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Burning the midnight oil with Late Nite Tuff Guy

Jimmy Coultas chews the fat with disco don Late Nite Tuff Guy.

Jimmy Coultas

Date published: 22nd Aug 2014

On the edit scene, few can touch the lofty status of Late Nite Tuff Guy. The Australian DJ and producer has been a staple of the Antipodean scene since the early nineties, first coming to prominence as a house and techno producer par excellence under the name DJ HMC.

It was when he adopted the LNTG moniker though and slowed down the tempos to revamp classic disco and funk that his second dawn as an artist really began to draw attention, with his brilliantly crafted edits and DJ sets earning him rave reviews across the globe (check out one of the latter crammed with the former above).

We caught up with him as he gets ready to make his Manchester debut and headline the Rediscover party at Underdog on Friday 29th August, catching up about the crossover between his musical identities, playing in the UK, and who he counts as the the other top edit maestros.

Thanks for speaking to us. You're heading to the UK for a few dates in August, how much of a connection have you had with the country in the past?

The first time I played in the UK was in London in 1994 as DJ HMC. It was one of the Lost parties, and I played alongside Jeff Mills, Robert Hood, and Steve Bicknell. What an amazing show that was.

In '95 & '96 my touring was mainly concentrated on mainland Europe (mostly Germany). '97 & '98 I was all over Australia, then in '99 I was asked to play a gig at the Sub Club in Glasgow, which to this day has been one of the most incredible nights of my 31 years of playing.

Last year I was lucky enough to tour right across the UK and Ireland as Late Nite Tuff Guy, playing gigs in many different places; Dublin, Sheffield, London, Galway, Belfast, just to name a few. The crowds in the UK are definitely the most enthusiastic. I always look forward to coming here. 

One of those shows is in Manchester at Underdog. How informed are you of the musical heritage of the city, and is it something you'll look to tap into when you perform there?

I am definitely looking forward to playing in Manchester, as it will be my first time there. I am very much aware of its musical heritage... The Haçienda, New Order, Factory Records, Acid House, and Northern Soul.

Not everyone appreciates the differences between an edit and a remix, with the former being much more of a love letter to the record in question. What is it that draws you to them more so than remixes?

Editing, as apposed to remixing, usually enhances what's already appealing about the track. In my opinion, some of the best dance music was written and produced in the late seventies and the early eighties. I am naturally drawn to those sounds for my own edits. 

You've been heralded as one of the modern masters of the reedit, but who else do you think is worthy of a similar accolade?

For me, I'd say Todd Terje, Greg Wilson, The Revenge, Fingerman and The Reflex.

There's a degree of crossover from some of your earlier output as HMC with the edits and tracks you've been doing as Late Nite Tuff Guy, Hot! (above) in particular being a record which we think is where there's a lot of convergence between the two.

Do you find there's two clear distinctions between the two identities or sometimes there's a blurring of the lines?

Of course the lines get blurred, after all it all comes from the one person. The way a particular track ends up sounding will depend on how I am feeling at the time

You're regularly DJ as both HMC and Late Nite Tuff Guy. Obviously the sounds will be different, but do you approach the styles of the DJ sets any differently?

I love to mix. I love the energy that comes from mixing two tracks together. It's something you can do to great effect, especially when playing techno.

With most of the edits I've tried to incorporate long intros, so that I can mix them like I do with house and techno. It's one of the reasons why I think the two DJing styles are very similar. I like to take the dance floor on a journey, regardless of the genre I'm playing.

You've been a fixture on the Australian club circuit for over twenty years, but haven't been afraid to be critical of it in the past. What are your current thoughts on the state of it?

I've been travelling around Australia quite a bit lately, and though there is a big commercial scene, it does seem to be changing. As DJ HMC I've played some great shows in Melbourne and Sydney where I've been able to push it a bit, play tracks that are a little strange, a little dark.

I've also done many gigs as LNTG, playing many festivals. One in particular, Falls Music & Arts Festival, was absolutely amazing. It managed to attract huge crowds of people that want to hear, and dance, to great music, which is unlike most festivals. 

And finally you've been given your own clubnight with an unlimited budget on bookings, and a Delorean as well meaning youn can hop back in time to pick any Dj from any period to play alongside you. There's two rooms, once for your HMC moniker and the other for LNTG, who would you select to play alongside you in both?

Room 1: Ron Hardy with DJ HMC

Room 2: Larry Levan with Late Nite Tuff Guy

See where else you can catch Late NIte Tuff Guy here.

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