DJ Magazine interview, September 2005

The Young Punx – Hal Ritson and Cameron Saunders – started carving a name two years ago with raucous remixes and audacious mashups which weren’t afraid to take on such unlikely targets as Motorhead. The contagiously cheeky ‘Young And Beautiful’ – first release on the new MofoHifi imprint- is showing all the
signs of crossing over while the Mylo-inspired ‘Destroy Celebrity Crap’ is causing ructions in the underground.

The Cambridge-based duo have also achieved the impossible by giving a monstrous new slant to De’Lacy’s ‘Hideaway’. It’s one of the most original remixes of the year and typical of their original, no-rules approach. Meanwhile, Hal Ritson is also part of Medcab who are set for a major release of ‘Dance’ – the car advert-hoisted cover of ESG’s early 80s classic. They’re so at home in any number of dance music boxes that they’ve created their own, which the world seems to love. Do you feel lucky today, Punx?

Did you take your name from The Clash’s ‘All The Young Punks’?

No. We actually saw it written on a wall in Italy in a piece of graffitti and thought, “That would be a good band name”. There’s some punk attitudes in the way we approach dance production: a kind of homemade don’t-give-a-fuck, we’ll-do-what-we-want kind of approach. There definitely is some anarchy in there.

After commando raids with the bootlegs and remixes, does ‘Young And Beautiful’ mark the Young Punx coming out in their own right?

We’ve always really seen the Young Punx as being a serious, album-based real act with original material but we come out of the bootleg mash-up culture. In the first year we were doing a lot of bootleg mixes because that’s the fastest way to get people’s attention, but over the past year we’ve been doing remixes, often using the techniques of bootleg and mashup culture but applying them to legitimate remixes. In the background we’ve been busy creating a whole load of our own material. Now we’re going to start rolling a load of it out. Our album is the big project running in the background.

I believe there’s an intriging story behind your remix of ‘Hideaway’?

That’s a good example of the Young Punx approach to doing something. ‘Hideaway’ is one of the all-time classic house songs. Deep Dish did an absolute classic remix and it’s had a million official and bootleg remixes. To get commissioned to go in ten years after it was a hit and make it a hit again is quite a tall order because, in a way, everything’s been done.

I just wanted to do it in an entirely different way, so I played the acapella over and over on its own, listening to the vocal. To me, it sounded like a classic 60s Motown or Aretha Franklin type song. We spent quite a long time recording live a fictional recording of ‘Hideaway’ on a TV show in the 60s, with the production and recording done in the way you would have done in the 60s. We produced a master that was this fictional reording then we bootlegged that so it sounded
like a bootleg of an old recording! The idea was a kind of 60s band feel with live drums and a horn section.

Tell us about ‘Destroy Celebrity Crap’.

We did it to amuse ourselves and then everybody else wanted it. Originally, we thought it would be amusing to change Mylo’s ‘Destroy Rock ‘N’ Roll’ to, rather than being a list of past it 80s rock stars, to a list of people who really do need destroying at the moment – these appalling c-list celebrities all over gossip magazines. We put it on-line and got 20,000 downloads in one month. So we’re sliding out a few twelve inch versions, which is more of a Young Punx remix. It’s not serious or a proper single, just a few white labels.

‘Young And Beautiful’ is a satirical take on plastic surgery culture…the same kind of world view as ‘Destroy Celebrity Crap’. We’re not on any serious political crusade or anything. A lot of house tracks around only go “Your love takes me higher”. If we do vocal tracks we try and tap into things that are happening in our lives and culture at that time. It’s an eyebrow being raised at the world while having a few Jack Daniel’s!

I like the way you go against the grain and have done this on your own terms.

I think what we really have is a disregard for pigeonholing and genre, which dance music tends to lean towards. We just wanna make music. Some of it’s breaks, some of it’s house, some of it’s drum ‘n’ bass. It’s all the same stuff as far as we’re concerned. We just make Young Punx music.

Interview and article by Kris Needs. 2005.