I mentioned previously that Rhythm King didn’t release much Acid House, but to be fair they did release arguably the most successful UK version of the genre in the form of Baby Ford’s Oochy Coochie. Peter Ford was also a more than respectable white soul singer, as evidenced by this summer stomper, co-produced with Jeremy Healy, with Laurie Mayer, Lorita Grahame and Sonique on backing vocals, and programmer R.Salt’s Roland Jupiter 8 abundantly featured. Also check out the excellent Wigan on the B side.
The advent of “rave culture” propelled Jeremy Healy into that top tier of superstar DJs, where he has remained to this day. He also had a record label called More Protein, in partnership with his old mate, the estimable Boy George. Their first release was Everything Starts With An E.
You won’t see this one listed on my Discogs resumé; it was done under the alias, given to me by Jeremy, of Sir Frederick Leighton. Truth be told, Sir Fred was a bit of a lost soul: somewhat above it all, but also an outlier; forced, despite his heightened sensibilities, to grub around with the salt of the earth to earn his crust. And yet more truth be told, Sir Fred was somewhat appalled by Everything Starts With An E. In fact he thought it was a fucking nightmare, MC Kinky’s fierce performance seeming to convey the sensation of being dragged into a parallel universe by a yellow DMT goblin of questionable intentions.
Obviously this impression informed the musical parts I added to the track. There is a pervasive atmosphere of doom, and at one point the gates of hell open up, with deep droning synths and apocalyptic choirs ushering sinful partygoers across the stygian divide.
Now here’s a funny thing. As a result of this remix I became the secret co-author of a Renegade Soundwave classic, a fact they probably aren’t even aware of themselves.
In 1990 RSW did their own mix of Everything Starts With An E. As usual their mix has the best bass line. They also used quite a few of the elements I had added to the track. Two years later they released their own Women Respond To Bass, which itself included some elements of the E-Zee Posse track, including, bang in the middle, the “gates of hell” section! Those mischievous magpies…
Mute Records launched a new subsidiary called Rhythm King, a label that was to make a lot of noise over the next couple of years. Their message was loud and clear: DJs are making hit records now and they’re here to stay. As a longtime Jeremy Healy collaborator I was of course down with that.
The first signing was this trio of post punk refugees, three of the funniest and most talented characters I ever worked with: Gary Asquith, Danny Briottet and Carl Bonnie. Their song Cocaine Sex really blew the cobwebs out when I first heard it and I couldn’t wait to work on it. It had already been masterfully recorded by Paul Kendall but a bass sound courtesy of the Roland Juno 106 pulled things into focus.
Some time early in 1985 Torch Song did a soundtrack (Youngblood) and to help with this a fiendish new piece of kit called a synchronizer was procured, a ridiculously over-complicated device which however did allow the syncing up of video machines to our trusty 24-track.
News of this cutting edge acquisition brought back our old chum Jeremy Healy, who had been branching out and applying his turntablist skills to the old disciplines of the Foley Room, to whit the synchronizing of sound to a pre-recorded picture.
Having done a few TV commercials by the older method of lining the decks up by eye and hoping for the best, it was incredibly exhilarating to have everything come back perfectly synced to the frame, every time. Thus a commercial for boil-in-the-bag rice provided me with another major cranial light bulb moment.
Then Jeremy landed this gig doing sound design for Duran Duran’s “Arena” video, which comprised live footage of the band on their 1984 world tour intercut with footage of Milo O’Shea and the Time Bandit guys supposedly trying to sabotage the show, out of peevish revenge for flagrant moniker theft.
This selection is typical: our heroes grind out their set while dastardly things occur behind the scenes, including, inexplicably but who cares, two robots having sex in a swimming pool filled with green slime. I wish they’d mixed the sound effects a bit higher on that one.
[UPDATE: The video is no longer available, I’ll repost if and when I can.]
Jeremy is one of those dudes that’s in at the ground floor of everything. In the 70s as a youngster he was working with McLaren and Westwood in their boutiques. Then he did the genre-blending Haysi Fantayzee music project with model/photographer Kate Garner before moving into the nascent world of turntable wizardry.
This was the first session I did involving turntables as instruments and several light bulbs went off in my head as I watched him cut in sound effects and loop rhythms. I’d done that before with digital delays, but never synced up in this way, and affordable samplers were still a couple of years away.
I don’t have any record of this 1983 session unfortunately but here’s a recent interview with Jeremy in which he talks quite entertainingly about the early 80s.