It’s been just a few years since Pete Tong touted Doorly as a future star, but not even the Radio 1 icon could have predicted just how rapid his ascent would be. As of 2016, he can already add two Essential Mixes, multiple Beatport and Traxsource No.1s, including a month-long stint at No.1 in the Beatport Chart with ‘Gravity Check’ (2016’s Biggest Selling Tech House Record on the site), production for Usher and Nicki Minaj, sharing the stage with The Prodigy & LCD Soundsystem, acclaimed releases on Cajual, Dirtybird and Hot Creations and studio collaborations with Green Velvet, Switch & Grandmaster Flash to his ever-growing list of achievements. Doorly cut his teeth in his native Huddersfield, running his own after hours warehouse party and booking the likes Armand Van Helden, Fatboy Slim, 2 Many DJs and eventually Pete Tong, who was so impressed by his ability behind the decks that he offered him a Live Radio 1 Essential Mix direct from the club. Following this seal of approval, Doorlys gig schedule took on a life of its own, with DJing in Time Square New York, and every major festival plus touring regularly alongside Fatboy Slim & Soulwax just some of the highlights.
How is LA treating you? The atmosphere must be slightly surreal with the current political climate.
I have actually just relocated back to Europe! I was in the middle of buying my house in LA and then all this Trump stuff started happening and it kind of put me off enough to be swayed by a really nice villa I found in Ibiza. I decided to ship my stuff back over and buy here instead. It feels much safer over here. It was also a decision that actually made much more sense as I always end up having to rent a second place in Ibiza for the season, so I won’t have to do that anymore, all my studio stuff will be in one place and the winters here are a really nice, quiet downtime in-between touring blocks. I’m making ten times as much music as I would be if I was in LA tempted by the sniff of a party every night!
You were once tipped as a Future Star by Pete Tong. Can you tell us a little about your DJ roots and how you ended up where you are?
I started DJing properly when I was at uni in Huddersfield so naturally ended up starting my own party, which we grew from a 100 person after-hours gathering to a 3000 capacity warehouse party – that’s when Tongy spotted me and gave me my first Radio 1 Essential Mix. That was the main catalyst for me to really push myself and do my best to earn my place on an international stage.
Your party is called Doorly & Friends. Can you illustrate how close friends you are with each of your forthcoming guests by telling us an anecdote about each of them?
I’m super excited to have the lovely Basement Jaxx chaps at this one. They’re two of the nicest people in the game. Another big break very early in my career
was given to me by these guys when they let me remix their track ‘Raindrops’, which went on to be a game changer for me, especially in America. Also, we once shared a dinner table together with Giorgio Moroder when we all played together at Pacha in Ibiza. Hauswerks rescued me from a house party in Ibiza when I’d had a few too many and I thought I was still in a nightclub, not sat on somebody’s living room floor, and walked me home! And El Prevost is new to the crew. I’ve been a fan of his music for a few years so we made a few tracks together. We’ve decided to co-release a double header of EPs at the same time, one on his label No Speakers and one on my new label Reptile Dysfunction.
Possibly a bit vague, but what was your favorite party ever? Or better yet, what to you makes the best parties?
Holy Ship is probably the best party on earth! There’s an unparalleled sense of community on board and it’s just the most fun collection of people. It’s really nice to be able to spend a few days with the kids who buy tickets for it and make some friends for life. Dirtybird Campout is also really special for the same reason, they have created a beautiful thing there and I hope that I never have to miss one!
How has your approach to music translated into your work with pop artists like Nicki Minaj and Usher as oppose to working with underground and house music legends like Marshall Jefferson and Green Velvet?
Working with pop artists, you’re very much a producer for them and their style. They come to you because they like what you do but, they absolutely need it to fit their needs. Also there’s a huge team of people involved with differing musical opinions so it can be fairly tricky to navigate and find something that everyone is happy with!
With the Underground heroes its much more natural, as when I’m making music I’m generally trying to make stuff that sounds like them anyway so it’s a lot more cohesive. Green Velvet, in particular, is a real mentor to me and has really helped me shape my sound over the last few years. The man is a genius and he seriously knows his shit. He really taught me the value of simplifying tracks to leave more space in the groove.
You’ve been around and have dived into a number of genres. Your skills as a turntablist, beyond being a House DJ, are well documented. What would you attribute to the resurrection of House as a global phenomenon?
I think Dubstep took over for a while when it first happened because it was generally interesting and a nice low end smack in the face for a dance floor and that whole thing kind of took the attention away from house music for a while but then it all started getting too noisy and aggressive. So some people naturally were put off by that. Plus at the same time, Disclosure happened as well as people like Duke Dumont, MK and Hot Natured having big chart singles, which brought lots of kids back to House music. Also I think a lot of credit has to be given to Dirtybird, who I feel was like a perfect gateway especially for American kids to step into house music comfortably in a way they could understand. Still fun and bass heavy but not cheesy EDM or Dusbstep / Trap.
What do you think you would have done, if it weren’t music?
Oh god! That actually terrifies me to be honest, as I really don’t know. I had really bad career advice and did an English degree at a university which I hated and basically only qualified me to be a Teacher, which I definitely wouldn’t want to do! When I finished University I did a couple of really shitty temp jobs but luckily my DJ career kicked off after only a few months after that and I’ve never had a “real” job since thankfully and hopefully will never need to again.
Care to shout out any up and comers?
As well as my guys Tan Dem and Trooko, as mentioned above, who are my main priorities this year to break through, I’m really excited about Switch’s new Project called “With You”. It’s super interesting and going to take the world by storm, I think. We have a collab together coming out soon featuring Idris Elba. That one’s really nice. Also, I stumbled across this guy called Tee Mango recently, you should check out his work, he’s the most exciting sounding artist I’ve heard in a while! Like a young Moodyman. Oh and he’s not really a newcomer, he’s an industry legend but he’s about to have a very well deserved big breakthrough as he has some HUGE tracks coming out, the inimitable Artwork, what a guy!