Reported by Jessica B / 09-09-13 23:49
Neil Bunter aka Mr Mush has to be one of the nicest and warmest guys in the psy trance scene I’ve had the pleasure to meet. With his winning smile and twinkly eyes – he’s a very popular chap with all who have been fortunate enough to meet him. He also happens to be a fine DJ and is signed to the awesome Free-Spirit Records as a label DJ! Want to know more? Read on . . .
Neil – tell us a bit about yourself. Where were you born and when did your love for music begin?
I was born in West London – errr, well I think I was born, or I may have just popped up through the ground or landed from another planet, but I know it was 1960 for sure. My upbringing was, to put it mildly, very emotional and unforgettable!
My love of music really started in 1976. It was the amazing French composer of electronic ambient/rock sounds Jean M. Jarre that really kicked everything off for me, and separated me from the mainstream. His first album Oxygène in 1976 just blew me away and started a love of words within music, he followed it up with the album Equinoxes I think in 78. By this time I was hooked.
Who were your early influences? Did you have a childhood hero?
Well other musical influences were Mike Oldfield, along with ELO and OMD (‘80s) and my love of Ska and Reggae. Regarding heroes, I would have to say Peter Bonetti, who was an amazing Goalkeeper and had the nickname of ‘the Cat’. I always wanted to be like him, but unfortunately due to my height of 5’8 and being built like a matchstick I was always getting squashed and injured, so I settled for being a left midfield player.
You previously worked in the legendary Fridge back in the day. Tell us how this came about and what you got up to there?
Well, after many many years of stomping the dancefloor, a situation occurred in the year 2000, where let’s say I got a little bit merry, as I wanted to do 40 days and 40 nights continuous for my 40th birthday of partying. I recall I completed many days and nights, then my body decided enough was enough and so did my mind for that matter too.
I then decided that I would embark on a new way of life to join a group/crew who had given me so much pleasure over the years and first joined the Fridge crew as a steward, then eventually Samsara. To this day I am most honoured to have worked with so many wonderful people. This was the family I had always been looking for.
My roles within Samsara were many and varied, and I always put 110% in every job that was given to me. From the Chai stall, stage control, DJ box to keeping people happy and safe, I loved every moment, and it was very emotional to see it end. But through Samsara I met my now wife Michelle in 2002. She is the rock on which I stand, and I give my upmost respect and gratitude and unconditional love too.
How and when did you discover psychedelic trance and what is it about this style that you love?
How and when, to be honest I don’t rightly know, as I feel being within the dance scene for so long it just naturally changed for me. However, Jay Om most definitely caused the main change in my musical mindset. Back in 2004/2005 he was producing some real good sounds that were new to my ears.
I love psy trance because there is so much scope that can be played around with, although my personal favourite is progressive and downtempo psy (130 to 138bpm max).
You are signed to Free-Spirit Records as a label DJ. How did this come about?
Firstly, I am very humbled to be part of any record label, the fact that it is under Jay Om’s Free-Spirit Label is an honour and privilege. This all came about in 2008 whilst working mainly as a helper/steward and friend of Jay and Bridget’s, when Jay asked me one day out the blue, why do I not DJ?
In all my years, I never even contemplated the thought of being in front of people, as I really am not an ‘in the limelight’ type of person. But I thought I’d give it a go, and here we are today.
How would you describe your sound when DJing? What draws you to a tune?
My sound per se, is obviously not mine as I choose to use other people’s sounds that I feel the dancefloor will warm too, as we the DJs should not be the main focus. It’s the dancefloor masses that are the ones who are the most important part of the scene.
I really like uplifting, funky tunes with good melodies with stories to be told. I also like dark spacey tribally prog too.
A little birdie told me that you’re an awesome percussionist! What percussion do you play?
Well, I do try to play percussion, however being the shy type it has held me back in this field. My drums of choice would be 12” Rim Kambarla Djembe & 10” Rim Darabuoka – this is my fav, I love the uplifting high sounds, it’s a very emotional drum. Sean Spindrift is a master of it, and a fantastic drummer.
Are you self-taught? When and how did you first learn to play?
I very much am self-taught and do have, I feel, a good unique tribally offbeat rhythm. I just wish I was a bit more courageous.
I have always been very rhythmical, however, at the Fridge one evening in 1999 I heard a beautiful drumming sound coming from the upper stall chill area. This man was brilliant and I sat engulfed in his amazing varied sounds of multicultural natural powerful rhythms on and off for hours and thereafter whenever he played.
This man called Jon-Boy (who three years later became my best man at our wedding), showed me my way forward with drumming and life in general, and I love him dearly.
What artists do you currently rate? Who are your favourites and why?
As an artist, producer, quality masterer and person Jay-Om is fantastico and has produced solely and in collaborations some brilliant albums. Alex EVP’s music is superb and Flowjob is tops. Also a music producer called Paul Sandell, his creations are heartfelt and of the highest quality. His tune called ‘Sunday Morning’, is one of my all time greats.
Do you like other genres of music and if so, who are your top artists in this field?
My musical tastes spread far and worldwide, to name top artists would be impossible as they are hundreds. To me a tune I hear has to have all your soul in it and Alfo Celtic Soundsystem have it all along with Underworld and Leftfield. My favourite track of all time is called ‘Rock my Soul’ by Elissa.
What in your opinion do you think makes a good DJ?
To me a good DJ, is a person who needs no ego or glory, but the love of what they can give to the people set before them. DJing is not what can be earned through financial gain, it’s giving people a sense of unity and family in all walks of life.
What are your hopes for the future? Where would you next like to play?
I have many hopes for the future, my main objective is to give my heart and soul to my wife Michelle, Brendon and little Sidney. I’m also trying to start up more of my art, as I have much to offer in this field and I’m eventually going to produce a varied drumming album of different beats, riffs and melodies.
I’d really like to play at Boom 2014, be it progressive or chilled prog, it would be fantastic. But if asked I’ll play anywhere especially with my family, Free-Spirit Records.
Finally, do you have any words of wisdom or favourite quotes you’d like to share with the readers?
I have one quote, which I wrote many years ago and always stand by it: Let’s not be black, let’s not be white, let’s just be friends, let our children unite.
Mr Mush – many thanks for taking the time to do this interview. I’m looking forward to catching you out and about soon!