Andy Whitby constantly illuminates and energises the hard dance scene with his irrepressible creativity and talent.
He’s also one of the djs responsible for the latest Hard Dance Anthems album.
I tried to keep pace…
How is the whirlwind of hard dance?
Are you calling me a whirlwind or saying the genre of hard dance is?! Either way, the scene is rocking right now after a hugely successful NYE/D. I played 5 sets across the country and all of them were packed out and rocking hard. I loved it! A few days before that I was in Canada for a special party in Edmonton – one of my favourite cities to visit. The clubbers there just love big powerful music. I’m really excited about hard dance going into 2011. I think it’s going to be a great year.
Tell us about the new Hard Dance Anthems album.
It’s a huge project I’m very excited about. Four discs of the best hard dance across the entire spectrum of sounds found in the scene. It’s packed full of exclusives and new tracks alongside some very special new mixes of the biggest hard dance classics. Having it mixed by 6 of the biggest names in the scene was a key part of making this compilation a success especially as our styles are so different. Initial reaction to the compilation has been incredible. We’re currently at number 30 in the UK Top 40, holding our own with Ministry Of Sound’s Annual and the latest offering from Clubland.
It is well known you work phenomenally hard creating your music. Has this been a particularly special project?
It has indeed. Whenever I’m asked to mix a compilation I make sure I clear the diary and dedicate myself to ensuring it’s the best mix I can possibly put together. I still mix compilations live on a DJM800 and 3 CDJs. I just find you can’t get the ‘vibe’ of a live dj set if the set is mixed on a computer so I spend a large amount of time leading up to the mix going through all the possible ways to put the tracks together. Special edits, bootlegs, hot cues and looping are all part of making sure the mix flows perfectly and stays entertaining for the listener.
What keeps you so hugely motivated?
I’m motivated for many things – to ensure clubbers know when I step up to perform they are in for a great time and to be the best, or to be regarded as one of the best, in the scene. The music industry is my life, a love which only grows stronger each time I write a new track or play a set at the weekend.
Which clubs are the hottest for you at the moment?
I played at Gatecrasher in Birmingham on New Year’s Day and, let me tell you, that club is special. Word is they spent over £1m on refurbishing it and you can see it is money well spent. The sound, lighting, visuals and layout are all superb. Internationally, there are some amazing clubs. On Boxing Day I played in Edmonton in Canada at the Empire Ballroom, a multi level club with mind-blowing visuals and layout. There are 4 levels for people to dance. I loved every minute of it!
If people need a regular dose of Whitby what do they do? Do you have a podcast?
My website is http://www.andywhitby.com which is the place for all things Whitby. There are links to a podcast, free mixes, Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – it’s all on there.
What is going on for you in 2011?
2011 is business as usual for me. I’m currently working on a new compilation for release around March time. Unfortunately, my lips are sealed at present as far as any further information about that goes!
Event wise I’ll be putting on more AWsum shows. This time taking them outside London which has been our home for the past 3 years. I love London but feel for the sake of the brand it’s time to branch out to new pastures.
How are things going with your AWsum brand?
Things are going very well. We’ve got some exciting new developments to start this year which is going to take the label side of the brand to the next level.
We’ll also be releasing out first compilation – a venture I’m very excited about due to my past experiences mixing so many albums for other labels. Now I have complete control over every aspect – content, artwork, promotion. It’s going to be an exciting project.
You are a massive fan of video games. What are you playing at the moment?
I do indeed love video games. Nothing beats, after a hard day of music work, jumping online and playing ‘til the early hours of the morning.
I’m currently rocking 2 games – Black Ops and Need For Speed Hot Pursuit which are both on PS3. I’ve also just bought Kinect for the 360 and my girlfriend and I can’t stop playing Donkey Kong on Wii….she goes Donkey, I’m Diddy.
What’s the next challenge for Andy Whitby?
Right now I’m just putting together my own solo podcast which will be available on iTunes and Podomatic. It’s going to be a 30 minute mix of the biggest and best tracks from my CD wallet and, unlike my other podcast with Klubfiller, will feature minimal chat and more music!
I’m also going to be focusing a lot more on my own solo production. I’ve spent a lot of time doing collaborations but now it’s time to concentrate on my own individual projects and sound.