Howie B

Last updated

Howie B
Howie B 2007.jpg
Howie B in 2007
Background information
Birth nameHoward 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 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.


Early life and career

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.

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". [5] In the 1980s, he was "heavily influenced" by the London Skating scene and its DIY attitude. [5] 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 "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". [6]

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. [7] He learnt there all the technical details and procedures.

Artist production, engineering and collaboration

He started working; mixing and engineering with Siouxsie and the Banshees, [8] on their 1988 singles "Peek-a-Boo" and "The Killing Jar". [9] "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". [8] 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. [10] By the early 1990s, he was hired by Massive Attack and Goldie. [11] Following the success of these collaborations, he left Lillie Yard to go freelance. In 1993, he set up his own label Pussyfoot. [9]

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. [12] 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', [13] performing 'noises' on Marlene Kuntz's Ricoveri Virtuali E Sexy Solitudini, [14] producing two albums (Reale and collaborative album Not in the Face) for Italian funk rock group Casino Royale., [15] producing and co-writing Take Your Partner by the Hand with Robbie Robertson for his own album Turn the Dark Off, [12] producing Sly and Robbie's album Drum & Bass Strip to the Bone, [16] producing a solo project for U2's The Edge and producing for Hal Wilner. [17]

In 2021, Italian duo Pinhdar released the album “Parallel,” produced by Howie B and including his significant musical contributions. He told ondarock that “this is one of the records I’m most proud of.” [18]

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 [19] and released on 9 April 2014. [20]

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. [21] He frequently collaborated with director Run Wrake, who would animate short films and music videos set to accompany Howie B's music. [22] He also soundtracked a pornographic film directed by Jacob Pander. [23]

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 [24] and for a Dazed series on Channel 4. [25]

His work for advertising campaigns includes creating music for Maserati, [26] Hyundai, [27] Range Rover, Hugo Boss and BUPA. [28]

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. [29]

His remix of "Cherry Lips" by Garbage is used after every home run hit by the Milwaukee Brewers.

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 a new album Down with the Dawn.



Chart singles

† Howie B featuring Robbie Robertson from Contact from the Underworld of Redboy [30]




Related Research Articles

Siouxsie and the Banshees English rock band

Siouxsie and the Banshees were a British rock band, formed in London in 1976 by vocalist Siouxsie Sioux and bass guitarist Steven Severin. They have been widely influential, both over their contemporaries and with later acts. Q included John McKay's guitar playing on "Hong Kong Garden" in their list of "100 Greatest Guitar Tracks Ever", while Mojo rated guitarist John McGeoch in their list of "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" for his work on "Spellbound". The Times cited the group as "one of the most audacious and uncompromising musical adventurers of the post-punk era".

Trip hop is a musical genre that originated in the early 1990s in the United Kingdom, especially Bristol. It has been described as "a fusion of hip hop and electronica until neither genre is recognizable", and may incorporate a range of styles, including funk, dub, soul, psychedelia, R&B, and house, as well as other forms of electronic music. Trip hop can be highly experimental.

Tricky (musician) British rapper and record producer

Adrian Nicholas Matthews Thaws, better known by his stage name Tricky, is a British record producer and rapper. Born and raised in Bristol, he began his career as an early collaborator and guest rapper/producer and also best known as founding member of the band Massive Attack alongside Robert Del Naja, Grant Marshall & Andrew Vowles. He embarked on a solo career with his debut album, Maxinquaye, in 1995. The release won Tricky popular acclaim and marked the beginning of a lengthy collaborative partnership with vocalist Martina Topley-Bird. He released four more studio albums before the end of the decade, including Pre-Millennium Tension and the pseudonymous Nearly God, both in 1996. He has gone on to release nine studio albums since 2000, most recently Fall to Pieces (2020). In 2016, he joined Massive Attack a few times on stage for the first time in two decades, while continuing his solo career.

The Sugarcubes Icelandic alternative rock band

The Sugarcubes were an Icelandic alternative rock band from Reykjavík formed in 1986 and disbanded in 1992. For most of their career, the band consisted of Björk, Einar Örn Benediktsson, Þór Eldon (guitar), Bragi Ólafsson (bass), Margrét "Magga" Örnólfsdóttir (keyboards) and Sigtryggur Baldursson (drums).

Siouxsie Sioux English singer, songwriter, musician, producer and lead singer of the Banshees

Susan Janet Ballion, known professionally as Siouxsie Sioux, is an English singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer. She is best known as the lead singer of the rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees (1976–1996). They released 11 studio albums and had several UK Top 20 singles including "Hong Kong Garden", "Happy House", "Peek-a-Boo", plus a US Billboard Top 25 hit "Kiss Them for Me".

Talvin Singh, OBE, is a producer and composer and tabla player, known for creating an innovative fusion of Indian classical music and drum and bass. Singh is generally considered involved with an electronica subgenre called Asian Underground, and more recently as Indian and/or Asian electronica.

Andrew Weatherall English DJ, record producer, and remixer

Andrew James Weatherall was an English musician, DJ, songwriter, producer and remixer. His career took him from being one of the key DJs in the acid house movement of the late 1980s to being a remixer of tracks by the likes of Happy Mondays, New Order, Björk, The Orb, The Future Sound of London and My Bloody Valentine.

Sly and Robbie Jamaican rhythm section and production duo

Sly and Robbie are a prolific Jamaican rhythm section and production duo, associated primarily with the reggae and dub genres. Drummer Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare teamed up in the mid-1970s after establishing themselves separately in Jamaica as professional musicians.

Nellee Hooper is a British record producer, remixer and songwriter known for his work with many major recording artists beginning in the late 1980s. He also debuted as a motion picture music composer with Scottish composer Craig Armstrong and Marius De Vries for the soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet in 1996.

Robbie Rivera

Roberto "Robbie" Rivera is a prolific house music producer and DJ born in Puerto Rico. He has an extensive catalog of original productions and remixes to his credit, ranging from tribal to progressive house, as well as incorporating garage and Latin elements. He and his wife Mónica Olabarrieta have homes in Miami and Ibiza. On October 28, 2009, DJ Magazine announced the results of their annual Top 100 DJ Poll, with Rivera placing number 95.

All Is Full of Love 1999 single by Björk

"All Is Full of Love" is a song by Icelandic musician Björk from her third studio album Homogenic (1997). The lyrics were inspired by love in spring and Ragnarök of Norse mythology. Björk's original version is a trip hop ballad with soul influences, harp, strings, and electronic beats; the version on Homogenic is a minimalist remix by Howie B, emphasising Björk's vocals. A remix by the German IDM duo Funkstörung was released as a single in 1998.

Ebony Bones

Ebony Bones is an English model, actress, musician and producer. Her musical style is eclectic and often blends elements of afrobeat, art rock, post-punk, classical, new-wave and electronic. Her debut album Bone of My Bones was released to positive reviews in 2009. Recorded in India, her second album, Behold, a Pale Horse was released in September 2013, to critical acclaim. Her third album Nephilim went out in 2018.

<i>Nearly God</i> 1996 studio album by Nearly God

Nearly God is the unofficial second album by English rapper and producer Tricky. It was released in February 1996 under the pseudonym "Nearly God", which originated from an interview during which Tricky was asked "so how does it feel to be God... well, nearly God."

Israel (Siouxsie and the Banshees song)

"Israel" is a song by English rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees, released as a stand-alone single in 1980 by Polydor Records. The track was written by Siouxsie and the Banshees and co-produced with Nigel Gray, it featured a 30 singer Welsh choir on backing vocals. While touring in Europe in Autumn 1980, the band wanted to write a Christmas song to be released on time for December of that year. They composed it on the road, which was quite unusual for them.

Kiss Them for Me (song) 1991 single by Siouxsie and the Banshees

"Kiss Them for Me" is a song written and recorded by English rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees. It was produced by Stephen Hague. It was released in 1991 as the first single from the band's 10th studio album, Superstition.

Stargazer (Siouxsie and the Banshees song) 1995 single by Siouxsie and the Banshees

"Stargazer" is a song written, produced and recorded by English rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees. It was released as the second single from the band's 11th studio album The Rapture.

16bit were an electronic music duo, consisting of Eddie Jefferys and Jason Morrison. They were signed to Chase & Status' MTA Records, and best known for their work with Björk.

Chuckie (DJ)

Clyde Sergio Narain, known professionally as Chuckie, is a Surinamese DJ and producer. He lives in Aruba.

"Take Your Partner by the Hand" is a 1998 song by Howie B featuring Robbie Robertson. It samples The Electric Prunes' "Holy Are You".

<i>Vulnicura</i> 2015 studio album by Björk

Vulnicura is the eighth studio album by Icelandic musician and singer Björk. It was produced by Björk, Arca and The Haxan Cloak, and released on 20 January 2015 by One Little Indian Records. Björk said the album expresses her feelings before and after her breakup with American contemporary artist Matthew Barney and the healing process.


  1. BBC Radio 6 Music, Gilles Peterson, "Howie B in conversation", interview with Howie B, 19 April 2014
  2. Howie B interview Archived 21 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine 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. 1 2 Parry, Fred (September 2018). "Howie B. Producer — Glasgow [interview]". Archived from the original on 21 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  6. "A meeting with Howie B, Rencontre avec Howie B". 20 November 2018. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  7. Howie B: Electronic Music For Live Performance Archived 16 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine Sound on Sound. Retrieved 2013-16-12.
  8. 1 2 Peixoto, Ariane (25 March 2014). "Howie B at the Frontier". Archived from the original on 30 May 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  9. 1 2 "Howie B. [interview]". Residentadvisor. Archived from the original on 21 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  10. Soul II Soul: The Day Of The Funki Dred Blues & Soul. Retrieved 2013-17-12.
  11. Sturges, Fiona (3 April 1998). "Howie B [interview]". The Independent. Archived from the original on 21 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  12. 1 2 Flood & Howie B: Producing U2's 'Pop' Sound on Sound. Retrieved 2013-17-12.
  13. Tricky: Discogs Discogs. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  14. Marlene Kuntz: Discogs Discogs. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  15. Clash Music: Howie B vs Casino Royale Clash Music. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  16. Drum & Bass Strip To The Bone by Howie B review Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  17. Hal Wilner: Pomegranate Arts Archived 18 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine Pomegranate Arts. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  18. Delli Paoli, Giuliano. "Pindhar: pitiche visioni" . Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  19. Howie B announced Down With The Dawn Archived 17 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine Digital Warble. Retrieved 2013-17-12.
  20. "Dazed preview" John-Paul Pryor, 'Howie B – Down with the Dawn', Dazed Digital, 3 April 2014.
  21. Howie B. filmography IMDB. Retrieved 2013-18-12.
  22. Thomas, Gary (31 March 2014). "Run Wrake, 1965-2012". British Film Institute . Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  23. Howie B interview Time Out Hong Kong. Retrieved 2013-18-12.
  24. Stop For A Minute Angelfire. Retrieved 2014-18-02.
  25. Renegade Masters Design Week. Retrieved 2014-18-02.
  26. Seven Notes: Howie B Live At Abbey Road Studios WhatCulture!. Retrieved 2013-18-12.
  27. Hyundai launches latest Europe-wide campaign Campaign. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
  28. Song Of The Salesman: BUPA Song of the Salesman. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
  29. Gaby Kerpel: Nonesuch Records Nonesuch Records. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  30. 1 2 Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 35. ISBN   1-904994-10-5.
  31. "Ofelia Dorme – Paranoid Park (Howie B remix) video". NME . NME. Retrieved 10 January 2014.