I got my first club gig at a place called Bogarts in West London playing Soul, Jazz Funk and Disco - Players Association, The Whispers, Deodata, a bit of Philly Soul stuff and worked there 5 nights a week for a couple of years. I also used to go out clubbing a lot. Most clubs played a lot of chart Disco and Soul but there were a few decent clubs with DJ's like Chris Hill, George Power, Chris Brown and Sean French playing much better tunes with a lot of Jazz Funk in the mix. Some friends told me about this DJ Paul Murphy who was playing obscure Jazz Funk. I went along to his night and there were about 11 people in there but the music was amazing - rare Roy Ayers tunes, Ingram's "Mi Sabrina Tequana", Barbara Carroll's "In The Beginning" and the whole night was Jazz Funk or Jazz with one 'disco' tune in the whole set, Clyde Alexanders "Got To Get Your Love". That night changed me forever as a DJ as I figured there was a whole world of Jazz & Jazz Funk music that people weren't getting to hear and that's what I wanted to play myself. I did a few gigs with Paul but really meeting Gilles Peterson when he was 16 was what gave me to the chance to develop as a Jazz DJ. Gilles had been playing hard Jazz Fusion at Camden's Electric Ballroom and I came from a more suburban Soulboy scene. I had a much less serious approach to playing Jazz in clubs than some other Jazz DJ's and the mix of our two styles proved to be a winner. We started running our own gigs together and played Jazz Fusion, Latin Jazz, Blue Note, rare Funk 7"s and what we used to call 'Dodgy Bossa' which was pretty much anything with a cheesy Latin beat. Those Gigs were about keeping the whole night as a party without trying to "Educate" everyone and generally playing records that were brilliant to dance to rather than bleating on about John Coltrane or Hard Bop. We had those records but who wants to hear them on a Saturday night out !
One night Gilles and I were playing at this Gig with Paul Oakenfold & Pete Tong. At that time Acid House was just taking hold in the UK but we were still spinning in the same room as them playing faster stuff that sat better in the mix with what they were playing. Gilles was spinning this old Sabu Martinez track and there was a giant screen behind us showing Psychedelic Photos, Graffitti Art and Text. So there's this heavy Latin track spinning and the screen keeps flashing up "ACID ... ACID" behind us in giant letters and we thought it was well funny. I grabbed the mike and shouted " Fuck Acid House - This Is Acid Jazz !!! ". We played our craziest tunes, slowing down and speeding up intros to tracks like Mickey & The Soul Generations "Iron Leg", Gilles spent the whole night repeating the words "Acid Jazz" on the mike between every track, the place went crazy and a new 'Genre' was born.
You contributed two songs, Bassic and Hipology , to the Talkin' Loud compilation under the pseudonym Wild and Peaceful . How important were these two tunes to the up and coming Acid Jazz scene?
You also put out something with Quiet Boys (a Chris Bangs alter ego), an album was also put out in 89. How did you approach this project differently from Hippy House?
You worked with Mick on a variety projects together. How did the collaborative process work on Soundscape UK? And on what Soundscape UK album did everything come together perfectly?
Mick Talbot is a really talented Pianist and Writer who like me is really into vintage sounds. Once I had my own studio set up and had just finished the "Bosh" LP. I gave Mick a call and asked him how he felt about writing and producing an album together. He was immediately responsive and I had a ready made bunch of musicians who I'd been working with to come and play on the tracks as we put them down. Working with Mick was so easy. We share a lot of common influences but I come more from a 70's Soul and Jazz angle , while Mick is into everything from Motown and Stax to Dr John and the Rolling Stones. The first album we made was called "Subculture" and we couldn't come up with a meaningful band name which no one had used, we found there was a rock band in the USA called Soundscape so we called ourselves Yada Yada. The album was licensed all over the world and did really well but the american label wanted to use the Soundscape name so we called ourselves Soundscape UK in America and recorded a few additional tracks for the US Jazz market. Our first album was probably the best received but our second one "Piktures" was written recorded and mixed in 21 days and I like that one best myself.
Interview courtesy of Steve Hoffman forums