Pop: Getting in the Moog

At some point in the conversation with Jason Westgate, Moog and DAT controller for south London beat merchants Hoodwink, the thought occurred that writing new music isn't always that much fun. Although their next single "More Millionaires" - a classy jumble of cheeky Moog, cutting harmonica, wideboy vocals and crashing guitars with big funky beats - has been on club playlists for some time, they've actually been signed to their label for five years with very little product on the shelf. In the beginning, they were trying to get the crossover formula of mad vocal techno but, "no one was convinced back then. What we did was a bit like what Underworld did with "Born Slippy" but until Trainspotting came along, no one really wanted to know that sound." Jason and guitarist partner Leon Fijalkowski were sent back to the drawing board, so to speak, and he describes the experience in a way that brings up images of the scriptwriting factory in Barton Fink.

"Ever since then," he continues, "we promised ourselves we'd do what we want to do, which was a funky tip, but again that stuff didn't convince people either. Then Daft Punk broke and, hey, it was OK, we were put in the big-beat section in the shops and everything's working now.

"Indeed music has moved on in the right direction for us. Hip-hoppy, funky, big-beaty, breakbeaty stuff or whatever you want to call it seems to be in vogue and the scene is coming round. I'm wary of tags as they can turn into fads and fads do come and go, but there seems to be quite an eclectic umbrella. It seems to be a really good thing to be part of even though we've found ourselves included in it pretty much by accident."

The acceptance of the Hoodwink vibe has also cleared the way for them to start up a club night where they and one other live band play live; this time around, they have Junior Blanks who number some former Collapsed Lung people (of the Coca-Cola "Eat My Goal" advert fame).

"Live sets are really important. We like to try to strip down and expose the Big Beat sound with jams that usually start off with the DJ just playing a beat, then I play a Moog, we bring a funky bass line in and add some mad guitar. In fact playing live for us is just like being DJs - we can take people from beats to funk and also bring the crowd up and down. Then there's always the samples that we've built up over five years that we can throw in at anytime." It's good to see all those years weren't entirely wasted.

Hoodwink + Junior Blanks + DJ Scissorkicks: Breakfluid at the Powerhaus (0181-963 0940) 19 Feb

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