Andy Hunter The Exodus Tour
by Sean Meddel
photos by Sean Meddel

Rave—better yet, electronic dance music—and Christianity are rarely mixed in the same sentence, despite an often expressed sense of community and spirituality. You can only imagine the raised eye-brows scanning the press material that came along with Exodus, Andy Hunter's artist album. "Christian DJ" ?!! Just in time for a date in Atlanta too...

Andy Hunter press photo Lunar: Welcome to Atlanta, is this the first time you've been state-side?

Andy Hunter: I've been coming over for the last few years, but this is my first club date. I was coming over for the album and the recording engineering/session out in Nashville.

Lunar: Is Atlanta the first stop?

Andy Hunter: Yeah, tonight is the first night and then tomorrow I will be in Washington DC tomorrow night (at Nations), and then Chicago.

Lunar: [The Magazine] got an advance copy of your album, Exodus, about two months ago. The CD and the press material made me want to chat with you... first some of the usual bio fodder type question out of the way—for people who don't know Andy Hunter, what would you tell them?

Andy Hunter: I'm Andy Hunter, I'm from a place called Swansea. I'm been deejaying for 7 or 8 years. Doing a lot of local clubs at first, and then biggger clubs in South Wales. And then Bristol. I used to run my own night called Absolut. It's on the dnb side, because I used produced dnb under the name of Trip

Lunar: Did you start out spinning dnb?

Andy Hunter: Yes, I did. It's really only the last few year, I've had to concentrate on picking up and sticking to progressive, because I'm very eclectic in my taste, that I've had to hone them down and focus on one genre.

Lunar: That's one of the first thing you notice about Exodus, the album changes up after track 5. I also noticed that some of the tracks are continuous mixed, was that intentional?

Andy Hunter: The reason... that just representing my taste. Because sometimes I know when I want to listen to an album, in your home, on your hi-fi or in your car. I just like the album flow, not just the monotonous beats—four to the floor. I'm looking for something that goes actually goes hard and then comes down slow, atmospheric music that really pads, downbeat and stuff. Obviously, when I play in a club, I won't be that drastic in where I'm taking people. But just for me, just my personal taste in listening ot music, that's where I'm coming from.

Lunar: Do you think you'll go back to dnb?

Andy Hunter: At the moment, my pedal is on what I've been writing and what I've been deejaying. I still love dnb, i think, but it got to a point where anything new that was coming out (in the UK scene) just seemed really done before. Nothing is grabbing my attention; it's all like back in the early 90's, there was nothing really fresh. I was getting bored with it—and I know it's starting to boil up again, some fresh step coming out.

it's nice that some of the vocal stuff is coming back into dnb (production). which for me, i love the nice vocal. i think that's really great. Very respectful of Roni Size and the Bristol boys. When their album Breakbeat Era came out, I don't remember how many years ago that was, for me that rocked my world. Certainly at the moment, I been buying a lot of prog. house and trance records. i'm not keeping too much of an eye on the dnb though.

Lunar: Going back through your discography, you started with a remix for Starecase?

Andy Hunter: It's an old release... I can't remember the year. It was when we—I was in a group called Hydro, with Robbie Bronniham—were doing remixes and planning out a few albums. We were getting signed to a club in Bristol called Lakota, which was one of the big clubs in the area. Back then, Starecase was also signed to Lakota. So Starecase came in and remixed one of the hydro tracks and we helped out with the production. They were a great group.

Andy Hunter Lunar: Next came Suede?

Andy Hunter: Before I got into deejaying, I used to be a sound engineer, lighting guy and a bit of a roadie. We used to do Suede and the Wonderstuff in the early 90's. That was giving me a taste in music, but that was always on the road and I could never get adept at turntables, I was always traveling.

Lunar: And where does NGM [New Generation Music and Mission] fit in...

Andy Hunter: With NGM... [pause] with NGM is something... it trains young people in the arts. Whether you're a DJ, whether you're a musician, a singer, a dancer... NGM takes those arts, and it has a base where there is a dance studio, performance area, rehearsals, etc. And it trains you up in those arts and those skills. Along side that, it ties into a lot of youth work—working with young people who are on the street, who are into drugs, and vandalizing, stealing cars, because the neighborhood is boring and there is not a lot to do in the area. So through NGM we work a lot with young people and provide this "club" for them. So NGM was an amazing experience for me, and I'm still very much involved. I do some of the training myself, teaching them to spin, play with music, even in the studio with the programming and the production.. It's great to take my love for music, my passion for music... and also help out young people.

Lunar: That's great. Is Exodus the first album or the second album?

Andy Hunter: It's the first album under my name (as a solo artist), as Andy Hunter

Lunar: Was there a previous album?

Andy Hunter: There was one called Cultural Shift by Trip—a collaboration with Martin King—we wrote that around the time I was working with the youths in NGM because they were into dnb. And then I also worked on this old group called Hydro (with Robbie Bronniman and Ray Goudie). That one was more house/progressive house. Those were my alter egos...

Lunar: What made you decide to do this full length artist album (as yourself)?

Andy Hunter: For me, it's just... I'm quite heavy into programming and production, and actually writing music, for me, I wouldn't see myself as a huge DJ, and I was given the opportunity to do an artist album before a mixed CD, and that was one of my goals, to write an artist album. I think it's headed that way too, as DJs/producers we need to be putting out artist albums.

Lunar: I noticed a lot of vocals in the selection on Exodus...

Andy Hunter: For me, I just love a nice female voice, it's almost part of the ambience. Certainly on "Translucence" (track 6). It just goes with all the music and the pad, and I just love when the voice make the hair of my back stand up. Christine Bird (she's living in Nashville), she's got an amazing voice...

Andy Hunter Lunar: ... didn't you also sang on your own album?

Andy Hunter: Yes, I sampled my own voice on "Wonders of You" and "Radiate"

Lunar: All these titles, and calling the album Exodus, is that a reflection of your background? Of NGM?

Andy Hunter: It kind of revolves around my faith, which is very important to me. The whole inspiration for the album, was taken from me reading the book of Exodus, and my expression, think about a kind of love relationship with my God, if you see what I mean. The album expresses that journey... of wanting to be intimate with someone--whether you can relate that to a man and woman in a love relationship, or where it's a spiritual kind of thing. The album was written on that, wanting to go deeper with someone or something you're passionate about, someone you're in love with. It's a very intimate place. I got a lot of inspiration from the characters in the book of Exodus, and their relationship with God.

Lunar: When I read that in your bio... a Christian DJ, I was like what... so is it something different that you bring to electronic music?

Andy Hunter: I'm really into dance music. Because of NGM, the club scene is like a family to me. In some cases, it is like a church... you had Faithless write that song "...this is my church" and it was very insightful. And why I love it, because people are accepted for who they are. I love the music and I want to continue to be in that culture.

That's part of why I wrote an album, that's something I can do as an artist. You can express the tracks you love, you can really express who you are, your feelings, your passion, and you know where you want to go in your music. That's why this was so great. I had a blank canvass to express myself.

Lunar: So how does your faith and your personality... what's the impact of that? Obviously NGM is [like] a mission?

Andy Hunter: I think that's the danger of being labeled (like raver-4-JC)... people can have misconceptions and stereotype views. I'm not here to ram my faith down people's throat. Some people in the UK say "oh this guy is a religious nut" and they're expecting the stereotype. I'm a bit put off, when people say that.

I am a DJ. I'm into music. I love music. I love dance music. I love to play, I love to spin and I love to write music. Yeah,I have my faith which is very important, but I'm not here, gun-blazing... that kind of terminology can shut doors, sometimes.

I get into trouble with the church, as well... for what I do (as a DJ). I'm not here to judge people nor to make people feel bad. I just feel this is where I want to be, and break down some stereotypes.

Lunar: ... any other kind of hardship/challenges?

Andy Hunter: Well, the album took a while... (Well, not as long as Sasha's ADD, as the saying goes). I started writing some of the tracks a couple of years ago. And it involved coming back & forth flying to America. And my whole deejaying and residency gigs just kind of went kaput. So tonight is my first night back into the clubs, to be honest I'm quite nervous. I haven't played out in a good year.

I've heard good things about Atlanta, but this is my first time playing a club night in America. And because of the album, it was a little financially tough, I was just not getting out there and playing. I'm not getting paid millions and millions of pound for a 10min set or whatever. A lot of my money went into getting records and tryping to keep up with the records. I'm still just a skimp DJ.

Lunar: Anything else you want to add? What's it like being signed to Nettwerk?

Andy Hunter: It's been great, even though it's a long time wait. For me, it's about building the relationship with the people at Nettwerk and over here in the industry. Oh, we got the track "Go" signed to Ballstic: Ecks vs. Sever, and it's being used for the TV series Alias. That's like accomplishing some goals too.

Andy Hunter press photo Lunar: Next album?

Andy Hunter: I have a few ideas, but I'm not sure yet. May take some time off.

Lunar: Ok... some fun facts. Favorite food? Is there a staple for "studio mode", etc?

Andy Hunter: My drink for the album was Diet Dr. Pepper (in Nashville). And what's amazing about over here in America is... you see, Chinese restaurants in the UK are quite expensive to go out to. So to come here and find Chinese restaurant which are buffets for like $4. So almost every day, we were down for all you can eat Chinese, especially at night...

Lunar: [laugh] So what do you do where you're not in America eating Chinese buffets, back at home in England?

Andy Hunter: My wife she's a social worker and she runs a community project with young people in the area. We have this cafe and I help out serving behind the bar. And we have the NGM studio where I bring young people in to create dance music.

Lunar: Do they know you're Andy Hunter?

Andy Hunter: No, I'm just the big tall guy. Tall Andy.

Thanks go out to Nettwerk, and to big, tall Andy for his time. God bless and rave on!



At Amazon.com

Exodus - Andy Hunter
Exodus from Amazon.com Track Listing:

  1. Go
  2. Wonders of You
  3. Radiate
  4. Amazing
  5. Show
  6. Translucent
  7. Angelic
  8. Sandstorm Calling
  9. Strange Dream
  10. Intercessional



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