Bristol Spotlight: Anti-Fun

Anti-Fun is a new moniker used by a name that many of you will know around Bristol and the UK clubbing scene, but as it stands, not even we know who they are. The whole project is shrouded in secrecy until the Happy Skull event this Saturday where Anti-Fun will start their residency alongside the Kelly Twins. Below, Anti-Fun discusses their need for secrecy, highlights of their record collection, and includes a brilliant mix for us that characterises the sound that The Kelly Twins and Anti-Fun are pushing with this project.

Catch Anti-Fun in Bristol this Friday at the first Happy Skull party with Kowton, Throwing Shade and The Kelly Twins.

DOWNLOAD MIX. No Tracklist provided.

Hey Anti-Fun. We’ve been told to keep your identity secret for now. What was the intention behind doing this?

It’s a simple thing really: no preconceptions. Myself and the Kelly Twins wanted people to listen to the music – via this mix and my appearance at the Happy Skull party at Cosies – and make up their minds on that.

How did you come to be involved as a resident for Happy Skull and what excites you about working with the Kelly Twins?

I’ve known Sean and Dan for many years. They approached me with the idea of taking on a new persona, and I’d already been toying with the idea of Anti-Fun. As for working with them, it’s always a pleasure. We share similar ideas about music and DJing, and a strong desire to avoid easy categorization. I love the fact that I’m never quite sure what I’ll hear when I attend one of their gigs. Hopefully other people will feel the same when they hear Anti-Fun.

Stepping back a bit, what do you think the role and value of a resident DJ is and what do you plan to bring to the Happy Skull parties with your own approach to DJing?

Resident DJs set the tone and give a party its musical identity. It’s their vision, really. The Kelly Twins have a clear vision for Happy Skull, and Anti-Fun fits into that perfectly. It’s a feel or a vibe, I guess, but it doesn’t stick to one groove, style or tempo. I have a very clear idea in my head what Anti-Fun is, but it’s hard to explain in words. Just listen to the music and you’ll understand.

Sean (Kelly) told us that you have one of the deepest record collections he’s ever seen.  Could you tell us about a couple of records you’re most proud to own, and why?

Picking out individual records from a collection the size of a small one-bedroom flat is a bit tricky, to say the least. What I would say is that I tend to get more excited about records that were overlooked first time round, or I’ve bought “blind” from car boot sales, charity shops and odd second hand places.  I also own a large amount of sound effects records, and weird soundtracks featuring odd dialogue in different languages. For some reason I’m quite proud of those, even though collectively they probably cost me about six quid.

What’s your position on the vinyl vs digital debate? Is there still a core importance to vinyl-only releases in the current climate?

I’m a massive vinyl nerd, but I don’t get concerned about people choosing to DJ digitally. I grew up being in love with the sound, feel and smell of vinyl and can’t ever see myself not buying records. It does mean that I’m always skint, though, as vinyl is an expensive commodity these days. I’ll die penniless, but I’ll have a great record collection. And, yes, there is still a place for vinyl-only releases; if something isn’t available digitally, it adds to its’ allure. Physical products can be cherished in a way that digital files on a hard drive can’t be. Plus, you can’t skin up on an MP3.

Where is your favourite place to shop for records and why?

Aside from Bristol’s own Idle Hands, I’m a big fan of Piccadilly Records and Music & Vinyl Exchange in Manchester. I’ve heard a lot of great things about Redlight Records in Amsterdam, but I’m yet to visit. I think the most excited I’ve been recently while record shopping was when I stumbled across some odd second hand place in a run down town in Nottinghamshire. The place is a goldmine – there must be 10,000 records in there, and most are cheap. I found loads of weird and wonderful records. The guys running it were hilarious, too – ex mobile DJs from the ‘70s and ‘80s who talked happily about playing gigs in working men’s clubs.

Do you have any advice for young, aspiring record collectors who might not have enough money to buy every record they like, or hardware to mix on? How did you first approach collecting?

When I first got into it 20-odd years ago, I was using my parents’ old Pioneer turntable from the ‘70s, and an amp that looked like a weird analogue synthesizer. I used to save up the money I was given to buy lunch at school, and use that to buy records instead of eating. At that stage I was just discovering music – I hadn’t worked out what I did and didn’t like yet. My advice is simple: dig. There are loads of amazing records you can find in weird and wonderful places for next to no money – charity shops, car boot sales, I even once bought some amazing stuff from a barber in Australia.  If money really is an issue, think hard about what to buy – don’t buy things that will “fit into a set”, as those are the ones that will date immediately. If a record sounds next level now, it will still sound next level in 20 years.

Could you tell us a bit about the mix you’ve done for us?

The mix was recorded in one take, though I did add a few samples and sound effects afterwards. Beforehand I did a few edits of tracks. There’s also an Anti-Fun track in there, which I made especially for the mix. That’s pretty much all I want to say about it, though – I’d rather people just listened and made their own mind up.

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