If you swap over the F and the C [in my name] I'm sure you'll get a nice surprise, had you not already worked it out." Yes, the man known professionally as FuntCase has a dirty mind. Good thing for us that vulgarity is translated within his ground shaking music. In the grand tradition of such mysterious figures as Jason Voorhees, this crazy Funt sports a rather creepy mask whenever he's in the public eye.
Much like his transition from drum and bass to dubstep, the decision to don facial gear was almost like destiny. "[It was] an accident. At my first FuntCase gig playing for a night in my hometown I was on the same time as the headliner, played to about 6 people. All of them were my mates. Just before I went on my mate was going through my bag and he spotted the mask, which I wore to a festival days before. He told me to wear it and I laughed at him, he then passed me the mask and I thought 'ah sod it, why not?!' Just kind of stuck from there!" In such a simple way the saga of FuntCase began.
Stirring up a storm among club goers with a sound known as Bournemouth Bass, it was a close friend that steered him in the direction of dubstep. "I have always been a mad guy on stage. Ever since my days in metal bands I was going nuts flinging my head around and just going into some mad zone that sends me flailing in front of hundreds of people. This has translated into my dubstep sets and often I get really into the music and start flailing my head about. Not so easy to mix when your body is going all over the place." Hailing from an unlikely hub of rebellious music, a coastal town in Dorset, England, the man born James Hazell began experimenting with production after discovering recording software. His forays into the wildly popular sub-genre have allowed him to take his love of death metal and jungle music to an insane new direction. "My friend Panks was always hassling me to do dubstep, sending me tracks to get me into it. One day I caved in when we were chatting and made a couple of tracks, and there I hadGorilla Flex and Make Our Day." Not over-thinking and just going with the moment has helped produce filthy gems such as Make Our Day. Having mates around had a hand again too. "[Make Our Day] was just a track I randomly made while mates were round mine playing my Playstation. I was in a graffiti crew at the time, and we all decided we would make the track about our crew and have a laugh with it. It sounded rubbish but at the time dubstep was still just fun for me, not a career choice."
Being a fan and artist, FuntCase sees nothing but positives coming from the glare of media spotlight on dubstep. "Every artist, whether they like to admit it or not, dreams of having the spotlight, whether it be commercial or just well known underground. The more commercial side of things is amazing and I've always said that it's what this scene needs. No underground scene can survive on being just underground alone and having all of these new people who usually listen to pop music, now getting into dubstep from the radio, is a great thing." Expanding the fanbase is key to the survival of this once-underground phenomenon, he shares. "The more people we accommodate to the scene, the more it'll be popular and the scene will survive for a long time. I've always thought that drum and bass could have been what dubstep is today but just didn't make it."
Despite being raised in a musical environment, the future FuntCase never imagined he would become a performer. "My mum has been a DJ most of her life and still is to this day. As a kid she always pushed rave music into my ears, whether I liked it or not." Then one day, as a long-haired death metal fan, he discovered the Twisted Individual track Bandwagon Blues. "This jolted me into starting to DJ, and I learned to mix within two weeks," he says with reverence. "I wasn't really seriously producing for years after, but was always playing Music 2000 on the Playstation and sort of spiraled from there." Using whatever primitive means were available to him, the groundwork for his assaulting sounds was born. "At the start you are all optimistic in making loud banging music with the most horrible noises possible. When it becomes your life you start to mature into other sides of the music that you love and generally start dabbling in all sorts of areas." The sonic scope of dubstep happens to be his favourite flavor right now. "These days I love to make the harder stuff and also like to work in the deeper and softer sides as a side project, which is keeping me interested in it all. The side projects are what I like to work with vocal wise but I do have a few tricks up my wizard sleeve." Currently pondering over a possible EP release in the near future, Funt is keeping himself busy, "Loads of remixes and collaborations. I'll keep them under my hat though."
Funtcase [UK] plays Brown Alley on Saturday July 16.