Taking aim at new targets, the beloved masked madman FuntCase (or James Hazell to his mum) spent the better part of his youth twisting knobs and spinning records. Long-time fans aware of his drum & bass upbringing should be happy to know he’s more involved in the genre than ever, providing a sick tear-out remix of the McMash Clan’s “Requiem.”
Leaping over genre boundaries while still remaining true to his big sound, FuntCase has continued to lead the pack with top-notch bass music for the last several years. On the eve of his departure for a string of American tour dates—including Bassrush Massive on May 15—Hazell chats with Bassrush about his American food cravings, his beef with Facebook, and advice to young producers who are piecing together their first studio.
We absolutely love your sick remix of “Requiem.” What inspired the style of that track? Bassrush loves jump-up dancefloor D&B.
Thank you! It’s weird, I’ve never had the opportunity to remix a drum & bass track into drum & bass. When Circus Records told me I was allowed to, I jumped at the opportunity! I never actually aimed for a specific style; originally it sounded kind of neuro and dark but I had to make it fit my sets so I gave it a weird edge that’s almost a technical and jump-up mixture. [I’m] extremely happy with it, probably the most well-produced track I’ve ever made. It’s so hard to nail drum & bass!
Is it causing any groaning amongst the hardcore dubstep fans?
No. There’s an obvious bunch that moan that the drop is a letdown from the epic intro, or that it should have been a certain section of the main part to be the drop, but the reaction has been amazing. Drum & bass artists I’m fans of and look up to have been coming up to me at shows and telling me how much they love it and how much it goes off live. I’ve been sent videos of Andy C playing it in his sets as his outro; that’s a serious honor! I’ve always wanted Andy C to play a track of mine in his shows, as they are so well made and formulated, and to know it’s his outro is unbelievable.
Speaking of drum & bass, we fully enjoyed your first productions mix on SoundCloud. Did you expect the beats to be so well received?
No actually, it was a half joke and half serious thing to upload it. The reason I put it up was to showcase what I used to sound like in the very beginning and give people a sense of evolution in my sound and production skills. There are tracks on there that I really shake my head about that people love. I should have expected it but I don’t hate or laugh at them for it. If the mix brings people smiles and they enjoy it then I guess it’s worked out better than I could have imagined.
In your eyes, what’s the biggest difference between the dubstep and drum & bass production styles?
Drum & bass is notoriously hard to produce. There’s not a lot of room for the things in the track to move, so it takes a lot of work to make sure everything has its place and hits well. Dubstep, being a lot slower, has a lot of room to breath and is infinitely easier to produce.
Can you spill any details about future collaborations?
[I’m] currently working with a bunch of drum & bass artists that I’m really feeling at the moment like Upgrade and Premium. There are talks with others but they’re not confirmed yet. Dubstep-wise, I’m really enjoying Trampa’s sound and decided to get in on something with him. A year or two ago it wouldn’t have worked for us to make a track, as we basically sounded the same. Now that he’s really finding his feet and we’re slowly separating, I think it’s time to finally lay it down! Others include Eptic, Trolley Snatcha, J-Phelpz, and Badklaat, but there are talks with some bigger artists so keep your eyes peeled!
What’s the one piece of outboard gear a new producer should look for to get started in the analog world?
I’d say a good sound card. I personally have a UAD Apollo Quad and it’s amazing. If you’ve got the money for that kind of stuff, it’s hugely worth it. A good sound card will do wonders for your final mixes!
What’s on your most wanted list of gear?
Since I started being friends with Joker, who is a huge gear head, you can imagine I’ve succumb to seeing everything he has and wants. There’s a synth he has I really want but it’s super expensive. It’s called the Alesis Andromeda—so many buttons!
Fans and trolls alike enjoy interacting with you on social media. If you had to select only one platform to use—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etcetera—which one would it be?
Probably my Twitter. It caters to everything like text, pictures and video, and people are always active on it. It’s easy to not be noticed on a feed like Instagram because people flick through pictures faster than they read tweets. Facebook’s fan reach is now limited and no one gets to see what you write. Thanks, Facebook! I didn’t spend six years earning and collecting organic fans for nothing!
Are you retiring the FuntCase mask?
Definitely not, I love wearing it. It’s almost like a veil to my second personality on stage, because what you see on stage definitely isn’t what I’m like in real life. (Laughs) Sometimes it gets a bit too hot and I almost pass out on stage or it makes my skin sting because it’s kind of tight to my face when I wear a hat. The excitement as people see the mask keeps me going. I just want to be able to make everyone smile.
We can’t wait for you to smash our sound system at Bassrush Massive. What should fans expect from your set?
I’m very energetic on stage. I’ll jump around and basically compose the basslines with my gun fingers and angry claws—it’s a whole experience. Musically I’ll be playing a lot of different styles of dubstep, all well-placed, formulated and most definitely some drum & bass. Even if people don’t like it, I want to be able to show them what sounds are out there still. Who knows what it might make someone think? [It could] turn them into an avid fan! Plus it gets me so hype!
Do you have any favorite places to eat in L.A. when you’re in town?
IHOP! I swear to God I deserve an IHOP sponsorship the amount of times I’ve eaten there. I dragged Getter there three days in a row once. (Laughs)
Photo by Paulo Malin