From day one, UK producer Funtcase (aka. James Hazell) has been a game-changer in the world of dubstep. Since being signed to Flux Pavilion and Doctor P's Circus Records label in 2010, Funtcase is renowned for some of the hardest hitting dubstep out there, his maniacal stage presence, riot-causing shows, and being the man behind some of the standout dubstep tracks in recent years, including ‘So Vexed’ and ’50 Calibre’.
He’s just released his massive, debut EP ‘Doomed’, out now through Circus Records, and is bringing the bass along with Doctor P, Cookie Monsta and Slumdogz as part of the Circus Records showcase in Australia later this month. Ahead of his visit, Funtcase talked to Pulse about his new release, his electronic music idol, the direction of dubstep and what makes a good show.
Pulse: Circus is bringing the showcase to Australia later this month, what can fans expect from your set? Funtcase: Well recently I've been quite a fan of showcasing all sorts of BPM's and styles so you can expect a whole range of new music, but also the classic ear crunchers.
Your Doomed EP has just dropped, what was the creative process like for this release, and what did you want to achieve? For myself I've always wanted to do an EP, but at the right time. I had built up a collection of tracks and it was all about trying to take the four finest. I wanted to create a vibe with the EP, not only being quite a hard hitting set of tracks but ones that have a bit more meaning to them. If you listen to the end of 'Doomed' and 'Invaderz', I incorporated and composed outros to really set the mood and feeling of the EP, and not only that but I feel that it gelled the EP together, rather than just 4 tracks just doing their thing. It gave it a whole new atmosphere and I really enjoyed making it.
How has your sound evolved from when you first began producing, compared to your new EP? When I first came about, I was basically making 140 speed drum and bass style dubstep. That worked for me at the time but it was too basic. A lot of the tracks I make these days have a lot of mad, interesting and crazy sounds in them that I try to make that no one else does. I've basically just moulded myself into what I wanted to be in drum and bass, a bit mental and letting the cymbals blaze.
Has being signed to Circus influenced your music or direction in any way? Oh of course, and I think people can hear that, but not too much I’d like to think. I've always tried to be my own man as a producer and make stuff no one else does within the camp. But having people like Flux and Doctor P in the camp, you can't help but take such an inspiring musical influence from them, as I love their music just as much as my own.
TC tweeted recently ‘it appears everyone is jumping the good ship dubstep’. Do you see this happening or agree with this? Well this argument has been raging for a while now and I think it’s ridiculous. When I first made dubstep over 3 years ago people within the drum and bass scene called me a band wagoner and started to dismiss me. But I made my own style and broke into the scene and now I have an amazing career. Those same people now hit me up saying how chuffed they are for me and that I’ve made it. Where is the line drawn in this behaviour? I feel it might be jealousy or envy kicking in from other scenes. I might be wrong, but that's definitely how I feel. To be fair, who hasn't already made dubstep and released it, that is already an established artist? Everyone. I think people should stay clear from those sorts of views and stick to what they want to do. Why shouldn't an artist be able to dabble in something if they feel it, regardless of if the scene is successful or not? And that's what makes Circus so amazing, we've dabbled in many styles and they've worked!
Your music is some of the heaviest out there, are you influenced by different genres or by what other artists around you are doing? Again I like to make whatever I feel at the time. The heavy side did spawn from my drum and bass days, but it’s just moulded into what it is now naturally. But I can say, from my original styles merging into what it is now is partly due to one of my EDM idols, Taxman. He always made a style of drum and bass I loved, cymbals blazing and making the energy so crazy. You can hear that in my production now as I have a lot of cymbals flying around the mix and I love how that has shaped my sound. I also came from a metal/death metal background and the cymbals thing I suppose has come from that too.
You’ve been touring all over the world lately, what makes a standout show for you? Good question! For me a standout show is one that is run well behind the scenes and front of the scenes. A great sound system, great vibe, good crowd and just really well organised. I’ve played a lot of festivals and some have been run awfully and for me that can really ruin the general experience of the gig I’m playing.
What does the rest of the year hold for Funtcase? Who knows! I'm just going to do my thing and see where it takes me. I'm dabbling in all sorts of music styles at the moment so watch this space!
Funtcase is touring Australia this month as part of the Circus Records showcase. For more information and tickets visit The Big Ape website.
Listen to Funtcase on Pulse Radio.
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