lundi, octobre 22, 2007


Nine tracks from Soulwax.

Alongside his brother Stephen, David Dewaele revolutionised dance music as Soulwax. Their work splicing together songs from unlikely sources (like Salt-n-Pepa with Iggy Pop) helped to give rise to the phenomenon of the mash-up, while their remixes continue to be the industry standard. Here David tells us about some songs that have influenced him

Monday October 22, 2007

Guardian Unlimited

David Dewaele
David Dewaele eats with Soulwax. Photograph: Alex Salinas

Rollin' and Scratchin', Daft Punk

This track came out in 1996, when I was 21, and at the time I was mainly into the Beatles and American west-coast rock. This track changed all that. It was the first techno song I ever liked because it was such a consciously stupid track, but so funky and soulful with its stupidness. I'm aware that Daft Punk didn't invent that style of dance music but the sound of this track is very extreme. I remember wondering "How did they make it so melodic?" And also, "How are they going to get royalties for that?"
Buy the track on iTunes.
Firecracker, Yellow Magic Orchestra

Simple yet melodic music by people who are obsessed with analogue synths - the Japanese Kraftwerk, if you will. At the time this record was made, electronic music was still something for high-grade, skilled musicians, rather than the sort of populist stuff you get now, and it was a better quality, too. I find that when something first arrives, in this case the electronica of Devo, Kraftwerk and the Yellow Magic Orchestra, it's at its best. That's when you feel like boundaries are being pushed.

In that way, I feel Soulwax or Richard X or Erol Alkan have all stood the test of time in a way that many of the current mash-ups and bootlegs will not. We always wanted to combine technical proficiency with melody, but now the technical aspects seem to be more important. Plus, the style of music is a lot more familiar to people; you can walk into a supermarket and hear Jay-Z mixing it up with Linkin Park. (Not available on iTunes.)

I Believe in You, Talk Talk

I continue to love and admire Talk Talk. Their album 1988 Spirit of Eden, from which this single is taken, was considered a flop commercially and critically, but in time it's become apparent that it is the influential basis for a lot of bands today, bands who make atmospheric, beautiful music like Radiohead or Sigur Ros. This track gives me chills every time I hear it.
Buy this track on iTunes.

Soft Machine, Les Rhythmes Digitales

It's an incredible tune, if not the most popular. Stuart Price (Les Rhythmes Digitales) was on the same label as us, so we were friends before I'd even heard the album Darkdancer. It is what I'd describe as an offbeat IDN (intelligent dance music) version of 80s dance music. There are fucked-up drumbeats with vocals over the top, which is difficult to pull off, but here it sounds fantastic. We've told him on several occasions he should do more of that stuff.
Buy this track on iTunes.

The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel. Grandmaster Flash

When I was about 12, I saw a TV show about hip-hop in New York. I remember the producers visited LL Cool J's mum's house and things like that. Anyway, they get to Grandmaster Flash's house and he starts explaining how he DJs. He says that all he does is take the best bits of the records he loves and repeats them so people can dance. Which is a simple display of genius. The idea stuck with me and years later we adopted that approach ourselves for 2 Many DJs.
Buy this track on iTunes.

Afraid Himself to Be, Jason Falkner

Grammatically, incorrect; musically, very correct. Falkner is the sort of guy that pops up on the liner notes of all these great albums by bands like the Grays and Fabulon, but he releases a solo album and it more or less gets ignored. I'm OK...You're OK is an album of intelligent pop music with intricate melodies, in the vein of the Beatles or the Kinks. This guy is incredible and deserves popular acclaim.
Buy this track on iTunes.

Hard Times, The League Unlimited Orchestra

Human League released the album Dare in 1981 and a year afterwards they released an album of remixes of it called Modern Dancing. It featured extended minimal dance versions of their pop tracks and became the blueprint of everything we did on Night Versions. Modern Dancing was mainly the work of Martin Rushent - the band were touring at the time - and he used lots echo effects and repetitive basslines. We've made no secret of paying homage to his style.
Buy this track on iTunes.

Lord Grunge, The Frogs

The Frogs are two guys from Chicago, the Flemion brothers, who are renowned for their very funny, very dark albums. I guess they're not dissimilar to Queen in that respect, where you have brilliant music but funny Zappa-esque lyrics. The track Lord Grunge really stood out from the rest of their music and a bit of investigation showed it has been produced by Billy Corgan. Incredible pop music meets fucked-up lyrics about a band getting eaten up and raped by the music industry. If you find an MP3, well lucky you. It's great. (This track is not available on iTunes.)

Loose, The Stooges

When it comes to garage rock, no one equals this band. We've played with them at festivals - trust me when I say that they're phenomenal. The whole band are innovators. However good a band like, say, the Datsuns are, there's no way they can imitate them. When the Stooges are on stage you believe it and having seen them on the reunion tour it gave me hope for the future. Many reunions can disappoint you but this was inspiration.
This track is not available on iTunes.

As told to Paul MacInnes.

· Most Of The Remixes, a two-CD compilation featuring most of Soulwax's remixes, is out today. For tour dates, visit their MySpace page.

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