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he Time Frequency were the darlings of the Scottish rave scene last year. appearing at over 80 raves. reaching the dizzy heights of Number Eight in the national charts. supporting Prince and appearing on Top Of The Pops. Their soft-centred (as opposed to hard-core) techno, fronted by well-scrubbed, drug- abstaining Mary Kiani and Jon Campbell. was the parentally acceptable face of the rave scene. The teen scene followed them devotedly. but interest waned rapidly following a number of Campbell’s more outspoken utterances.
The piece of Campbell wisdom that is cited most often is his ‘the raves are only as good as the drugs’ nugget. which precipitated a hate- mail offatwa proportions from incensed ravers. Still. Campbell claims that. despite his personal eschewal of drugs. the seemingly synonymous relationship between drugs and raves does not necessarily mean rejecting rave culture.
‘I think the fact that they take drugs is a bad thing. I don’t think that the rave scene is a bad thing. There are definitely some pe0ple there who don’t take drugs and get a high out of it. but I would say that that’s about 10 per cent, maybe 15 per cent maximum. I don’t deny that there may be some people taking drugs at my Barrowland gig. There’s nothing you can do to stop it —— it’s everywhere — but what I would like to say is, I hope in the future there will be.’
But surely the raves were built on E. the love drug?
‘I don’t think so. What is being sold as ecstasy at the moment is not ecstasy. It’s a combination of Ketamine. heroin and speed. and basically induces a kind of drunkenness that they can’t pull themselves out of. It doesn’t make them friendly. hence the sound of the techno music currently.
‘Anyonc reaching where we reached. coming
from the rave scene. would deﬁnitely have got L__.___
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TTF are one of Scotland’s most popular bands, but mainman JON CAMPBELL still feels like he’s wasting his time, playing ‘ﬁckle techno-pop’ and slumming it in ‘low—life’ club culture. So just what, asks Rory Weller, is he doing with his self-professed abundance of talent?
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the flak. irrespective of who it was. lt’sjust that we were the band that made the Scottish rave scene. When you’re at the forefront of anything. irrespective of whether you‘re Nirvana or Lenny Kravitz. you are there to be shot down.’
It has been suggested. though. that many of the bullets with The Time Frequency’s name on them have been engraved by frontman. writer and producer Jon Campbell himself. ‘l’m an easy target.’ he says. ‘I can’t keep my mouth shut. I speak the truth.’ One of his more accurate truths is in describing his own music as ‘fickle techno-pop'. an opinion held by much of the music press. except for the English-based nationals who prefer to call them ‘Scottish tickle techno-pop’.
‘The techno that is getting played today is talentless and crap. Everything that any English DJ plays is garbage. London is a different world from Britain. 1 try to visit it as little as possible. I hate it. Hopefully. eventually. I won‘t have any connection with clubs because. in general. club life is low life. The majority of people who want to go to clubs are looking for something they don’t have in their lives. I don’t think clubs give you anything. Most of them are cattle markets. I don’t really listen to DJs. ’cause DJs only play other people’s records.‘
I ask Jon if he likes his own album. Dominator. There is a pause. I ask hint if he would buy the album.
‘Yeah, ‘Real Love” is as good as an Erasure song. “Real Love” is as good as The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand". lt’s fickle pop, but it’s only a launch pad fora development. It’s really sad if people think that’s me and that’s all there is to me. That really irritates me. That really freaks me out. That’s my whole problem in life. I’ve a major problem with that. Major. major. . .
‘Sometimes I do feel as if I am wasting my time. Why am I in such a fickle band when l
want to be in Nirvana? Not for the musical ability of Nirvana. just being able to reach across in the same way as they could. which is a bugger. because I know I’m more musical than Kurt Cobain ever was.’
If that’s the case. why can people not hear that talent in techno-pop anthems such as ‘New Emotion‘ and ‘Ultimate High"?
‘Because it’s at the development stage. isn’t it? It’s what I said. a launch pad.’
A critical point in this development was the departure of lead singer Mary Kiani who recently signed to Phonogram to further her solo career. She. according to Jon. was little more than another instrument to be played and manipulated by him. ‘A singer is a keyboard unless they are part of your hand. She had zero input. not because I’m a control freak but because she didn’t have the ability. After singing three singles Mary started to ask for quite a lot outwith what she should have been asking for.‘
The current single. ‘Such A Phantasy’. is the first TTF release not to feature the vocals of Kiani. using instead Monica Reed-Price. The
similarities between this record and their Number Eight success. ‘Real Love’, are striking. Campbell admits he ‘made it
specifically to sound like the previous singles. For people to say it sounds the same is a compliment. lt proves that we don’t need Mary.‘ Mary is in Florida and can’t be reached. Jon is in his front room. Maryhill, playing pool and is perfectly happy with Dominator’s entry into the album charts at 23. His favourite track is ‘Something For Me’. ‘This is the only track on the LP that is me doing me.’ he says. ‘This has got nothing to do with the rave scene. The rest is all fickle rave. This is what we will be doing in two years’ time.’ D The Time Frequency play Barrowland, Glasgow on Fri 24.
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