear Solid. To me, all of this occupied the same shadowy space. Anyone that was able to beckon me into their world absolutely fascinated me and I still feel the same way now.

I was a huge Erol Alkan fan before I even met him. I used to go to his club night, Trash, and we gradually became friends. I signed to his label Phantasy Sound ten years ago, and I just released my sixth album for them – a perfect circle. Someone who was kind of my hero in many ways became my friend and long-term collaborator. I find it really important to keep those relationships alive, it invigorates me.

Two photographers have played a huge role in everything I’ve done in my career. One is Steve Gullick, my favourite visual artist without question. As a teenager I was obsessed with his photographs and I remain that way. Parisian photographer Keffer is perfect at capturing
the excitement of nightlife and he has followed me on the road for ten years. We have a mountain of tour photographs – not just of me but of the energy of the party, beautifully captured in black and white. Steve and Keffer are two huge figures in my career.

Creating the live moment

The live experience really is an opportunity to expand your world as an artist. It’s all very well sitting in your studio making music, but putting it out into real life is exciting. It’s not just the night itself, it’s about the poster and flyer design and then how the venue or club looks and feels. We’ve all had those nights out with our friends where you want to keep the ticket or steal a poster and put it up in your room because those are the nights that really stay with you.

Post-pandemic, the rise of streaming has been really interesting and exciting. I’m a big fan of Boiler Room which is so well-executed, but there are probably members of the newest clubbing generation that predominantly know that world through a screen. There’s
nothing wrong with that, but if you’re watching a DJ through a screen you’re probably only getting about five percent of the overall experience. A DJ is a part of the night, the rest is fuelled by the energy and the atmosphere in the room and every single person plays an important part in the overall experience in that room. The journey to and from the club is also every bit as important.

Latest release

The world of this record is bigger than simply the album itself. In addition to its digital release, the album was released on vinyl, cassette and CD, and each medium has its own secret track only available on that format. It all goes back to being an obsessive music fan as a kid. Every great act has a collection of B-sides and rarities as exciting as their main output. I’ve taken on that challenge myself. From Bjork to Nick Cave, The Cure to Aphex
Twin - these are acts into whose worlds you want to get fully lost.

Of course, new music is still vitally important. HAAi is a fantastic artist that has immediately nailed this idea of creating her world and she is a unique character that people are so drawn to. Manni Dee is someone else who creates a world that feels unique to him.

Future ambitions

Above everything else, I want to keep returning every year or two with something new – some form of new project. I’m very interested in the world of scoring as well as working on more art installations. The last thing I did was called Falling Light, a collaboration with artists Flat-e. The experience was intense and chaotic. And I got every bit of exhilaration that I get from the best club night out of working with that, so that’s certainly something I’d
like to explore. But as long as I can keep expanding the world that I’ve already started, that’s really my main goal.