Howie B in 2007
|Born||18 April 1963|
|Genres||Trip hop, electronica|
Howard Bernstein (born 18 April 1963,Glasgow, Scotland), professionally known as Howie B, is Scottish musician, producer and DJ, who has worked with artists including: Björk, U2, Tricky, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Soul II Soul Robbie Robertson, Elisa, Mukul Deora and The Gift.
Born into a Jewish family amidst the Catholic-Protestant sectarianism of Glasgow, 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.
Once back in the UK, he moved to a squat in Limehouse, London. When asked in 2018 "What's the best gig you've ever been to?", he mentioned "Siouxsie and the Banshees in 1978". In the 1980s, he was "heavily influenced" by the London Skating scene and its DIY attitude. He saved to buy an album a week and then listened to it all day long . The bands he liked the most at the time were agin "Siouxsie and the Banshees - of which I was a big fan - but also Santana, John McLaughlin, Sly & Robbie, a lot of reggae, and Brian Eno".
He had a desire to work in the music industry, and after establishing himself as a DJ, he found a job working as a teaboy at Lillie Yard studios - owned by film composer Hans Zimmer. He worked his way up there between 1984 and 1986, from teaboy to tape operator to assistant engineer to engineer. He learnt there all the technical details and procedures.
He started working; mixing and engineering with Siouxsie and the Banshees, on their 1988 singles "Peek-a-Boo" and "The Killing Jar". "I could not believe I was doing it. Four years earlier I'd been jumping up on the stage trying to touch her, and then I'm in the studio with her. That was a big moment". He then engineered and mixed on Soul II Soul's debut album Club Classics Vol. One in 1989, after he befriended the group during regular visits to their parties at London's Africa Centre. By the early 1990s, he was hired by Massive Attack and Goldie. Following the success of these collaborations, he left Lillie Yard to go freelance. In 1993, he set up his own label Pussyfoot.
He worked as a programmer for Björk on several albums, engineering on 1995's Post and co-writing "I Miss You". His mix of "All is Full of Love" was included in the final cut of her following album, 1997's Homogenic.
At the same time, he collaborated with U2 on different projects. He supervised their side-project Passengers: Original Soundtracks 1 alongside with producer Brian Eno. He also heavily involved in the U2's electronically focused Pop in 1997, co-producing it with Flood. "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." He then embarked on their PopMart tour, for a DJ set.
Other notable credits include producing Tricky's 'Ponderosa', performing 'noises' on Marlene Kuntz's Ricoveri Virtuali E Sexy Solitudini, producing two albums (Reale and collaborative album Not in the Face) for Italian funk rock group Casino Royale., producing and co-writing Take Your Partner by the Hand with Robbie Robertson for his own album Turn the Dark Off, producing Sly and Robbie's album Drum & Bass Strip to the Bone, producing a solo project for U2's The Edge and producing for Hal Wilner.
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.
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. He frequently collaborated with director Run Wrake, who would animate short films and music videos set to accompany Howie B's music. He also soundtracked a pornographic film directed by Jacob Pander.
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 and for a Dazed series on Channel 4.
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.
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 a new album Down with the Dawn.