Howie B

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Howie B
Howie B 2007.jpg
Howie B in 2007
Background information
Birth name Howard Bernstein
Born (1963-04-18) 18 April 1963 (age 58)
Glasgow, Scotland
Genres Trip hop, electronica
Occupation(s) Music producer

Howard Bernstein (born 18 April 1963,[1] Glasgow, Scotland), professionally known as Howie B, is a musician and producer, who has worked with artists including: Björk, U2, Robbie Robertson, Elisa, Tricky, Mukul Deora and The Gift.


Born into a Jewish family amidst the Catholic/Protestant sectarianism of Glasgow,[2] Bernstein attended socialist Jewish youth clubs in the city while finding a musical education in John Peel's radio shows, recording tracks from the show on a two-track tape recorder and making rudimentary mixes from them.[3]

Later, he spent a year in Israel working on a kibbutz as part of Jewish cultural youth movement Habonim[4] before living for a period in the United States.

Early career

Once back in the UK, he moved to a squat in Limehouse, London with a desire to work in the music industry, and after establishing himself as a DJ, eventually found a job working as a teaboy at Lillie Yard studios – owned by legendary film composer Hans Zimmer. He worked his way up there between 1984 and 1986, from teaboy to tape operator to assistant engineer to engineer.[5] "I could see myself DJ-ing forever, but I wanted to learn a skill, I wanted to take it seriously," he said of his decision to move into the world of music production. "And so I went into apprenticeship in a studio. When I began working there I was so intimidated. I did not know what the hell I was meant to do or what any of the technical stuff meant. Because of this I had a completely different attitude to equipment, but I did learn all the technical details and procedures. Lillie Yard was a film studio, so working there was a bit crazy: one minute I'd be recording a jingle for McDonalds, the next a jingle for Danone, and then I'd be recording a 20-piece choir or a small orchestra. I'd often record and mix 40 minutes of music in one day."

His most notable work at Lillie Yard was recording Soul II Soul's seminal Club Classics Vol. One, after he befriended the group during regular visits to their legendary parties at London's Africa Centre.[6] Following the success of this collaboration, he left Lillie Yard to go freelance.

Artist production, engineering and collaboration

He has worked with Björk on several projects, engineering her third studio album Post and co-writing "I Miss You", and co-produced, engineered and mixed U2's electronically focused ninth studio album Pop in 1997 alongside producer Flood after having worked on their 1995 album Passengers: Original Soundtracks 1 alongside Brian Eno.[7] "At the beginning they were trying to find a role for me" he said of the beginning of the project. "My original title was 'DJ and Vibes'. It was a bit of a difficult title to be given, because some of the tunes didn't need that kind of input – it's not as though there's scratching and loops all over the record. And vibes... that's a really difficult word to describe, and to put your finger on. So it was a bit ad hoc at first. As we got further and further into the project, the role I was playing came out – I was co-producer, engineer, and mixer. I gave the band a direct line into club culture and freestyle DJing."

Other notable credits include producing Tricky's 'Ponderosa',[8] performing 'noises' on Marlene Kuntz's Ricoveri Virtuali E Sexy Solitudini,[9] producing two albums (Reale and collaborative album Not in the Face) for Italian funk rock group Casino Royale.,[10] producing and co-writing Take Your Partner by the Hand with Robbie Robertson for his own album Turn the Dark Off,[7] producing Sly and Robbie's album Drum & Bass Strip to the Bone,[11] producing a solo project for U2's The Edge and producing for Hal Wilner.[12]

Solo career

He has been releasing music under his own name since the early 1990s, as well as under other various monikers and as part of groups including ambient/electronica Skylab. His productions appeared on seminal electronic labels including Mo'Wax and Eye Q, while he signed to major label Polydor for a deal that spanned four full-length albums and several singles.

As a DJ, he mostly notably compiled and mixed FabricLive.05 for London nightclub Fabric's nascent label in 2002.

A new album, Down with the Dawn, was announced in late 2013[13] and released on 9 April 2014.[14]

Film scores, TV, advertising music and theatre

He produced a remix of the cover version of Theme from Mission: Impossible for the 1996 feature-film remake, called Mission: Impossible Theme (Mission Accomplished) performed by U2 members Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr., which peaked at No. 7 in both the UK and US charts and sold over 500,000 copies.

He has produced, co-produced, composed and written a number of scores and soundtracks for full-length feature and short films alike, including The End of Violence with Ry Cooder, Dollhouse, How To Sell A Banksy, Double Xposure, Lost in Thailand, Made in China and Rabbit.[15] He frequently collaborated with director Run Wrake, who would animate short films and music videos set to accompany Howie B's music.[16] He also soundtracked a pornographic film directed by Jacob Pander.[17]

His TV work includes creating music for BBC One's Imagine documentary on The Royal Ballet's principal guest artist Carlos Acosta, for a Dazed & Confused short film project Stop for a Minute[18] and for a Dazed series on Channel 4.[19]

His work for advertising campaigns includes creating music for Maserati,[20] Hyundai,[21] Range Rover, Hugo Boss and BUPA.[22]

He also collaborated with Argentine theatre group De La Guarda on an album produced by one of their members, Gaby Kerpel, who he also mentored.[23]

Pussyfoot Records and HB records

His label, Pussyfoot Records, ran from 1994 to 2002 and released over 20 albums and compilations and around 50 singles.

He set up HB Records in 2013 to release new album Down with the Dawn.



Chart singles

  • "Angels Go Bald: Too" (1997) – UK No. 36
  • "Switch" (1997) – UK No. 62
  • "Take Your Partner By the Hand" (1998) – UK No. 74 †

† Howie B featuring Robbie Robertson[24]





  1. BBC Radio 6 Music, Gilles Peterson, "Howie B in conversation", interview with Howie B, 19 April 2014
  2. Howie B interview That's. Retrieved 2013-16-12.
  3. Insights into fatherhood SCMP. Retrieved 2013-16-12.
  4. The comedy gang: The Jewish youth group that made Sacha Baron Cohen The Independent. Retrieved 2013-16-12.
  5. Howie B: Electronic Music For Live Performance Sound on Sound. Retrieved 2013-16-12.
  6. Soul II Soul: The Day Of The Funki Dred Blues & Soul. Retrieved 2013-17-12.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Flood & Howie B: Producing U2's 'Pop' Sound on Sound. Retrieved 2013-17-12.
  8. Tricky: Discogs Discogs. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  9. Marlene Kuntz: Discogs Discogs. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  10. Clash Music: Howie B vs Casino Royale Clash Music. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  11. Drum & Bass Strip To The Bone by Howie B review Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  12. Hal Wilner: Pomegranate Arts Pomegranate Arts. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  13. Howie B announced Down With The Dawn Digital Warble. Retrieved 2013-17-12.
  14. "Dazed preview" John-Paul Pryor, 'Howie B – Down with the Dawn', Dazed Digital, 3 April 2014.
  15. Howie B. filmography IMDB. Retrieved 2013-18-12.
  16. Thomas, Gary (31 March 2014). "Run Wrake, 1965-2012". British Film Institute. Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  17. Howie B interview Time Out Hong Kong. Retrieved 2013-18-12.
  18. Stop For A Minute Angelfire. Retrieved 2014-18-02.
  19. Renegade Masters Design Week. Retrieved 2014-18-02.
  20. Seven Notes: Howie B Live At Abbey Road Studios WhatCulture!. Retrieved 2013-18-12.
  21. Hyundai launches latest Europe-wide campaign Campaign. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
  22. Song Of The Salesman: BUPA Song of the Salesman. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
  23. Gaby Kerpel: Nonesuch Records Nonesuch Records. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 35. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  25. "Angélique Kidjo – Agolo (How's Tricks mix)". Last.FM. Last.FM. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  26. "Ofelia Dorme – Paranoid Park (Howie B remix) video". NME. NME. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 

External links

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