ITM's Honour Roll #11: Late Nite Tuff Guy/DJ HMC
Mon 13th Aug, 2012 Features 2694 viewsin
Along with international luminaries like DJ Harvey, Jeff Mills and Richie Hawtin, the inthemix Honour Roll series is also about celebrating the home team. So far, we’ve gone in-depth with Simon Caldwell, Mike Callander and Dave Pham, hearing how they built their reputation as three of Australia’s most dependable selectors. For the 11th entry in the series, we’ve secured a rare extended interview with a guy admired by all our previous local Honour Roll inductees: Carmelo Bianchetti, known to dancefloors as DJ HMC and Late Nite Tuff Guy. Bianchetti might just be Australia’s foremost house and techno producer, right from his formative debut in 1991 through to his current hot streak in the studio.
In the early ‘80s, Adelaide felt a long way from what was happening in Chicago and Detroit. For Bianchetti, though, geography was no obstacle. Having built his name as a DJ, in 1991 he released the 100% Juice EP on burgeoning South Australian techno label Juice Records. It was the start of a productive relationship with the imprint, spawning several more EPs. In 1995, DJ HMC aligned with Dirty House Records to release Phreakin’, a raw, propulsive slab of acid techno that travelled far beyond Adelaide. From there, his tag as the ‘Godfather of Australian techno’ was sealed. Heads-down weapons like LSD and 6AM followed, and he kept up the prodigious work-rate right up until 2002. Then Bianchetti took a step back from life as DJ HMC.
In 2004, after a year and a half of keeping music at a distance, Bianchetti was asked to DJ one night at Adelaide’s Sugar club. It was the party that drew him back in, and led to the unstoppable run of his disco-leaning alter ego Late Nite Tuff Guy. A master of the re-edit, the LNTG Soundcloud is a treasure trove of dancefloor heat. Then there was his handiwork on I Get Deeper, a bona-fide anthem that reached far and wide. Ahead of his Picnic One Night Stand in Sydney, we went deep with a true legend of Australian dance music.
Let’s start where I usually do with the Honour Roll series. Can you take me back to your first discoveries of dance music?
The beginning, huh? I started buying records when I was probably 13. That was in 1977, the height of the disco era. I still have a lot of those records and I treasure them. They’re among my favourites. That’s basically where it started.
Where were you buying records then?
I would say the ‘commercial’ shops, but that’s not quite the right word. I was young so I didn’t know where the specialist shops were that sold dance music. There was one shop that had great records. A lot of it was Australian releases. There weren’t many imports around.
So was it a natural step from buying and collecting records into DJing?
Well, I studied the piano from when I was about 9 till 11 years old. I didn’t really enjoy it. I think I didn’t really get on with my music teacher; didn’t like him at all actually, which is quite funny when I think about it now. But when my parents and I migrated to Australia, my Dad brought a whole bunch of Italian 45s with him. I used to play these records all the time when I was little. Just playing records was a lot of fun for me. I guess it was really a natural progression to DJing a few years later. It was just what I wanted to do. I wanted to play records and make people dance.
When did you have the discovery of how records could work together to create something even more exciting?
I guess that didn’t come till later. When I first started DJing, I was 19 in 1983. The turntables had no pitch control, so they just ran at one speed. They were belt-driven too, so it was really hard to mix, although I did try my hardest.
I used to mix from tape-deck as well to create extra long tracks. I’d have a dub version of a track playing on tape and the 12-inch version playing on the turntable. So I used to do silly things like that. I’m sure they didn’t work. I don’t actually remember! I guess it wasn’t till around 1985 that I really started to mix properly and work on proper turntables with pitch control. Then I definitely grew this massive love for mixing records together. I love doing that. It’s my favourite thing.