Kutski finds out Billy Daniel Bunter's hard dance history
Reported by Kutski
Submitted 28-05-08 09:30
After mixing the recent Hard Dance Classic iTunes exclusive, and heavily delving into the Honey Pot collectives back catalogue, I thought it would be worth catching up with one of the key players from the movement. Billy "Daniel" Bunter has always been at the cutting edge of underground dance music, from his ahead-of-its-time GBT imprint, leading the way in early freeform, to the finest of hard dance. In the late 90s it was Bunter's passion for hard house music that gave me my first exposure to the sound from within the hardcore scene, and no doubt had a massive influence on the direction my early career took!!
I took some time out to quiz big Bill about his thoughts and experiences of the scene back in the day.
Daniel son! You where the first DJ I heard playing hard house. It was at Helter Skelter Energy '98, I didn't know what the music was but I loved it! How did you find breaking hard house into what was a happy hardcore dominated scene?
I was just doing what I felt, that’s what I have always done from day one. If I’m feeling something and believe in it, I play it. It was received well and when hardcore went through its less popular times a lot of the big raves used me to push new music at their events.
What was it about hard house that appealed to you and caused a change in musical direction?
It had a real ravey vibe, with a house rhythm that really struck a chord with me. I remember playing at Sunny Side Up and Pendragon in 1997 and thinking these events were like playing a 92 Desire warehouse party in South London. It had the spirit of a lot of music I had played over the previous 8 years but with a new twist.
Was there any snobbery within the hard house community with regards to your hardcore back ground?
I reckon there was some, but most artists and DJs I came across were always excited about raving to my music at some point when they weren’t DJs or producers. I believe me and Jon Doe did a lot for hard dance throughout those years via our DJing, production and Tasty events and no one could have denied our energy, passion and success. The fact we are still going strong today in many genres is testament to our knowledge of dance music.
Hard house was original music heavily supported in the gay scene. In those early days, where you ever tempted to DJ with the ass cheeks cut out of your pants to build a greater gay following? If so, what did Sonya think?
In the early days I actually played a fair few gay parties in Bristol, Manchester and London. There was a point when there were hardly any straight parties playing the music. I played alongside Steve Thomas in 1990 at Labrynth, while Tony De Vit, Ian M and Pete Wardman all supported my releases. I always thought it was pretty cool that I could play hard house at a rave like Helter Skelter, then go and play at a predominantly gay party like Infamous or Heresy in Bristol, while the Trade DJs were playing my music in London. As for the ass cheeks being cut out of my pants, that’s how I get down every weekend!
In the hard dance scene, you have worked closely with Jon Doe as far back as I can remember. How did this relationship come about?
Through me borrowing a 303 from a studio he worked in. We accidentally used one of his stored riffs and thought we had created it our selves; we put it in a tune and released it. He phoned me when the track came out going mad, saying he wanted royalties and that he was going to sue me and do this that and the other. In a nut shell - I told him to f*ck off! Since then we have made countless amounts of tracks, toured the world together, I was even best man at his wedding.
At the beginning of the decade, your label Honey Pot Recordings was regarded as one of the top labels in the scene, along with Tidy, Nukleuz and Tripoli etc. Did you plan to build such an empire, or was it simply a snowball effect from everyone supporting your music?
It was a snowball effect. I was doing what I believed in, not following trends and hype and enjoying myself. The mad thing was when we were independently releasing records and going in to the top 75 with no commercial PR whatsoever. It was a big time for record sales as well, you could sell 10 thousand plus copies of some releases. There was a time in Music Week when Honey Pot held the biggest market share for record sales of any independent label.
Are there any plans to resurrect the label?
I have just set up my new company www.canyoufeelitmedia.com with Slipmatt We have digitally remastered all of the old Honey Pot material and have a number of new hard dance tracks ready for release music from Lox and Vandall plus a Cally Gage and MDA & Spherical iTunes compilation.
You also ran one of London's leading hard house nights, Tasty. Do you miss the sleepless nights on the run up to an event, and do you have any plans to promote in the future?
I used to love running Tasty, and the event was certainly unique. It was a real buzz, but very tiring at times. I must get asked about 20 times a weekend when’s the next one. It’s not top of my priorities as I have a busy DJ schedule and punishing deadlines with my Ministry of Sound album projects and Can You Feel It Media. It’s nice to leave it for now with a successful history surrounding it, rather then letting it die a vibeless death. People have fond memories of Tasty and I have another successful feather in my cap…. Job Done! (Stop Press - Watch the forums for more news about a special Tasty – The Return – Ed.)
My new Hard Dance Classics mix covers many of the biggest tracks over the past 10 years, how do you feel the hard dance of today compares with when you first got involved with the scene?
It’s a lot less funky, not as tuff and at times not as fun. Although in the modern era its better produced, has more melody and more variation, I’m a sucker for the bouncy end of Hard Dance – Sound Selektaz, Bad Behaviour, Dellusion and The Hyper DJs, and I think MDA & Spherical, Vandall and Vynal Groover are streets ahead when it comes to pushing the sound forward. DJ wise Cally Gage is great, and you my old son lived up to my expectations, I remember Barry Good Greef and Will Frantic telling me they wouldn’t book you because they didn’t like your name. And now look at you – hard dance mega star. Cream always rises to the top, and you didn’t let me down!
What is your personal all time hard dance classic?
F*ck that’s hard, can I choose 3?
Knuckleheadz – House Rocker
Jon Doe – NRG
Quake – The Day Will Come
DJ Kutski – Hard Dance Classics – OUT NOW. Buy direct from iTunes
Photos courtesy of Can You Feel It and the Harderfaster archive. Not to be reproduced without permission.
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