Romford record label owner turned film producer eyes Hollywood success
13:08 27 January 2014
Danny Donnelly had opened a record store and launched his own label before he was 20. Now, after producing 50 platinum selling albums, he is taking on Hollywood.
Shortly after attending the Golden Globe ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in California last week, Danny flew back from his Los Angeles base to his home in Upminster.
“It’s a bit weird coming back,” confessed the former pupil of Campion School in Hornchurch,
“I’m used to travelling a lot but it feels like I live somewhere else now. It’s lovely catching up with people.”
Pure Movie Media, his production company, have just produced Forsaken, a Western starring Kiefer Sutherland, Donald Sutherland and Demi Moore, which they shot in Canada.
He explained: “We’ve just opened an office in Hollywood and are raising capital for our next few movies.
“I’ve written and produced a couple in the last few years, and we have just financed two horror movies, one will be shot in the Philippines and one in LA - we are casting at the moment.”
Flashback to the 1980s when dance music was taking over the country, and Danny, a 17-year old record trader and sometime pirate radio DJ opened his own record store, Boogie Times, in Victoria Road, Romford.
“There was just nothing else I could possibly do,” he said,
“I thought I was going to be the guy that owned a record shop. It was all I wanted to do.”
From there he launched his own label, Suburban Base Records, mainly out of the need to produce exclusive stock so he could compete with the London record shops.
“I used to record in my mum and dad’s garage, press them and stock them,” he explained,
“Then we got pirate radio airplay, which lead to commercial releases.
Romford at this time was central in the drum and bass and jungle scene, with acts like Underworld crossing over into the mainstream.
Danny added: “We had top 40 singles, and Sesame’s Treet, which was released under the name Smart E’s, went to number two.”
After pioneering the genres in North and South America, as well as Japan, Danny branched out into producing compilations, including the Pure Garage series - the UK’s biggest selling urban album brand.
To date he has sold more than 30 million albums and amassed more than 50 platinum and gold records – which are hung on the walls at his Upminster home.
The latest release, Pure Deep House, is riding high in the iTunes chart and has received rave reviews – but Danny admits the music comes second now.
“It’s not the larger part of the company now. But I don’t think movie production is too different from producing compilations. It’s all about marketing.”
His plan is to put the Pure stamp on movies in the same way he did with his compilations and create a franchise.
“We want to use the brand across many things, and I will try and use my record label know-how” he explained,
“The transition was very natural actually. I have shot TV adverts and music videos so I had experience of directing and producing.
“I was just going to invest in movies to control the music catalogue – the scores and music production, but the more I got involved the more interested I became.”
But for all the A-list shoulder rubbing and Hollywood film producing, Danny doesn’t get starstruck.
“They are just people in the industry I work in. I’ve been in the creative industries for so long I don’t really get star struck,” he said,
“I’m a Romford boy.”