Interviews

Read below about some of the biggest artists in the business before they come to perform in Hong Kong and Macau.

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She’s only at the age of 23, but she’s 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 Asia’s WORLD City, introducing herself and her music to us picky music lovers.

T: Tata Young
A: Alyson from HKClubbing.com


 

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“I only made Problems d’Amour 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 d’Amour 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 couldn’t speak English.”

20 years after he first released Problem’s d’Amour avant-garde electro artist Alexander Robotnick still prefers to do interviews in Italian though his English is much better and Problems d’Amour is finally acclaimed as an italo-disco classic. He’s also a fast-rising name on the still-growing global electroclash circuit, in marked contrast to his earlier 80s electro-disco career.  

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Arthur Baker & Returning to New York: There’s Not One Good Club There

“We 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 didn’t know what the fucking hell he was doing – he was just pushing sliders up and down.”

Chatting to Skrufff a couple of years back, New Order’s 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.

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DJ Hyper: Marriage, Money & Becoming Fatboy Slim- I’m Not Interested.

“I’m not interested in becoming Fatboy Slim, I might be interested in the money he makes… but that’s because I just got married. Mine is a wonderful job and I do it because I love it.”

Though British breaks don Guy ‘Hyper’ Hatfield continues to position himself firmly in the leftfield of today’s mainstream pop world, he’s increasingly remixing its biggest central stars, including manufactured popsters Sugababes and US pop icon Pink. Not that it means he’s selling or even making him a fortune in the process, he insists.

 

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Being invited to come and play live over here, Paul Arnold is educating the people of Hong Kong, especially those who just can’t get enough of breaks and drum’n 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...

N: Nick
A: Alyson
P: Paul Arnold

A: Welcome to Hong Kong? How’s it going?
P: Pretty well, thank you.
A: First time here?
P: Yeah, yup, first time being over (here).
A: How d’ya find it so far?
P: HOT! Very hot! Not used to the temperature but ah… it’s been good, been good fun!
A: Have you seen anything special while you’re here in Hong Kong?
P: Um… the buildings! The buildings themselves are pretty special. It’s all that high rise…
A: Is the vibe pretty much the same of what you expected?
P: Yeah! They’re into it! So… you know, they’re keen, and they’re interested and they know what it is… and know the music I’m playing and stuff… so yeah!
A: How about the city itself?
P: Um… it’s been busy, just packed! Everything’s really small! It just squashes you everywhere!
A: (LOL)
P: We’re going up to the Peak before we go, so we’ll have a look down to the city, so that’ll be cool!
A: And I heard over the other side of the city by ferry, so you’ve got the chance to really look around!
P: Yeah yeah! That was good.
A: Cool! Done some shopping as well?
P: Yeah… trainers and DVDs… (giggles) loads of DVDs!
A: I know that you’ve been invited to Salem Innovation Session, what made you decide to come and perform at this event?
P: Ummm… coz I was asked! And Paul Wong is actually an old friend as well. I think he was one of those who’s been getting some Dj for a while, but nothing’s been suitable for what he’s done, or likes… so it’s 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 it’s a good start. I’ve done a bit of press as well, so hopefully, we’ll build a profile and come again. Next time I’ll go to Australia, probably as well.

A: Sure! Tell us how the party went!
P: It’s very interesting, we’re 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 ehhh… played some records and it was good. Everyone got very drunk and danced around.
A: That’s nice! Now I know that you’re being a DJ, you’re also the founder of Chew The Fat! And Certificate 18 at the same time, you must have a busy life!
P: It’s been pretty busy! It’s full on, I mean, it’s just… I started Certificate 18 when I was quite young actually, so it’s been going for about 10 years. And Chew the Fat! Came along, it’s actually almost a side thing, it’s 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 wasn’t releasing the same sort of stuff on Certificate 18 as I was playing at Chew the Fat! So I can just go out and… you know, that was a completely different side of it. And that just sort of built and built and built… I’ve actually wounded down on Certificate 18, and now I’m 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 this… 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: Ummm… (LOL) Grand office!! With just packed full of boxes of records all around you! You’re lucky they don’t fall on you! (LOL) Ummm… I love Djing, I love totally… the feed of it! When you do play a record, they crowd start jumping around, or you can see them lift, lift the crowd… that’s 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 spine… you know when you hear what the music… what excites the people, then you know what to release, so they work really well together. Djing and releasing a record.
A: Hmmm… 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, he’s on the label, he’s 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, there’s a track from there which is called “2Black2Gay”, which is a monster. It’s 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, Fabio… who works the chemistry best with you?
P: It depends on how you program the night. How the night goes. Who’s playing before and after. And they’re all… sort of fit it in to the night somewhere, so they’re all in their own way, and do their way really.
A: How about producers?
P: Umm… I don’t actually make music myself, I kind of just release it. So I’ve gone and seen a lot of guys to do a remix for me and work for me. So yeah… I’ve done a lot of different styles through Certificate 18 to Fat! Kinda tried. I mean Certificate 18 was very… what’s the word… ummm… it was just new, drum’n bass was just the newest form of music (that’s) been around since Punk or something, so it’s really exciting. But I always try to do it from a different angle, by getting other guys to write… Our influences are like plattered, to encourage them to just do remixes of drum’n bass, to take it the other way around. Instead of us (teaching) the sound of making drum’n bass, give them a chance to do something different really. So we’re very sort of innovative… if that is the word… (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, I’m sure he’s been over here. (Niknak: A lot!) Yeah, ok…
N: Lee Coombs is coming back again. Pretty much everyone from Fingerlicking…
P: Is he? Right right… yeah that’s huge, as well as the Plump DJs… it’s massive. Anyone small but worth checking out… there are so many of them in London, there are hundreds of hundreds of DJs and artists now, coming through, but… Meat Katie’s been really busy, he’s in a lot of stuff… he’s just about to release an album, which I’m sure would be superb, his stuff are really good.
N: He just came to do the launch of the CD, that’s what the party was for…
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, just… I really like some of the raw sound, something like really… it doesn’t have to be made in a really good studio, just something with a raw element come through, just original, and something different. Yeah… 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 of… as they go on… the first record’s 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: Urgh…Nothing like home sick, I HATE airports though. I absolutely hate them, I just hate sitting around at the airport. And I’m always really paranoid that I’m always gonna miss the plane. So I get there really early. I try to if I’m not late. But… I love traveling, it’s just the airport… drives me mad…
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. It’s just a pace of live there, the music scene is amazing. There’s so much to do. So when I say I’m going around to Australia to do a 7 week tour, when you go back, you just sink back into it. It’s 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 plan’s like for the rest of the year!
P: It’s Chew the Fat!’s 7th birthday in October, I’m trying to work out a different venue, trying to do something different for it. I haven’t sort of sorted that out yet. In a new venue, or just something a little bit different. With that, we’ll release a double album, a mix album. I’ll do one side and Friendly will do the other. That’s about it really. That will keep me busy enough. (Giggles) There are loads of other releases going on, and I’m hoping more DJs, there are so many more DJs, and getting a studio myself actually, that’s 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:

www.thefatclub.com

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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 couldn’t feel their music totally as the sound wasn’t 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, we’ve grabbed the main-brain, Joe Hahn, to speak to us on his own movie project in London, his “pirate” fans and more!

A: Alyson
J: Joe Hahn


A: Welcome to own town!
J: Thank you!
A: How you feeling?
J: Wooooooohooooooo~
A: (Laughs) All excited?
J: Yeah! Sure!
A: I remember last time, we’re in Singapore, I asked you, “Would you ever come to Hong Kong for a concert?” And you said you would love to do a movie here. Do you still wanna do that?
J: Yeah! Maybe here, or China, or something… yeah! The movie that I’m talking about that I’m doing right now, it actually takes place in London, so that one won’t be done here, but I do have another idea that… maybe I can work something out.
A: So tell us about the one happening in London! Or is it a secret?
J: Uhhh… well it’s not a secret, it’s still getting worked out, the deal is getting worked out. But it’s based on a book called ‘King Rat’, by China Mieville. And uh… it’s about… it’s 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 who’s the leader of the Rat Kingdom, along with the Spider Kingdom… it all takes place in modern day London, to the background of drum’n bass music… kinda like where drum’n bass music was in the mid till late 90’s… a little out there…
A: Now as you’re here in Asia, I guess I’ll have to ask you this. Is there any Asian band that you heard, that you think, “Wow! That sounds really amazing!”? 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 we’re like, “Hey, you wanna open up for us?” and they’re like, “Ok! Cool!”
A: Yeah? Is there another band in particular that you think sounded good?
J: Ummm… one time in Japan, we played for the band called ‘Uzumaki’, they’re pretty cool… ummm… what other band… Jackie Chan’s ehh… solo singing project?! That’s pretty cool… what else… yeah!
A: (Laughs) Talking about technology… if a fan comes up to you with a CD-R, saying, “Oh! I’m your #1 fan!” Would you still sign that CD-R?
J: Well… a lot of times I don’t wanna sign it, but I’ll sign it anyway coz… I don’t wanna be mean! Some people just don’t know… what can you do… PLEASE STOP! That’s all I can say… Effectiveness of that? I don’t know… (Giggles)

 

Considering ‘Nu-metal’ 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 “the Internet is the future, that’s where everything is going, and it’s changing things, while the only choice they have is to evolve, as technology evolves”, Joe stays true to the fans, even for those who just download them illegally! Guess they’ve all got a bit “Numb” about that…

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, “Chester, you’re sure you wanna do this?” The answer? Just a cold, “It’s just gonna take a minute.” As the tension was reaching the breaking point, a familiar face came in with a magazine, asking for an autograph. It’s Mike! Now that broke the ice, and we all ended up with laughter since Chester insist to sign on Mike’s face… Rock stars? Sure, but attitude wise? They’re more like big kids trying to have some fun.

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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.


A: Alyson
L: Louis Eliot


A: Welcome to Hong Kong! You had a late night?
L: (Smiles) Yeah… we went to umm… Dragon-I, and that was alright, we went looking for somewhere else, but it wasn’t opened, so we ended up at some weird kind of karaoke type of place called Hardy’s, so there’s a band playing, and people get up singing, I didn’t get up and sing, it was Julian who plays with me did. And ah… (giggles) it’s funny, very funny… and then we went to some public bars in Wan Chai…
A: Ah! Cool! So how was the gig last night?
L: It was great! It went really well. The crowd was really ermm… just a really lovely crowd actually. Didn’t really know what to expect, but ermm, it was a great turn out, just a really warm reception.
A: Is this the first time you’re in Hong Kong?
L: It’s not, no. But I haven’t played in Hong Kong before, but I’ve come through doing promo and yeah…
A: Alright, so this is like… finally get to meet the fans! How dya find them?
L: Very polite (Smiles), which is great! You know, they’re really intensive in these sort of quiet songs, you know, in England you get a little bit more aggorant and stuff like that… you know, good nature and everything, but here, they’re very… they’re listening and they handle every word, it’s really nice.
A: Yeah, most of the people they come to Hong Kong, they would find the fans a bit quiet…
L: Well, they’re only quiet sort of while you’re playing, and then you finish the song, and they’re really noisy, they’re the perfect fans! They behave just as you’d like them to!
A: Excellent! What have you been doing since Rialto?
L: God! I don’t really know! (Laughs) I’m sort of just kind of getting myself together a bit. Ummm… Rialto’s 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, I’ve just been writing songs… I went to America for a little while, did some recording, it didn’t 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 just… 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 “Monday Morning 5:19”, it is certainly the song that brought everyone’s attention to you, would you get a lot of pressure whenever you write, you’ll go like “Oh, I gotta top that!”
L: I don’t look back on that song and think “Oh, I must top it”, but perhaps I should be doing that! (Laughs) Coz it always goes down so well, and I haven’t actually played it for a while. But coming out here, everybody knows it and wanted to hear it and stuff… so it goes down very well here, yeah, so… but I try not to think about it, I think that would make life pretty difficult if you try to… if you’re too backward-looking, you’ve gotta look forward and just write about something that’s exciting at the time.
A: So let’s not look at the past and look at the present, NOW! As you’re a solo artist now, do you find it more difficult being solo than in a band?
L: I don’t, no I don’t find it more difficult. Ehhh… 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 that’s why they wanna go solo… but it wasn’t really the case with us, you know we all got on well, and we still do. But I suppose what’s good about being solo is… you get to be the boss! (Laughs) You make the decisions you know… So far… so good, being solo… but who knows, maybe Rialto will even do something again together…
A: So would you rather started off as a solo artist?
L: No no… even though I have always written the songs in the couple of bands I’ve been in, umm… 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 don’t really know why, but now I feel quite happy to be solo, but I really didn’t 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, it’s called the “Long Way Around”, and it’s… 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, it’s more… I think it’s a bit more human sounding, it’s 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. It’s quite a lot of that on the new record, acoustic guitar, sort of humble… quite homely instruments… 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, “Damn! I wish I wrote that song!”
L: (After 10 seconds) I don’t wanna sounds smart, but no… (Laugh) There isn’t, there hasn’t been recently, but it’s great when that happens, coz it’s truly inspiring, but I haven’t heard anything recently which made me do that… but there’s people I really admire, you know, I really admire Mike Skinner from the Streets, I think he writes great lyrics, it’s quite different sound to the sound that I make, but he’s just really good at the tiny details, so I think that really brings… the picture is painting to life! I think he’s a really talented guy.
A: Now we’ve looked at your past, what’s happening right now, let’s look at the future. What are your expectations for your career let’s say!
L: My career, well I hope things carry on going well here, I mean so far it’s been great, this trip around Asia, the album gathering sort of momentum, so I’d really like to come back as soon as possible, do some gigs, maybe with a full band this time, this trip I’ve just been doing… you know, it’s just been acoustic shows, so it’ll be great to come back with a full band. Apart from that, I’m just going home to the UK to do some gigs, and promote the record there. And then it’s off to Europe for more of the same, which is all really good, it’s a nice way to see the world. (Giggles)
A: Sure, now some artist they like to go multi-dimensional, they don’t just sing or write songs, they wanna do acting, or they wanna have their own fashion line, or record company… do you wanna do something like that?
L: Ummm… I can’t see myself doing a clothing line… I’m not really… I think that’ll take somebody very kind of business-minded… I’m not hugely… I… acting… when I a kid, when I was at school, I hated acting, anything to do with getting up in front of anybody else… 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 it’s just having performed music for quite a while, done videos and stuff, the idea of acting, it’s funny, it’s sort of just creeping up on me, it does appeal a bit. So you know, who knows! But obviously I’m not going out actively, seeking it, but if somebody wanted to offer me a little part or something, I’ll definitely consider it, yeah! (Giggles) But, my main thing is carry on being music you know, maybe a bit of production… I’d love to do a song for a movie, that’s something I’d really like to do, something like… I love Charlie Kaufman’s films, you know like, “Spot this mind”, my favorite film of his is called “Adaptation”. But… I’d love to do a song for one of his films.
A: Great! I’m afraid I can’t 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!

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Sasha- Chechen Suicide Bombers Nearly Killed Me

“I was staying in Moscow’s 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.”

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.

“The whole room shook, it blew in all the windows of the hotel reception, I think five people were killed in the attack,” he continues.

“I ended up staying in the hotel room for 24 hours, because they kept setting off little explosions all day; I didn’t realise they were those controlled explosions, it really felt like Moscow was under attack.”

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Candi Staton on the KKK, Studio 54 & End Time: The Signs Are Everywhere. "Picking cotton was very physical work, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to sing, I thought ‘there’s got to be a better way’. You’d be in the hot sunshine all day long filling a sack on your back and once it was full of cotton, you’d go back, empty it then start all over again. Read more...Your back would be breaking and all the time I’d be thinking ‘God, I’ve got to get out of this country; I’ve got to do something else, because this is not me.’”

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.

“I’ll never forget one occasion when I was eight and my mother took me to the city,” she recalls.

“I could already read then and on the way there you had to cross a bridge which had writing on it, graffiti, saying ‘Run, nigger run. If you can’t read, run anyway’. After I read it I was puzzled and asked my mother what it meant, and she replied ‘don’t look at it, don’t even worry about it’. That’s how we lived back then, under that constant threat.”

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, she’s nowadays recognised as one of America’s all time musical greats, her acid house anthem You Got The Love recently closing Sex In The City’s 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 who’s truly translated her life struggles into soul.

“He had me hanging from my arms, the way you’d hold a baby, over the balcony, says Candi, recalling the horrific incident, which took place in a Vegas hotel.

“He was possessive and jealous, we’d 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,” she continues.

“I remember thinking of ways to get out of this predicament when I said to him ‘You know, this is a mafia owned club and I’m here for them, if you drop me, you gotta’ get outta’ here or they will find you’. That’s 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 couldn’t care less. That’s the way that story ended.”

Chatting down the line to Benedetta Skrufff this week, Candi’s actually delightfully upbeat about the trials and tribulations that have relentlessly coloured her life admitting she’s a firm believer in the ‘whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ school of thought.’She’s also cheerfully honest about her lack of input in her new compilation CD ‘Candi Staton’ which features 26 blues based tracks she recorded with Fame Records in the 60s.

“Someone called me one day out of the blue saying that I had a new compilation out and that’s how I found out about it,” she laughs.

“As a matter of fact, I even wondered, why in the world EMI would want to dish all those old songs again, who’d want to but them? But EMI and Capital Records made this deal without me in mind, and what can I say, these things happen.”


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: “Oh 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 we’d be completely unknown. Usually we’d 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, we’d go back to the car, travel more and do it all again the following nigh”

Skrufff: Do you find today’s artists work as hard?

Candi Staton: “No, I don’t think they do. I think they have a lot more going for them than we did. We had an expression: ‘paying our dues’ 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.”

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: “We 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.”

Skrufff: So there wasn’t any competition between you all?

Candi Staton: “Oh yes, there was competition, very much so. It wasn’t anything to be ashamed of though it was good competition because it brought out the best in all of us.”

Skrufff: When you signed to Warner Bros. in 74 and moved to California, how much did you fully embrace the disco world?

Candi Staton: “I 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 didn’t 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.”

Skrufff: Wasn’t that disco world a bit too much for you, given that you were a young church girl coming from the Deep South?

Candi Staton: “Oh, 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.”

Skrufff: Who did you hang out with?

Candi Staton: “Let me see, Stephanie Mills, Ashford and Simpson, Diana Ross, Gloria Gaynor who’s still my friend, Patti Labelle, Chaka Khan, you know we were girls out together.”

Skrufff: You had a worldwide disco hit in the 70s with ‘Young hearts run free”, 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: “Well, it wasn’t by my feet, thank God, he had me hanging from my arms, the way you’d 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 couldn’t find me. I saw him walking up and down the isle, but I thought nothing of it so I didn’t 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 wouldn’t 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 ‘You know, this is a mafia owned club and I’m here for them, you gotta’ get outta’ here or they will find you’. That’s 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 don’t 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 couldn’t care less. That’s the way that story ended.”

Skrufff: there’s that famous Neitsche expression ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ and you had your fair share with men, I believe . .

Candi Staton: “I totally believe in that expression, every man I’ve ever had turned controlling and possessive, that’s why I have none around now and I like to keep it that way.”

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: “Oh yes, and I still am a Christian, I still love worshipping the Lord, it gives me so much peace, I’m in a state right now that I wouldn’t trade for any money in the world, I have the kind of peace that I’ve always looked for. The Lord is my man now.”

Skrufff: Isn’t it sometimes tough to follow a religion so closely?

Candi Staton: “Having 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.”

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: “I 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 we’re 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 he’s a different man; that’s another incident where what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

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: “Dick 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 I’ve sung so many in my career.”

Skrufff: Were you ever tempted to stop it being released?

Candi Staton: “Well, 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 wouldn’t 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.”

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: “I am just beginning to now, I’ve recently hired a manager. He’s a businessman so he’s recouping this money owed to us which I didn’t get back then, but thankfully I’m getting now.”

Skrufff: As an evangelical Christian, are you also a Bush supporter?

Candi Staton: “I don’t like the war. But I have to respect him because he’s our president, though I don’t agree with everything he does.”

Skrufff: Do you believe in biblical style End Times coming soon?

Candi Staton: “Oh 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 it’s in for much longer. Something has to change.”

Candi Staton (Fame Recordings) is out now on EMI/ Capitol.

http://www.candi-staton.com

Interview by: Benedetta Skrufff (Skrufff.com)

Subscribe to skrufff music newsletter at www.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, “The Shorter Story”. As we talk to lead singer Joshua and lead guitarist Ephraim, to catch up with what they’ve 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 “Still Amidst The Traffic”…

J:Wow! 3 years ago!

A:What have you been doing for the past 3 years?

E:Recording this record… (giggled) I guess like playing shows and stuff…we’ve done a couple of tours outside of Hong Kong…

J:Done lots and lots of shows… we started recording the new album last September… and yeah, it’s coming out next month!

A:So where did you guys go for the last couple of tours?

J:We toured Japan twice, and we’ve done Singapore a couple of times, but Japan’s been the biggest for us, every single time we’ve gone over, we’ve got more and more… like bigger and bigger response. We don’t even understand why people like us, because bands over there are so good…

A: So what do you think of the fans in Japan?

J: People that come to our shows are really really supportive. I mean it’s just really amazing playing for Japanese people, coz they’re really appreciative, except, in between songs it’s dead silence…

A:Really?

J:Yeah… at the Japanese shows… I mean it’s loud and crazy, and then they applause, and then if you have too much of a gap in between, then it’s complete silence, nobody says a thing…

E:I don’t know if that’s such a respect thing, or… just that… they probably don’t like us… (LOL)

A: Tell us about the new album!

J:It’s called the “Shorter Story”, it will be available in stores starting from the 1st of May.

E:It runs for about 40 minutes, and songs that we’ve been playing them through our shows in Hong Kong for about 2 years now. Most of them are new songs… I guess it’s a lot of big stuff compared to “Still Amidst The Traffic”, coz we’ve progressed a lot. Like we’ve got 2 new members for the band. And yeah… 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 he’s worked with bands like This Beautiful Mess, and The Spirit That Guides Us… some incredible Dutch bands and European bands, so he flew over here and produced the album, and we mixed and mastered it in Holland. So… it’s an amazing experience.

A:Do you feel like sometimes it’s hard to put your own experience into the songs?

J:Yeah, totally! In fact, I haven’t 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 me… at least it doesn’t sound like I’m 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:Phew… that’s an interesting question…

E:Go for it! I guess… do it while you’re still young… and just grown you get old, and you have a family… how much of a choice of doing it coz you’ll have to sacrifice a lot…

J:Like you said were still young, we still live with our family, we don’t really have… you know, not really have entered the whole real world…

E: We don’t have mortgage and rent and all that stuff…

J:Just go for it… if you enjoy music, do it. If you enjoy art, do it. Hong Kong is pretty hard if you’re doing art stuff, but as long as you enjoy it, then just do it.

A: Have you ever got to a point where you’ll go, “Uh, I regret doing this…”?

J: To be honest? Not really.

E:No, never.

J:I can say firstly it’s 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, like… you know… touring places and playing shows and playing for fantastic people. I’ve been having the ride of my life.

E: Yeah!

J:I think one thing that I’ll 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:

www.whencehecame.net

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