Longstanding residents (and friends) Bobby O'Donnel and Daniel Henriques join forces as The Molecule
- Published on Wednesday, 25 March 2020 16:04
After leaving their hometown in 2005, the pair found themselves either side of the Pennines, Bobby in Leeds, Daniel in Manchester. In 2007 Bobby started a residency at the already well-established System, whilst in 2008 Daniel started the now legendary Zutekh parties, as resident and co-promoter. During their combined 25 years at their respective residencies, Daniel & Bobby have shared the decks with everyone from Villalobos, to Jeff Mills to Chez Damier as well as gigs every year at The Warehouse Project and Cocoon in the Park.
Since collaborating a year ago and forming The Molecule, their first E.P is now ready for release, on Bobby's well regarded E-Numbers imprint.
What's the first memory that you guys have of each one of you?
Daniel: I first met Bobby in a Media Studies class in 1997. We were 16 years old and it was our first day at 6th Form College. The teacher had asked everyone to stand up and introduce themselves one by one to the rest of the class - “Hi, my name’s Bobby and I’m divorced with 3 kids..” was the way he chose to introduce himself. I remember finding that hilarious and knew at that point we were going to be mates!
Bobby: Haha, that did happen, I should probably point out Henny was the only person in the whole class to laugh at my weird intro! His answer I think was - “Hi, I’m Daniel Henriques but everyone calls me Henny’. After that, we ended up becoming best mates. I think we always had respect and really impressed each other from a very early age musically, it's almost weird how long it took for us to collaborate.
Tell us everything about The Molecule project: how and when it started?
Daniel: It started a couple of years ago. I live down in Brighton now and before that, I’d been living in Manchester for 10 years doing the Zutekh parties. Bobby was over in Leeds during that time doing his System residency and we’d kind of lost touch since leaving our hometown. He got in touch and asked if I fancied going up north and making a tune. Everything just seemed to click straight away. That first session we made ‘Make The Trip Work’ - one of the tunes on our first E.P, soon to be released on E-Numbers.
Bobby: Yeah it’s been a case of that, with Henny coming up North each time. We made the first bits in Southport, then I moved back to Leeds. It’s been amazing to see my old mate again and to get stuck into the project. On reflection, we could have been more in touch, but life sort of takes over.
Daniel, what's the best part of working with Bobby?
Daniel: I can’t really think of any negatives, to be honest. We seem to agree on everything - whether it’s making music or DJing - hopefully, this translates well in our music. I’ve always regarded Bobby as one of the best producers I know and it’s a pleasure to be doing this with him. Of course, it’s also great to have one of my best mates back in my life on a regular basis.
Bobby, what's the best part of Working with Daniel?
Bobby: The best part is the results we’ve been getting together, Henny has a great approach to music and life in general. I’m quite erratic in the studio, so it’s been perfect to be creative with someone so calming. Also, we’ve got a really good crew in Leeds, it's ace having him over and being part of it all.
Who's the studio nerd between you two?
Daniel: Bobby for sure. A good chunk of my time is taken up with my work down in Brighton, which isn’t music-related. Bobby is now running classes teaching music production in Leeds and spends the majority of his time in the studio. He actually taught me how to use Ableton 15 years ago.
Bobby: Yeah I’m extremely nerdy about all things music-related and always have been. Where I still buy a lot of records, Henny is the more nerdy there. I remember him back in the day, mixing techno on three decks, after becoming obsessed with Jeff Mills. It was fucking mind-blowing how he could do that, and still can! So he’s still a proper nerd too!
From what I gather, you live pretty far from each other. How do you manage to work remote?
Daniel: For us, it’s important, whenever possible, to be in the same room when working on music - whether that’s making a track or deciding on tunes for a podcast - everything takes much less time and almost always seems to come together as it should. The studio we use is in Leeds, so at the start of the Molecule project, I made the commitment to travel up wherever possible and spend a long weekend on music every time I'm up there. Up until recently, I was travelling up around once every month or so. For now, though, I’ll be staying down in Brighton waiting for the pandemic to end.
Bobby: Yeah we don’t work remotely and hopefully never will do. I find it too impersonal and not collaborative, I mean how could it be really. It might take a bit longer if you take travel into account, but musically it's quicker and it’s the only way to work for us. Also, it’s the perfect excuse to see each other and make a weekend out of it. Obviously there’ll be no more anything until the Corona Virus fucks off.
What are your next steps?
Daniel: Since the coronavirus outbreak, everything’s kind of in limbo. Our scene has obviously been hit really hard and there are no gigs to look forward to for the foreseeable future. We’ve also made the decision to delay the release of our first E.P on E-Numbers until this has all blown over. It’s not great timing, as the E.P had just gone to cut when the situation with the virus started to become serious. So yeah, everything is on hold. I am of course more than happy to wait it out as long as needs be - the main thing at the moment is for everyone not to be out partying, staying safe and at home.
Bobby: There’s not much more to say here other than that.
And what your main goals as The Molecule?
Daniel: Just keep on doing exactly what we’re doing I’d say. We’ve got a good thing going, so just keep working hard on it all and hopefully, the project will do well. We’ll be making more music and sending it out to some labels we respect, in the hope of getting something signed. I’m really happy with the way things are going in terms of us Djing together too, so definitely looking forward to the time we can play out again!
Bobby: We're both ploughing on with this project very much and I’m just doing projects in general and having a bit of a break from releasing my solo stuff. We’ve been getting the correct types of bookings, so once the world can get back to normal, more of that for sure.
Any anticipation on some E-Numbers' future stuff?
Daniel: It’s all very early days but we’ve spoken about a Molecule remix for an upcoming release on E-Numbers. Keep your ears peeled for that! Bobby has also been working on a pretty big E-Numbers party up in Leeds later on in the year, which we’ll be playing at if the lockdown has ended.
Bobby: On E-Numbers after The Molecule release I’ll be showcasing some new artists I believe in and two of the most talented people I’ve met. The first is KG93, who I’ll be putting out an EP together with as KB Gems. He’s like a brother to me and an incredibly talented all-rounder, who is a wonder when it comes to music and making it. He’s also a choreographer. Pure talent! I’m also putting a release together with Konnie. He’s not only one of my best mates but a seriously talented DJ, drummer and beatboxer (he won't mind me saying that). Then who knows really! More releases and I’ll speed up the rate of them once it’s all back to normal and start asking people for demos.
Any shoutout or final thanks?
Daniel: Absolutely - Huge shouts to everyone that’s booked us to play so far. We’ve really enjoyed every gig and it means the world that promoters have put their faith in us. Also a big shout and big love to my wonderful lady Corinne who is nothing but supportive of what we are doing with The Molecule. I’ve been away a fair amount in the past year and I’m sure plenty of girlfriends wouldn’t be too happy! Also to my 4 Zutekh brothers, especially James and Dave for asking me to come on board at the very start. I still remember our little meeting all those years back... I've learnt how to play out properly as a result and also what it means to be a resident. I'll always be grateful. I’d also really like to thank Steve O'Sullivan for giving us the opportunity with the last podcast we did for his Mosaic mix series. We had some nice feedback on that and a couple of ace gigs came from it too. It was a massive platform for us, as is this opportunity with Meoko, so a big thanks to you too! Really hope you enjoy the mix..x
Bobby: Yeah, to be honest, I'd like to give a shout out to all the Mint Club family and especially Shane for giving me the chance of being a resident all those years ago. It’s shaped everything that I do and warming up has taught me how to be a DJ properly. I'm so utterly grateful for it. Also a special shout out to Danny Robinson for being a consistent dude and the best dick head in Leeds.
Also from us both, on a final note, we just wanted to say a massive shoutout has to go to all the doctors, nurses & health care workers around the world during this absolutely insane time. It’s hard to even begin to imagine what they are dealing with at the moment. Also to the people working in food shops, delivering, helping the homeless, key workers and everyone else doing their bit. Respect..x
Words by Francesco Quieti