Friday 29 May 1998
What are you doing at the moment?
I have just come from recording the new single, "(Hey You) What's That Sound?". The release date is 27 July. It's, um, a disco-fuelled Eighties boogie track. It's another one of those vocal sample loops over a groovy background. It's the first record I have made which is a home listening tune and a club one. It is quite a crossover, without blatantly trying to be mainstream.
Are you happy with how things are going?
There have been no boulders in my path. Being on an independent label [Wall of Sound], I haven't been obstructed by barriers like commercial viability. The B-side is Eighties doom pop, a depressing track which, being on an independent, I can put out. There are no A&R men saying it won't sell. Friends signed to major labels say the same thing - you get the fast car, money but are ultimately doomed.
What's it like being part of the Wall Of Sound crew, known for partying as much as music?
It's 24-hour bedlam. Fun is always top of the list. It's like being part of a family. There is no anonymity.
Do you prefer recording or performing live?
Originally I preferred recording. But the way things have progressed, the live shows are reflected on the record. Almost everything in the album is part of the live experience. Playing around the world, I have been able to judge different reactions very quickly. I keep the knowledge of the dance floor, but meet it half way to keep my integrity. Now I couldn't have one without the other.
What has influenced you?
I started playing the piano when I was five. The musical training is reflected - I don't want to sound pretentious - in my music being harmonically correct and having a proper structure. I learned from a classical training rather than from listening to records. My parents were both classical pianists who then became accountants. They weren't exactly keen for me to take an interest in music as it is hard to make a living.
What is important to you in a track?
I think that one of the things missing in dance is that they don't know how to do melodies. They ask: "Will this work loud?" and forget about the melody. You can produce music two ways: either harmonically correct or sod that and make it loud. Either might work, but for me the satisfaction is knowing that I have made a musical song.
What do you listen to?
The Eighties bands like Fashion, Human League, some electro or Afrika Bambaata. There is not a lot of modern-day music that excites me. I have got my head in the sand like that. I am 20 now, so I missed the Eighties first time round, they amaze me now. I like those records as if they were new today - not because I like old records. I like the music element, suckered into the melodies. I think that a lot of songs, and this is not just in the production, you can hum to every single one. Whereas today you have to say: "Have you heard that tune, it has a wicked beat?" The heroes of modern dance like Norman Cook realise that there is more than that. But big beat has become passe, it was bound to happen. Roll on the next label.
Jacques du Cont, the Aquarium, Old Street, London, 4 June.
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