Steve Hill goes International
Reported by Sam Townend
Submitted 13-10-09 11:52
Steve Hill really is the big man in hard dance. With a globe trotting career, spanning his successful parties down under and many a classic gig in the UK alongside his genre defining Masif imprint, this DJ booth legend has the world at his feet. Sam Townend talked to this much loved Kiwi to get the lowdown on his Tidy escapades.
We’ve just seen you play at Frantic’s 12 Birthday at Koko in London, how does it feel to play to a home crowd again?
It's always good coming back to the UK. I don't do it now as often as I used to because of other commitments I have so I always make sure I give it my all and make the trips as memorable as possible when I do visit!
How is life down under?
Unbelievably busy. I've just checked my diary and I've 18 gigs in October all over the country. They have these wicked under 18's parties here too where 1,000 - 3,000 people turn up. They always end on a hard dance set - those are mid week and I've got four of those in October to do! It's always good to see new blood enter the scene! Other than that I’m working on Impulse (the weekly club I run in Sydney), some CD projects and Masif's 6th birthday celebrations event wise in 2010!
How are things at Masif?
Really good; it’s going great guns. I’m really happy with how it's going musically too. It's enjoyable working on a variety of projects and being involved in different things such as club nights, tour events, CD's, vinyl, digital, merchandise and management.
You are one half of the Masif DJs with Technikal, what projects are you both currently working on?
Technikal and I recently had a mammoth studio session when I was in the UK for two weeks and we managed to finish nine productions in that time which will appear on the release schedule shortly. Technikal is getting over promoting his artist album and I've just finished touring a TV advertised compilation for Universal out here in Australia which reached #2 in the National charts!
Tell me more about the stuff you are doing with Tidy?
Last year the idea came about to showcase what's on Tidy to the Australian hard dance market and a link between the two labels which do a lot together (for example we both released Technikal's artist album on Tidy in the UK and Masif in Australia). This year it's Tidy's turn to showcase what's on Masif to the UK hard dance clubbers and continue the link between the two labels!
So the album Tidy International: Tidy vs Masif is out now from HMV, iTunes and all good record stores, can you give us an insight about the music that’s been chosen to go on the compilation?
First, we didn't want to repeat what releases were on the previous edition in Australia (even though it didn't make it to the UK). Second, we wanted to focus on new releases and showcase the variety of sounds that appear on the label. We're big on the European sound as well as UK hard dance down under!
Basically the album is perfect snapshot of the sounds that will be rocking out the dancefloors over the coming months both sides of the equator and beyond! There is definitely something for everyone with all bases of hard dance covered from both labels.
A lot of releases on Masif come from collaborations between yourself and Technikal, does the distance between Technikals base in the UK and yours in Australia pose any problems?
Not really. I've done the 24 hour flight to the UK so many times it's like getting a bus (in fact I catch more planes than buses!). I'm either in the UK on tour or Technikal is out here on tour when we meet up - we're always in the studio when we're in each other's neighbourhoods!
Its been 6 years since you started Masif and in this time the music Industry has become one of the most rapidly changing business in the world. With no quick fix in sight to the problem of illegal downloading and DJ and production technology advancing month on month, where do you see things in another 6 years and how is Masif adapting to this ever changing environment?
I think while the music won't change drastically - the way we consume it has and will - which is why we're involved in a variety of things within the scene from single and album releases (including vinyl, CD and digital) to merchandise to club tours and putting on events.
Illegal downloading? It’s not something you can stop, I hope people can see the value though in spending a couple of dollars for a decent tune though.
A lot of people within the hard dance scene are talking about the genre 'coming back' and a supposed 'musical cycle' which means hard dance will see another boom in popularity. What do you think to this theory and do you think hard dance can enjoy a resurgence just as the hardcore scene has done is recent years?
Well it's sort of true, based on what happened with happy hardcore but what drove the popularity of hard hance back in 2000 was crossover records in the genre such as Public Domain – Operation Blade and other big tunes from the likes of Signum, Lock'n'Load and Cortina. Until our scene starts making crossover records again I can't see it being as big as it was in 2000.
Happy hardcore was more vocal based, so the tracks always translated well into other genres and artists like Darren Styles became household names. For hard dance to rise again to that sort of level (ie beyond specific club nights or side stages at major festivals) we need to start producing 'songs' rather than 'tracks'. I'm quite happy with how 'big' the scene is now because there's a lot more creativity going on as there's less pressure to write a Radio 1 hit rather a tune that will shake a club to its foundations.
Speaking of Technikal, he wants to know if you would fly straight back to Oz if they stopped making sour cream pretzels here?
Probably. Sainsbury's don't sell them anymore. Found that out the last time I was over. I was mortified. Thought they didn't make them anymore then finally found them at Waitrose. I stopped hyperventilating after that!
Have you played back to back with anyone and they’ve done something stupid like played the same track twice?
Yes. Some dude called Technikal did it! The next back to back gig we did he accidentally played the wrong track too. It's been a running joke between us since as to what he'll do next!
What do you miss about the UK?
Penn State Sour Cream & Chive Pretzels - perfect food for the studio when you're making tunes! Other than that? My friends, the up for it UK crowds and the shopping!
What don’t you miss about the UK?
The weather! I nickname Sydney 't-shirt town' because that's what you wear all year round (although you might need a jacket sometimes!)
Dawn French’s has called her autobiography “Dear Fatty” – what would you call yours?
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Tidy International: Tidy vs Masif is out shortly on Tidy and is available from all good stockists.
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Other Features By Sam Townend:
It's an Ideal World for Andy Whitby
The Tidy DJ's are Bang Up For It!
Stevens and Style tidy up
Is Rob Tissera The Happiest Guy In Dance?
Getting All Technikal
The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.