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Atomic Hooligan Interview

1 August 04 words: Emily Hynd
"We both come from different musical backgrounds. Matt was a rave kid, and I was going to hip hop dances and collecting vinyl."

Atomic HooliganThere are few people who can claim their career evolved from one, dare I suggest `influenced' conversation in a hot and sweaty nightclub.

But, as one of the finest break beat acts the UK has ever seen, Atomic Hooligan did just that and made the road to success seem like a walk in the park; an effortless transition from bedroom beat makers to highly respected DJ's and producers.

Their unwavering passion for music and constant desire to make the perfect beat is apparent in all their releases to date and is no doubt a contributing factor to their success.

But what is it that makes Atomic Hooligan shine out beyond their contemporaries?
I fancied taking a lesson in the way of the Hooligan so caught up with Terry Ryan to learn a little more.

So Terry, tell us more about that conversation in the club....
"I wish it was as romantic as that. It was a long process really, we just started out as me being the scratch dj, and Matt and another guy, James being the beat makers. Then James left and we formed Atomic Hooligan as it is now. We didn't really have a master plan as such, it just kind of fell together."

Who are your influences and how do you retain a unique sound amongst
all your great contemporary's?
"We are influenced by all the usual, like the Chemical Brothers, Orbital, Leftfield. But also people like Basement Jaxx and the newer generation of up front dance producers and bands. I think our sound definitely comes from these influences, and also our combination of likes and dislikes when it comes to music. We both come from different musical backgrounds and I think that shows. Matt was a rave kid, and I was going to hip hop dances and collecting vinyl. But also a major factor in our sound is our studio. We just get this kind of individual sound out of it, neither of us can explain."

I read that Matt used to spend so much time indoors making beats that he
was unable to be influenced by the current 'trends' in music - is this still the case?

"No, not since he found xfm, but yeah it is still true that he pretty much has no idea what is going on in breakbeat circles, and that's good I think, another reason we have `our sound'."

Atomic Hooligan

What piece of equipment can you not live without?
"Our mpc 1000, our numark cdx, and our computer!"

So who's the biggest geek ?
"Matt's a geek with kit and I am with records."

Your determination to perfect your sound definitely pays off and you have received global critical acclaim in recent years. Do you feel pressure to live up to your own and other peoples expectations?
"Sometimes we do, and then we sit back and think fuck it. We can only do what we do really. It can be a strain to try and live up to peoples expectations, and you will never please everyone. So we don't try anymore, we just try to make the best music we can."

Are you particularly critical of yourselves or one another?
"Yeah, we are very very critical of ourselves, but I think you have to be. Self a&r is very very important when it comes to maintaining quality. We can be critical of each other, but it is healthy I think."

You recently did an amazing remix of Underworld's 'Born Slippy'. I think I would have been too scared I might f**k up a classic - how did you guys approach that project and ensure that it was such a success ?
"We were shitting it at first, I mean it is one of the biggest dance tunes of all time. It's a massive thing. We just approached it like we would anything else we do - tried to make it the best we can. We didn't want to mess with the original feel of the track too much, but we didn't want to just churn out a break with the vocal and pads over it. It took us a while to do, we did it, then scrapped like 50% of the elements we had
made, and started again. But it all came together when we got the baseline down. That was the killer that pushed the rest to fall into place. Everything about that track is perfect too. When you listen to the original parts by themselves, you just hear the quality. We still feel really lucky to have done it."

Atomic Hooligan

In recent years you've done a lot of touring internationally. What did you think of the Breaks scene in different parts of the world ?
"Canada is my favourite really, great breaks scene there, and they really know how to have fun. Australia is wicked as well, I'm off there again tomorrow. Spain I still love, I have been going there and playing parties and festivals for a few years now. But its got to be said, the best experience in the last year has been Russia, they're  just totally up for it, good music loving people. Especially Saint Petersburg. I am now a resident along with Jay Cunning at the Tunnel club there. We go every 3 months now. Mind blowing."

You played Glastonbury this year. How was that experience ?
"It was really top notch, first time we have played there together. It was big, and very enjoyable. For me it was like Chelsea playing at Stanford Bridge, like we were at home!"

You're playing in at Stealth in Nottingham on the 6th - which 3 records will you not be leaving home without?
900 Number - Mark the 45 king
Freshka Allstars - Get Fresh
Don't Scandalise Mine - Sugar Bear

Atomic Hooligan always seem to be one step ahead. What one quality would you say is a must to make that happen?

What are the future plans for Atomic Hooligan?
"Take what we do, and push it further. We want to make a fully live band out of Atomic Hooligan, rather than just one laptop. I have a few mix cd's in the pipeline that I am excited about. And of course we want to let everyone here our album. We love what we do, and we want to be doing it for a long time, so we're just trying to get some longevity to it."

Atomic Hooligan's debut album `You Are Here' is set to drop this summer.


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