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Audio Bully's interview

Author: Stuart Evans
Tuesday, 6 December 2005
SOUTH LONDON DUO AUDIO BULLYS HAD AN INSTANT HIT WITH THEIR REMIX OF A NANCY SINATRA CUT, HOWEVER IT WAS QUITE THE SHOCK TO THEM.

'I label this band… Indie dance,' said an eager fan on a website forum, referring to the Audio Bullys' work and mixture of anything and everything. This could be another segmentation about to happen with dance music, or it could be a misconception that the Audio Bullys actually like.

The Bullys consists of two young likely lads from south west London, namely MC Simon Franks and DJ Tom Dinsdale. Together they belt out scratchy beats, samples and a mixture of hip-hop and house. They've been described as leading the charge to revive British hip-hop. Quite when it needed CPR is a mystery, but hip-hop seems a more common description for their sound. Tom agrees, but has reservations about attaching a moniker to any style of music. 'It's really hard to describe your own sound,' he says.

'If I were describing us, I would say that the Audio Bullys are a "British act made up of two friends who have been into hip-hop and house for years. They make anything from house to hip with a fuck off punk attitude."'

As Tom states, both lads had been making music and tinkering around in the studio for a number of years, but things could have been different. He says that just before they went 'big', he went for a job interview at a record label, only for the interviewer to tell him that this wasn't his direction in life. It turned out to be good advice, as within a month they'd put out a few tunes and were making noises of their own. Much like Jessica Simpson and Little Birdy before them, the Bullys went back and dusted down an old Nancy Sinatra record, leading to the inspired single Bang Bang, sampling Sinatra's classic My Baby Shot Me Down (a record which was penned by the late Sonny Bono).

But while Simpson and Little Birdy coated their cover versions in sugary substance and watered down melodies, the Bullys tweaked, played and looped the original to create a dancefloor success story. Success wasn't planned, or expected. 'We didn't expect it to be a top 5 record,' he explains.

'After we sent out a few test presses and started to hear the clubs' reaction, people started saying that the record was going to be massive.' Thanks to the success of the record, the Bullys have been placed directly into the public's attention ever since.

The lads grew up in the peak of UK rave culture, dancing to basslines, whistles and horns. What's brought about the sound that we hear now- 'When I'm in a club and I hear bad house music, it acts as an inspiration for me to make good house music. I like ska, punk, house and hip-hop, but you have to work hard to make a good record.'

The Bullys are a notoriously hard act to depict. They take on musical genres and create a new sound which, to most people, couldn't have been done. Their unpredictable nature has led to acclaim. During their career they've taken on a variety of genres to create what we now hear. Tom says that even in the past two years, both he and Steve have changed and their musical tastes have shifted. 'Yeah, we've changed. We've gone and travelled the world but we're into what we are, music-wise. The success was a mad shock at first. We didn't pay any attention to what might happen. It's all gone mad serious now.'

The Bullys are simple in approach - they create instant music. They are streetwise and smart, and know their music well, as the success of their '03 album 'Ego War' demonstrates. It may seem strange that, for a couple of lads who were born in the '80s, they both have punk and ska influences which form a concoction of raw and energetic sounds. Names like Madness, Daft Punk, The Specials, Bob Dylan and The Police sit together with Dr Dre, Method Man, The Prodigy, and 50 Cent. In fact, Madness front man Suggs recently appeared on a collaboration called This Road. Not that that bothers Tom, as he confesses his admiration for records<
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