Interview with a Legend: Late Nite Tuff Guy

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Cam Bianchetti, aka HMC, aka Late Nite Tuff Guy, has a seriously impressive expertise in igniting the light on the dance floor, under entirely different identities, both of which have been incredibly successful. He’s been DJing in the darkness since the 80s under techno Lord, HMC and gained the title of Australia’s Godfather of Techno.

After a small hiatus which the legend had planned to go on for longer, Bianchetti found himself being asked to play at a party, and he quickly realised that there was no chance his time-out from DJing could go on. Some heavy soul-searching and record discovery then led to the birth of a new identity: Late Nite Tuff Guy. You’ve heard the name and you’ve definitely boogied to the tunes of LNTG this summer. During his busy circuit, we stopped for a chat to talk about how it all started and whether the dark club or the festival stage is better.

New Rhythms: You’ve been playing for quite a long time under HMC and LNTG as well. So can you tell us some of your favourite records that you’ve played from the very start that you continue to play until now?

Late Nite Tuff Guy: A couple of my favourite records would obviously have to be Prince’s ‘Controversy’ – this is why I did the edit of it a few years ago – it is really one of the best records ever made. I tend to be really fond of records that I bought when I was a 15 or 16 years old and those records have stuck with me. Stuff like Sister Sledge, ‘She’s the Greatest Dancer’ and as cheesy as that might be, I like playing those records that are timeless.

NR: Have you found that over time those records have ever lost their timelessness?

LNTG: No, not at all. A well-written song is a well-written song. It doesn’t age at all.

NR: So when you moved from HMC to LNTG- how did that transition happen and do you have a preference as to who you choose to play? They’re both very successful identities.

LNTG: And they’re both very different as well. I’ve always loved playing as DJ HMC. I think that I’m true to myself when I play as DJ HMC but I also love the LTNG thing. And in a way, that is me, but there’s something about techno music that really strikes a chord with me. But I think the whole LNTG thing came about quite naturally and organically to me.

At the beginning of the 2000s, techno began to become a bit stale and I took a break from DJing for a year and a half and did a bit of soul searching and found some records that I absolutely love and I started to play around a bit. So the whole thing I think was a deeply soul-searching process for me.

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NR: And you’ve been playing quite a lot around the festival circuit this summer. We’ve had the privilege of seeing you play at Meredith Music Festival, with Claptone as well –have you been playing at festivals more? You obviously came from a clubbing background—have you moved more into playing festivals?

LNTG: There’s a lot more festivals these days it seems and there’s a lot more gigs and I guess I am a club DJ and I love that whole, being in a dark room, and I do find that being on such a big stage can be a bit daunting.

NR: Do you think that you prefer the club than the stage?

LNTG: It’s fun seeing a sea of people. The club is pretty dark but I love the feeling of being in a dark place.

NR: You took a bit time out for a while from DJing. What brought you back?

LNTG: The love of music. I could feel it calling me. I got asked to play at a party and it was such an amazing night that I thought, this is what I’m meant to be doing and I don’t know how to do anything else. It’s a weird thing. DJing is not something that I ever really sought to do. I think that it really did choose me.

NR: Clubs over festivals—do you think you’ll continue to do more festivals?

LNTG: I do really love the festival circuit.

NR: Have you been playing a lot more around the world?

LNTG: I’ve spent six months in Europe this year, which was a lot of fun, and I did a lot of festivals, like Piknic Electronik in Dublin which was incredible. I got to see Duran Duran and a few others live. I went to some festivals in London, Ibiza and Croatia, too.

NR: Interesting considering you’re from Adelaide too. That’s a very small town.

LNTG: The funny thing is that I don’t play there at all as it absolutely drives me insane. I don’t really play there. Only very rarely, but it is my home and I have great friends there so it’s still a very special place.

NR: Where are your favourite places to play around the world?

LNTG: I love playing in Glasgow. The Scottish are incredible people. They really know how to party. And I also love Berlin, of course. I try to spend a few days in places I haven’t been before and I have some friends there so I try to see them when I can and it’s a fantastic place to be. The last three years I’ve played at Berghain and Panorama Bar, which is always a great place to play.

NR: What’s happening with your record, Tuff Cut?

LNTG: I really haven’t had much time; I’ve been on the road a lot so I do need to find more time.

NR: Do you think having your own label gave you more freedom?

LNTG: Yes, it gave me the opportunity to play whatever I’d like, and a lot of people who love the label and some great DJs and producers over the years would want to be a part of that. I’ve started up a DJ agency and label called Reflector and released a record on that. I’ll release more techno stuff over the coming years with that too.

NR: We’re so excited to hear what’s to come! Thanks for speaking with us Cam.


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