Doctor P and Funtcase, dubstep heavyweights based out of the U.K, brought an absolute heater of a show this past weekend at the annual Global Dance Festival in Denver, Colorado. Shaun “Doctor P” Brockhurst and James “Funtcase” Hazell have been some of most popular names in the dubstep scene for over a decade now, bringing nothing short of heavy-hitting filth to the Bass Capital every time. Their styles wonderfully infuse the gritty, beloved UK dubstep sound with more modern riddim-based synths which has their fans rightfully positioning them as some of the best and biggest names in dubstep today. The two sat down for an exclusive interview with Party Guru Productions right before their set on Day 1 of Global Dance Festival. We got all the details, some never-before heard facts, and stories from the artists you won’t find anywhere else – keep reading below to check it out!
Getting Into It : Let’s Chat!
Maddi: We are so excited over here at Party Guru to be able to sit down and learn a little bit more about you guys! So – Global Dance Festival is Colorado’s largest dance music festival – Shaun (Doctor P) you were here in 2018 with your b2b with Flux [Pavilion] and James [Funtcase], here in 2017. So you’re both been here before, you’re both super familiar with the Denver territory and this venue in particular. What’s memorable about this city that you’re excited to see tonight? What do you remember about Denver that you’re ready for tonight?
Shaun: Denver, ever since the first time I’ve ever came here has just been like, the biggest shows every time without fail. I think the first show I ever played in Denver was about 5,000 people…and I’d never played a show like that before – ever. It was like my first big show basically, ever was in Denver so- there’s some cities where i ‘m questioning if it’s gonna be good, I don’t know? With Denver, I just always know it’s going to be good – I don’t even give it a second thought – it’s going to be good. (laughs)
James: I agree, it’s like – Denver is just one of those places where it’s just like, the crowd pretty much eats up everything you play. It’s a very unique situation. They call themselves like, the Bass Capital – and it’s for a good reason. Usually, I think Montreal is starting to catch up but Denver, it’s just one of those places where you just know whatever you drop is just gonna go off.
Shuan: The pressure is on though because they are so in tune with the music, you can’t turn up and play a bunch of boring old songs.
Maddi: Right, like we expect it.
Shaun: Right, you’ve got to come here to impress.
Maddi: Love that. Well, we’re so ready for tonight, so that’s a good answer. Alright, so you both are some of the earliest earliest artists to have been on Circus Records, Shaun obviously being the co-founder of the label, Funtcase you joined in 2010. How would you say Circus Records has changed over the years musically and as a label?
Shaun: Ehm, it’s been quite a strange journey because obviously in the early days we started the label with mo expectations, we just wanted a platform to release our music. And then we had loads of really early successes – like with Flux [Pavilion] ‘s releases, and then mine, and then everyone else coming on and it just came much bigger than we could have ever imagined. But then, the dubsteps scene just kept on getting bigger and NeverSayDie got huge and disciple got huge, and all these other labels came along. So it’s been quite strange like, trying to eh – trying to figure out our place in all of it, so em, it’s been strange – I feel like we’ve found quite a nice niche now, where we kind of know what Circus is now…music, not all dubstep. We basically just have a set of parameters, and if the song fits it – we’ll release it.
James: Yeah. The thing was when Circus first started it was literally a platform to put out what we made, we didn’t aim for styles anything – I was just making stuff. I wasn’t aiming for anger or anything like that…it was literally just, here’s the track I made and Circus went, let’s put it out and that’s literally how it started. But it’s kind of honed itself into its own little beast now where it’s like, doing a lot more musical styles – and I think that’s really reflecting on a lot of the artists inside…I’m writing a lot more musical stuff now.
Shaun: It’s nice to have a platform where you can kind of release what you want – like, Circus is such a non-specific style now.
Maddi: Right, super diverse.
Shaun: Yeah, as long as we dont come with like a death metal track or something…(looks at James)
James: I’ll try.
Maddi: Right, I mean it’s questionable…so we’ll see where that goes. Alright, who would you say are your biggest influences in music right now? More of an open-ended question.
Shuan: I have been really enjoying all of the like melodic riddim as they’ve been calling it , like – all of the stuff Chime has been doing and like, SkyBreaks, Ace Aura…just all of that melodic stuff..it feels like everything I really liked about early dubstep, just done really well.
James : I think for me, the word inspired is almost like a platform to explain like, how you shaped your style in a way to sound like. If you like an artist, you go, “I like what they’re doing, I’ll do my version of that.” For me, there’s so much new amazing new talent around hence DPMO, uh – t’s just inspiring to be able to find so much talent and be able to play it out and represent it rather than have that shape my music in a way. So for me that end of it…that’s exciting stuff…in terms of other dubstep – I think Spaces Laces, that’s an obvious mention. Leotrix is doing some really cool stuff. Maurada is doing some really cool stuff, so you know – just the usual names I think, really.
Photos by Patrik Essy
Digging In: Life Before Dubstep
Maddi: Alright, before you became DJ’s for a living.. what were your original career or sort of life plans before becoming full-time artists?
Shaun: Well, I was an ice cream man.
James: Were you really? I did not know that!
Shaun: Yes, well…it wasn’t like, a career plan. I wanted to be a graphic designer, that was always my thing – I was still doing my own artwork and stuff. So, yeah.
Maddi: Were you still making music when you were an “ice cream man”?
Shaun: Yeah, yeah. I started making music when I was like 12, so I was kind of always doing that – but it just didn’t seem realistic, being like a “rock star”. So, I never thought it would actually work out. So yeah, if this hasn’t worked out…I’d probably have been a graphic designer right now.
James: I worked two jobs before Funtcase – I was working in an office folding papers and answering the phones and every other crap administrative job you can think of. And I was also looking after the elderly in my other job – I was working 69 hour weeks and in between not sleeping, I was writing drum and bass on a tiny laptop. It was a great/miserable time to be alive. But before that I didn’t really know what I wanted to be. I think music was just something i enjoyed, I never aimed it to be a career. I was always in bands before that- and I’d produced, just for fun/hobby sort of stuff…what I used to do when I was younger was game design, but i never pursued it, obviously.
Maddi: Nice, that’s awesome. We’ll do the last group question here then we’ll move to individuals. So, if you were to have an alter ego musically, what genre or type of music would it be?
Shaun: So I’ve just started an alter ego – I’ve started a new act called Freaks and Geeks which is drum and bass – just very, very English sounding drum and bass. It’s kind of what I started doing before I did dubstep, I was always on the drum and bass side. I’ve kind of like, reached a point now where it’s like, I’ve always wanted to be a drum and bass DJ and I thought, now I need to actually do it.
Shaun: So yeah, ehm. It’s me and Phil from RockSonics, we started it aout 2 years ago and we’ve been putting out music for about 9 months now. So that’s my alter ego.
Maddi: Nice. And what about you (James)?
James: Hmm, I’ve done alter egos already, like I said I started drum and bass and I moved to dubstep…I’ve also got a secret house alias which I don’t tell anyone about. (laughs)
Maddi: Secrets, secrets…
James: Yeah, but I mean – if someone said you’re banned from doing dubstep, I think I’d go be in a band. I don’t think I’d stay a DJ.
James: Yeah, I think it would drive me crazy to have to go all the way back to square one and have to build something up again…
Funtcase: The Man Behind the Mask
Maddi: Cool, alright. So, we’re going to move to individual questions, we’re gonna start with James here. So, your record [label] DPMO has been growing significantly in recent years, I know we touched on that a little earlier. Tell us a little bit about how DPMO came to be and where you see the label going in the near future.
James: DPMO was originally all ideas I had years ago and has just never executed, and so I just decided to execute it. So at first, it was only supposed to be like, a clothing label, which I originally called Ghosts — (explaining to Shaun) well, the reason it’s called that is because DPMO is after my track Don’t Piss Me Off, so I was trying to name my brand after a track that was what’s popular, so at the time, Ghosts was popular…but Ghosts…the name, it was so cheesy, and with the label, you couldn’t really do much.
Shaun: Yeah, DPMO sounds like a cooler name.
James: Yeah, exactly – but [DPMO] kind of started off as a clothing label and then, we ended up doing a compilation with Circus. There’s this thing in Drum and Bass called “Andy C’s Nightlife”, where Andy C literally just finds all of this amazing music and puts it in a compilation. We didn’t have that in dubstep, so I kind of thought – why don’t we be the “Nightlife” of that? So this is what DPMO has been doing…and then, we just decided to turn it into a record label.
Maddi: Very cool. Okay, so your style is often described as “hyper-aggressive” (laughs) or “extremely aggressive” – what is something you wish people knew about you that most people don’t see behind the mask?
James: I don’t write dubstep. LIke if it wasn’t my job, I wouldn’t write it I don’t think. LIke, I write such a mixed bag of music that no one hears and only every now and again I’ll be like “oh, yeah, that track” and put it on Twitter, just to show people, but like…for instance, when I’m not on tour, I don’t listen to dubstep whatsoever when i’m just like, being me. I’ll listen to it like, I was listening to the first Coldplay album on the plane. I’m a big fan of someone like, Ed Sheeran, for instance. I like, my styles and tastes and what I write is so vastly different. But then I can go from like, Ed Sheeran to like, Deftones to like, Cannibal Corpse in the same day…I kind of switch between music styles, honestly.
The Doctor Is In: Sitting Down With Doctor P
Maddi: Yes! That’s awesome. Alright, Shaun, we’ll bust through these last couple of questions for you. What would you say your biggest accomplishment in your DJ career thus far has been?
Shaun: Ehm, making a track with MethodMan has probably been the pinnacle for me. He was like, the number one artist I wanted to work with and when we made it happen, I was like ah – I just did it quite quickly. It was amazing, I think everything just came together just really by chance, and we managed to make it happen. I think it was just the right timing. Yeah, that was definitely my biggest sort of like, bucket list thing.
Maddi: Very cool. Alrighty, and to finish it up, one last question – what is one short-term goal of yours as an artist, and one more long-term one?
Shaun: I really want to do a proper full album. I did like a sort of album last year, but it was more of like an extended EP than an album. So yeah, i want tto at least once I want to release an album, and an album I’m proud of, as well. I feel like a lot of dance artist when they release an album, it’s just 12 random tunes, content. They just make 12 songs…so I really want to make an album that sort of encompasses everything that I do. And I’ve been working on it. (draws quotations in the air)
Maddi: Air quotations?
Shaun: At some point, it will be done!
James: The thing about albums is that, albums should be a place where you can spread your wings and do whatever you want to do…It should showcase your skill and what you’re about as a whole, rather than like, here’s 11 club bangers which a lot of artist do because they go oh, here’s a lot of tracks, album content!
Shaun: Yeah, exactly.
James: We’re not calling anyone out, they can do what they want – I just feel like an album is more of an expression than just content.
Shaun: Yeah, I want it to be a meaningful sort of thing, something that’s worth people’s attention’s sort-of-thing. But yeah, my manager was like, let’s get that done, do it this year, and I was like, hold on! It’s gonna take me a while, yeah. (laughs)
Wrapping Everything Up
Thanks for tuning in to the exclusive Party Guru Productions interview, readers! What an incredible experience it was to sit down with two of the best. Global Dance Festival is always such a treat for Denver, so we are hoping to see the return of these two dubstep heavy hitters in more future lineups to come!
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