It’s a discography that’s shaped the dubstep sound as we know it.
Inspired by the Bristol music scene, its significance on the producer’s formative years is apparent, as Tony explained in a 2010 interview with Resident Advisor:
“I had already met a few key producers in Bristol, thanks to meeting someone while I was working in a shop. His name was DJ Manic. He was friends with all the drum & bass guys from Bristol, Tech Itch, Ice Minus, Jakes, Komonazmuk.”
The young musician picked up music production in his free time and studied music at college, but initially decided to follow his dream and focused on BMX. Having become a bit fed up with drum and bass in 2003, he said:
“There wasn’t much you could do that was new. I stopped listening to drum & bass and got into psytrance.”
However, it was at university where the producer started making music again, having entered the same class as Appleblim, Wedge, Gatekeeper and Bloodman. Through Applebim (who was working at Tempa at the time), Tony had the honour of being the first producer outside of London to be signed to the legendary dubstep imprint.
Headhunter’s productions were different from what Tempa was pushing at the time. Tony’s music still had its jungle roots, but brought rawness from the drum and bass scene, as well as a more rolling continuous sound rooted in techno. In a 2012 interview he mentioned what it felt like to be signed to the London-based label:
“I was being flown all over the world DJing within 5 months of hooking up with Tempa – within 5 months of even starting to make dubstep! But I still felt new to it, you know? People would ask ‘What’s next, what’s your next tune Tony?’ and I’d almost feel like saying ‘Well, the next tune will be me continuing to figure out what I’m doing. Continuing to learn music production properly. Hopefully it will be better than the last one.”
While Headhunter’s debut release was on a label he and Tech Itch started (Ascension), it was his track 7th Curse that caught Youngsta’s attention (which led to the signing). The 12” releases on Tempa led to Headhunter’s first album Nomad, which saw the appearance of the massive tracks like Prototype, Physics Impulse and Baseflow. There is no doubt that this album paved the way for artists like Icicle, introducing a new kind of dubstep just before 2010 – a kind of tech halfstep if you will.
Soon after, Tony started describing how at, any gig, people wanted to hear the ‘harder’ dubstep tunes. This trend eventually led to the switch from Headhunter to Tony’s current alias Addison Groove.
Addison Groove was the product of a new flow of inspiration found in Chicago’s juke. His dubstep/juke hybrid anthem Footcrab, released on Loefah‘s Swamp81, created a whole new level of hype, leading other producers away from the further commercialisation of dubstep. As he described:
“I’m the kind of person that once it gets big, I want to get out.”
Addison Groove made the juke scene much more international – maybe even global, leading to global bookings for the producer. As he recently told TRUSIK:
“For now I’m touring a lot. As I’ve explained, I’ll be in places such as China, Australia, New Zealand, and the Americas with a bit of Europe too. This weekend I’m in Geneva but next I am looking to collab with with my good mate DJ Die and spend some studio time with him. He’s got a good vibe and energy and makes it easy for me to make music with.”
The TRUSIK interview and some of the more recent material Youngsta’s played on Rinse suggests we’re seeing a rebirth of Headhunter. On top of that, Tony is soon playing at Sonic Boom in Amsterdam… Let’s hope for new releases, new gigs and more Headhunter appearances in the dance – bringing back the vibe that forever changed dubstep…
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- Headhunter – Minor Nine [Defcom Records, 2008]
- Luke Envoy & Headhunter – Trap Door [Wonderland Records, 2008]
- Headhunter – Futurebound [Tempa, 2007]
- Headhunter – Experience [Tempa, 2009]
- Headhunter & Tech Itch – Arrival [Ascension, 2006]
- Headhunter – Drop The Waste [Tempa, 2007]
- Headhunter – 3 Mad P’s [Tempa, 2009]
- Headhunter – In Motion [Tempa, 2009]
- Headhunter – Grounded [Tempa, 2008]
- Headhunter – Locus Lotus [Tempa, 2007]
- Headhunter – Paradigm Shift [Tempa, 2008]
- Headhunter – Quanta [Tempa, 2007]
- Headhunter – Entity [Tempa, 2007]
- Headhunter – Sushi Brain [Tempa, 2007]