Who is Danny Boy?
I’ve known July Talk drummer Danny Miles for almost twenty years. Nowadays he plays with one of the most popular bands in Canada, and he takes a lot of very nice photographs of birds. But I used to sleep on his dirty floor in London, Ontario, before all of that.
He was something of a mythical figure when Backburner first started touring as far as southern Ontario. A powerful drummer who loved golden era hip-hop, he lived in the basement of the Toolshed. Danny could become dangerously boisterous once the party started. There’s not a lot of people who would line up for a second round after they’ve tasted Danny’s Mystery Shot.
They called him Danny Boy. He always looked like a rock star – lanky, limber, quick with a goofy grin or a furrowed brow. Like if you needed to add a drummer to an Archie comic, and you didn’t spend much time avoiding cliches. Timbuktu dandled and manhandled Danny’s drums into some of the great Canadian hip-hop beats, extensively and expansively. He was the living ultimate breaks & beats for a budding producer.
Despite the massive fortune to be made playing drums into CoolEdit Pro sessions for a completely secret rap crew, Danny stuck to his principles and sought a different career path. Let history be his judge.
And he makes beats?
You can’t take the rap out of the boy! In 2018, he reunited with Timbuktu, along with Peter Project and DJ iRate, to form Tongue Helmet – a psychedelic, soul assassinating quartet straight out of the mid-90s college charts. He co-produced the beats with Peter and Tim, as well as playing the drums, and now he’s got a hunger for it.
I think I’m the first person to release a song produced by Danny. Fittingly, given our shared passion for percussion, I have sharply focused my lyrics on praising the drums. Danny played the kit live, jammed on other percussion instruments with Adam Hindle, and solicited some saxophone chops from Gordon Hyland.