photo cred: Reality Control
Signed to UK dubstep’s Circus Records
, and collaborating with some of the genre’s heaviest hitters, such as Datsik
and Trolley Snatcha
has been killing it with his productions this year. The man behind the mask, James Hazell takes some time out to chat with us about the Funtcase guise, gigging and the philosophy of the dubstep genre:
GDD™: How’s it going James? Thanks for taking the time. Cutting straight to the chase, I see you’ve got a bunch of gigs lined up in the UK. Are there any plans to come out to the States anytime soon?
I certainly hope so! My agent and the rest of the team behind Circus
& Maximum Boost
assure me this is currently being arranged, so it shouldn’t be too long before you’ll be seeing me & the rest of the Circus guys!
GDD™: Fantastic, we look forward to it! Now, we all know that dubstep began in the UK; and now the scene is snowballing into a global phenomenon with acts like Datsik and Zeds Dead coming from Canada, while artists such as Rusko are branching out and moving to places like Los Angeles. How would you compare the scene country to country, and where do you think the next “hotspot” for dubstep will be?
Fc: I’m not too sure to be honest, as different countries like different styles. From the gigs I’ve played; places like Belgium, Holland and Romania really go for the grime sound, whereas France, New Zealand and other areas really dig a set with a wide range of dubstep styles. I think at the moment, Belgium and Holland are really representing in terms of musical talent and raves. UK artists must go there at least once every two months!
GDD™: You started production with drum & bass and moved from dubstep producing tunes like ‘Gorilla Flex’. Why the change?
Fc: It was actually down to my mates pestering me to make it, I didn’t like dubstep at first, but when I made it, I loved it! It’s got no rules, and you can let your imagination go mad, even have a laugh along the way.
GDD™: So was the transition an easy one?
Fc: The transition wasn’t too bad, as I incorporated the drum and bass layering technique and general sound into dubstep, which gave it a big energy.
GDD™: And what sort of direction do you see yourself moving in now?
Fc: The direction I’m moving is ever changing really: I make nasty stuff, I make rolling jumpy stuff, I make nice stuff and I make deep, it’s all just good to make and to listen to.
GDD™: Andrew Best of Smog once said that “Dubstep is a type of music where anything goes, and if it made sense it was welcomed by the scene. You can identify certain trends, where some tracks sound more like reggae, or others sound more like techno, but it all fits underneath the dubstep umbrella. It seems like the dubstep scene wants to keep it that way, rather than splintering off into sub-genre’s”. How fully do you agree with this, and is it better to view the scene as one large community or break it up into sub-genres?
Fc: Yeah I’d definitely agree with Andrew. Dubstep is so forgiving in its sound, and I could switch to a deeper track in a set, and it would still go off. That’s really the vibe and positivity that I love in dubstep. Other genres don’t always allow you to do that, too many ‘Marmite’ fans…
GDD™: Signing with Circus and being around heavyweights such as Flux Pavilion and Doctor P must be a little intimidating. Do you think it made you work harder and inspired you to raise your game, and produce better tracks?
I think its the accessible sound that gives the other guys on Circus the leverage to be where they are. The kind of harsh style I make isn’t so accessible, and therefore doesn’t gain as big a fan-base. Flux & Doctor P are very supportive of all the other acts on the label, myself included, so I have never really felt intimidated. I feel honored to be on their label and I make tunes that hopefully get the dirtier fans of Circus slightly moist! The thing I like most about the label is that all the artists bring something different in terms of style and sound whether it be Cookie Monsta
, Slum Dogz
. I just love the fact I am a part of that cooking pot and get to add some ingredients!
GDD™: So a bit more personal, what’s with the mask – is it to split James Hazell off from the Funtcase persona?
Fc: Not really, the whole thing kinda just happened, no plan towards doing it. its a funny persona and makes me stand out…whether someone liked my set and my music or not, it still gets them talking. So it’s a means of getting your name out via word of mouth networking – it works pretty well!
GDD™: Do you think that geographical location is conducive to an artist’s success? Note Canada’s ability to pump out insane artists…
I think it’s definitely a case of who you know, when it comes to being somewhere. For example, if I’d known Skream
as a close mate, he probably would have shown me how to make music, what to make it on, and then how to promote. However, I didnt know anyone when I was learning to make music, I literally came from the bottom up. 7 years later, here I am, and I hope to continue for a long time yet!
GDD™: You’ve had scores of releases this year, as well as tracks with guys like Datsik. Are you able to hint at any other collaborations you’re working on?
Well there are currently talks of me collab’ing with Crissy Criss
. But, the big one I’m sure people know about is my track with Doctor P I’m working on. It seems to be a strong talking point on a lot of networking sites.
GDD™: What’s next for Funtcase?
Fc: Head down, work hard, play hard, travel hard…do my thing! We’ll see where I go from here, hopefully things can only get better!
GDD™: Thanks for taking the time bud, best of luck.