One on One with Andy Farley (Interview)

 Andy Farley

FS.    Lets kick this off with saying Congratulations for being named BEST DJ in the TOOLBOX HARD HOUSE AWARDS this year. How does it feel to receive such a title?

AF.    Fantastic! It’s always great to be recognised but even more so by the people who matter, namely my fans. It’s quite humbling to have won it three years on the trot as well.

FS.    Hard House is coming full circle at the moment, theres a major influx of new people getting into the sound. So for those that may not know, how did Andy Farley discover the world of turntables, vinyl and DJing?

AF.    Quite by accident really. I ended up in a club in Birmingham one night and heard music I’d never heard before being mixed together and there and then decided that it was what I wanted to do. The dj was Tony de Vit. I’d always been fanatical about music. During my late teenage years I was involved in the Mod scene, spending money on rare 60s Soul, R&B and Jazz records. I sold all these in 1988 to buy my first set of decks and that’s more or less the beginning!

FS.    Over the past two decades youve found yourself travelling far and wide. As hard as it may be to pick one, can you give us an idea about hard house hot spots around the globe?

AF.    Going back to around 2000 I used to travel internationally about twice every month. I’ve played in some amazing countries. Japan, Canada, South Africa, Taiwan, New Zealand and of course Australia to name just a few. Sadly aside from the UK and Ireland, there currently isn’t as much demand for hard house overseas apart from Australia and New Zealand and occasionally Holland.

FS.    You have been hitting Sydney gig wise for the past few years… Can you tell us what you feel Sydney has in terms of party culture similar or different to the UK HARD HOUSE scene?

AF.    They’re quite similar to be honest, both full of up for it clubbers! (Probably most of whom have been to the UK at some point so know how to party!) The difference here is you have the best looking city the world!

FS.    Hard House has experienced a lull in ‘popularity’ over the past few years. Lets talk about the Hard House revolution that seems to have kick started again in the UK. What do you feel has inspired this so to speak?

AF.    For a time the music went quite dark and sinister. Don’t get me wrong there’s a time and a place for that, but there were a lack of the big anthems that made hard house popular in the first place. Thankfully the music has become more accessible again with some great new producers and big tunes coming through.

FS.    What do you feel are differences or similarities the scene has now as opposed to the former ‘golden era’ that it experienced once before?

AF.    There aren’t as many club nights now sadly, however that makes the ones that are on even more special. The music has kind of come full circle and gone back to how it was then so that is starting to bring people back into the clubs again. I also think a lot of people left the scene to explore other forms of music, have families etc, and now are ready to party again, albeit not as often! Certainly in London the crowd has vastly changed from being predominantly Antipodean and South African (come back we miss you!!). There is a new generation of clubbers, Djs and producers who love the music and will carry the scene forward which is fantastic.

FS.    Hard House music has always been more underground and never as mainstream as other styles of dance or electronic music. Do you think this is an attribute that makes it so attractive or why the ‘hard house clubber’ is so dedicated to it?

AF.    No I don’t think so, it did kind of crossover in 2000 with commercial hard house like Yomanada and Hi-Gate, Lock & Load etc and Hard House remixes of pop tunes. I think it’s more to do with the family vibe that the scene has. You see a lot of familiar faces at the gigs, which makes it feel like you’re partying with friends! I also think the energy that the music has is what gets people going!

FS.    I personally have been paying alot of attention to whats been happening in the UK, in terms of events, releases, etc. From what I can tell there seems to be this massive sense of unity between promoters and what not to get this scene pumping once more. An example, promoters coming together for Hard House Heaven. Can you tell the Sydney crowd more about this? Whats your take on this?

AF.    Over the last few years promoters have started to work together instead of against each other. For a time you would have two promotions running head to head on the same night and just end up with two half filled clubs. Thankfully common sense has prevailed and nights like Hard House Heaven which incorporates different brands have bought things back to life.

FS.    In similar fashion, the Sydney scene itself is experiencing a slight demand in hard house once again, with more DJ’s popping up their heads, older ones getting back behind the decks at clubs… In orde rto keep this healthy and alive what do you feel is needed from punters, promoters etc?

AF.    Don’t overkill it. Keep it as something special. A lot of the older generation have family responsibilities etc so don’t want to be clubbing week in week out, and certainly in the UK with the recession people can’t afford to do it every week. Keep it fresh and exciting.

FS.    One for the trainspotters / DJS : What artists other than yourself are grabbing your attention with releases?

AF.    Some great new artists from both the UK and Ireland are floating my boat at the moment. On the funky hard house tip, Ross Homson, Kris O’Rourke, Stone Cold, Amp Attack, James Devlin whilst on the tougher tip Gary O’Connor, Hilly, Craig Lee, Gary Byrne, Kronis and if course the regulars BK, Dom Sweeten, Dave Owens, Ben Stevens, Ian M, Butcher Boy & Karl Davis.

FS.    Lets talk your own music. Youve been steadily releasing material, can you tell us a little bit about who youve been working with in the studio of late? And what we should be keeping our ears open for re: Your own releases?

AF.    Well I have to confess I haven’t been in the studio for a year. Just fancied a break but am gagging to get back in now as have loads of ideas! The next one due out is a DOAF track which is myself and Dave Owens called Beef It Up due out any day in Digital Cohesion.

FS.    For the uninitiated, Hard house itself is a style that covers so many facets of sound and production. From trancier elements, to techy, to funkier stuff. Is there one particular sound you prefer over the others?

AF.    No I’ve always kept an open mind musically, and like to play whatever sounds good to my ears!

FS.    As a DJ, and most probabaly the main reason you were awarded ‘Best DJ’ in the Toolbox awards, is the fact you can be so versatile. So lets ask… do you have a plan for the Frantic boat party? Any preference on what you will be playing?

AF.    I never plan a set, always go in with an open mind and see where the crowd are at. I’ll be playing some great new tracks and some slamming classics!

FS.    Any last words before the event rolls round?

 AF.   HURRY UP SATURDAY!!!!

FS.    Looking forward to seeing you on the boat Mr Farley!

AF.    See you then!