Hit and bliss
lt’s house, but not as we know it. DJ and producer Sister Bliss tells Rory Weller why she’s trading dancefloor euphoria for the chill- out zone of chart-topper Insomnia.
We've always thought Sister Bliss was pretty fab. With over ten years of turntable experience she's one of the hardest working house Dis in the UK. and over the past live years her remix and production work has. in her words: ‘Changed the cultural landscape of
created a strong. eclectic writing force capable of producing the multi-faceted album Reverenee. They’ve sold 500,000 copies of Rereremre and 1.5 million singles in the last six months. ‘lnsomnia’ is undeniably one of the club anthems of I996.
Sister Bliss explains how the change of direction came about. ‘The Rollo (Ines series was made for fun. and was jolly in its own little way.‘ she says. ‘We
‘We never made music by numbers and I do resent people describing it as “handbag”. All the music we make is from the heart and it’s never been made for commercial reasons.’
love making people dance. but it can become a little stale. Sometimes you need a little more to fulfil yourself. The further along you get. the less satisﬁed you are of something that hits the spot instantly.‘ Not that Bliss is condemning her previous work. In fact.
Britain in our own little way.‘
label and cheeky was her nature.
‘Can'tgetamanean‘tgetajob (Life‘s a Bitch)‘ — the anthemie track Bliss released four years ago - followed up by her work with regular production mate Rollo on the Rollo Goes series was dancelloor frolicking at its camp best. Hands were raised in gleeful abandon and a Sister Bliss remix was guaranteed to prank up any tune. Cheeky was the
Now. with the Faithless project. our former glib appreciation has developed into thinking that the sister is veritably fabulous. When ‘Salva Mea' and the compelling ‘lnsomnia‘ was released. a darker musical style emerged which wasn‘t as blatantly club-hit based as her earlier work. It took almost a year of being battered in the clubs for ‘lnsomnia‘ to make number three in the UK charts on its re-release.
The introduction of rapper Maxi Jazz and singer Jamie Catto to the Bliss/Rollo production set-up.
Sister Bliss: giving you her last Iiollo?
she says the earlier projects have been put on hold, rather than stopped for good. largely to avoid confusion about what she is doing artistically.
The legacy is still there though. and what she's doing now has a link with what came before Faithless. She believes some quarters of the media aren't taking her seriously because of it. ‘We never made music by numbers and I do resent people describing it as "handbag".' she says. ‘More thought and talent went into it than that. I don't believe that we’ve ever compromised our integrity. All the music we make is from the heart and it's never been made for commercial reasons. The Faithless work is quite dark and people should be aware that it‘s not just jolly. hands-in-the-air stuff. I know that we make great music.’
Sister Bliss DJS (ll Love Boutique. The A relies. Glasgow So! I Feb. Faithless play a! The l’ruilmurkel. Glasgow. Tue 4 Mar.
una— Terry’s all gold
Terry Farley and Pete lieller remain deeply committed to the soulful but tutf black American house ethic that they’ve pursued for the last ten years. Many of their peers have succumbed to passing trends but they continue to play the music they love.
Farley and lieller graduated from london’s Boys Own network in the late 1303. The off-the-wall fanzine dedicated to football, fashion and clubs gradually evolved Into Junior Boys Own, one oi the most respected underground dance labels in the till.
Farley was involved in the indie- dance crossover scene in 1990, notably with The Farm, as was Andy Weatherall, another Boys Own
Sound ethics: Farley and lieller are sticking to their black American house guns
stalwart, whose seminal treatment of Primal Scream’s ’loaded’ became a musical landmark.
Farley, who originally played dub and reggae upstairs at Oakenfold’s legendary Spectrum night, hooked up with lieller to form widely respected remix/production team Fire Island. Four years ago, as their names started to appear on llyers together, they decided to join forces behind the decks.
The duo spent the tail end of 1996 in the shadow oi ‘lIltra Flava’, ironically their most commercially successful track to date. ‘lfle did the original track over two years ago as a mix for llltra llaté,’ says lieller, from his studio in London.
So why re-release it again? ‘It was nothing to do with us,’ he explains. ‘Once we’d sold the track (to major label AM:PM) it became like a monster we couldn’t contain. It kept coming back. Once you’ve sold a record to a major, they’re at liberty to exploit it as much as they like. I quite like the mixes that they got done but
the problem is that people keep saying “what did you do that for?‘ I think it was probably a mistake on reflection.’
For Farley, 1996 was the year he realised that part of the responsibility for making a good club night lies with the crowd. ‘l get angry that the NS and the producers and the clubs themselves are expected to be 10/10 all the time when there’s nothing actually expected of the crowd.’
‘I want the punters to get oft their arse and go to clubs because they want to be different from the geezer down the pub. And I want the people that go to the clubs that we play at to be different from the people that listen to Pete Tong.’
Any thoughts on the Scottish scene Terry? ‘Yeah, shit football team.’ Cheers. (.lim Byers)
Farley and Heller DJ at Yip Yap (‘probably one of the best clubs we played last year’ according to lieller), La Belle Angela, Edinburgh on Sat 25 Jan.
68 The List 24 Jan-6 Feb 1997