Fin Dow-Smith is Starsmith, and Starsmith is a DJ, producer and remixer to the stars, as well as soon to be star in his own right.
He collaborated with Ellie Goulding on her Number 1 album, Lights, co-writing five of the tracks and producing most of them, and he has remixed several high-profile releases, for mainstream to more indie types, including singles by Lady Gaga, N.E.R.D, Katy Perry, Bombay Bicycle Club, Little Boots, Marina & The Diamonds, Paloma Faith, Penguin Prison, Frankmusik and Timbaland.
Most recently, he has worked with Kylie Minogue and Cheryl Cole. And now he is about to step out from behind the studio console and issue his own self-penned, self-performed recordings that prove he is as much star as star-maker.
His debut solo single, released in August, is a double A-side vinyl release featuring a pair of dance instrumentals: Give Me A Break and Knuckle Duster. He is saving his first forays as a singer for the next release, due out in October. He describes his solo debut as "very dark and French-sounding - they're French house, basically." He is delighted that, as a long-term fan of Cassius, Daft Punk, Etienne De Crecy et al, his autumn release includes a track co-produced by French disco majordomo, Alan Braxe. He adds: "That's where my musical creativity is at, at the moment."
Fin began remixing towards the end of 2008, when he was studying for his degree in Jazz Performance at the University of Surrey. Around that time, he bumped into Vincent Frank a.k.a. Frankmusik, who encouraged him to use his basic equipment - a Mac computer, a Logic program, a pair of Yamaha studio monitors and a Midi keyboard - to become a bedroom producer. Inspired by the productions of his hero, Stuart Price, he quickly became the go-to guy for the great and the good. They wanted the Starsmith treatment - tracks fizzing with intrigue, pop drama and fresh new counter-melodies. "I'd throw a bunch of new chords in there and forget the original.", he explains. Often, a track he remixes or produces will barely resemble the original demo. Ellie Goulding's Starry Eyed, for example, began as a "gritty, angsty acoustic tune" before turning into the ethereally pretty synth epic that became her first Top 5 hit.
Being a DJ is crucial to what Starsmith does, and is. "I don't have a live band so the DJ'ing is the thing that keeps my name out there on the circuit," he says, explaining that he DJ's, either alone or alongside the likes of Annie Mac, Switch, Herve and Chase & Status, at various clubs around the UK such as Fabric in London on a Friday.
In the future, Starsmith intends to balance DJ'ing and production duties with his latest foray as a performer in his own right. "Production is something I can do forever," he reasons, "while being a solo artist is something I want to try - I don't want to look back when I'm 35 and regret not doing it."