Bringing 'Life' to Dance Music

Artist: Andy Hunter
Published: 2005-10-03

"I'm about being in the world and making a difference," says Andy Hunter the DJ turned worship leader from Wales who has been slamming through the music charts, TV and film industry at an incredible rate with his techno and electronica music. For the past 10 years Hunter has been breaking down the barriers between youth on the street who formerly were involved with criminal activities and the endless Fortune 500 companies that seek his advice.

The music spun by Hunter does not know an age barrier either. I asked him if he had shocked any old ladies and instead I was shocked at his response. "I've shocked many people but I think it's mainly old ladies who have shocked me. I've been involved in meetings where old ladies are involved in worship. I was in one meeting where a sixty plus lady was up near the speaker system, just going for God, dancing and lost in her worship. She came up to me afterwards and said that is the most amazing experience of God that she'd ever had. That challenges and surprises me and I think that lady obviously loves Jesus. It's not about style, it's about our passion and love for God," he says.

Can a man living in a place called Mumbles, Wales have a loud enough voice to penetrate the barriers often thrown up by different cultures? Hunter was part of a group that set out to minister to Welsh teenagers who were into substance abuse and stealing cars. "After a year of working with these young people we set up club nights where DJ's were spinning and I was spinning. A lot of the young people came and eventually some of these young people became Christians." He goes onto say that you couldn't very well switch gears at that point and break out the acoustic guitar and old hymns because it just wouldn't fly with kids that weren't used to that culture. The natural progression was to move to a DJ led worship and since he was the DJ at the time the mantel fell to him.

DJ led worship is more widely accepted in the UK and the rest of Europe than it is in North America but there could be some lessons learned. "It's opened doors to people who don't feel they have a place in church because a lot of what takes place in church doesn't relate to them. It opens doors for me into mainstream music and clubbing. My music has helped bridge (that gap) which is a real answer to prayer," Hunter says. Hunter believes for certain groups of people his style of music may make the difference for someone on the fringe making a decision to consider Christ as an option for their lives.

He is also quick to point out that he is not advocating abandoning all of our traditional styles of worship. "It's really just adding an extra dimension to what church is and the creativity of church. It's saying hey if you are a DJ we can worship God in this format. It is not saying this is the new worship; get rid of the band and everyone needs to be DJ's. It's just adding a different dimension to church and having a DJ included in the service."

Despite the acceptance of DJ led worship in Europe the few Christian radio stations that exist are more conservative so Hunter vies for time on the mainstream radio airwaves where he is well received. He sees that presence combined with his music being used in film and television as giving him an even greater opportunity for a gospel missive in a techno wrap. He considers these opportunities to be answers to prayer.

How does this husband to Helen and father to Ethan create his music? You might be surprised to learn that the majority of the music starts off with instruments being played by hand. He will utilize string sections played live, drum beats, guitars and keys. Sometimes he will play guitar himself. He then uses his computer software to layer the different sounds eventually creating the textured tunes and scratchings that people dance to.

On stage Hunter comes armed with two turntables, a mixer, CDs, a burner and his computer. He will often mix new sounds on the fly.

If like me the world of DJ led worship is new to you, you may want to check out www.tastyfresh.com a site that takes time to interview other Christian DJ's and explain various aspects of electronica style of worship. You can also listen to portions of Andy Hunter's music at www.andyhunter.com.

Writer: Joe Montague




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