By Mikkel Hyldebrandt
It’s been a reunion 20 years in the making, and presently, DJ duo Thunderpuss is taking the country by storm with a massive tour to (re)introduce everyone to that signature EDM sound. DAVID spoke to Barry Harris – one half of the Thunderpuss duo – about their surprising resurgence, touring the country, and what’s next.
As someone who partied hard to your tracks in the 90s and 00s, I was beyond excited to learn of your reunion. How did this come to happen?
Chris and I started speaking again a bit summer of 2022. A few months later, we were both approached by Hosh Gurelli (previously of the Arista Records “Whitney Houston team”). We worked closely with Hosh throughout most of the Thunderpuss years when it came to Whitney Thunderpuss mixes. He was working again with Clive Davis and now Pat Houston for “Don’t Cry For Me” dance mixes. It was his suggestion to have Thunderpuss get back together for this occasion. The movie “Whitney: I Wanna Dance With Somebody” was about to be launched worldwide & the entire global Sony Music team was about to launch something big. How could we possibly say no!?!?
Thunderpuss is behind one of the perhaps best-ever remixes of a pop song, namely Whitney Houston’s “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay” – and now you’re back with another significant Whitney remix. How has it been to work on Whitney’s music again?
I was sent the acapella and didn’t listen to it for a few days until I was ready to really “sink my teeth into it.” Of course, It was really great to hear her voice again! It was very difficult to find a way to turn the original ballad performance of “Don’t Cry For Me” into a traditional dance/pop song, but I can always find a way. Especially with Chris involved as well, we were confident we’d be able to put all our skills, talent, and passion back into this song and do our best to make it work. It was also very exciting to have the final approval from Pat Houston and Clive Davis themselves, plus a global mega music corporation like Sony Music, stand behind your mix. The entire process was very exciting!
Did the massively positive response to your reunion come as a surprise to you?
100% yes! I kind of knew Thunderpuss mixes had continued to touch a LOT of people’s hearts, and I suspected it would be like a “sonic boom” in gay America club culture 2023, but to see it actually occur was kinda overwhelming. It’s extremely flattering to see and feel IRL how many hearts Thunderpuss mixes have actually touched over the years!
So far, you have been headlining some pretty significant events all across the country – how has it been to be touring again?
BH- It’s been a lot of fun, like putting on an old pair of comfortable slippers. It’s nice to work with Chris again in the DJ booth. Life itself is much more relaxed now than it was in the crazy stressful Thunderpuss days. We both REALLY worked out asses off hard from 1998-2003. Exciting times indeed, though a lot of the mega pressure(s) going on in those days are now behind us!
How would you say your sound has developed over the last two decades?
The Thunderpuss sound? I’m not sure how to answer this question. I can’t answer for Chris, only me. As for me, dance music has always been a “product of its surroundings” and club culture. Thunderpuss was a product of the times, when NYC was the hub of dance music and record stores and CDs were still a thing. As for me, since 1988, back in the Kon Kan days, I’ve followed the sounds and trends of dance music over the years from then to now and adjusted accordingly. Thunderpuss also had a few different sounds at the time and was a hybrid of many influences and types of dance music thrown into the pot. If there are more Thunderpuss mixes to come, they will also be adjusted to “the times” as well.
You’re coming to Future Atlanta on April 15 – what can the audience expect from the show?
One thing I have learned over the years is that concerts are a gathering of fans. Whether it’s Lizzo or Lady Gaga, the fans all have one thing in common – the love and connection to the artists and their songs. It kind of feels that way with Thunderpuss. It’s not only a Thunderpuss Reunion of Chris and myself but also a reunion of the fans themselves and fans of the era coming together to celebrate a time in our lives that touched our hearts forever. It’s very humbling and special to reconnect with everyone so many years later. It’s just so overwhelming to witness the Power of Music. I used to think music was simply disposable and on to the next thing, but I was wrong. Now I understand – music IS eternal!
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