Jails in the Far East, an evolving band set-up, life on the road and one of the best dance-rock fusion albums in recent years – it’s been a busy 12 months for Hyper

“I was thrown in jail in Hong Kong,” says Guy Hatfield matter-of-factly. “About 150 police turned up while I was DJing, and shut the whole party down. Then they threw me in prison for 36 hours. I was nearly sentenced to five months, and all for not having the correct work visa. They’re worried about workers coming over from mainland China in Hong Kong, but it’s generally accepted you don’t need one if you’re a DJ. It turns out there was some triad involvement in the party though, and I was just in the firing line.

“I was shitting myself. They didn’t bring me any water for nine hours, they wouldn’t let me speak to my lawyer for ages, they wouldn’t let me sleep. It was really scary. It was only when I got interviewed the following day that I realised it was all triad related. So that was an interesting experience – one for the memoirs…”

Rock stars the world over would kill for an anecdote like this. It’s the sort of story you imagine a grizzled Keith Richards repeating over several bottles of bourbon during a quiet night in. For a DJ to be caught up in such rock and roll excess is almost unheard of. But it’s fairly apt that it’s Guy who’s living like a rock star. After all, he’s halfway along the path as reinventing himself as a musician, moving from the realms of breaks where he made his name into unchartered territory, mixing up rock and dance better than anyone else around just now. In fact, only the Prodigy come close to doing the dance/rock fusion better.

Coincidentally, Guy’s band – called Hyper in a nod to his DJ alter ego – includes a few Prodigy stragglers. For their first album, We Control, there was Leeroy Thornhill (of the Prodigy) on vocals, John Ross on drums and Jim Davies (another ex-Prodigy member who’s also been in Pitchshifter) on guitars. The outfit’s changed a little for the new album, Suicide Tuesday, but the sounds are improving all the time. EQ speaks to Guy to find out more…

It seems like the band are really starting to gel with Suicide Tuesday. This album sounds a bit more natural than We Control.
I think you’ve summed it up a bit there. The last one was the first artist album and for some reason you feel you have to be all things to all people, especially when you’re established in a different way. You’re worried about having vocals for one lot of people, older sounds for others, and covering this or that. But once the album was out, we realised that the tracks that were the most successful were the ones we’d just reeled off. So for the second album we thought, ‘Sod pandering to this, that and the other – let’s just get in there and do it, and do it as naturally as possible.’ And that’s kind of where Suicide Tuesday has come from.

The whole rock-dance fusion thing seems to have come together really well on here. A lot of people are starting to do that, but a lot of them don’t quite get it right. You seem to have nailed it.
We like to hope so. It’s very hard to get the balance right between dance music and rock music, and trying to get the two things to work together. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t, but it is quite hard. The key for us was to not worry too much about the club angle. So on the majority of the tracks we just went full out and experimented, making some at 155bpm, just for ourselves. It’s really nice working at different tempos like that.
We’ve been touring the live show since the last album as well, so that helped. We’ve been working with more guitarists and bringing in more rock-oriented musicians and singers, and that’s given us more of a focus. And I guess breaks isn’t uber-cool at the moment anyway, so it’s nice not to worry about that side of it and do what we want to do.

Are people getting it?
They seem to. Ideally, we’d like someone like Zane Lowe to pick up on it. We don’t expect any of the singles to get Radio 1 daytime plays, but you either hit it or you don’t. The only way to do it is to do it naturally and not force it. One of the areas we’ve always done really well is for use on TV shows and films, and from that point of view, this album’s excelling itself already.

Where have the tracks been getting used?
We’ve done two CSIs, one’s been on Ugly Betty… We’ve got one of a new Rockstar game, and we’re in contention for a couple of movie trailers as well. So from that side of things, it’s all going really well. It’s a good one for us – when it comes to TV, producers are either after something really chilled and mellow with strings, or something really in your face. Hybrid do well from the first angle – we do well from the more uncompromising angle. We use big stabs, we’re not trying to be subtle – it’s banging.

How have the live shows been going down?
We’re just getting back into the live show now. We’ve done a few in Asia, but we finished the album too late to get into the festivals this year. We’re trying to put together a tour for autumn, but we’ve done a few tester shows in Singapore and Korea which went really well, so we’re looking forward to getting back in the saddle.

You’re still really enjoying life with the band then?
Yeah, it’s just the dynamic. If you’re DJing, it’s very different to being stood on stage with a band and everyone looking at you. You can get away with a lot more in a band, and you get a completely different connection to the crowd.

Does it feel like you’re a proper band now?
Yeah, it does… scarily. Now I’m going to have to learn how to play instruments and stuff rather than just mixing records. It’s a whole new challenge, which is an exciting thing to do.

You’ve been together as an outfit for a while though.
Yeah, but we have changed the outfit a bit. Leeroy was still involved with writing the new album and singing on it, but he couldn’t commit to doing the live shows all the time. So we’ve got a new girl singer called Axe – she did It’s Sick on the album, which was a Mudhoney bootleg of Touch Me, I’m Sick which I moved around a bit to avoid a lawsuit. She’s worked out really well and she looks great too. But the rest of us have been together for a couple of years now.

That says a lot about the band. A lot of bands like this – when DJs try to do something a bit different – just disappear.
We’re lucky – I took a gamble and it paid off. But from a personal point of view, it’s much more satisfying working like this. The breaks scene isn’t really inspiring me that much at the moment. It’s quite formulaic. The more exciting stuff for me has been the more rock-infused dance stuff. I’ve found it quite hard to relate to the breaks scene, so that’s probably made it easier for me to just go out and do my own thing without worrying too much about genre.

This album’s a long way from breaks though. You can hear elements in there, but it’s not tied down to that sound.
I’d hope that if nobody knew who I was and they heard the album, they couldn’t say it’s breaks. If that’s the case, job done.

Suicide Tuesday is out on October 13 on Guy’s label Kilowatt. The single Centre Attraction is out now. The Suicide Tuesday launch party is at Air @ Cargo, 83 Rivington Street, London on October 4. Visit




“I’ve found it quite hard to relate to the breaks scene so that’s probably made it easier to just go out and do my own thing without worrying too much about genre”
Watch out for Guy’s remix of South Central’s new tune. And check out the Brighton-based electro-punk outfit’s cover version of Josh Wink’s Higher State Of Consciousness. Visit