DJ Hooch on UK B-Boy Championships
It’s that time of year again where the best B-Boys and dance crews from around the world battle it out at the UK B-Boy Championships. We speak to founder DJ Hooch about what we can expect this year!
HM: What made you decide to organise the event way back in 1996?
I was running my weekly club night at the Africa Centre in Covent Garden called Funkin’ Pussy! It ran every week for 12 years and people came to listen to the hard funk and hip-hop I was spinning. The b-boys started turning up and getting down. I thought it would be good to do an event showcasing their talent. I worked on the idea for about a year and in the book I go into how it developed from an idea to the Championships.
HM: How has the B-Boy scene changed since then?
It’s changed so much. It feels like it’s a different age and in many respects it is. The Internet wasn’t around back when we started this and that has definitely fuelled the worldwide growth of this culture. Then there are the moves themselves. Its gone from Windmills to Airflares, Chair freezes to invert freezes. More crazy stuff is being invented all the time. It’s pushing the limits of what the human body can do.
HM: UK B-Boy Champs attracts contestants from around the world, how did the event reach an international scale?
Year by year we’ve expanded into more countries, organising qualifiers and as the qualifiers grew so did the countries that wanted to get involved. We only take the best 8 crews from around the world so we have regional qualifiers now like our European finals which happen in Holland every year as part of the IBE dance festival. We had 100 crews take part this year.
HM: As one of the longest running dance events of its kind in the UK, how do you preserve its lifecycle and keep things fresh year by year?
It’s all about the competition. The fans love to come and see who’s gonna bring the most insane moves to the battle or the most style or the craziest routines. This year we have Korea, France, Russia, USA, UK, Holland and Japan and I can tell you it’s probably the best line-up ever.
HM: Where do you see UK B-Boy five years from now?
Leading the way. Dance is global and it has a lot of commercial interest. Our job is to keep the standard of excellence. We represent the elite competition and that’s what the crowd come to see. As far as our qualifiers go, we are working on setting up new events in South America, China and India and the Middle East so we have plenty still to do.
Dance is global and it’s has a lot of commercial interest. Our job is to keep the standard of excellence.
HM: You have just launched the book ‘B-Boy Championships from Bronx to Brixton’ which explains the history of the event. What prompted your decision to tell the story?
We were approached by Ebury publishing they wanted to know if we had enough content to create a book. When I showed them the photos we have from the last 15 years it pretty much sealed the deal. The other great thing about the book is all of the dancers stories. You really get to see what inspires and motivates these Champions. There’s also an explanation of the moves and history of the event.
HM: You collaborated with Crazy Legs in producing the Sony Playstation game ‘B-Boy’, what was your involvement and what did you most enjoy about the experience?
Myself and Crazy Legs were the main consultants on the game. We ensured that the characters in the game were all real b-boys. I got the best from Europe, Asia and the US and we motion captured their moves. The development of the game was a great experience. I got to put all the music together, put forward all the relevant international events I thought should be environments in the game and of course have the B-Boy Championships as the top level. I’m even in the game as the the DJ, naturally!
HM: How close is the game to a real life B-Boy battle?
It’s incredibly close, maybe too close for most gamers. I think it needed to be more fantastical to be really successful. There needed to be b-boys with lazers coming out of their eyes! Haha. The b-boys
love it. I’m always being asked when is part 2 coming.
HM: How have shows like ‘ABCD’ and ‘Got to Dance’ and crews like Flawless influenced the popularity of Breaking and Streetdance as a whole?
Well mainstream TV is always going to affect the awareness of things but the perception that that is the environment in which these dances exist is wrong. Street dance is an umbrella term covering all dances that originate and are still done on the street. The styles that really good crews like Flawless and Plague do are Breaking, Popping, Locking, House and Hip-Hop. Each of these styles are stand alone dances and are amazing. To be great you need to learn these dance styles properly.
HM: What would you say are your top 5 breaking tracks?
I like playing the classics so, James Brown – Give It Up Turn It Loose, Babe Ruth – The Mexican, Jimmy Castor Bunch – It’s Just Begun, Mando Dibango – African Battle, Bobby Byrd – I Know You Got Soul.
For deets on next year's championships and DJ Hooch see;
Interview: Lesley B
Photography provided by B-Boy Championships