It’s all in the mix
From unlikely origins as a psychedelic guitar band The Shamen have metamorphosed into one of the country’s most exciting dance bands. James Haliburton found out from founder member, Colin Angus, exactly why anyone would want to release a 19-track album of remixes of the same song.
To speak ofThe Shamen without mentioning innovation is nigh on impossible. When bands like Primal Scream and The Soup Dragons were still aping The Stooges The Shamen were releasing singles like Jesus Loves Amerika and Knature Of
acknowledged the inﬂuence of hip-hop and with
Bam Bam. the then underground Acid House scene. Not content with blurring musical boundaries they attempted to revolutionise their live shows. The result was Synergy. an event rather than a gig. their live set only one part of the evening‘s entertainment. albeit a highly important one. Synergy has now mutated into Progeny but the concept remains the same.
‘lt‘s partly to do with the fact that we want to take the show to the US.‘ explains Angus, ‘And we‘ve already had a legal warning from a company over there who have the name registered. Also we decided it was time for a change. for the simple reason we want to keep things moving. An update ofthe original Synergy idea.‘
Progeny is also the name ofa l9-track limited edition triple album of remixes of Move Any Mountain. An unusual release even by The Shamen‘s standards. it features remixes from such diverse sources as The Beatmasters. Frankie Bones and Paul Oakenfold. The accusation that it may be seen as cashing in on the success of the single is something Angus has considered but feels the release is justified.
‘There was always the intention of releasing that after Move Any Mountain came out. We think the mixes are all really good — I have four or five personal favourites— and it shows what true remixing can be. A lot of people have said it was too much but when they‘ve heard it they all came back saying they‘re all really different. Plus we‘ve put all the samples on the end to encourage people to sample them up. to remix it themselves or to
, make up a new track or whatever.‘
l The success of the single. however. was marred l by the death of Will Sinnot. Angus‘s writing
1 partner. during the filming of the singles video.
64 The List 27 September— 10 October 1991
A Girl — records that although largely guitar-based
the subsequent Transcendental collaboration with .
LISTINGS: GLASGOW 64 EDINBURGH 66
After a period ofuncertainty about the future of the band. Angus has extended the line-up with the addition of rapper Mr C. backing vocalist Cheryl and synth wizard. Ratty. The quartet are currently recording the follow-up to last year‘s Err—Tact album with Angus finding the increased personnel has had a very direct and positive effect on
1 ‘It‘s made things a lot more productive. it means i I can concentrate on the writing — sit back and get
I an overview or whatever without having to get
i completely involved in every minute detail ofthe
l track. It‘s still me conceiving the tracks and what
I they‘re going to be about. I think we‘ve got a much ‘ more polished rhythmic side. much more
danceable. 1 would like to say that‘s how we envisaged the band going anyway. Myself and Will had already invited Mr C to join the band when we were out in Tenerife working on the video.‘
1 Despite reports to the contrary. though. the
i results of recent recordings will not be released
, until the new year. Resisting the pressure to
l capitalise on Move Any Mountain The Shamen
are hiding their time until they are satisfied they have got it right. However. a remix of Possible Worlds will be circulated in the clubs as a means of maintaining their profile. The choice ofexactly which clubs the single will be circulated to will not. however. be something Angus can control. It seems that despite the stranglehold dance music has over the charts he is not completely enamoured with recent trends.
‘l‘m sick to death ofall the ravey stuff. l hate it when I go out to a place and it‘s solid rave music all night. [don‘t particularly go for the noisy end of it. I think it‘s got quite a lot in common with heavy metal. the way the same riffs keep coming up. the same sounds and all that macho energy. I still like to listen to the underground stuff although it‘s much harder to find these days. The mainstream definitely does suffer from a lack of imagination.‘
Something The Shamen can never be accused of. The Shamen play The Forum. Livingston on Fri 4 with Meat Beat Manifesto, ()rbital. and A Hippie And A Fan/(i Dredd. and (m .S‘at5 with Meat Beat Manifesto and Cabaret Voltaire.