Questions for ATFC Stuart Evans – Inpress Magazine (Melbourne) 1. With ‘In and Out of My Life’ you, in effect, set the standard for all future mash-ups, what are your thoughts on today’s mash-ups and do you consider yourself to be one of the forefathers of the mash-up? That wakes me feel very old and wise – perhaps I should be a character in Lord Of The Rings! No, mash-ups were around long before I began dabbling. Around the time of ‘In and Out of My Life’ I was working in a Soho record store and heard sooo many bad mash-ups – I mean excrutiatingly out of tune and plain awful stuff, and you still hear the same today. I’d guess about 1 in 10 are decent combinations. You can tell when someone who knows what they’re doing does one because even though the vocal and the backing may be from different genres or even decades they should sound like they were meant to be together. In tune, in time, in rhythm and the vibes should match. The best mash-ups are when genres collide and create a whole new atmosphere. ‘In and Out of My Life’ was one of those – I named it ‘Haunted House’! 2. How do you feel about the current line of mash-ups artist? Do you think that it’s a good thing for house music? You mean guys like 2manydj’s or Soulwax? Yes it can only ever be a good thing for music in general. Why do you think so many record labels put acapellas on their releases? Because they hope someone like me will come along one day and give them a hit they didn’t expect. With music so widely available to dj’s, legally and otherwise, across the internet, being ‘upfront’ isn’t enough so you have to make your mark in other ways. I play a lot of mash-ups and edits. That way the crowd get to hear stuff they recognise but in a way they’ve never heard before – you can satisfy their commercial needs without sounding cheesy. 3 Just out of curiosity, what did Fatboy Slim think of the track? I recently read an interview with him in which he said it was the one track he plays at every gig! I couldn’t believe it – what an honour, out of all the records he could have mentioned. It was his first record at Glastonbury last summer. He said that he loved it so much he was claiming it as his own. According to my royalty statements I can inform him that he already owns a third of it! 4. ATFC sounds more like an abbreviated soccer club than a name of sorts, why the funky chile? Oh yes, Google ATFC and you get a few gems in there. Aberystwyth Town Football Club, Association of Town Finance Committees, Actors Theatre For Children, and other unofficial ones I’ve heard…Another Track For Cash, Aydin The Funky Chicken, Aydin The Fat ***t. Before my forays into House Music I played Hip Hop, Funk and Jazz and wrote a music column for a clubbing magazine. The editor signed me off one issue as Aydin The Funky Chile, (As in Voodoo Chile by Jimmy Hendrix pronounced chyle) because I was ‘funky’ (of course) and a young dj compared to others in the area. Stupidly, I thought I’d keep the name as it was catchier than Aydin Hasirci but it just created more confusion so I abbreviated it to ATFC. Hmm the confusion obviously didn’t stop there! 5. You used to write for a jazz/funk magazine, how did you fall into jazz/funk and then house music? Falling into jazz/funk sounds like a messy business but it really came from being a B-Boy. I used to be a hip hop fanatic and a breakdancer back in the day and hated house music when it arrived. I was a scratch dj and jocks like Trevor ‘Madhatter’ Nelson, Norman Jay, Gilles Peterson, DJ Premier, Cash Money and Tim Westwood were my idols. Then, one night, lets say I had an ‘experience’ and found myself on top of a speaker at a House club dancing like a loon. The next morning I went straight to the record store and bought up all the House music I could afford. It literally happened overnight and I suddenly understood the 4/4 beat. I didn’t lose my love for Hip Hop, Jazz, or Funk etc but from that day on I saw my future as a House DJ. 5. You followed up the success of ‘In & Out’ with ‘Bad Habit’. When you heard that Bad Habit was played 4 times during the Miami Music Conference, how did you react? Well I was there and heard it for myself! It was actually at ‘The Magic Sessions’, a legendary party hosted by Tony Humphries and Little Louie Vega which was, at the time, THE party of the conference to hear the next big records. The club was packed with all the movers and shakers of the worldwide dance music industry waiting to hear what the tune of the conference would be. I was there with my manager and Simon Dunmore from Defected and had heard through the grapevine that Louie liked my record so I hoped that he would play it. Tedd Patterson played first and gave it a spin so I was on cloud nine from the outset. Then Tony Humphries took over and played it for a 2nd time! People around me went wild and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Finally Louie Vega took to the decks and when I heard the intro beats of Bad Habit for a 3rd time I nearly collapsed. When the track had finished he lifted the needle, took it back to the start and played it again! A first and last for The Magic Sessions. That was it then, all over. I had to leave because it was all too much to take in. I left the club, walked down to Miami South Beach and, in tears, called my girlfriend (now wife) back home. One of the best nights of my life. 7. You’ve had numerous success with your productions and remixes but what makes you keep in djing? It’s what I always dreamed of doing, travelling the world, playing in great clubs and getting paid for it!! It’s also an essential tool in checking out new productions and keeping on top of what makes a crowd move. I only ever started making music to get more dj gigs. Now and again it’s hard to leave the house to go to the airport again but I soon remember that I could be doing a lot worse things for a living. 8. You’ve been djing for 15 years, what’s been the biggest factor for you in keeping house music fresh and keeping you behind the decks? I’ve got a fairly open mind as far as house music is concerned. I can play really soulful and smooth or I can get quite tough and dirty, and everything in between. One week I could be banging it out in Poland and the next you’d find me playing big diva classics in a bar in the UK. Fortunately I’ve been able to adapt and play in a huge variety of situations in different styles. I think it may come from starting out as a mobile ‘party’ dj. You can’t just turn up, put your head down and play – you have to work with the crowd and adapt. This keeps it interesting for me – and hopefully for the people who come to see me. It kind of mirrors my production output, I like to think I’ve not made the same remix or production twice. 9. If you could change one aspect of the dance music industry, what would it be and why? Too few people hold too much power. 10. You’ve had remix requests from Moby, The Lighting Seeds and Dina Carroll to name but a few, what’s been the most unusual request you’ve received? I was recently asked by Towa Tei (ex Dee-Lite) to remix a Japanese artist. That’s not unusual in itself, except the song was sung in Japanese! I did the mix but had no idea what the lyrics meant and had to work blind. You see, I’m truly international! One of my worst career decisions was turning down Kylie. She asked me to remix ‘Spinning Around’ and at the time she wasn’t a very ‘cool’ artist – how things change, everybody fights to remix her now.