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Who is George Daniel?: Music Producer and Face of New Record Label dh2

Screenshot from Charli XCX's Boiler Room set, Party Girl in New York. Features George Daniel and Charli XCX
Youtube/Boiler Room

On June 17, independent record label, Dirty Hit, announced dh2, an imprint label for electronic music. dh2 is being spearheaded by producer and drummer of The 1975, George Daniel.

As of now, most details about the record label are under wraps. A launch party at the Phonox in Brixton, London, is scheduled for July 11. George Daniel, Kelly Lee Owens, Oscar Farrell, and TimFromTheHouse will perform.

promotional poster for dh2 launch party, featuring George Daniel
Instagram/@dh2.co

History of Dirty Hit

Jamie Oborne created Dirty Hit in 2009 and has since expanded internationally to Los Angeles, Sydney and Tokyo. Oborne previously worked as an artist manager with All On Red Management. He was managing the Manchester-based band Drive Like I Do (now The 1975) at the time. When the band remained unsigned to a record label despite meeting with various major labels, Oborne established his own label. The 1975 and Benjamin Francis Leftwich were the first artists to sign to Dirty Hit.

The decision proved to be successful when The 1975 reached number 1 in the UK Album Charts in 2013 following the release of their debut album The 1975.

Dirty Hit has become a successful independent record label, signing artists like The Japanese House, Beabadoobee, Wolf Alice, Rina Sawayama, and Bleachers over the years. In 2019, the label was awarded with “Best Independent Label” at the Music Week Awards. In 2019, The 1975 signed a three-album deal with the record label. All four members became company shareholders in the same year.

Growth of Electronic Music

The announcement of the dh2 imprint comes at a time when electronic music is having a spike in popularity.

According to the IMS Business Report 2024, presented in Ibiza in April, the global electronic music industry grew by 17% in 2023, reaching a global value of $11.8 billion. Additionally, the hashtag #ElectronicMusic gained more than doubled engagement in 2023 compared to 2022, with 10.5 billion global views.

The same report also shows that the Global Streaming Market currently has 713.4 million total subscribers. This number grew 14.4% (or approximately 90 million subscribers) between the third quarter of 2022 and 2023.

So who is George Daniel, and what connection does he have to electronic music and production?

The band The 1975 pictured at the GQ Men of the year awards in 2019 (Daniel pictured second from left)
Steve Vas/Featureflash

Daniel was born in Belgium, Brussels and lived in Seattle, Washington until moving to Wilmslow, England at the age of 9. Fleetwood Mac was one of his first musical influences, as he listened to the band growing up. While attending Wilmslow High School, he met Matty Healy and joined his band as their drummer. Daniel studied Music Technology for his GSCE and received full marks. He continued to study music production in college when he was 16 years old.

In an interview with Coup de Main in 2016, Daniel describes how his time studying music production was the start of The 1975 and his production work. He said, “We were demoing the band at that time, and then I was able to use the studio at college to work on the band stuff and then even use the demos to put forward as my coursework.”

The first songs Daniel produced were on The 1975’s first EP, Facedown, specifically Antichrist and Facedown. In an interview with Roland, Daniel said, “Drummers are good at production because it’s paramount to understand the rhythmic feel of a song.”

Daniel has continued to produce for The 1975 across all five of their studio albums. Most notably have been many of the instrumental and ambient tracks featured on their albums. In his interview with Coup de Main, Daniel cited Four Tet, Jon Hopkins, and Boards of Canada as musical inspirations for the title track I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful, yet so unaware of it.

George Daniel’s production range became apparent in Notes on a Conditional Form, the band’s most experimental album. The album comprises various genres, from house to acoustic folk, country, and classical arrangement.

Healy describes the track Having No Head as Daniel’s “long form statement on the record,” according to Spotify. Healy has also described the song as, “That’s just George meditating. That’s what it sounds like to me. That is how George gets it out, this big, sprawling ambiance, his artwork, like tapestries,” according to Apple Music.

George Daniel and Musical Collaborators

George Daniel has also worked closely with The Japanese House (Amber Bain) since the start of her career in 2015. Bain met Daniel and Healy through one of Bain’s ex-girlfriends in 2012. Bain subsequently signed to Dirty Hit and has been on the label since.

Daniel has produced songs on each of Bain’s projects, from her earliest EPs to her most recent single released on June 18, : ) (pronounced smiley face). Bain’s work has been compared to that of The 1975, which makes it apparent that Daniel has specific sounds and styles associated with his work. Many fans believe that Bain’s song : ) has sonic similarities to Wintering by The 1975, which makes sense considering both are products of Daniel’s production.

Daniel has also worked with various artists signed to Dirty Hit, including Beabadoobee, Pale Waves, and No Rome.

George Daniel and Charli XCX

Charli XCX and George Daniel on the Tape Notes Podcast
YouTube/Tape Notes Podcast

Recently, much of the conversation surrounding Daniel and his artistic work is associated with his fiance, Charli XCX. The two first collaborated on the single Spinning with Charli XCX, The 1975, and No Rome in 2021. Daniel continued working with Charli on her 2022 album Crash.

Charli and George Daniel’s relationship became public in May 2022, as confirmed on Instagram. The two have collaborated musically consistently since 2022, including Hot Girl (Bodies Bodies Bodies) for the A24 film Bodies Bodies Bodies and a remix of Caroline Polachek’s Welcome to My Island.

George Daniel and Charli XCX announced their engagement via Instagram in November 2023.

In February 2024, Charli performed her Party Girl Boiler Room set in Brooklyn, New York. Daniel appeared as a guest artist and performed a DJ set featuring various (at the time) unreleased tracks from Charli’s album BRAT.

During the set, Daniel wore a never-before-seen graphic t-shirt, leading fans to speculate the meaning behind the image and if it related to Daniel and his artistic projects. The graphic has now been confirmed to be the dh2 logo.

Throughout his appearances in various DJ sets alongside Charli in association with Charli’s critically acclaimed album BRAT, Daniel has worn variations of the same dh2 graphic shirt.

George Daniel’s Production Style

Daniel produced Club Classics and Apple on BRAT. In an interview alongside Charli XCX and co-producer A.G. Cook for Tape Notes Podcast, Daniel discussed how early demos of Club Classics began with a vocal stem of Charli in a previous (and intentionally unidentified) interview.

Charli said, “I think a really cool thing about this track and a lot of [Daniel’s] work is vocal chops really drive a lot of really interesting instrumentals [he] makes.”

Daniel has used this technique in various songs he has worked on, including Loving Someone by The 1975. In his Coup de Main interview he said “If I’m trying to write a piece of melody, I’ll use an old stem of Matty’s voice and then kind of chop syllables up.”

Despite playing the drums, Daniel doesn’t use an instrument to write and does most of his work through computer programming. Collaborator A.G. Cook describes Daniel’s production style as “detailed,” even if minimal.

George Daniel also said to Coup de Main, “Ideally [production] is what I want to do. I think I’m probably a better producer than I am a drummer because I think I enjoy it more because I can be less immediately hard on myself when I’m in the studio and it’s less pressure than being on stage.”

Hopefully, more details surrounding dh2 will be released after the official launch party on July 11.

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Written By

I'm a rising senior studying journalism and history of art and architecture at Boston University. You'll probably find me listening to music or at a concert when I'm not at school or writing.

1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Remi Brandli

    July 12, 2024 at 1:05 am

    So interesting! I’ve been a fan of The 1975 for a while and absolutely loveeee Brat so it’s exciting to learn more about George’s work as a producer!

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