Anthony Huttley is a friendly chap from Brisbane, who has spent some time in Japan. Recently he has been making his mark with guest spots on Proton Radio and his excellent Toa Sound podcast, which features guest mixes by some of Australia’s local talent and Japanese musicians Anthony has met in his travels. The first Toa Sound event is taking place in Brisbane in October and I got to talk to Anthony about what he has planned.
Q. Anthony, you’ve had a great year so far and it looks like things are going to keep getting better. In January your track All These Robots was released on Aeriform Records, with remixes by some big names in progressive house – Tuxedo and Aeriform label boss Following Light. You’ve also remixed Synergy, a tune by Robert R. Hardy. What’s next on the production front?
A. Well firstly, let me say thanks for interviewing me. It’s an honour to be a part of what you’re doing at Underground Sound.
Secondly, that is a very good question! I’ve not produced as much as I’d like to of late, due to family commitments, and the fact that I have been (for lack of a better term) in transit, and with out a studio for the last 10 months or so. I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t been influenced by the Berlin-style, Japanese dubby techno sound of late, yet, I am very much a lover of deep, progressive, and I have to say, those 2 sounds coming together is proving very interesting on the production front. I’ve been composing a bit here and there, but as far as what is next goes, who knows what kind of a monster is in the pipeline?
Q. In September online music store Beatport announced new genres (big room and future house), which will have a major impact on their progressive house catalogue as commercial tracks are removed from that section. As someone with a vested interest in the genre, how do you hope those changes will shape progressive house in years to come?
A. I think that is a huge step in the right direction for prog. It means that when you say progressive house, people aren’t going to assume Showtek and other such artists that aren’t prog. It means that anyone who hears a “progressive house” tune and wants more can easily find more of it on beatport, without necessarily having to remember artists or labels. Previously, you had to know an artist or a label to be able to find the good stuff, but now, you can just flick right to the progressive house chart on beatport and bam! There’s Einmusik, right there alongside Jeremy Olander, Guy Mantzur and Khen. That is fantastic news, if you ask me. It gives people easy access to really solid music, right there on the front page. Perfect.
Q. As a DJ you’ve had gigs in Brisbane playing commercial music to pub goers. I see you’re still doing a bit of that. What’s it like playing Aussie rock some nights and underground house and techno on others?
A. Yeah, it’s interesting. Haha! Given that the 2 gigs are on polar opposite ends of the gig-o-meter, you would think I would hate doing the commercial gigs, and yeah, some crowds are certainly better than others, but I try to take what I can from them. I find that the commercial crowd is a lot more fickle than the underground crowd, I really have to be on my toes when I do a commercial gig, because it’s not really my style, you know? So if I’ve got a floor dancing, and a track flops, I fade out nearly instantly, and drop something else in, because track selection is significantly more important than your ability to beat match in that circumstance, and literally no one on that floor cares for beat matching ability, they just want Beyonce… and Chris Brown…over and over again. Then on the other hand you have the underground crowd, who seem to listen to pretty much anything with a solid groove, which obviously allows one to experiment a lot more with direction and feel, so yeah, even though the two gigs are in such contrast with each other, I try to take what I can from the commercial gigs, and apply it to the gigs I love. I know that sounds strange, cos you’re probably wondering what on earth I could learn, but there are things, trust me.
Q. How were you introduced to electronic music? Which artists inspired you in the beginning and who are your current influences?
A. Not sure how I was introduced to electronic music, probably the radio. I remember the first electronic artists I was into; Apollo 440, Sonic Animation, Resin Dogs, basically anything that sounded vaguely electronic that I was being exposed to. I remember “Orchid for the afterworld” by Sonic Animation was one of the first cd’s I ever owned. One of my brothers mates had a gatecrasher compilation called “Global Sound System”. It was the fluro-green and white one. That was my introduction to trance, and from there I didn’t really look back, although, I was very heavily involved in the punk rock scene back then, so I didn’t get out to as many raves as I (now) wish I did. BT became my favourite electronic artist for a long time, basically until I heard house. In 2007 I met a guy at work, who gave me a promo cd from his mate, which was by a DJ that you may have heard of, DJ Notwell, he goes by his own name, Rich Curtis these days. That was my introduction to the progressive that I am addicted to now. Currently, Rich Curtis is still very much one of my biggest influences. I am constantly inspired by how hard that guy works, his attention to detail in his tracks, and also his mixes. Admittedly, not all of the music he plays or writes is to my taste, but to see someone actually live out the life, and build the reputation that he has built for himself over the years is something that I aspire to. We often look at heavy weights like Sasha and Digweed, and the rest, and their level seems unattainable, you know? But to see someone like Rich walking the path is a huge inspiration to me. Not only that, but he’s also a stellar guy, so there’s that too.
Q. In May you did a guest mix for Tuxedo’s Electronic Tree show on Proton Radio, and in September you landed a coveted spot on Proton’s VS show. I know you put a lot of time and thought into your carefully crafted sets. Can you tell us how you prepared for these spots?
A. It’s kinda hard for me to articulate how my mixes come together. Some people draw inspiration from the weather or a season, or a mood that they’re in. For me though, I have a formula that I go by. All of my best mixes are dynamic, full of peaks and troughs, like a rollercoaster. Most of the time I get about 6 or 7 tracks into a mix, but then I can’t seem to make it work anymore. So I’ll come back to it the next day or something, but often the music that I was playing the day before isn’t what I feel like by the time I sit down to have another crack at it. I remember when I put that mix together for Electronic Tree, I was at my wits’ end. I was super tired from work, and it was crunch time, so I literally just had to get it done. Somehow, it just fell together. I sat down that night after my son went to bed (before that I’m busy being a dad) and just started playing tracks to keep myself awake (it was never going to be a deep house mix), 12 or 13 tracks later, I had a mix that turned out to be (in my opinion) one of my best mixes to date, which went on to open the door for me to be able to do a guest mix on Proton’s VS. That one came together much the same way. I think I was on about my 7th or 8th attempt to get a mix together when that one fell into place.
Q. You also took to the popular Frequencies.tv decks last month for a two hour set. What have been some of your favourite local gigs, and where else would you like to play?
A. That is a difficult question for me to answer, as I haven’t gigged a lot locally when it comes to the underground music that I love. In fact, the set that I did for frequencies was one of the rare occasions that you get to see me in my natural environment, and after not playing any progressive gigs for a while, and given that I only planned the first few tracks, I was actually surprised at how well that went down. Turns out I know my music better than I remember. Haha. I’ve spent a lot of time behind the decks at the Glamour bar, in Fridays riverside, but there is no dance floor there, it’s just a matter of keeping the patrons at the bar. As far as a good crowd goes, given the little experience I have with a dance floor that wants to hear progressive house music, I would have to say that some of my favourite gigs have been playing Rap and RnB to Maori’s at the Normanby. I must admit, there is a lot of really solid, old school cuts that I get into, and playing those, (especially some of the less commercial and older forgotten ones) can be super fun to the right crowd. As far as places that I want to play at goes, there are some places in Japan that I have my sights firmly set on in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Matsumoto.
Q. You lived in Japan and immersed yourself in their music and culture. What did you find there?
A. I found a lot of things there! I guess I’ll start with the whisky, some of the worlds best whisky is from Japan, and I drank a lot of it. You’d be surprised at the kind of rare whiskies that you can occasionally find in a metro 7/11. As far as music goes, I can tell you that I found some of the worlds best techno there, but you really have to hear it to believe it, so be sure to put Japan on your list of places to go, if you love techno. I also found great food and great culture, but if you know anything about Japan, that’s to be expected.
Q. Congratulations are in order for your success with the Toa Sound mix series. Toa Sound has aired every month for the last two years, and since October 2015 you’ve had a featured guest mix with DJs from Brisbane and two Japanese DJs as well. Who do you have coming up in the guest spot and who would you love to have on?
A. Thank you! It’s interesting that you called it successful. I only just realised recently that actually, it’s not doing to bad. In fact, when I started doing this, I had no idea what was in store, two years down the track, so this is all very exciting for me. Coming up on guest mix duties, we have some really stellar DJ’s to look forward to, all Brisbane local. In October, we have Collision, which will be a welcome change and a treat for anyone who loves prog. November we have Julian Keim, and December we’ve got a mix from Haiku coming up. I have my ears on a few more Japanese DJs for the guest spot, but also, there are a couple of more familiar names that I would love to get on board. I won’t mention any names just yet, but let’s just say I have my sights set high.
Q. On the 15th of October the first Toa Sound event will take place at Capulet in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. You’ve assembled an all star line up of Brisbane’s underground house and techno DJs to support Japanese artist Takashi Watanabe. They’ve all been featured on episodes of Toa Sound this year, making this the culmination of a year of great music. It looks like it will be a very special day. What can attendees expect from the event?
A. As you probably know, the Toa Sound guest mix (like every guest mix, I guess.) is a spot for artists to showcase whatever music they’re into at the time. I don’t put boundaries on anyone. So with that in mind, I’ve sat down with a mate of mine, and planned out the day as best I can so that each person can play to their taste, rather than to their position in the line-up, if that makes sense. At the end of the day, the line-up is stellar. Every DJ there knows what they’re doing, and knows how a good day of music should run, so with that in mind, I’d say we are in for a day of solid progressive and techno, with al the peaks and troughs that a good day consists of.
Q. Do you have any inspirational words for someone who wants to break into the underground electronic music scene? With that said, what does the future hold for Anthony Huttley?
A. There are a lot of things I could say to someone who wants to break into the electronic scene, especially as I am someone who I feel is just getting started. Some words that have helped, and still help me on a regular basis though, are: Big things, are just lots of little things. In other words, set your sights high, but then break it down into achievable goals.
As for what the future holds for me: Well, tell me, and we’ll both know! Haha. As you might know, Toa Sound has recently become part of the family on DNA radio FM, in Argentina, so I’m excited to see what doors that opens for us. Also, I will be planning another Toa Sound party, or even a few, next year for the 3rd birthday, so there’s that. Apart from that, I will be moving to Japan again very shortly, where I can finally set up my studio again. Then I want to produce more. I can not wait!
Thanks for having me on here, it’s been a pleasure.
Thank you so much Anthony. I’m really looking forward to the first Toa Sound event!
Facebook Event: Toa Sound presents Takashi Watanabe
Buy Tickets: http://www.moshtix.com.au/v2/event/takashi-watanabe/88915
>> DNA Radio FM
Anthony has kindly provided us with the second exclusive episode of Underground Sound. Featured are some fresh cuts of minimal, deep and tech house of the highest quality. Check it!
01. Mobi – Envy (Yuuki Hori Remix) [Achromatiq]
02. Chris George – Love vs. Pain (Original Mix) [Buxton Records]
03. Dis&Dat – Ares (Original Mix) [Yoruba Grooves]
04. Islands – Nights With Lucid (Tristen Remix) [Buxton Records]
05. Dis&Dat – Indisperso (Original Mix) [Yoruba Grooves]
06. Superlounge – Rotwelch (Original Mix) [Get Weird]