Rodney Hunter is referring to the matrix of photographed rear-ends that cover the rear-end of his first solo LP, Hunter Files. The up-close and personal, multi-lady rump-shaker pictorial is exactly what you´d except to see on a record from Kruder & Dorfmeister´s G-Stone label - unattainably sexy and primal, yet all the while tasteful. Hunter encapsulates this very essence both in his music and through his unabashedly polite accent sprinkled with Euro-Ebonics („We don´t give a fizzack“ ???)
This may bet he first time you’ve heard his name, but Dr. Rodney Hunter has been around the hi-fi block a few times, literally. Having grown up in the states, Hunter and his family moved back to Vienna (Hunter’s mother is Austrian and his father was a G.I Joe) when he was 13. It so happened that he moved next door to a kid named Martin (Forster, aka Sugar B., resident entertainer of Vienna’s legendary Dub Club party) and down the street from another nice boy named Peter (Kruder). Hunter was the youngest of the neighborhood clique and it was only a matter of time before he and his cronies started playing music together. Hunter, Forster, Kruder, and their buddy Stefan (Leiwand, aka DJ DSL) became known as The Moreaus. Not the best ever (DSL shuddered to even mention it in his RE:UP # 002 interview), but according to Hunter, the Moreaus were the first hip-hop group in the German-speaking territory. It was an enthusiastic live hip-hop outfit emulating their love for EMPD, A Tribe Called Quest and Stevie Wonder.
While getting his hip-hop on with The Moreaus, Hunter also received an education in classical music in the same city that Mozart called home some hundred years ago. Hunter attended The Schubert Conservatory of Vienna at the young age of 14. He explains, “Everything I learned there, like reading notes and stuff, I’ve forgotten. But I kept the things that were most important to me like song structure and the feeling for harmonies“. Hunter clocked post-conservatory music production time with Uptight Productions (a now defunct partnership with Werner Geier, aka Demon Flowers) and his post-pubescent hip-hop group Aphrodelics. Uptight’s production of Leena Conquest´s 1995 mammoth track „Boundaries“ etablished Hunter as a world-class producer. And you might recognize the Aphrodelics from their „Rolling on Chrome“ banger on The K+D Sessions. Yes, that’s Hunter and friends chanting „All the beat heads, all the fly chicks…“
Hunter was smack dab in the middle of Vienna’s hi-fi lounge worldwide-explosion in the mid-nineties, mostly due to the success of G Stone as well as Uptight’s collaboration with Leena Conquest. He shrewdly observed that „ A&Rs were all trying to fly over and get the boys to sign a deal. It really blew everybody’s horizon. No one thought it was possible that you could make music that good where people would come overseas to hook up with it. The buzz in general inspired other people to try it out and it was really amusing to see everyone acting all crazy about it.“
After a heavy year of touring, he and the rest of the Aphrodelics went on a planned two-year hiatus, and the next logical progression for Hunter´s musical journey ensued: make an album on his childhood friend’s label. „I met Peter [Kruder] for some dinner and some glasses of wine and he just asked me. ‘Why don’t you do an album?’ It made so much sense, I mean, it sounds so obvious, but I was so used to the band thing.“
Hunter Files, save the latest Tosca record, is the best full-length release to come out on G-Stone in several years. Mixing the typical but oh-so-tasty “headz“ tracks with sublime brokenbeat gems, there are no fillers on this record. Providing an updated blueprint for the international downbeatempo massive without relying on nostalgia, Hunter Files is sophisticatedly sweaty.
And though the album has the same high quality studio production of any material that G-Stone releases, Hunter had greater plans than just DJing around the world to promote this record. Hunter relates, „I actually wrote the songs in a way so that I could play them live.“ He has been working on a full ensemble to recreate Hunter Files on stage and so far, so great: „I think people have been surprised, including us, how onpoint it’s been. We’ve played at some festivals and have opened for Angie Stone, and it’s gone really well, I mostly played bass, otherwise I was just taking care of the midi and vocals. „Wait, did he say vocals? Yes, that’s Hunter crooning over half of the tracks, though he didn´t notice that his own voice was such an integral part of the music until he was playing with the band on stage. “That’s where I realized how much I did vocals there were only a few songs that I would have break. Otherwise I felt like Prince, logging all these kilometers walking around on stage from instrument to instrument.“
He might have to work on his James Brown split, shave his chest, or rock some frilled-sleeved shirts, but so far, Hunter is well on his way to the good life of musicology.