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Andy Hunter: Breaking Down Barriers

RELEVANT caught up with Andy Hunter during some downtime at home in Swansea, Wales, to chat about the success of his debut album, mixing in surround sound and the recent surge of Christian club music.

[RELEVANT magazine:] Lots of things have happened since your album dropped—you’ve moved into a new house, and not too long ago, you were at Abbey Road studios recording for Microsoft. How did that come about?

[Andy Hunter:] Oh, that was really good the way that came about. I was in Australia at the time in January doing some festivals, and I got an email from Microsoft for a program called Insider Live (TechTV) about featuring the new Windows Media Player 9. They just wanted to talk to me as an artist about that project and how important high-end quality is, once you’ve finished and produced your music, and how it sounds once you’ve downloaded it and are listening to it through Media Player. So that was a great opportunity. They wanted to remix “Go,” the first track from the album, in Dolby 5.1 surround sound because Media Player 9 supports 5.1. So Tedd T. remixed it in surround sound in Nashville, and then they hired Abbey Roads to bring in the cameras and interview me, and it was just fantastic. And I’m not really a huge Beatles fan, but I have to admit, when I went in, there was a definite vibe about the place.

[RM:] Since your album dropped, are you surprised by all of the attention your album has received?

[AH:] Part of me is quite surprised, but part of me isn’t, I mean, because God had been speaking to me a few years ago about the whole project and theme of Exodus. I guess I’ve always had a confidence in God and faith; you know, it’s almost like God saying, “Just hold on Andy; wait until we see what happens,” and the things we’ve been praying for, obviously, God’s answering those prayers … the licensing thing on the album with it coming out on the final Matrix trailer and things like that.

For me, it’s amazing, you know I have to kind of pinch myself, but on the other hand, you know God’s a faithful God, and it’s not surprising in that sense, if you see what I mean. So I’ve got this sort of dual personality approach where I had faith for it to happen, so it’s not a surprise, but then the human side of me is totally blown away and like, “Wow, I can’t believe it’s happening!” So it is amazing, just the goals that we set for it in terms of breaking down barriers—even within the Christian industry, that it would crossover and maybe make people think about what worship actually is—is it really about the genre?

So I think that the album is already a success, even before it dropped, and it was breaking down barriers and walls within the industry, and now to have a 5.1 mix, it’s the first time a Christian artist has done that in the industry. So the album was a success before it kind of even got out. So for me, that was amazing as well, you know a real answer to prayer, that it would break down those walls and barriers.

[RM:] One thing that I think is truly amazing is actually the song “Amazing” with Christine Byrd on vocals.

[AH:] Yeah, “Amazing” was really out of a vision that I had from God, and it was basically God holding out his hand and saying, “Andy, will you come and fly with me? Will you take me by my hand, and will you fly with me in the heavens and soar above the clouds and let me whisper things to you, let me show you things that must take place in the nations?” and things like that, and that sense of intimacy. So that whole track was birthed out of something that God was speaking to me about. And again, you know it’s amazing what happened with that track. Within the mainstream club world, it was released as a promo, and on the U.K. club charts, it got to number four, and now in Holland it’s number five.

[RM:] How has touring been going?

[AH:] Obviously, I’m still gigging a lot. But mainly as a DJ, I’ve just been on tour with DJ Tiesto in the fall. And again, it’s another dream that I’ve been praying for, for many years, coming true. Umm, I think part of the problem is just because I’ve been so busy, it’s a lot easier to take the turntables in terms of cost, the cost of having to pay for me or for someone to travel with me. I can get further afield into places like Australia’s Sunfest and The Parachute Festival in New Zealand. So that’s been amazing, just being out there, and again, seeing walls knocked down and young people worship God just through me on the decks. But I am still wanting to put a live band together, and we’re just waiting for some things to fall into place here in the U.K. with Nettwerk America to maybe get into some of the dance festivals, in which case I’ll look into putting a live P.A. together for the show.

[RM:] I’m seeing all you and other DJs that are being exposed, and I’m thinking “Wow, this is more than just a guy releasing an album and getting a lot of high praise for it.” It feels like something bigger than that is about to break.

[AH:] Yeah, well, I think it’s part of the message that I’m bringing, that it’s not just about the music, but it’s about challenging I guess, what worship is and what our lifestyles are. Because it’s all about lifestyle and letting out the Gospel and who you are, whether that’s a DJ, a painter, singer or dancer, you know? I mean it’s to worship Him through all that and to live passionately for God every day.

[RM:] And that’s the vibe that you intend to bring through the live show as well.

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[AH:] Yeah, which I guess is a bit groundbreaking in some areas. I think if we can bring that message of worship through our music, that’s great. I don’t want to champion the cause of dance music and see it really successful. I mean, I love dance music, but more importantly, it’s the mission that God’s given to me to challenge lifestyles and worship and say hey, it’s not about music, it’s about lifestyles.

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