0n the record
Responsible for demolishing barriers between radically different music styles, American record producer Armand Van Helden is heading for Scottish shores. He tells Jim Byers what fires him up and why Brits just can’t dance.
It was the year barriers were broken down. In l995. house melted into techno — there were Dave Clarke. Josh Wink and the Chicago revival. via Cajual and Relief. People finally started listening to different types of music. Jazz mutated sublimely with its phreaky. phuturistic freestyle partnerjungle — Bukem. Roni Size and Alex Reece led the movement. British garage checked itself and refined
‘I see every remix as a challenge. It’s a challenge to see whether I can work the record or not and make it something it wasn’t originally.’
an emerging nu-British sound. via Crispin Clover. Musique Tropique. The ldjut Boys and the [Ming of Farley and Heller and our very own Harri. Even British hip hop was on the up.
There was also some pretty wild-style production in I995. Everyone from Donna Summer to Janet Jackson. Everything But The Girl and Jodcci. came
- . I _ J .‘i . Armand Van Helden: ‘I play something for ya ass and ya mind’
out of the studio sounding like you‘d never heard them before. One of those responsible was Armand Van Helden. He completed well over 70 remixes last year. memorably creating havoc with a particularly fearsome remix of Ace Of Base‘s living In Danger". which had little or nothing to do with the original
3 version. People pay BK} money to have their records
destroyed in this way. ‘l see every remix as a challenge.‘ says Van Helden
3 in deep. measured New York tones. ‘lt's a challenge
i to see whether I can work the record or not and make ', it something it wasn‘t originally.‘ Which is why he doesn't get the type of remixes that land in David
Morales‘s studio and also why people hire him so often. ‘People know they‘re gonna get my
; interpretation of the record. They know I'm not
; gonna keep the original vibe of it. I'm gonna give it i my vibe. All I need is a couple of days and I’ll be
So. what can we expect from Van Helden when he
: l)Js‘.’ He claims there are three types of DJs: mental.
physical and subliminal. ‘l‘m all three.‘ he says. ‘I play something for ya ass and ya mind and
subliminally I‘m doin‘ some other ill shit. I could be
one of those l)Js that try and educate and play all
' new and experimental shit but ya ass ain‘t movin‘. ()r
I could play for the crowd with all that party shit and
just make ya ass move but that‘sjust like watchin‘
TV. it don‘t mean nothin'. I do all three. mental. physical and subliminal. Think about it and you‘ll understand.‘
‘I could play for the crowd with all that party shit and just make ya ass move but that’s just like watchin’ TV, it don’t mean nothin’.’
Asked what the main differences are between UK dancelloors and those in hometown New York, he
5 says: ‘People in the UK still have a reputation for
’ overdoing it on the drugs and alcohol side. Over i here. the kids are just enjoying the music. They’re ' not even experimenting with that kinda stuff
anymore. ()h. and you people can‘t dance. There's a
i lot more sex in the air over here [in New York] and a lot more dancin‘ skills. If you took a whole British I club and put it right here in New York, people would i be like. “What tha fuck . . . 1’" He laughs. but points out that it‘s not necessarily a bad thing: ‘It'sjust a
case of not knowin‘ any better. it's a culture thing.‘ Whatever he says about our danceﬂoor
' inadequacies. check him out and remember. mental. physical and subliminal. He does all three. Can you
Armand Van Helden will be doing all three (1! Cream. 'I'lIe Are/res. (I/asgmr an Sat 27 Jan. alongside (Iraeme I’ark. 'l‘amnrv 1), Michael K ilkie and Carer/1 .S'mnmerville.
HARDBAG HOUSE CLUB
MEATY, BEATY, BIG AND BOUNCY
Smalltown jealousy is rite throughout Edinburgh’s club scene. Everybody wants to be top dog. l)Js get slagged oil, promoters bitch, ilyers get nicked, and clubs get closed down. There’s little oi the sense oi the togetherness that strengthens cities like leeds, Birmingham or Glasgow.
‘Edlnburgh has developed an lnierlorlty complex,’ says the guy least likely to suitor such a problem - Craig Brysdale oi Burger Queen and Kltscharama. “People have lost ialth in the clubs even though we’ve got some
Craig Burger Queen: you got it
know, so we told them.’
oi the most iirin’ nights in the country. ' . If they stopped complaining and
i actually spent a weekend clubbing at some oi the places I’ve been to in England, they’d realise how lucky they
The skinny, self-styled eniant terrible at the capital’s club scene has come a long way from Wing at an indie club in File. That was six years ago. A few things have happened since then. Burger Queen for one. ‘lt captured people’s imagination,’ he says of the club that dominated and divided the city’s clubbers. ‘lts whole success was based on taking a stance that would piss people oil. I’ve got no shame about that. We knew we had a good night and we wanted everyone to
Word spread, so much so that top
clubbers’ journal, DJ magazine hailed the night as the best in the UK. ‘We were in a completely ditierent league. We were so outspoken that people had to sit up and take notice.’
A year or so on, and the Edinburgh club scene hasn’t been the same since. Craig and iellow Burger Queen lluggy have gone on to record for the Ministry oi Sound, Craig has remixed two Blondie tracks and is currently producing new material — not to mention guesting at some at the iinest club nights in the country. Oh, and Burger Queen is back. (Jim Byers)
Craig and Huggy reside at Kitscharanra (Sat 27 Jan, and fortnightly at Wilkle House) and Burger Queen (Sat 3 Feb, and fortnightly at Club Mercado).
a The List 26 Jan-8 Feb 1996