BK, Whitby and the tidyDJs Mash It Up!
Reported by Pete M
Submitted 09-12-09 23:57
What happens when you pair some of the finest hard dance masters with genre leading labels and ask them to chop, combine and create some unique yet oh so recognisable sounds? HarderFaster correspondent Pete M talked to BK, Andy Whitby and Sam and Deano - The Tidy DJs about their Hard Dance Mash Up!
Tidy. Frantic. Riot. Nukleuz. Traffic. What have all those labels got in common? They all release hard pulsating dance music from some of the UK’s finest producers. And not just the UK either; international production talent have also released material on these behemoths. But really, there are only two major players in the hard dance world: Tidy Trax and Nukleuz. These two heavyweights have been around longer than most other dance labels and can boast hundreds of classic releases including I Don’t Care by Tony De Vit, What Ya Got 4 Me? by Signum, Lizard by Mauro Picotto and Follow Me Away by JoBabe. Take a more detailed look at these two labels’ discographies, however, and you’ll see a much clearer and substantial list of various 12 inches, CDs and albums.
Now though, more cutting-edge labels like Traffic, Riot, and Frantic have stepped up to the forefront of hard electronic music and are increasingly growing in popularity and stature. Which is why, and I don’t know why it hasn’t been done already, the five labels are joining forces for a very colossal concept called Hard Dance Mash Up. At clubs up and down the country, hard dance is enjoying a bit of a renaissance. With the likes of Nukleuz and Tidy still releasing upfront music, Frantic hosting events and releasing music plus Riot and Traffic bringing up the rear (ooh!), hard dance is set to explode once again. Which makes now the ideal time to do a feature on the biggest concept album in the history of the scene. Hard Dance Mash Up. An album which brings together Frantic, Riot, Nukleuz, Tidy and Frantic plus three of the scene’s brightest stars; BK, Andy Whitby and Sam & Deano aka the Tidy DJs to inject a bit of fun into proceedings. Which is the epitome of hard dance really, isn’t it? Before we get onto the major bit of interviewing the three and explore the concept behind Hard Dance Mash Up, let’s find out a bit more about the DJs.
BK is a legend in hard dance circles. Having a plethora of ass-kicking dance tunes on Nukleuz, he mixed Hard House Nation for Warner Dance and eventually mixed a number of Extreme Euphoria albums with the likes of Lisa Lashes and The Tidy Boys. As well as his compilations, BK is also active in the studio releasing hit after hit; most notably the now-legendary Revolution, which included a rather explosive remix by Alphazone. Furthermore, Revolution became the last ever vinyl release to hit the top 40. Since then, BK has released Stay High, Flash with Nick Sentience, Noise, also with Nick Sentience, and has also remixed Storm, Darren Tate, E-Trax, Tony De Vit, Jimmy Dean and many, many more besides. The list of releases this man has had is long and varied so I won’t bore you with the details. Anyway...moving on.
Andy Whitby was christened by Mixmag as the saviour of hard house. Admittedly, I know very little about him but from what I’ve read and heard of him, he’s quite good. He’s done a fair few remixes for the likes of Ibiza Knight, BK and his own productions with Matt Gammer Lee, which included an ace cover of Rozalla’s Everybody’s Free, on Nukleuz Records. Apart from that though, I know very little. Hopefully, by the end of this interview, I’ll know a little bit more.
Sam & Deano make up the Tidy DJs; Tidy’s in-house DJ team. They’re also active in the studio too; coming up with the bounceathon Nut Job with Paul Maddox. The record featured mixes from Vandall and Guyver, which pretty much rocked my socks. The inlay of Tidy Gold, which they mixed along with the Tidy Girls, said that they would rock pretty much any disco they were booked for. With a statement like that, and with their tongue-in-cheek humour and fun-loving DJ style, they’re sure to go far. Right...intros out of the way, now for the interview. I’m interviewing all three DJs at once which is a first for me so here goes. Five questions. Each DJ has the same one. Let’s see what the answers are.
Hi, guys. Many thanks for doing this. Now, to make this interview easier, I’ve prepared a series of questions (well, five or six!) and I hope to get some interesting answers. I guess the first question is, what is the concept behind Hard Dance Mash Up and is it going to be an ongoing series of albums or just a one-off?
BK: Its really what it says on the tin. Riot, Tidy and Nukleuz have got together and given each other full access of their back catalogues and sample libraries so we can produce mash up mixes of the biggest hard dance tunes from the biggest labels in the scene. It’s a collaboration on a massive scale as the list of tunes is endless so their will be plenty to make a second edition.
Andy Whitby: The concept was to take all our favourite hard dance tracks on each of the labels and mash them up in a way people can really enjoy, while not being too crazy it goes over people’s heads what we’re doing. Each DJ went through all the biggest tracks available and argued over who would get what. Luckily I got pretty much everything I was after, although Ben did clear up a bit with some of the audio treats he’s got on his! I’d love it to be a series of albums, as it’s such a fun concept and now I’ve heard Ben and Sam and Deano’s mixes I know the project has been a success.
Sam & Deano: The concept of the HDMU is to incorporate all the biggest tracks in the history of hard dance to create one very special mix! Never before have all labels worked together and thrown all the biggest tracks together into one mix in this way, so it’s a very exciting project for any hard dance fan as it’s a genuine first in the scene! It’s been great to get everyone working together and through our alliance it can only benefit the music and scene in general!
Dance music has been littered with crazy bootlegs. What would be your most ideal (and nuttiest) bootleg? And if you could make a bootleg of any tune in the world, and I mean ANY tune, which one would it be?
BK: The best bootlegs for me are one that mix the old with the new and to be honest I have already bootlegged all the tunes I wanted to but I guess I can’t tell you what they are otherwise I just may get in trouble! You can’t beat a good old fashioned Prodigy bootleg though.
Andy Whitby: Something that wouldn’t work on paper, but once heard will blow any dance floor apart… like Boom Shake The Room by The Fresh Prince mashed with Beethoven’s Symphony #5, although I have no idea how that would work or sound!
Sam & Deano: Hmmmm - that’s a tough one, there are so many good tracks out there and it’s surprising what tunes can work with each other! I would probably go for some big cheesy 90's pop record remixed for hard dance, you cant beat some feel good sing along action!
In the spirit of Hard Dance Mash Up, each of you has to perform at least one crazy act during a DJ set. Which act would you choose?
BK: I think mine would be to polish of a bottle of JD during my set. I could take one shot after every tune played and as the tunes get harder the shots could get bigger. That sounds like a pretty good act to me! Either that or I could pull my CD wallet out of a hat!
Andy Whitby: I’d probably slow the music down a great deal and perform a strip tease, this is based on a female-based audience and how much I’ve drank prior to playing.
Sam & Deano: For the ultimate 'Mash Up' experience we would choose to have a 'Mash Potato' party, think Foam party but with potatoes - mashtastic baby! It would also be great if you where hungry.
What crazy DJ trickery do you employ during a mashup? I know that Andy’s been known for dropping acapellas during DJ sets but what crazy DJ antics are employed during sets? And do you work on said tricks or do you just do them on the fly?
BK: I prepare some bits in the studio creating bootlegs, re-editing tracks time stretching accapellas to use live. As well as this I do bits on the fly, looping tunes making the loop smaller and smaller so you can just drop a tune. Using the effects to create fills, filtering etc. I also sometime just play a part of a track for its groove before dropping a riff from another.
Andy Whitby: Most of my mixes and tricks are done on the fly, I just work them out in my head as I go along, sounds odd, but once your locked ‘in the moment’ in front of a crowd magical things can happen.
Sam & Deano: We incorporate all kinds of tricks into our sets, as we are a back to back duo, it can get quite boring for both us and the dance floor if we are just stood there whilst the other one mixes! We use accapella's, scratching, cutting and mixing live in our sets and we are also starting to look to incorporate Ableton Live and the APC40 midi controller so watch out for some proper F.U.N live Mash Up action coming very soon! There is always a certain degree of preparation when doing these things live, but sometimes if you just roll with it you can get the best results!
And finally, going back to the bootlegging question, is there one particular hard dance tune that you’ve always wanted to do a mashup of?
BK: I have been really lucky in getting the chance to do official mixes of most of my favourite hard dance tunes and - not wanting to spoil the party - I’m not going to tell you what tune I want to do because while thinking of one I realized my choice had never been done so I’m going to do it! Haha!
Andy Whitby: In the 10 years I’ve been DJing I have bootlegged every single track I’ve ever wanted to! Haha, nothing is safe!
Sam & Deano: I wouldn’t say there is one particular track that stands out that we want to mash up. In our mix we have covered pretty much every style of hard dance from tough to trance, funk to bounce - there is something for everyone with some great mixes on there. Its all about having fun and all three mixes from the project are exactly that, big bold and fun to dance to!
Thanks, guys! Good luck with the album!
Hard Dance Mash Up, mixed by BK, Andy Whitby and Sam Townend & Deano AKA Tidy DJs, is out now on iTunes. For more info, please check out http://www.nukleuz.co.uk.
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Other Features By Pete M:
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Organ Donors: It's a Work In Progress
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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.