Read below about some of the biggest artists in the business before they come to perform in Hong Kong and Macau.
Sheâs only at the age of 23, but sheâs already one of the biggest acts in Thailand. With the American blood in her, Tata Young is now looking ahead to expand her success from Asia to the World. But first, she hits Asiaâs WORLD City, introducing herself and her music to us picky music lovers.
T: Tata Young
A: Alyson from HKClubbing.com
âI only made Problems dâAmour back in the 80s because someone suggested to me that I write a dance tune in that genre because there was a lot of money to be made. He told me even crap electro-disco tracks would shift 10,000 units then ironically Problems dâAmour sold exactly 10,000 copies, a pure coincidence that convinced me the track was crap after all. After that experience I decided to leave dance music completely behind, also because I couldnât speak English.â
20 years after he first released Problemâs dâAmour avant-garde electro artist Alexander Robotnick still prefers to do interviews in Italian though his English is much better and Problems dâAmour is finally acclaimed as an italo-disco classic. Heâs also a fast-rising name on the still-growing global electroclash circuit, in marked contrast to his earlier 80s electro-disco career.
Arthur Baker & Returning to New York: Thereâs Not One Good Club There
âWe thought Arthur Baker was going to be this technological genius creating these dance records and really he was just a punk let loose in a recording studio who didnât know what the fucking hell he was doing â he was just pushing sliders up and down.â
Chatting to Skrufff a couple of years back, New Orderâs bassist Peter Hook admitted that they were surprised when they first met New York electro pioneer Arthur Baker in the early 80s in New York.
DJ Hyper: Marriage, Money & Becoming Fatboy Slim- Iâm Not Interested.
âIâm not interested in becoming Fatboy Slim, I might be interested in the money he makesâ¦ but thatâs because I just got married. Mine is a wonderful job and I do it because I love it.â
Though British breaks don Guy âHyperâ Hatfield continues to position himself firmly in the leftfield of todayâs mainstream pop world, heâs increasingly remixing its biggest central stars, including manufactured popsters Sugababes and US pop icon Pink. Not that it means heâs selling or even making him a fortune in the process, he insists.
Being invited to come and play live over here, Paul Arnold is educating the people of Hong Kong, especially those who just canât get enough of breaks and drumân bass, how he started, how he did it, and how he can still do it. Nick and Alyson from HKClubbing.com chilled out with the man right before he left town for a chat, finding out how he feels about the town, and London, and Australia, and more. Read more...
P: Paul Arnold
A: Welcome to Hong Kong? Howâs it going?
P: Pretty well, thank you.
A: First time here?
P: Yeah, yup, first time being over (here).
A: How dâya find it so far?
P: HOT! Very hot! Not used to the temperature but ahâ¦ itâs been good, been good fun!
A: Have you seen anything special while youâre here in Hong Kong?
P: Umâ¦ the buildings! The buildings themselves are pretty special. Itâs all that high riseâ¦
A: Is the vibe pretty much the same of what you expected?
P: Yeah! Theyâre into it! Soâ¦ you know, theyâre keen, and theyâre interested and they know what it isâ¦ and know the music Iâm playing and stuffâ¦ so yeah!
A: How about the city itself?
P: Umâ¦ itâs been busy, just packed! Everythingâs really small! It just squashes you everywhere!
P: Weâre going up to the Peak before we go, so weâll have a look down to the city, so thatâll be cool!
A: And I heard over the other side of the city by ferry, so youâve got the chance to really look around!
P: Yeah yeah! That was good.
A: Cool! Done some shopping as well?
P: Yeahâ¦ trainers and DVDsâ¦ (giggles) loads of DVDs!
A: I know that youâve been invited to Salem Innovation Session, what made you decide to come and perform at this event?
P: Ummmâ¦ coz I was asked! And Paul Wong is actually an old friend as well. I think he was one of those whoâs been getting some Dj for a while, but nothingâs been suitable for what heâs done, or likesâ¦ so itâs good opportunity for him to get everyone like me to come over. I did have a tour before, but it got cancelled, while I was in Australia. So itâs a good start. Iâve done a bit of press as well, so hopefully, weâll build a profile and come again. Next time Iâll go to Australia, probably as well.
A: Sure! Tell us how the party went!
P: Itâs very interesting, weâre also doing an illustrations and I was told about his drawings, which I found really interesting as well. So everything was really good. And then ehhhâ¦ played some records and it was good. Everyone got very drunk and danced around.
A: Thatâs nice! Now I know that youâre being a DJ, youâre also the founder of Chew The Fat! And Certificate 18 at the same time, you must have a busy life!
P: Itâs been pretty busy! Itâs full on, I mean, itâs justâ¦ I started Certificate 18 when I was quite young actually, so itâs been going for about 10 years. And Chew the Fat! Came along, itâs actually almost a side thing, itâs more fun. I was doing it really hard on the labels for Certificate 18, and then at the weekends I go and do my Chew The Fat! Gig, which is breakbeat. I wasnât releasing the same sort of stuff on Certificate 18 as I was playing at Chew the Fat! So I can just go out andâ¦ you know, that was a completely different side of it. And that just sort of built and built and builtâ¦ Iâve actually wounded down on Certificate 18, and now Iâm just focusing on Chew The Fat! And Fat! Records, and Djing, and managing a few of the artists in the label.
A: Now I have to ask you thisâ¦ Do you prefer the intimacy of spinning in front of the crowds, or being the boss, just sitting back there at the grand office?
P: Ummmâ¦ (LOL) Grand office!! With just packed full of boxes of records all around you! Youâre lucky they donât fall on you! (LOL) Ummmâ¦ I love Djing, I love totallyâ¦ the feed of it! When you do play a record, they crowd start jumping around, or you can see them lift, lift the crowdâ¦ thatâs an amazing experience. I played last year in Australia on a tour, we did there, in front of 8,000 screaming Australian people, and I was just having shivers going down my spineâ¦ you know when you hear what the musicâ¦ what excites the people, then you know what to release, so they work really well together. Djing and releasing a record.
A: Hmmmâ¦ So tell us which is the hottest song you heard so far?
P: (Thought for 10 seconds) Oh, I got one of my artists, Friendly, heâs on the label, heâs Australian, actually as well. Breakbeat is massive in Australia, but he moved over to London, and he started releasing stuff on my label. And he just done an album, thereâs a track from there which is called â2Black2Gayâ, which is a monster. Itâs a big big big tune!
A: Alright, so we gotta check it out here, yeah? I know you have collaborated with quite a lot of big names, like James Lavelle, Steve Lawler, Fabioâ¦ who works the chemistry best with you?
P: It depends on how you program the night. How the night goes. Whoâs playing before and after. And theyâre allâ¦ sort of fit it in to the night somewhere, so theyâre all in their own way, and do their way really.
A: How about producers?
P: Ummâ¦ I donât actually make music myself, I kind of just release it. So Iâve gone and seen a lot of guys to do a remix for me and work for me. So yeahâ¦ Iâve done a lot of different styles through Certificate 18 to Fat! Kinda tried. I mean Certificate 18 was veryâ¦ whatâs the wordâ¦ ummmâ¦ it was just new, drumân bass was just the newest form of music (thatâs) been around since Punk or something, so itâs really exciting. But I always try to do it from a different angle, by getting other guys to writeâ¦ Our influences are like plattered, to encourage them to just do remixes of drumân bass, to take it the other way around. Instead of us (teaching) the sound of making drumân bass, give them a chance to do something different really. So weâre very sort of innovativeâ¦ if that is the wordâ¦ (Giggles)
A: Meat Katie was here by the beginning of the month, any particular artist from your Fat! Records, apart from Friendly, who you mentioned, that you would like us in Hong Kong to pay more attention to?
P: All the breaks guys are kind of pretty on at the moment, I mean, like Adam Freeland, Iâm sure heâs been over here. (Niknak: A lot!) Yeah, okâ¦
N: Lee Coombs is coming back again. Pretty much everyone from Fingerlickingâ¦
P: Is he? Right rightâ¦ yeah thatâs huge, as well as the Plump DJsâ¦ itâs massive. Anyone small but worth checking outâ¦ there are so many of them in London, there are hundreds of hundreds of DJs and artists now, coming through, butâ¦ Meat Katieâs been really busy, heâs in a lot of stuffâ¦ heâs just about to release an album, which Iâm sure would be superb, his stuff are really good.
N: He just came to do the launch of the CD, thatâs what the party was forâ¦
P: Oh really? Excellent!
A: What do you look for in a new artist? What makes you determine that this is potential?
P: Just originality, justâ¦ I really like some of the raw sound, something like reallyâ¦ it doesnât have to be made in a really good studio, just something with a raw element come through, just original, and something different. Yeahâ¦ anything like that really. And then you can take them, and develop with them, and if they have that edge, that original edge, you kind ofâ¦ as they go onâ¦ the first recordâs gonna be good, everything will get better. I hope.
A: Being on the road, traveling from countries to countries, would you be a little bit home sick?
P: Urghâ¦Nothing like home sick, I HATE airports though. I absolutely hate them, I just hate sitting around at the airport. And Iâm always really paranoid that Iâm always gonna miss the plane. So I get there really early. I try to if Iâm not late. Butâ¦ I love traveling, itâs just the airportâ¦ drives me madâ¦
A: What do you miss the most when you get on the plane?
P: From London? I love going back to London, wherever I go, I love London. Itâs just a pace of live there, the music scene is amazing. Thereâs so much to do. So when I say Iâm going around to Australia to do a 7 week tour, when you go back, you just sink back into it. Itâs really really nice. Just the pace, and the vibe and all sort of stuff.
A: Before we let you move on to your next stop, tell us what your planâs like for the rest of the year!
P: Itâs Chew the Fat!âs 7th birthday in October, Iâm trying to work out a different venue, trying to do something different for it. I havenât sort of sorted that out yet. In a new venue, or just something a little bit different. With that, weâll release a double album, a mix album. Iâll do one side and Friendly will do the other. Thatâs about it really. That will keep me busy enough. (Giggles) There are loads of other releases going on, and Iâm hoping more DJs, there are so many more DJs, and getting a studio myself actually, thatâs what I wanted to do. I just never had time.
A: Thank you so much for joining us today. Hope you had fun in Hong Kong!
P: Sure we had! Brilliant!
Find out more about Paul and what he is up to at:
The moment has finally come! The one night that Hong Kong has been waiting for, which stars Linkin Park on our own stage, was short, but explosive. Though a few fans couldnât feel their music totally as the sound wasnât loud enough, but for those who got up front at their feet were jamming it with every single word of their songs. To get more up close and personal to the band, weâve grabbed the main-brain, Joe Hahn, to speak to us on his own movie project in London, his âpirateâ fans and more!
J: Joe Hahn
A: Welcome to own town!
J: Thank you!
A: How you feeling?
A: (Laughs) All excited?
J: Yeah! Sure!
A: I remember last time, weâre in Singapore, I asked you, âWould you ever come to Hong Kong for a concert?â And you said you would love to do a movie here. Do you still wanna do that?
J: Yeah! Maybe here, or China, or somethingâ¦ yeah! The movie that Iâm talking about that Iâm doing right now, it actually takes place in London, so that one wonât be done here, but I do have another idea thatâ¦ maybe I can work something out.
A: So tell us about the one happening in London! Or is it a secret?
J: Uhhhâ¦ well itâs not a secret, itâs still getting worked out, the deal is getting worked out. But itâs based on a book called âKing Ratâ, by China Mieville. And uhâ¦ itâs aboutâ¦ itâs modern day London, hundreds of years after the Pied Piper came to Hamelin, and drove the children into the city, and the Pied Piper is still alive, along with King Rat whoâs the leader of the Rat Kingdom, along with the Spider Kingdomâ¦ it all takes place in modern day London, to the background of drumân bass musicâ¦ kinda like where drumân bass music was in the mid till late 90âsâ¦ a little out thereâ¦
A: Now as youâre here in Asia, I guess Iâll have to ask you this. Is there any Asian band that you heard, that you think, âWow! That sounds really amazing!â? Say the band who is opening up for you for tonight!
J: Yeah! The thing with the band opening up for tonight, they opened up for us in Korea, and we liked them. So the opportunity came around, and weâre like, âHey, you wanna open up for us?â and theyâre like, âOk! Cool!â
A: Yeah? Is there another band in particular that you think sounded good?
J: Ummmâ¦ one time in Japan, we played for the band called âUzumakiâ, theyâre pretty coolâ¦ ummmâ¦ what other bandâ¦ Jackie Chanâs ehhâ¦ solo singing project?! Thatâs pretty coolâ¦ what elseâ¦ yeah!
A: (Laughs) Talking about technologyâ¦ if a fan comes up to you with a CD-R, saying, âOh! Iâm your #1 fan!â Would you still sign that CD-R?
J: Wellâ¦ a lot of times I donât wanna sign it, but Iâll sign it anyway cozâ¦ I donât wanna be mean! Some people just donât knowâ¦ what can you doâ¦ PLEASE STOP! Thatâs all I can sayâ¦ Effectiveness of that? I donât knowâ¦ (Giggles)
Considering âNu-metalâ as a dumb name, Joe Hahn and the fellas of Linkin Park have been trying to break through the boundaries of different genres of music, but somehow ended up being categorized by a new name. Also realizing âthe Internet is the future, thatâs where everything is going, and itâs changing things, while the only choice they have is to evolve, as technology evolvesâ, Joe stays true to the fans, even for those who just download them illegally! Guess theyâve all got a bit âNumbâ about thatâ¦
Apart from meeting Joe Hahn, HKClubbing.com also got the chance to meet Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington. As usual, wherever they go, fans, even the press would be asking for their autographs. While Chester was busy signing, a voice came in asking, âChester, youâre sure you wanna do this?â The answer? Just a cold, âItâs just gonna take a minute.â As the tension was reaching the breaking point, a familiar face came in with a magazine, asking for an autograph. Itâs Mike! Now that broke the ice, and we all ended up with laughter since Chester insist to sign on Mikeâs faceâ¦ Rock stars? Sure, but attitude wise? Theyâre more like big kids trying to have some fun.
Since the dramatic, melodic music-makers Rialto disappeared, the fans have been waiting for some new excitements from the individual band members. The front-man have not been forgotten, as his talent is still in its prime time. Louis Eliot brought his own solo music to Hong Kong by putting on a show that attracted 400 keen listeners. HKClubbing.com takes you on a ride, from his past, his present to his future.
L: Louis Eliot
A: Welcome to Hong Kong! You had a late night?
L: (Smiles) Yeahâ¦ we went to ummâ¦ Dragon-I, and that was alright, we went looking for somewhere else, but it wasnât opened, so we ended up at some weird kind of karaoke type of place called Hardyâs, so thereâs a band playing, and people get up singing, I didnât get up and sing, it was Julian who plays with me did. And ahâ¦ (giggles) itâs funny, very funnyâ¦ and then we went to some public bars in Wan Chaiâ¦
A: Ah! Cool! So how was the gig last night?
L: It was great! It went really well. The crowd was really ermmâ¦ just a really lovely crowd actually. Didnât really know what to expect, but ermm, it was a great turn out, just a really warm reception.
A: Is this the first time youâre in Hong Kong?
L: Itâs not, no. But I havenât played in Hong Kong before, but Iâve come through doing promo and yeahâ¦
A: Alright, so this is likeâ¦ finally get to meet the fans! How dya find them?
L: Very polite (Smiles), which is great! You know, theyâre really intensive in these sort of quiet songs, you know, in England you get a little bit more aggorant and stuff like thatâ¦ you know, good nature and everything, but here, theyâre veryâ¦ theyâre listening and they handle every word, itâs really nice.
A: Yeah, most of the people they come to Hong Kong, they would find the fans a bit quietâ¦
L: Well, theyâre only quiet sort of while youâre playing, and then you finish the song, and theyâre really noisy, theyâre the perfect fans! They behave just as youâd like them to!
A: Excellent! What have you been doing since Rialto?
L: God! I donât really know! (Laughs) Iâm sort of just kind of getting myself together a bit. Ummmâ¦ Rialtoâs 2nd album came out I think in 2001, so you know, we did some work on that, some promo and stuff, and toured it, but the last couple of years, Iâve just been writing songsâ¦ I went to America for a little while, did some recording, it didnât really work out, but that was kind of the initial spark of doing my own record. And then just getting a bit at home, but really justâ¦ things take a bit of time, (giggles) especially if you take the long way around, which is the title of my album.
A: Now ever since the song âMonday Morning 5:19â, it is certainly the song that brought everyoneâs attention to you, would you get a lot of pressure whenever you write, youâll go like âOh, I gotta top that!â
L: I donât look back on that song and think âOh, I must top itâ, but perhaps I should be doing that! (Laughs) Coz it always goes down so well, and I havenât actually played it for a while. But coming out here, everybody knows it and wanted to hear it and stuffâ¦ so it goes down very well here, yeah, soâ¦ but I try not to think about it, I think that would make life pretty difficult if you try toâ¦ if youâre too backward-looking, youâve gotta look forward and just write about something thatâs exciting at the time.
A: So letâs not look at the past and look at the present, NOW! As youâre a solo artist now, do you find it more difficult being solo than in a band?
L: I donât, no I donât find it more difficult. Ehhhâ¦ Rialto actually got on really well as a band, and that was one of the things which is very important, when we got on a band, me and Johnny, the guitar player, started the band, and one of the main requirements was not just like whether this person can play well when we were auditioning, and getting people into the group, it was also like would we be able to stand, sitting in a transit van together and driving up to Glasgo or going on long journeys together and hanging out. So you know I guess for some people in bands, you know the politics in bands gets too much, and thatâs why they wanna go soloâ¦ but it wasnât really the case with us, you know we all got on well, and we still do. But I suppose whatâs good about being solo isâ¦ you get to be the boss! (Laughs) You make the decisions you knowâ¦ So farâ¦ so good, being soloâ¦ but who knows, maybe Rialto will even do something again togetherâ¦
A: So would you rather started off as a solo artist?
L: No noâ¦ even though I have always written the songs in the couple of bands Iâve been in, ummâ¦ I think I really wanted to be a part of a group, a part of the gang, really. Maybe that was lack of confidence, or I donât really know why, but now I feel quite happy to be solo, but I really didnât wanna do it when I was starting out, I wanted to be in a group.
A: Alright. Tell us about your new album!
L: Well, itâs called the âLong Way Aroundâ, and itâsâ¦ I guess the difference between the new album and the old Rialto stuff is that Rialto had this big sort of film-making, cinematic sound, and my new record has got more intimate sound, itâs moreâ¦ I think itâs a bit more human sounding, itâs probably closer to the way that I write the songs, you know, to the sound of the songs when I write them. Coz I generally write songs on an acoustic guitar. Itâs quite a lot of that on the new record, acoustic guitar, sort of humbleâ¦ quite homely instrumentsâ¦ I think the record has just got more of down homeful feeling, and then a kind of folky-ness.
A: Very nice. Is there any song you heard recently that made you go like, âDamn! I wish I wrote that song!â
L: (After 10 seconds) I donât wanna sounds smart, but noâ¦ (Laugh) There isnât, there hasnât been recently, but itâs great when that happens, coz itâs truly inspiring, but I havenât heard anything recently which made me do thatâ¦ but thereâs people I really admire, you know, I really admire Mike Skinner from the Streets, I think he writes great lyrics, itâs quite different sound to the sound that I make, but heâs just really good at the tiny details, so I think that really bringsâ¦ the picture is painting to life! I think heâs a really talented guy.
A: Now weâve looked at your past, whatâs happening right now, letâs look at the future. What are your expectations for your career letâs say!
L: My career, well I hope things carry on going well here, I mean so far itâs been great, this trip around Asia, the album gathering sort of momentum, so Iâd really like to come back as soon as possible, do some gigs, maybe with a full band this time, this trip Iâve just been doingâ¦ you know, itâs just been acoustic shows, so itâll be great to come back with a full band. Apart from that, Iâm just going home to the UK to do some gigs, and promote the record there. And then itâs off to Europe for more of the same, which is all really good, itâs a nice way to see the world. (Giggles)
A: Sure, now some artist they like to go multi-dimensional, they donât just sing or write songs, they wanna do acting, or they wanna have their own fashion line, or record companyâ¦ do you wanna do something like that?
L: Ummmâ¦ I canât see myself doing a clothing lineâ¦ Iâm not reallyâ¦ I think thatâll take somebody very kind of business-mindedâ¦ Iâm not hugelyâ¦ Iâ¦ actingâ¦ when I a kid, when I was at school, I hated acting, anything to do with getting up in front of anybody elseâ¦ god! I used to dread it! Even like you know when they ask you to read out, you know reading class, like stand up and read, I used to really dread that, I hated it! But now, I think maybe itâs just having performed music for quite a while, done videos and stuff, the idea of acting, itâs funny, itâs sort of just creeping up on me, it does appeal a bit. So you know, who knows! But obviously Iâm not going out actively, seeking it, but if somebody wanted to offer me a little part or something, Iâll definitely consider it, yeah! (Giggles) But, my main thing is carry on being music you know, maybe a bit of productionâ¦ Iâd love to do a song for a movie, thatâs something Iâd really like to do, something likeâ¦ I love Charlie Kaufmanâs films, you know like, âSpot this mindâ, my favorite film of his is called âAdaptationâ. Butâ¦ Iâd love to do a song for one of his films.
A: Great! Iâm afraid I canât keep you for too long, but good luck with all the plans happening, and hope to see you soon again!
L: Thank you, take care!
Sasha- Chechen Suicide Bombers Nearly Killed Me
âI was staying in Moscowâs National Hotel just before Christmas when two Chechen suicide bombers blew themselves up right outside the hotel. I was in bed at the time asleep, about sixty or seventy feet (20 metres) from the explosion.â
Chatting down the line from his West London home, Sasha sounds calm as he recalls the moment he almost got blown to bits on his latest visit to Russia.
âThe whole room shook, it blew in all the windows of the hotel reception, I think five people were killed in the attack,â he continues.
âI ended up staying in the hotel room for 24 hours, because they kept setting off little explosions all day; I didnât realise they were those controlled explosions, it really felt like Moscow was under attack.â
Candi Staton on the KKK, Studio 54 & End Time: The Signs Are Everywhere. "Picking cotton was very physical work, thatâs one of the reasons I wanted to sing, I thought âthereâs got to be a better wayâ. Youâd be in the hot sunshine all day long filling a sack on your back and once it was full of cotton, youâd go back, empty it then start all over again. Read more...Your back would be breaking and all the time Iâd be thinking âGod, Iâve got to get out of this country; Iâve got to do something else, because this is not me.ââ
Growing up dirt poor in the cotton-picking country of rural Alabama in the 1950s, legendary disco/ soul singer Candi Staton not only had to work from the tender age of 8 but also had to watch out for the very real threat posed by the Ku Klux Klan, whose headquarters was close to her home.
âIâll never forget one occasion when I was eight and my mother took me to the city,â she recalls.
âI could already read then and on the way there you had to cross a bridge which had writing on it, graffiti, saying âRun, nigger run. If you canât read, run anywayâ. After I read it I was puzzled and asked my mother what it meant, and she replied âdonât look at it, donât even worry about itâ. Thatâs how we lived back then, under that constant threat.â
When her mother moved north to Cleveland when Candi was 10 (ironically to get away from her alcoholic husband rather than the Klan) she found her escape and destiny via singing, performing gospel alongside fellow upcoming singers including The Staple Singers, Sam Cooke and a young Aretha Franklin. Touring the States singing gospel she switched to rhythm & blues when still a teenager then disco in the 70s, never giving up singing however her life progressed.
And 43 years after she started her career, sheâs nowadays recognised as one of Americaâs all time musical greats, her acid house anthem You Got The Love recently closing Sex In The Cityâs final episode while her best known hit Young Hearts Run Free is rightly hailed as all time disco standard. That she dreamed up the song after one of her many abusive husbands held her over a skyscraper balcony threatening to drop her, speaks volumes for a singer whoâs truly translated her life struggles into soul.
âHe had me hanging from my arms, the way youâd hold a baby, over the balcony, says Candi, recalling the horrific incident, which took place in a Vegas hotel.
âHe was possessive and jealous, weâd been rowing and the argument escalated until he put his gun to my head, threatening to blow me away, then he decided to hang me from the balcony instead, saying that if I coughed he would drop me,â she continues.
âI remember thinking of ways to get out of this predicament when I said to him âYou know, this is a mafia owned club and Iâm here for them, if you drop me, you gottaâ get outtaâ here or they will find youâ. Thatâs what made him come back to his senses. He then pulled me up back over the edge, in a big sweat.
I walked back into the living room and went to lie down on the bed with him still pointing the gun to my head. He lay down next to me and you know what? I went to sleep. You know, you can only take so much, all of a sudden your mind just shuts down and I was in a state of mind where I couldnât care less. Thatâs the way that story ended.â
Chatting down the line to Benedetta Skrufff this week, Candiâs actually delightfully upbeat about the trials and tribulations that have relentlessly coloured her life admitting sheâs a firm believer in the âwhatever doesnât kill you makes you strongerâ school of thought.âSheâs also cheerfully honest about her lack of input in her new compilation CD âCandi Statonâ which features 26 blues based tracks she recorded with Fame Records in the 60s.
âSomeone called me one day out of the blue saying that I had a new compilation out and thatâs how I found out about it,â she laughs.
âAs a matter of fact, I even wondered, why in the world EMI would want to dish all those old songs again, whoâd want to but them? But EMI and Capital Records made this deal without me in mind, and what can I say, these things happen.â
Skrufff (Benedetta Skrufff): The sleevenotes of the album talk extensively of your childhood experiences singing gospel as teenager, how well do you remember your childhood?
Candi Staton: âOh I remember it all very vividly; those were very hard days for me. We had to travel endlessly, sometimes several hundred miles for a gig, in some places we would have an audience and in others weâd be completely unknown. Usually weâd play two shows; one at 10pm, the other at 1.30am, but I never needed to rehearse because I knew my music so well, so at least I could rest until before going on stage. After the show, weâd go back to the car, travel more and do it all again the following nighâ
Skrufff: Do you find todayâs artists work as hard?
Candi Staton: âNo, I donât think they do. I think they have a lot more going for them than we did. We had an expression: âpaying our duesâ which was something necessary back then, in order to become successful. These days, all young artists need to do is to go on Pop Idols then right out of the nest they travel first class. We had to work to get there.â
Skrufff: When you were ten, you were touring with Aretha Franklin, what kind of places were you playing in and were you conscious then of her greatness?
Candi Staton: âWe used to sing in the same churches together and she was extraordinary from the start, she knew it; we all did. We had no idea that she was ready to go and play secular music, though she had already made plans to do that. I was there with her, Sam Cooke and a whole bunch of others, so even when they became famous I could always walk into their dressing room, because they never forgot their gospel roots.â
Skrufff: So there wasnât any competition between you all?
Candi Staton: âOh yes, there was competition, very much so. It wasnât anything to be ashamed of though it was good competition because it brought out the best in all of us.â
Skrufff: When you signed to Warner Bros. in 74 and moved to California, how much did you fully embrace the disco world?
Candi Staton: âI was really into it, because before disco touring was hard, and disco actually made our lives easier and more pleasurable. Live performances became easier, all you needed was a backing track, you didnât have to take a band with you and you could make more money. I honestly welcomed it. Though I still had a band, most of the time I would perform solo and I was able to make more money.â
Skrufff: Wasnât that disco world a bit too much for you, given that you were a young church girl coming from the Deep South?
Candi Staton: âOh, I loved that world, I loved the dancing, the excitement, the people. I used to go to Studio 54 and stay there all night, I had my drinks for free, the DJs would recognise you and bring your drinks over, then ask you to dance. It was just a never ending party.â
Skrufff: Who did you hang out with?
Candi Staton: âLet me see, Stephanie Mills, Ashford and Simpson, Diana Ross, Gloria Gaynor whoâs still my friend, Patti Labelle, Chaka Khan, you know we were girls out together.â
Skrufff: You had a worldwide disco hit in the 70s with âYoung hearts run freeâ, am I right in thinking that was inspired by one of your husbands who hung you out of a skyscraper window by your feet?
Candi Staton: âWell, it wasnât by my feet, thank God, he had me hanging from my arms, the way youâd hold a baby, from the balcony. I though he was going to drop me. He was very possessive, very controlling. I was recording a show in Vegas for a whole week, and in one occasion, he got angry at me because he couldnât find me. I saw him walking up and down the isle, but I thought nothing of it so I didnât call him or even say anything when I returned to the room. He then questioned me about where I had been. I tried to reassure him saying that I was watching the show being recorded, but he wouldnât listen, we argued and argued, but he was already in another state of mind. The argument escalated until he put his gun to my head threatening to blow me away, then he decided to hang me from the balcony instead, saying that if I coughed he would have dropped me.
I was thinking of ways to get out of this predicament when I said to him âYou know, this is a mafia owned club and Iâm here for them, you gottaâ get outtaâ here or they will find youâ. Thatâs what made him come back to his senses. He then pulled me up, in a big sweat. I walked back into the living room and went to lie down on the bed with him still pointing the gun to my head, he lay down next to me and you know what? I went to sleep. I donât know when he left, you know, you can only take so much, all of a sudden your mind just shuts down and I was in a state of mind where I couldnât care less. Thatâs the way that story ended.â
Skrufff: thereâs that famous Neitsche expression âWhat doesnât kill you makes you strongerâ and you had your fair share with men, I believe . .
Candi Staton: âI totally believe in that expression, every man Iâve ever had turned controlling and possessive, thatâs why I have none around now and I like to keep it that way.â
Skrufff: In 1982 you formed Beracah Records with Jim and Tammy Bakker's infamous PTL Ministries organisation, did you go through that whole born again religious experience?
Candi Staton: âOh yes, and I still am a Christian, I still love worshipping the Lord, it gives me so much peace, Iâm in a state right now that I wouldnât trade for any money in the world, I have the kind of peace that Iâve always looked for. The Lord is my man now.â
Skrufff: Isnât it sometimes tough to follow a religion so closely?
Candi Staton: âHaving a relationship with the Lord is not a religion. I actually have a problem with religion too. Have you seen The Passion? That film explains a lot. It was religion, the priests, which killed Jesus, not the sinners.â
Skrufff: What happened when all the scandals hit the Bakkers in the 80s? (Jim Bakker was jailed for fraud, and notoriously had many affairs, including a gay relationship)
Candi Staton: âI felt sorrow, I felt a compassion for them because we can all get there, none of us are exempt from those sides of life. Sometimes weâre not ready for that kind of success, he was a country boy who was earning millions, if not billions of dollars, and went overboard and made mistakes. I was there for him, as a matter of fact, I even went to visit him in jail, I did a concert for the inmates and he was so grateful. Today heâs a different man; thatâs another incident where what doesnât kill you makes you stronger.â
Skrufff: You Got The Love sold over 2 million copies worldwide when the dance version came out in the early 90s, what was the story of how that came along?
Candi Staton: âDick Gregory, the comedian from Chicago, originally had the song for one of his videos that he made for a diet program- he was a fanatic fruitarian- and asked me to sing it, so I flew to Chicago and did it. The video featured this young man, Ron Hey, who truly weighed a ton, who never lost his weight and eventually died very young. Nothing ever happened with the song, just like these songs I have now out on the Fame compilation album, but then one day I received a call from London telling me that I had a number one record. I asked what the name of the song was, and when they told me, I took me a while to remember the track, since Iâve sung so many in my career.â
Skrufff: Were you ever tempted to stop it being released?
Candi Staton: âWell, no one asked for permission either to use the track nor my voice, so we had to do something. The guy who gave the track away tried to hide the whole deal from me, thinking that I wouldnât have ever known, not expecting that the track would have become so big. When it did he had to make some sort of deal with me.â
Skrufff: You were born into poverty and made music at a time when most performers got ripped off, did you make much money from these early records?
Candi Staton: âI am just beginning to now, Iâve recently hired a manager. Heâs a businessman so heâs recouping this money owed to us which I didnât get back then, but thankfully Iâm getting now.â
Skrufff: As an evangelical Christian, are you also a Bush supporter?
Candi Staton: âI donât like the war. But I have to respect him because heâs our president, though I donât agree with everything he does.â
Skrufff: Do you believe in biblical style End Times coming soon?
Candi Staton: âOh yes. The signs are everywhere: war, earthquakes, children killing children, the internet; everything is way out of proportion and this world cannot last in the state itâs in for much longer. Something has to change.â
Candi Staton (Fame Recordings) is out now on EMI/ Capitol.
Interview by: Benedetta Skrufff (Skrufff.com)
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Whence He Came Interview
One of the most recognizable bands in Hong Kong, Whence He Came, is releasing a brand new album, âThe Shorter Storyâ. As we talk to lead singer Joshua and lead guitarist Ephraim, to catch up with what theyâve been doing through the years, and their advice on young-hopefuls in Hong Kong. Read more...The people in the Interview room are as follows:
A: Alyson (HKClubbing.com/CityVibe)
J: Joshua (Whence He Came)
E: Ephraim (Whence He Came)
A:I remember the last time I saw was at the Starsailor concert, but the last time I talked to you was when you were promoting âStill Amidst The Trafficââ¦
J:Wow! 3 years ago!
A:What have you been doing for the past 3 years?
E:Recording this recordâ¦ (giggled) I guess like playing shows and stuffâ¦weâve done a couple of tours outside of Hong Kongâ¦
J:Done lots and lots of showsâ¦ we started recording the new album last Septemberâ¦ and yeah, itâs coming out next month!
A:So where did you guys go for the last couple of tours?
J:We toured Japan twice, and weâve done Singapore a couple of times, but Japanâs been the biggest for us, every single time weâve gone over, weâve got more and moreâ¦ like bigger and bigger response. We donât even understand why people like us, because bands over there are so goodâ¦
A: So what do you think of the fans in Japan?
J: People that come to our shows are really really supportive. I mean itâs just really amazing playing for Japanese people, coz theyâre really appreciative, except, in between songs itâs dead silenceâ¦
J:Yeahâ¦ at the Japanese showsâ¦ I mean itâs loud and crazy, and then they applause, and then if you have too much of a gap in between, then itâs complete silence, nobody says a thingâ¦
E:I donât know if thatâs such a respect thing, orâ¦ just thatâ¦ they probably donât like usâ¦ (LOL)
A: Tell us about the new album!
J:Itâs called the âShorter Storyâ, it will be available in stores starting from the 1st of May.
E:It runs for about 40 minutes, and songs that weâve been playing them through our shows in Hong Kong for about 2 years now. Most of them are new songsâ¦ I guess itâs a lot of big stuff compared to âStill Amidst The Trafficâ, coz weâve progressed a lot. Like weâve got 2 new members for the band. And yeahâ¦ so much better than the first one!
J:We were able to get a really amazing producer from Holland, his name is Martin Groeneveld. And heâs worked with bands like This Beautiful Mess, and The Spirit That Guides Usâ¦ some incredible Dutch bands and European bands, so he flew over here and produced the album, and we mixed and mastered it in Holland. Soâ¦ itâs an amazing experience.
A:Do you feel like sometimes itâs hard to put your own experience into the songs?
J:Yeah, totally! In fact, I havenât written a single song for Whence He Came which used the word I in it, coz I just feel really weird writing about myself or writing about me.. so I usually try tot make all the songs stories of somebody else, maybe me, or may not be meâ¦ at least it doesnât sound like Iâm arrogant and writing about myself.
A: How would you encourage people, especially young people to stand up and do their thing like you did?
J:Phewâ¦ thatâs an interesting questionâ¦
E:Go for it! I guessâ¦ do it while youâre still youngâ¦ and just grown you get old, and you have a familyâ¦ how much of a choice of doing it coz youâll have to sacrifice a lotâ¦
J:Like you said were still young, we still live with our family, we donât really haveâ¦ you know, not really have entered the whole real worldâ¦
E: We donât have mortgage and rent and all that stuffâ¦
J:Just go for itâ¦ if you enjoy music, do it. If you enjoy art, do it. Hong Kong is pretty hard if youâre doing art stuff, but as long as you enjoy it, then just do it.
A: Have you ever got to a point where youâll go, âUh, I regret doing thisâ¦â?
J: To be honest? Not really.
J:I can say firstly itâs been the biggest step in my life, the most life changing experience, like starting a band and getting elsewhere and stuff. I never really pictured myself when I was 18, likeâ¦ you knowâ¦ touring places and playing shows and playing for fantastic people. Iâve been having the ride of my life.
J:I think one thing that Iâll say to most kids is that, figure out what you really love in it. And if you really love it, then give everything for it!
The new album is in stores from the 31st May, while the band will be doing more touring in Europe later this year.
Check out their website at: