Best Of British 2011: Best Remix - Azari & Ill 'Hungry For The Power'
ELECTRIC JONES! The inescapable, irresistible electronic funk of Jamie Jones’ infamous remix
Though electronic music continues to splinter and splatter into an infinite number of sub-styles, it’s still possible to pick out trends in the year that was. Revivalist house and the steamy poolside sounds of Hot Creations were two such movements in 2011, so it’s no real wonder that Jamie Jones’ ‘Ridge Street Remix’ of Azari & III has been voted the year’s finest by the adoring British public: it combines the best of both trends with ease.
“I did it while I was living in New York, on Ridge Street,” explains Jamie of the remix’s title. “For sure, that has an influence on the remix and the mind-set you’re in. I haven’t lived in many big cities bar London, but the energy of these places certainly influences the music.”
And you can tell when listening to it… there’s a suggestive shuffle to the thing, as it snakes its way down some neon sign-lit NYC street late at night. Tinkling keys bleed up from some underground bar below and the repeated “hungry for the power” vocal hook keeps you on edge throughout. It’s the sound of 2011, which has been caned by people far beyond Jones’ usual associates.
Although known for doing super-quick on-the-fly edits during plane or train journeys (see last year’s ‘Electric Jones Remix’ of MGMT), this re-rub came together in the studio.
“I’ve got quite a good set-up in London,” says the man. “So recently I’ve been building the same one in America, as I live there three months of the year. I’ve got the same monitors, same analogue equipment; it’s probably about 40% of my London studio, and that’s what I used to do the remix.”
It was the band themselves who approached Jones to do the remix, which appeared on a package alongside other efforts from Art Department and Sei A back in May, but what was it that made him say yes, amongst surely an embarrassment of other requests?
“It’s a record I had and played when it first came out [in 2009],” he remembers. “It doesn’t work in a lot of places, because it’s quite vocally, quite a specific sound, their sound; it’s more what I would consider in the disco-y scene. I do dip my toes into that, but my aim with the remix was to make it more suited to one of my own sets.
“When I make tracks, I make stuff I want to play out, whether it’s deep, dancefloor, more stripped-back or whatever. I played about with a few ideas and had something that came about quite quickly. Like with most remixes when I first finish them, though, I'm never 100% satisfied. It always takes a while… I remember thinking, ‘does this really work?’ when I first played it. It’s edgy and moody, and some people might find it a bit irritating, what with the weird sounds I’ve added.”
Weird they may be, off-putting they certainly are not. And there are plenty more where that came from on the way, because Jamie is currently working on a collaborative album with Lee Foss as Hot Natured, as well as a solo album for Crosstown Rebels. If you think you know what to expect, think again; although this remix does bear some resemblance to newer material, says the man himself, he’s also on the roam…
“I know I’m part of a sound which has become quite popular now, and I still make tracks like that, but I’ve moved onto the next thing too. The Hot Natured album is very different, it still has big basslines and lots of funk, but the mood is quite different, so I'm excited about that.”
It’s a wonder there’s any time at all for this, given Jamie nearly averaged a set every second day throughout 2011. Approximately 142 gigs in all, and surely enough to grind down even the most ardent spinner?
“DJing is a passion I’ve had for a lot longer than making music. The bit behind the decks and playing is so fantastic, but then there’s all the travelling, so I’d have to say, at the moment, the work I'm doing in the studio is most fun.”
Chances are, as long as he’s having fun, so will the dancefloors he plays to and the people he produces for.
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The Other Nominees
|T.Williams ‘Heartbeat (Paul Woolford Remix)’ (Local Action)||4th Measure Men ‘4 You (Maya Jane Coles Remix)’ (Defected)||Omar ‘It’s So (Zed Bias Remix)’ (Tru Thoughts)||Africa Hi-Tech ‘Out In The Streets (Vip Remix)’ (Warp)|