VIRGIL HOWE DJ

With his dark eyes, long hair and thick moustache and goatee, Virgil Howe is unmistakably the son of renowned guitarist Steve Howe (from Yes) and a child of the world of progressive rock. Immersed in his father’s world from a young age, it is only logical that he would start improvising some music notes on his Moog Synth at the age of 4. Today, after successively drumming for The Killer Meters, Little Barrie and Dirty Feel, Howe is based in London and is focusing on producing and releasing singles and mixtapes on Scenario Records – a major label in UK underground hip-hop music.

Browsing his Soundcloud, it is evident that his style has considerably changed in two years.  His latest work is more mature and it seems that he is gradually defining himself in a unique musical style.  His mixes are refreshingly new in a world where electro music essentially consists of adding a repetitive melody to vaguely sophisticated beats. The influence of different styles is very strong in his recent mixes, ranging from disco to electronic, through “bootyshakin” and “spacefunk”. He excels in taking songs that belong to a very specific genre of music and twisting them around to produce an entirely different sound. For example, Snoop Dogg’s, Drop It Like It’s Hot becomes Kiss It Like It’s Hot, as it is tastefully brightened up with lazy lounge beats and slow soul notes.

Virgil Howe has character and his music is reflective of that. His unusual focus on disco-funk and his massive use of unknown vocalists seem like bold moves in the ultra-competitive sphere of London music, but by giving personality to his songs certainly pays off. Ease Back Mama, Stolen Moments, Afroway: Howe is certainly successful in imposing rhythmic afro beats as his trademark and he says himself that he stands as “as spokesperson for the outer worlds”. Certainly his family background encouraged him to find a place in the world of music, but his increasing popularity can only be explained by the fact that his style is one step ahead.

To know more about him, you can check out his Soundcloud, follow him on Twitter or like his Facebook page!

HarleyLikesMusic

I’m willing to bet that HarleyLikesMusic is like no other musician you will have heard before. An electronic music producer based in Sheffield, Harley is currently gaining rapid recognition for the things he can do with a Nintendo DS. Using a piece of software called Korg DS-10+, Harley is able to create astonishing sounds, manipulating the software to produce a unique type of electro that sits somewhere between chiptune and drum and bass.

Harley started making music by playing around with Ableton, but switched to DS permanently after a couple of successful live shows. Since then he’s played all kinds of gigs, from house parties and raves, to shows in pubs and clubs with other bands and acoustic acts.

I’m not going to pretend I understand the immense technicalities of what Harley does; an attempt at an explanation by me would only be an embarrassment for all involved. Instead I’ll point you towards an interview with Harley in Toast magazine, where he discusses the emergence of an online DS-10 community, and the HarleyLikesMusic Facebook page, which includes a more in-depth account of the technical stuff from someone who actually knows what they are talking about. That being said, I do recognise a good gig when I see one, and having seen Harley perform live a couple of months back, I do feel qualified to say that what he does is ABSOLUTELY BLOODY INCREDIBLE. And I’ve used capital letters there, so you know I mean it.

To listen to more of what Harley does, and to keep your eye out for live shows, visit his website. You can also check him out on Youtube, where you can also watch his DS screen as he works, and you can follow him on Twitter @HarleyLikeMusic. Otherwise, check him out on Soundcloud for loads more awesome tracks.