My Origines Part 1

Watching the Synth Brittania documentaries on BBC4 today, put me in a nostalgic mood. Seeing all my heroes like Daniel Miller, Vince Clarke, Depeche Mode, OMD, Eurythmics and the Human League made me realize – again- the importance of those artists on me and the effect they’ve had on my career as a DJ/Producer.

I already was attracted by electronic music by the likes of Giorgio Moroder and Bobby Orlando, but these artists still used conventional drums and percussion, based on disco. Unlike most of my peers I wasn’t that interested in Kraftwerk though. To me it lacked that swing that I find so attractive. Even though I was way too young to enter a club or discotheque I longed for the dance factor. So when I heard Yazoo’s ‘Don’t Go’ for the first time I went berserk. From that moment on, I knew what I wanted to do.

That record and Divine’s ‘Step By Step’ , or ‘Native Love’ (By producer Bobby Orlando) hinted at the fact that I could actually produce music without learning a traditional instrument. So I bought a Casio VL-1. The rest is, as they say, history.

Casio VL-1

In 2003 I was offered to do a remix of Yazoo’s ‘Don’t Go’. It took me almost a year to actually finish that. Most time was spent thinking ‘I’m not worthy!’  This track couldn’t, no, shouldn’t be remixed. I came up with the solution to my problem, by creating a remix in a remix. When you listen to it you do hear those famous synth stabs. And Alison Moyet’s voice.

But the basis came from Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ which was produced by Giorgio Moroder and remixed by another hero of mine; Patrick Cowley. At the same time I wanted to keep the production basic, as it was in the ’80’s. I only used the Roland TR-808 drum sounds in an old fashioned ‘boom – clap’ style. (Further down the track you can also hear the sampled percussion by Divine’s ‘Native Love’). Basically the remix was meant to be a tribute to my fave Electronic Dance Music from that period in time.

When finally finished it took the label months to release it. They just didn’t get it. Neither did I by the way, so I didn’t blame them. In fact, I wasn’t all too happy about it either. Things changed however when it was heard in a club, loud, and  see the people react to it. In hindsight it could somewhat be seen as a frontrunner for what is now known as Minimal. That same year I did the lush production/remix of Girl Nobody’s ‘Cages’. And lush and rich productions where all the fashion. This was just too different. It soon changed and because it was released as a bootleg it is still very much sought after. It grew on me too.

Still, nothing beats the original. As with many originals. Even though I’m a remixer by profession, I still find remixes nothing but a commercial tool. It rarely adds anything substantial from an artistic point of view. But that’s a whole other topic. I’ll save that for later.

In the meantime, should you have never heard it, you will find the unreleased dub version here, along with other music and remixes.

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3 thoughts on “My Origines Part 1

  1. I have to add that I could or should have included Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis and Kitaro. Their music is the first electronic music I’ve ever listened to. Though of less influence and importance in my case. At least, rhythm/ dance wise.

  2. Hello again Harry,

    Reading your article almost immediately inspired me to search for my own roots. And even I was child 90’s and most of my teens I spent listening and playing rock music my first really admired musical influences were JMJ, Vangelis and Erasure…well and now I spending all my afternoon playing all that old synthetic jewels of my very past and having a great times, thanks for this 😉

    M.

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