DJ Hyper aka Guy Hatfield is one of those DJ’s who always seems to have his name associated with words like “seminal” and “ground breaking”. His ‘Y3K’ series of breaks set the formula for the successful ‘Y4K’ series, and ‘Bedrock Breaks‘, based on the back room of John Digweed’s Bedrock club where Hatfield holds a residency, is heralded as introducing the world to breaks. Holding residencies in 3 countries (the UK, Spain and the US), running a record label and writing for music magazines, considering he’s only been DJing “seriously for about the last 4 or 5 years”, is testament to his desire to spread breaks to the world at large.
Hatfield got into breaks because of his “boredom with house music. I used to go to the FREE Parties, but then started to get into hiphop and experimental breaks, ‘Mo wax’ and DJ Shadow and the like, and progressed from there into labels like ‘BeatBox’ and ‘TCR’. I like playing breaks because it’s got the energy, it’s very diverse and it comes from all sorts of [musical] areas. It can be so varied and has so many different styles that it keeps fresh all the time. I like drum and bass, but about half an hour it drives me up the wall, it’s too hard and repetitive – all sounds the same, but I could just be getting old [laughs]”
Having been a forefather of the scene, I asked what Hatfield thought of the breaks scene, both in the UK and abroad. “In the UK the scene is becoming very strong, with lots of people putting out records, some good, some bad, some good club nights and a lot more radio exposure happening. More so on the specialist radio show level, and definitely still underground compared to other music scenes, although there is the potential for cross over in the likes of Terminal Head, [who are signed to Kilowatt]. In the US it’s great, the vibe is great, and its scene is growing. I do some pretty full on touring over there, I will be over for the Miami Music Conference, then back to London, then back to the US for a month. World wide the scene is getting stronger and stronger too, there’s people from Sweden, Hong Kong, America, Australia – Kid Kinobe & EK – and they’re all producing some excellent stuff.”
With the scene growing, and even dnb record labels jumping headfirst into breaks, I asked Hatfield how he will keep ‘Kilowatt’ distinctive from the other labels. “Putting out quality records and not putting out any old shit [laughs]. There are a lot of shit records out there at the moment. The key is not to worry about what anybody else is doing, but to put out good records, quality and not quantity. ‘Kilowatt’ is for artists, in that I’m going to have people I respect and like do albums, not one offs.” The line up is already looking fantastic, with Terminal Head, Stir Fry, Fatliners, and False Prophet being the first signings. Hatfield is not afraid of production himself, being responsible for taking the rather average Addicted to Bass by Puretone (Josh Abrams) and turning it into a stompingly beautiful piece of breakbeat genius. He’s also got a new single Catnip out on Timo Mass’s ‘Acetate Ltd’ pressing.
Hatfield will be in Adelaide for the first time at Stardust Summer Edition, and I asked him what we could expect. “Quality breakbeat – not too dark, as a lot of people think breakbeat is dark, and that can cloud people’s vision of the scene, but I try to stay away from that. I play groovy, funky stuff, where people can have a good, fun time and not stand around the decks looking stern [laughs]”. “Mixing wise I’m a smooth, fluid mixer, or so I like to think, but don’t we all [laughs], blending the tunes rather than jumping around in the mix. And I am very, very fussy about what I play. I lot of records people go mental over I just think “they’re crap” [laughs] and that’s not to knock them down, I’m just really fussy about what I like.”
It’s that fussiness that has led him to be listed in Urb Magazines “Next 100” and put him in the “top 10 to watch over the next 12 months” in US Mixer magazine, as well as being voted the No 2 breakbeat DJ in the world in UK’s DJ Magazine. And it’s his reputation as being a unique and skilful DJ that has this interviewer counting the days to the release of Bedrock Breaks 2 out on Bedrock, and he plays the Stardust Summer festival.