In the three years since Andy Hunter°'s last eclectic batch of electronica, the famed DJ encountered a literal whirlwind of international acclaim, creative advancement and personal growth. From his time on tour with DJ Tiesto (along with several rounds of solo headlining dates) to painting the vivid soundscapes in the studio for his third release Colour to reaping the benefits of a burgeoning family, the turntable wizard turned writer/performer has indeed achieved life's ultimate equilibrium.
"It's been awhile since I've put out a full-length CD, but I can promise you I haven't been lazy," offers Hunter° with a laugh via phone from his U.K. home. "It's been a fun couple of years between staying active on the road, writing this album and everything that's been happening in my life even outside of music."
The road to Colour was truly paved with a wide range of life experiences, which first started with his worshipful 2002 debut Exodus and the dance derived 2005 EP Life (both released through a partnership with Sparrow/EMI and Nettwerk Music Group). Between that pair of projects, Hunter° found a steady stream of singles (such as the smash club hits "Amazing" and "Go"), not to mention a slew of major soundtrack slots as varied as the trailer for "The Matrix: Reloaded," "The Italian Job," ABC's "Alias," various Microsoft commercials and even video games (including "Black Hawk Down," "Burnout Revenge," "Need For Speed Underground" and "Enter the Matrix").
Never one to turn down a challenge, Hunter° is currently co-writing and producing (with Colour coproducer Robbie Bronnimann) the score to Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed an independent film starring Ben Stein that looks at the issues of Creationism and Darwinism. The April 2008 release features several self-composed instrumental pieces which embody yet another inventive edge of this truly versatile artist. Add in press acclaim spanning the gamut of Rolling Stone, CCM and Christianity Today and Hunter°'s steadily become one of the most successful crossover artists in electronic contexts of all time.
"Throughout the past few years, I've gotten tons of emails and hits on my MySpace page from people who've bought my records after playing a game or seeing a movie," he observes, citing a fan base that reaches well beyond the church's walls into just about every aspect of popular culture. "There's always a credit that people can track down and it's been fantastic to find fans outside the clubbing world, plus now a lot of the key people who place songs are familiar with the name Andy Hunter°."
Aside from growing in all the aforementioned capacities, Hunter°'s signed exclusively with Nettwerk Music Group, the worldwide organization that already backs major pop/rockers like Sarah McLachlan and Barenaked Ladies, plus club regulars BT and Delerium. Nettwerk, with a reputation of artistic freedom, left the door open for Hunter° to craft his most ambitious and assorted collection to date and to expand upon his unique ministry platform.
"It's kind of funny because with my first disc, there was a lot of freedom, but when the success of licensing to films and video games set in, there was a push for me to write in that direction on Life," he admits. "So that was a bit of a shame, but now with Nettwerk, it's been really nice to be in charge of the project myself. It's great to be in a world where there's a healthy respect for music and not just the bottom line."
From first listen, Colour provides a steady stream of variety and unpredictable arrangements that stand out. While there is plenty for longtime fans to sink their teeth into, the wide spread grooves are likely to appeal outside the club scene. Both the Christian community and secular fans will appreciate the remarkably uplifting elements.
"I think Colour is a lot more developed compared to the previous records," he continues. "I wrote the record as an artist and not just as a DJ, which I really liked. Sure there are still plenty of moments for the dance floor and we'll do single remixes to meet the needs of DJs, but I also really wanted to concentrate on making a great album for your stereo or car. It's still packed with some Andy Hunter° break beats and up-tempo tunes, but also mid-tempo songs with more mellow, lyrical bases. When I DJ, I try to pick songs I think are fantastic, but after 14 minutes, even the most engaging track can kind of wear me out. On Colour, I want people to kick back and relax and I feel like I've accomplished a bit more diversity that's not stuck in just one genre or a repetitive cycle."
Beyond making noticeable sonic strides, Hunter°'s increased use of lyrics and beat driven message implications stems from an even more socially conscious perspective. For starters, environmental angles permeate the record, reminding listeners to take responsibility for their actions and think green whenever possible. And perhaps even closer to his heart are the several references of unconditional love to his family, anchored by praise to the ultimate Creator.
"The word 'colour' conjures up so many visual images and almost every song relates to a colour at some point," Hunter° muses. "Take a song like 'Stars,' which is based around orange and the street lamps I see when I look out from my house over a nice bay. You look at a song like 'System Error,' which doesn't have many lyrics, but is really based on green and the environment. I sample my son saying 'it's my future,' and I hope that makes people think that how we treat the world today really does affect our sons and daughters' future. I'm certainly not doing everything I can, especially by flying in planes all over the world, but now I do feel guilty every time I throw a bottle in the trash rather than recycling it. From a faith based point of view, I'm starting to wonder what God thinks of what we're doing to the planet He created. Two years ago I didn't even think about it, but after becoming a dad, it's becoming more of an issue."
In keeping with that concept, Hunter° and his wife continue to revel in their relatively recent parenthood, which also permeates many other facets of this endeavor. The pulsating "Together" pays tribute to lifelong marital commitment, "Shine" is a prayer for God to be continually shinning his light on our lives, "Sapphire" is a Biblically-based reflection about the Lord's throne room, "Fade" serves as a reminder of God's everlasting grace, while the joyous "Miracle" addresses the birth of a new baby wrapped around the entrancing, mantra-like lines "it's a beautiful life/ it's a miracle."
"All of these areas of life helped with my creativity, plus I think writing lyrics in this way helps you understand relationships more," he sums up. "You can't really put into words how strong you feel about the love you have for your children, but you can use those feelings to help you write and bring feeling to the music. At the end of the day, I'm just going through life being me and I'm not bothered by what people think. If something I say is uncool within a certain scene, I really don't care. When I write music, I want to love every note I put on a CD. With Colour, we may loose a few fans who are expecting a full on DJ album, but hopefully gain a lot of new ones who are into the diversity this disc brings to the table. And hopefully from a spiritual perspective, it will show that God accepts us for who we are and He wants to bring colour back to every area of our lives."
Different, but....| Posted June 04, 2009
in a very good way. I was not a big fan of "techno-electronica" music, and I certainly did not think of it as a genre of Christian music. But, after buying "Colour", I was hooked. Ordered "Life", and "Exodus", and can't wait for the next!