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It's an Ideal World for Andy Whitby

Reported by Sam Townend / Submitted 12-07-13 17:47

Hard music, love it or hate it, is here to stay. With a recent resurgence in popularity after a quiet few years on the scene, Hard music (in all it's forms) seems to be firmly back on the agenda. One of the leading artists in the UK scene is Andy Whitby, and having just signed to the new brand IDEAL with his first album release out on the label, we thought we'd catch up with him to see what's going down in the Harder town!

Hi Andy, you've recently mixed the second "In An Ideal World" album for IDEAL, which is their flagship compilation series. Can you tell us a little more about the album and the music you've picked to go on there please?

The Ideal World series is going to be a snapshot of hard music at that present time and immediate future – it’s a collection of the biggest tracks, remixes and special edits that are rocking the dance floors of the big clubs across the scene.



For my disc I really wanted to showcase where I am as an artist right now; my musical tastes have evolved and changed so much over the last decade (it’ll be 10 years in February since I signed with Frantic in London), so constantly moving my sound and performances forward throughout my career has been vital to me. Within my mix you will find lots of big tracks with massive hooks, monster breakdowns and feel good vocals all brought together by ridiculous basslines and clean powerful production.

With the music being labelled as "Hard Dance", this brings to mind harder music taking inspiration from all different genres of "Dance" music. Is this the case, and if so shouldn't "Hard Dance" be more focused on defining its own sound rather than taking elements of everyone else’s?

You could ask the same question about the recent phenomenon that is EDM (electronic dance music) – it contains elements of house, electro, dubstep, trance and much more. A genre of music doesn’t have to stay as one sound or style, it can be so many different flavours.

Saying that however, ‘Hard Dance’ is a funny term, it’s a little confusing to people coming into the scene and is an expression I’ve never been keen on. Up until about 10 years ago the music we all played in this scene was ‘Hardhouse’, then someone decided we needed to broaden the name and came up with ‘Hard Dance’. Strangely, we all got on board. The music we write and play is house music but harder, it is Hardhouse. I do appreciate that there are several genres and styles of music that have found our way into our playlists but I class what I play as Hardhouse.



We see you have an official Ideal World album party planned in London on Friday 19th July; can you tell us more about it?

Sam Townend and I, the bald bastards, are hitting Hidden in Vauxhall in July and we’re both super hyped for it. London has always been a great place to play as they love their beats hard and their music loud – I’ll be bringing a lot of both! We’ll be supported by D.A.V.E, Wayne Smart, PSR and Stewart T so it’s a great line-up of varied sounds, something for everyone.

Also on the night we’ll have giveaways in the form of the album, t-shirts, mixes and more so see you very soon!

What else is going on in Whitby World right now?

Lots of things happening right now, I’m just about to launch a new brand, which is coming along nicely – AWsum has been an amazing journey but it’s time to take what I learnt from that and put it into something fresh and new. It’ll be based around the popularity of my monthly podcast ‘The Hardkast’, my HARDL!VE performances plus a new record label and a new line of merchandise to go with it.

To go with that a lot of new music needs to be written and a new album will be hitting stores at the end of this year.

You've a massive Australian tour coming up at the start of August, this isn't the first time you've been out there - which cities are you hitting and what are the key gigs you're looking forward to?

Last year’s Australia and New Zealand tour was incredible. It had been a while since I’ve been over there so to finally get back was nothing but a non-stop journey of amazing shows in the evening and fun and antics during the day with the other DJs.

This year it’s more of the same, 4 cities; Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Auckland. Each show is looking to sell out, each fan base of hard music is hitting me up from over there saying they are hyped for our arrival, I’m really excited!

I guess the ‘crown jewel’ of this year’s tour is the London Hard House Reunion show in New Zealand – last year’s one was the busiest Hardhouse event in that country in over a decade. Stepping up onto the decks and seeing a sea of people having the time of their lives is something I live for. Last year’s was special but I know this year’s will be even better.



The legendary Frantic returns for their annual birthday party at KoKo on August 25th, we see you're doing a special set billed as HARDL!VE - what exactly is HARDL!VE?

With HARDL!VE I perform live remixing, producing and bootlegging on the stage with midi controllers, remix decks and FX units. I’m making on-the-fly Hardhouse and Hard-dance remixes and bootlegs live on stage – it’s HARD music, L!VE.

I debuted HARDL!VE at the recent Ideal Weekender, which made me feel some unfamiliar emotions – I never get nervous before a set after doing this for so long, but debuting a whole new set-up came with concerns of laptop crashes or equipment dropout. Thankfully none of that happened and I was really pleased with the reaction it received. Now it’s all about developing and moving HARDL!VE forwards.

So with all this going on, it's safe to say "Hard" music is certainly alive and kicking at the moment then?

Of course it is. I live and breathe this scene and have made a career from it, it is my full-time job – I find it funny when people say to me ‘hardhouse is dead’, especially when every weekend I’m playing to thousands of people across the country and the rest of the World – perhaps they didn’t get the memo?

New producers, new promoters and new parties have all started popping up, so our growth as a genre is as strong as it’s ever been – I have always said for this scene to recapture the dizzy heights it once achieved we have to focus on new talent and this is finally happening. It’s an exciting time for everyone involved.



And finally, as we mentioned "Hard" - we here your Hard Kast is getting a bit of a re-vamp, care to give us an insight into what we can expect over the coming months?

The Hardkast is currently on episode 28 and the show has been a very similar format since the beginning. To keep things interesting you have to mix it up. As mentioned above, I’m about to launch a new brand which will be part of the change. We’re adding new sections, featuring new artists; there’s a new section called ‘New Hard Hero’ which is a 20 minute guest mix from my favourite new stars of the scene – plus we’ll be adding listener shout-outs, competitions and much more in the coming months. If anyone fancies listening just search ‘hardkast’ on iTunes or check out andywhitby.com.

For more info on Andy Whitby check out www.andywhitby.com
For more on the 'In An Ideal World 2' album click here (digital) or for the CD here

For Info & tickets on the Ideal World Album launch Party in London, check here or here

Photos courtesy of Andy Whitby. Not to be reproduced without permission.
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Other Features By Sam Townend:
The Tidy DJ's are Bang Up For It!
Stevens and Style tidy up
Steve Hill goes International
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.
Comments:

From: Latex Zebra on 4th Aug 2013 15:04.31
He's using Beats to DJ with....

That wont help.

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