Groove Armada are good together and they are good apart. The longstanding duo of Tom Findlay and Andy Cato are looking at over two productive decades in dance music in the rear view mirror. One option for tracing Groove Armada’s history is through that of London institution Fabric. Soon after the two released their debut album, ‘Northern Star’, which spawned the massive sit-down hit, ‘At The River’, they were DJing in Fabric’s Room 3.
Findlay tackles our Lucky 7, giving us a chuckle, and throwing in some Prince — not an obligatory posthumous choice as he gave us his answers before the exalted one’s untimely demise.
What is the track that really sums up your childhood?
“Probably something from ‘Thriller’. Maybe ‘Human Nature’, or ‘P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing.)’ That centerfold shot of Michael Jackson and the tiger is imprinted on my brain. I had a bit of a mixed musical childhood. I loved The Smiths. I even had a bit of a metal phase but the album that I kept coming back to was ‘Thriller’. I don’t think there’s been a better album ever made and I doubt there ever will be.”
“You probably won’t believe it, but it was either ‘Duke Of Earl’ by Darts or ‘C’Mon Everybody’ by the Sex Pistols. I bought all my 7”s (and later my 12”s) from a record store called Jays Records & Tapes in Cambridge. It’s where I met Jools Butterfield who now runs Lovebox. It had this amazing soul collection which was stocked to supply all the US serviceman that lived on bases nearby. I thank them for introducing me to the peculiar joys of Luther Vandross.”
“Lots of Luther, but probably no shame there. ‘Guilty’ by Barbra Streisand, but I love that track! In fact, I have a lot of filth in my collection. I’ve never been a snob about music, if it’s good, and even it’s by Streisand, I’ll still be playing it. Though I don’t want anyone on the terrace at Space getting worried I’ll be dropping it this summer.”
“It’s a tune from Prince’s album ‘Parade’ called ‘Sometimes It Snows In April’. I’m slightly welling up just thinking about it. It’s just a flawless ballad, laden with melancholy. I think it’s probably about a friends of Prince’s dying of AIDS, it’s pretty wretched really, but utterly beautiful.”
“I guess I’ve been a bit reduced by the playlist culture, so it’s more tunes now - but in terms of albums that I’ve loved, the last Tame Impala record ‘Currents' is bliss — a bold and brave direction. The last two albums by Kendrick Lamar are awe inspiring, pure art. I thought the Young Fathers album ‘White Men Are Black Too’ was stunning; I keep coming back to it. An honorable mention for a label everyone should check out: Peoples Potential Unlimited (PPU).”
“I’m really not sure, that’s never something that’s kept me awake at night. I’ve got a fair slab of jazz funk rarities though nothing to trouble Gilles Peterson. I’ve just looked up a Dionne Warwick album on Discogs which I thought was rare and it’s on sale for £2.99 so ignore me.”
“What an impossible question, but I guess for pure emotion, and groove and perfection from first beat to last, ‘As’ by Stevie Wonder. I had the pleasure to hear that record at a David Mancuso Loft Party and it’s one of the finest moments of my life. I think the shrooms probably helped, but in terms of nine minutes of pure musical joy, I can’t recall a better moment in my life. In terms of dance music, I think ‘Jack Your Body’ by Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley says it all really.”