The brainchild of singer/producer/songwriter Will Hunt’s alter ego, Dansette Junior was borne through a chance encounter in the not so salubrious area of Kentish Town, North London. It was the summer of 2005 when Will decided to move from his native Birmingham to London and he set up home above a Wetherspoon’s pub in Bethnal Green (where he would work part time) whilst gigging across London as an acoustic singer songwriter. It wasn’t until the following year he moved to Kentish Town, bought a load of DJ equipment and synths and could regularly be found at London clubs Fabric, The Cross as well as club nights Laser Club at The Legion and Potty Mouth Disco. “I’ve always been a fan of music that makes people dance, not that I'm particularly good at it!” says Will. “I love going to warehouse parties and good club nights, that's where you meet the best people and hear the best music.”
Will met Graham Gaffney in a local Kentish Town pub when the pair bonded over a shared love of Godspeed You! Black Emporer. They instantly hit it off and decided to start making music together – Graham on drums and Will on guitar and the synth gear he had recently bought . It wasn’t until September 2008 that the pair met Johnny McDermott (synths and bass) at east London club night Peanut Butter Jelly Time and Dansette Junior were officially born.
The band’s first offering “Drums and Bass” became an underground cult classic, combining hypnotic twisted-sequence lyrics, analogue synths and computer geekery to create a unique blend of edgy pop and electronic beats. It lead Steve Lamacq to declare: “Of all the electro pop artists lately, Dansette Junior seem the least contrived, and judging by “Drums and Bass,” have the big songs too.”
It’s this love of songs, of compositions and of music that has been instilled in Will from a young age. “Growing up in a house full of instruments, music was kind of embedded in me from an early age, listening to my dad’s massive collection of records once my parents were in bed. His Dansette record player used to be in the attic underneath the Wurlitzer so I used to listen to albums and try and play along,” says Will. “He picked the collection up in a garage sale in America, leaving our clothes behind and filling the cases, so we had LP's from everything from Elvis to Kraftwerk and no shirt on my back!”
They’re certainly three of London’s hottest boys right now with their anarchic live shows, twisted comedy lyrics and sonic assault. This adventurous musical mix was noticed immediately by new fan and label-mate, dance pop superstar Calvin Harris, who invited Dansette Junior to support him on his arena tour during late 2009 in both the UK and Europe.
2010 has seen the trio holed up in the studio recording their debut album and making sense of this highly charged concoction. After a chance meeting with Ashley Beadle – he of Xpress2 fame – Will found himself writing with Darren Morris, who had previously worked with James Lavelle and David Holmes. Once these writing sessions were completed Will and the rest of the band then hooked up with Zed Bias, one of the pioneering and first producers of dubstep, and legendary drum and bass men Drumsound & Bassline Smith – the production trio of Andy Wright, Benjamin Wiggett and Simon Bassline – to produce the tracks he had done with Darren.
A strange mix, but one that makes total sense to Will. “I thought of Zed as I was a fan of some of the remixes he'd done in the past and knew that he would be able to add something to the project. It was again the same reasons that I approached Drumsound and Bassline. I wanted to take known producers and artists in their own right out of their comfort zones. I knew that if it worked we would be creating something fresh,” he says. “This is the same reason for me working with Simon Bassline Smith, who comes from a drum and bass background. I see the industry as a bit of a musical etch a sketch. It just needed a really good shake.”
The band’s debut single for Columbia “Paranoid” has already started gaining a huge momentum in the underground dubstep world with the scenes leading light Skream playing it regularly in his DJ sets. With its heavy, throbbing electronic synths and dark undertones looks set to propel Dansette Junior into the hearts of clubbers and indie kids alike.