You got your break remixing the likes of Happy Mondays, New Order and Primal Scream. What can you tell us about the Madchester scene from your point of view now? Yeah, it was right place at the right time. It’s weird because last night I got home and 24 Hour Party People was on the telly and memories of the Hacienda came flooding back. It’s weird cos I’ve been going to clubs since I was 13 and at the time when you’re in a disco on whatever chemicals you don’t see yourself as part of some sort of social history, you just think “fuck this music is good, I wonder if I can get some more drugs.” Call me shallow but that’s what attracted me to clubs; music, drugs, dressing up and meeting women. So to me it was another faze of my nightclubbing life. I never thought 15 years later I’d be talking to people in Australia and getting asked about it. I did an interview over here – it’s 20 years since acid house – and off the record the interviewer said “you’re not stuck in the past, a lot of the interviewees are dewy-eyed, remembering yesterday”. I’m more interested in tomorrow.
You mention acid house; while nu-rave is nothing to do with old rave, has dance music begun to repeat itself? Well yeah, like all music repeats itself. I got into music in the mid-70s cos there was a traditional rock ‘n’ roll revival, it was 20 years since Elvis was around. Sadly revivals tend to focus on the obvious and easily accessible. There’s these cartoon versions of rock ‘n’ roll. And that’s what nu-rave is, or the electro-clash thing was a cartoon version of the early 80s. Revivals miss out on the essence and dish out the obvious, and that’s with any revival.
So a bit like Jet. Oh bless them. Cartoons can be fun.
You produced the legendary Screamadelica. They approached you, obviously? Yeah. We just hung out in the same clubs, it wasn’t something cynical. That’s why it’s such a success and difficult to repeat, it was very organic. I hung out with bands that were listening to acid house music and at the forefront of that scene.
You’ve released a variety of different styles of music under various names, from house to dub with your roots in rock – what do you find yourself coming back to most often? It’s always vintage rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm and blues from the 40s and early 50s when poor white people were mixing with poor black people and rock ‘n’ roll was being born. I love country swing and rockabilly, it has a raw primitive feel – doing it for the fuck of it – punk rock feel.
Well that’s what Joe Strummer was into… Oh fuck yeah, before The Clash he was in the 101ers and they were a straight up rhythm and blues rock n roll band. Rhythm and blues is root of all music. Without rhythm and blues you’ve got no ska, without ska you’ve got no dub and without that you’ve got no disco or hip-hop. If you trace stuff back it all begins with that collision of rhythm and blues and country music. Even if all you listen to is electronic music, everything starts there.
Well that’s proven in your Sci-Fi-Lo-Fi mix, it feels like the evolution of music. That was kind of the idea. That’s the music I play out. I had a club called Raw Meating and I would start off with rockabilly and end up at techno. I wanted it to be eclectic but I wanted a point. I didn’t want people just to just show off their record collection, I wanted to start at a point and end at a point.
What’s drawn you to this style of music? It’s a horrible DJ clichÃ© thing about ‘the journey’, but I just wanted to say this music is different but if you start here, go here and end up here can you see how it fits in. It’s not mixed per-say, but it’s sequenced.
What can we expect when you head to Australia in January. Can we expect ‘the journey’? Well I will be bringing some rockabilly records because I’ve been asked to do some after parties. The main gigs will be techno and electro with a little bit of post punk, but I don’t think you’ll be hearing Bo Diddley being mixed into a Richie Horton tune. If you want the rockabilly and the rhythm and blues try to find the afterparty.
Andrew tours Oz from January 11-23. Sci-Fi-Lo-Fi is out on Soma through Inertia.