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Frenzy interview Andy Whitby... part two!

22nd April 2008 - interview copyright of Frenzy

Andy Whitby is the current leading light of hard dance, attracting a loyal fan-base and crowds of clubbers everywhere he goes. On May the 23rd he will be visiting Frenzy for the third time so we thought it would be a good idea to catch up with him again before the gig and find out what he's been up to.

1. Hi Andy, cheers for the interview.  We last spoke back January of last year and it looks like you’ve been pretty busy since then.  Do you want to tell us more about that, for example the record label and clubnight that you’ve recently kicked off?

Hi Frenzy, thanks for talking to me again! Things have definitely been hectic since we last spoke, mainly because my company AWsum has finally launched. AWsum consists of 2 parts; the music label and the events.

Andy Whitby on a lovely leather Chesterfield... classic piece of furniture
Andy Whitby on a lovely leather Chesterfield... classic piece of furniture

The label has monthly releases available in all good digital stores around the world. The producers on the label mainly consist of Matt Lee, Klubfiller and myself. There will be guest producers on the label too. Lee Pasch is featured on two collaboration tracks we did and will be the next two releases; ‘Never Ever’ and ‘R We Alone?’, but it’ll always mainly be my own material I’ve made with the two AWsum in-house producers.

Although just digital releases at present, I will be taking things further as the label gains pace including releasing my own compilation series and touring the label and its artists around various events around the country.

The events side of AWsum is something I realized was something I really wanted to start getting into after playing at so many parties put on by other promoters each weekend. The first party took place at a secret warehouse in London Kings Cross last December and had just over a thousand people turn up!

2. This will be the third time you’ve played for Frenzy, and the third different venue.  Each time you’ve played for us it’s been pretty manic and has left us with some special memories.  If you could describe Frenzy in Bournemouth how would you do it?

I’d describe it as one of those events where you know you’re going to have a good time with a crowd of people who love hard-dance and love to enjoy themselves. The atmosphere in there is really nice; lots of screaming, cheering and going-crazy moments which becomes infectious; one group start doing it and then the whole crowd are fired up!

Andy Whitby playing for Frenzy back in 2007
Andy Whitby playing for Frenzy back in 2007

3. Frenzy’s mantra has always been “hard house that’s fun” which is the same philosophy that you seem to operate to.  Who’s putting the fun into hard house at the moment to balance out the relentless thrap and Hard NRG that seems so popular?

Hard-dance is more euphoric, bouncy and fun now than it’s ever been, I find it really exciting that more and more clubbers are coming back to our scene now it’s not as hard as it used to be. Producers like Technikal, MDA & Spherical, Scott Fo Shaw, Matt Lee, Klubfiller and Tom Parr are all bringing amazing fresh ideas to our music for those who like their hard-dance that little bit more exciting and different.

To all other producers reading this; don’t be afraid to use vocals! Something I’m moving into now is using vocalists on my tracks which aren’t heard of in hard-dance really. A few producers have done it now and then, but we need more of it. I know it’s because some people in our scene think vocals are cheesy and isn’t what hard-dance is about, but I’ve always believed in trying to lead and not follow. If tracks like ‘Faith’ by Bliss Inc are huge then more singing will only make our scene stronger.

4. Back in January of 2007 when we last interviewed you, you told us about your New Years resolution to quit smoking.  How did it go, did you give up, did you replace it with any other vice?

I did give up, for one month exactly! I’m not really sure why I started again, but I was weak and have been smoking since.

Whitby twiddling the knobs
Whitby twiddling the knobs

When people ask me why I smoke I always say it’s because I like it, but I think a lot of it is down to habit; after a meal, after a set, on long road journeys…my driver smokes; if your reading this Mike, it’s your fault dude, I blame you for everything.

5. Your other half Cally Gage came down for us in January and rocked the joint, helping us have one of the busiest nights we’ve had at Dusk Till Dawn this year.  Some of our clubbers asked afterwards if it would be possible to ever see you guys do a back to back for us.  Is this something you’ve done before, if so how was it and would you consider doing it for us?

We have done it before, but always at a Frantic event. As main residents of the brand we always like to save our special back to back for their parties. The last time was at Frantic’s 10th Birthday, an absolutely amazing event that took place in London @ Koko.

I remember getting there and they were queuing around the building and off down the road, it was insane! Will Patterson said he got a lot of people moaning to him afterwards because Cally and I were on earlier than people expected, which is very flattering.

Andy Whitby playing for the crowd
Andy Whitby playing for the crowd

6. We’re billing this event as “An audience with Andy Whitby”.  It kinds of sounds like one of those TV programs where you get the celebrity and all their mates doing a one-off show.  If it was like that which 5 or so friends would you like in your audience and why?

*Laughs*…its does a bit doesn’t it! Well, the 5 people I’d have are:

  1. Cally Gage – From living with me she could give the best insight to what I’m really like! I’m sure she’d tell some highly embarrassing stories that have occurred over the last 5 years!

  2. Nathalie – One of my best friends and the girl who runs my message board She knows me better than most, as we chat so much each day on MSN and each weekend. Most people will recognize her as the blonde girl who comes with me to most gigs each week, and usually screams like a wild banshee when her favorite tracks come on!

  3. Mike Avery – My other best friend and driver at weekends, plus we always go out for a lovely meal every Tuesday and chat about everything & anything, so I’m sure he’d have some stories to tell!

  4. Steve Chance – The friend who’s been with me since the start. We’ve been through everything together, from me telling him I was going to quit Djing 3 weeks before I got signed to Frantic (he luckily talked me out of it and 3 weeks later Will Paterson rang) to me having to carry him through the Trafford Centre in Manchester because his lung burst mid-shopping spree.

  5. Mike Whitby – My brother who lives in near Chester with my parents. Growing up together we were inseparable and to him I’ll always be just Andrew, the brother who used to kick his ass each night on our Playstation.

Andy Whitby having a scream
Andy Whitby having a scream

7. You’ve been releasing a few tracks recently.  Who do you tend to collaborate with and how do you go about working in such a way?  Do you tend to come up with the ideas for a track, riffs, samples, vocal sequences etc and then sit with the engineers to pull all the pieces together?

This year I wanted to really focus on my production a lot more. In the past I’ve had a few tracks out here and there but nothing constant so I thought it was time to really throw myself into making the music for my sets on a weekly basis.

The first release on AWsum was my solo track ‘U Ready?’ but I won’t be doing a follow up to that for quite a while as I feel I’ve really clicked well with my 2 main collaboration partners Matt Lee and Klubfiller.

Both come from different music genres (Matt/Gammer is the number 1 producer in Hardcore, while Klubfiller/Stevie B does a lot of work for Ministry Of Sound) and both have some fresh views on hard-dance and where they want to take it. Sometimes producers in hard-dance become too concerned with how a record is ‘meant’ to sound, where as these guys don’t really care; they’ll try new things and ideas just to see if they work and the results are usually amazing.

Up close and personal with Andy Whitby
Up close and personal with Andy Whitby

When we’re in the studio things are done fairly equally. I am the one who usually comes up with the idea for a track and then we discuss it a lot before we get into the studio so we know exactly where we want to go with the track.

From there we start laying things down, bouncing ideas off one another, maybe trying something that in theory won’t work but once actually tried sound brilliant; that happened recently with a new track I made with Klubfiller called ‘Like This!’.

8. When was the last time you went to a nightclub, and weren’t actually DJ’ing for the night? Or do you tend to steer clear of the places when not working?

I went to one only a few weeks ago, the first time I’ve done that for a long time! I played @ Bionic in Swansea then shot over to Contagious in Westbury to catch up with some friends. It was a brilliant night, I really enjoying being on the other side of the decks for once and having a laugh with everyone. I’ll be staying over at the next event they’re doing with Gammer & Klubfiller so if you see us there please come over and say hello!

Andy Whitby getting ready for work
Andy Whitby getting ready for work

9. Finally, what can the Frenzy and Bournemouth crowd expect from you on May the 23rd at Dusk Till Dawn nightclub?

Lots of new music, lots of exciting mixes and lots of big dancefloor moments. I’m so busy in the studio nowadays my sets are made up nearly entirely of my own productions. Original tracks, remixes, special edits; every single track you hear in my set I’ve changed somehow, so it’s always a unique experience, always a bit different than the other DJ. It’s something I’ve been doing for a while, I think to be unique in today’s industry you really have to push to try new things, and it’s always been the method behind my madness and always will be. Check out for all that's coming soon!

You can next catch Andy Whitby on May 23rd at Dusk Till Dawn nightclub when he will be playing an exclusive two hour set. Check our forthcoming events for details. You can also see the interview we did we him in 2007 on this link.

Photos from uncredited sources, if they belong to you please get in touch so we can credit your work.