I have known Jamie for I guess around 6 years or so now. We met really through Jamie doing regular guest slots for us at Back to Basics and I first met lee about 3 years ago in Leeds when some friends brought him to play a house party for their birthday. Also it was round that time that Jamie had remixed a track that I made with Jon Woodall called Kitsch n Sync, which was the 1st release on the Basics label that had started up again after 15 years. Although, I had already sent Jamie and Lee some tracks that they were digging and interested in for Hot Creations but then they chose this for Hot Waves – even though I already had the connection with the guys it was really Richie Ahmed who made sure they heard it.
The track features the vocal of Ives St Ange. How did you meet and can you tell us about what the words mean to you?
I 1st met Ives in the summer of 89, we were both 18 and in Bridewell police station, which is closed now, but used to be underneath the Leeds town hall. We had both been arrested for nonpayment of some stupid fine which we had both managed to pick up along the way for some nonsense or other, and that was really the 1st encounter. But by the end of that same summer we were pretty much hanging 24/ 7. A big group of us would travel to Manchester every Friday for the Hacienda and then pretty much crash at Ives place all week, which was a block of high rise flats in the Little London area of Leeds, called Lovel Park Towers. Which is why I called it: Back to the tower, as in back to them times.
At the time though when this was going on they were a crew who we were friends with, who used to rap and write rhymes round at Ives place, and of course Ives was one of them. Fast forward 20 years and there I am, I haven’t seen or heard from Ives in maybe 10 years (and before that another 5) so basically twice or so in 15 years. Anyway, I was making what started out as an album at the time and I found myself well out of what was then my comfort zone. All of a sudden I was working with singers, writing/recording lyrics, bringing in sax players, pianists and while all this was happening I randomly seen that Ives was on facebook. And, as I’m in the studio I said ‘hey do you want to?’, actually what I really said in a jokey way because it had been so long, and thought it maybe a funny ice breaker was: ‘Yo! Are you still spitting rhymes’ like I was all down and ghetto! By time I got him down to the studio I already had the basis for the track written and laid down with the bassline on it. I suggested that it might be cool to rap about what we did back then in a kinda tongue ‘n’ cheek way and touch on where we were when we didn’t see each other too much, then bringing it back to today and where we are now, and what we are doing. He totally 110% nailed it for me. It was the most fun and easy track I’ve ever made. I wasn’t even thinking about anyone liking it let alone signing it. It really did just come from the heart; I wasn’t putting any limitations on it. I just went with the flow and that’s how it turned out.
Can you give us an insight into the process of producing Back To The Tower?
I laid down the kick at 115 BPM as I knew he would come and rap over it. So didn’t want it too fast, this is all in my head at this point as he’s on his way to the studio. I already had the big clap which I wanted to use so played that over the beat, loop-edit and then played the bassline over it and that was all I needed for that point. We recorded the vocal then Ives left and I worked with it, as in putting some arrangement on it, getting a nice feel to it and it was there. It was like it wrote itself, as in it was easy to hear what I needed to do next. It was a great experience and being back with Ives after all this time, just for that project and then pretty much back off our separate ways we went. I loved it.
When/ where did you first begin to DJ and who initially inspired you to do so?
I bought my 1st pair of Technique 12.10s in 1990 from Sasha. The speed pitch was knackered at a certain point and the arm on one of the decks was bent, he had me over bless him. It took me about a year to realize it was the deck and not me! The story though, was that Sasha had been dj’ing at an 808 State gig and they fell off the stage, and that’s why it was broke. So I thought that was a quite funny history to have behind the decks, but it was 2 years later in 92 that I started to play clubs and was lucky as my 1st residency was at Renaissance, and by 93 the Hacienda so I had the best training ground ever to DJ. But without doubt my biggest DJ influences at that time were Mike Pickering and Graeme Park
Its evolved in the way that technology is now available to make music on, which is much more out there, but I would say there have been many styles and fads that have come and gone, and still continue to do so, but for me the roots of it all are House. And even at the time when it looked like House was having trouble staying for good, it didn’t and it’s still here. But I do think the spirit of House Music from the 90′s to now is still the same…
You can hear a range of influences when listening to your productions. Can you tell us about some of the most significant to you?
That’s a tuff question really because I feel those influences are just in me naturally from years of playing and listening to music. It’s not like I’m always trying to do an old-school flavour or anything like that, or thinking I’m going to make a track like something that is a direct result of wanting to make a certain type of record. They just come out the way they do, but mainly always with moving the dance floor at the forefront of my mind.
Where you are currently Dj’ing? And what are your forthcoming plans for 2013?
As well as regular guest slots up and down the country, as well as around the world, I would like to play at DC 10 again and at as many festivals. I’m also resident at Back to Basics which I’ve held for over 10 years now. This year I intend to release more music and I have an EP coming out on Future Boogie around April time, plus I have a couple of irons in the fire that are yet to be unleashed! More tracks also for Extended Play – I have already released 5 tracks with them last year through a sampler and on my own EP.
I’m also really looking forward to working closely with the Blueprint Artist Agency who Ive recently signed to. So all that combined with as many holidays and staying happy, and healthy, and true to myself…..that’s my plans for 2013.