slow magazine the revolution will be photocopied

slow #3/summer 1999

Let’s get drunk and interview the Freestylers! Give ‘em candy breakin’ aliens! Make ourselves known. Drink. Aliens. Freestylers. Drink. Breakin'. Tell you what — let's not sort out an interview properly and just turn up drunk with the aliens. They’ll love it, yeah? It’s just our trip yeah? Our tribute. They’ll be up for a bit, light, like? Large isn't the word. Or we could hang around so long waiting for the t-manager that we sober up and only find the band exhausted and smoking after the show, with the MOBO awards full blast on the TV. I'd like to have an argument please.

Tell us about how you’ve changed live, because we’ve heard the new mix of Warning and it sounds like Dreadzone.
Aston (half of the core duo. Knob twiddler. Looks like Mindy NBD): Dreadzone?? The original mix or the ska mix? It didn’t have the guitar on it? No? It was the ska mix.
Has that come from your development as a live band?
It’s just a remix of the track. We perform the track that’s on the album, so that’s the version that’s the single. What we play is basically a live version of the album version.

Can we ask a boring question — how’s the tour going?
The tour’s going very well. Tonight was probably the quietest night. Yeah, Norwich has been the quietest night; everywhere else has been a bit of a sell out.
It’s surprising, because this is probably the biggest `dance’ band gig this term, and it was a bit empty.

Tony (Guitar. Somehow got a black eye after leaving the stage): Have you got any more spaceships?
No, we’re all out.

You weren’t up for an award, were you?
Aston: We was up for a MOBO — Best Newcomer. We won Best Band though, in the Muzik awards. But not Best Live Act. They can’t put us in for two, you see. There were so many categories in that Muzik one. It seemed like everyone they like had to win something. Next year maybe we’ll win Best Live Act, it’s probably one of the hottest dance acts out there, do y’know what I mean?
Do you feel you’ve tightened up as a band?
Yeah, totally. I mean now we’ve only been going as a proper performing band since May, when we did our first UK tour, everyone was just getting to know everyone then. We met up since last year but it’s something proper now — it’s all gelled, everything’s tight, we have more rehearsals. The album’s finished so we perform an hour and 15 minute set.

What about the audience — because when you’re in the band everyone’s come to see the band, but when you’re DJing you’ve got another crowd haven’t you?
Yeah it’s different when you’re DJing, it’s like you and the crowd, but with the band it’s like teamwork, it’s a different thing. I think you get to meet more people as a band, like girlie groupies or whatever. But this is Norwich — it’s finished early.

We’re trying to rip off your Chemical Brothers/Public Enemy mix — do you use the album or single?
The 12. It’s actually Matt's mix that one. You know I have a partner Matt (No!! Not that kind of partner!) who I make the music with. That’s Matt’s thing. I’ve heard that somebody’s done Leave Home with Intergalactic, and it sounds shit.
I heard somebody do Public Enemy with Everybody Needs a 303 at Glastonbury. I saw you at Glastonbury and Reading. (time for Vincey to get ‘em riled) Glastonbury was really good but there weren’t enough people in there.
(clearly Aston has different recollections)What? In Glastonbury?
Well, there were a lot in there but it didn’t fill the dance tent. It was only about half-full.
What are you talking about? Where were you standing?
Um, about 7 o’clock position...
The whole fucking tent was overflowing!
No it wasn’t!
Tony: We got 15,000 people in that tent, mate.
It only holds ten.
Tony: Exactly! No seriously, they rang us up and said it was like, it was rammed for 15 feet beyond the tent.
Aston: You can’t see but we’re standing on the stage. Wherever you are you don’t see. The whole tent was filled up.
I didn’t expect it to be packed, as it was only about 7 o’clock.
No, it was full; they knew Freestylers were playing there! And Reading was full as well.
Reading was packed, but I left there because I couldn’t stand the bass. (oh dear...)
Tony: Couldn’t stand the bass??
Aston: Well how can you like our music then’? That’s what our music’s about — drums and bass.
For fuck's sake change the subject!

Did Aerosmith object to the sampling on the original Feel The Panic?
Yes, sort of, yeah. We had to remove it. They didn’t want us to use it, it didn’t matter.
You don ‘t even play that version live — did they place a restriction on you?
Nah. We never performed that live, we always do the version that’s on the album.
Once, you’ve had to change it you might as well keep to the new one.
Yeah yeah, because we’re promoting the album. I know we do a couple of tracks not off the album, but they were b-sides.
Have you had to drop any other samples?
No, that was it really, everything else has been cleared. It was only a few Public Enemy bits. As it is it’s all been cleared, all the major samples.
The “We came here tonight...” bit — we know it’s Roxanne Shante, but can you tell us what track it is?
It’s Roxanne Shante with Biz Markie. Oi Jay — what’s the name of the track that goes “We came here tonight to get started”? Well whatever, it’s with Biz Markie.
That sample gets used a hell of a lot. We’ve never heard it before. It’s on Lo-Fi’s. X-Ecutioners...
Freestyle Noize is a year and a half old now. It sounds new but it’s old, it came out as a 12. It was the first release on Freskanova, on the Uprock EP which was our first release through Freskanova.

When you’ve done your remixes and DJ work you’re pushed into making that subfunk sound, it’s always been this big beat ‘go for it’ kind of thing. Have you ever tried a more relaxed remix?
A more what? No. I’ve always liked music that gets people going. I like instant music and I like making music that makes people go "Wow!"

Which one of you was in Strike?
We won’t bother you any more with that one then.

A couple of things about your stage set-tip: First it says ‘Decks’ and we only saw one turntable; and is the ‘Kit’ section where Navigator throws his clothes when he takes them off?
(I don’t think Aston can take much more of this) Oh, right, yeah. He throws it over to the drummer. Oh god I’m knackered. (He tells us about their tour schedule as the TV gets uncomfortably loud) Can you hear all that?
We don’t care, we’ll make it up, we’ve got ears.

Anyway, you’ve worked with a couple of the Soul Sonic Force and we’re going to see Jazzy Jay in a couple of weeks. Have you got any questions for him?
Questions for Jazzy Jay. Jason — have you got any questions for Jazzy Jay?
While he’s deep in thought regarding the old skool decks master, M.O.R. junglist Adam F wins a MOBO:
"It’s really nice to win an award like the MOBO award at such an early part in my career, because for me the best thing about making music is people appreciating it, and I suppose that’s what this award is all about"
Aston: That was a bit of a wack acceptance speech. I would’ve gone "Arse!!"
Jay emerges from his meditation with a question: "What do you think of the resurgence of the DJ without the emcee as an old skool DJ making breaks for emcees — what do you make of DJ crews like X-Men/Skratch Piklz etc?"
What does an old skool DJ think of the new generation of turntablists?

At this point we’re kind of persuaded that the interview, such as it is, might be over, so we make our way to our favourite all-night pasty emporium. We did intend to pass the question on to Jazzy Jay at the champagne party we’d been told about. But you know how it is — we drank our bottle of champagne before we got there and just sat around getting a bit bored while he did all the old funk breaks on the one and two’s, sort of like some kind of hip hop time capsule, really. Maybe you could ask him for us. We had loads of jokes about the Fresh Prince as well, so he got a lucky escape.


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