Crazy P pick ten tracks that influence their sound
Two of Nottingham’ disco powerhouse pick the tracks that have inspired them...
Crazy P were originally called Crazy Penis when they formed in Nottingham two decades ago, but they lopped off the ‘enis’ after a few years of mischief-making due to a desire to be taken more seriously (to get away from the knob gags, basically). Originally signed to Manchester deep house label Paper Recordings for their first two albums, they switched to Shiva Recordings for the breakthrough ’24-Hour Psychedelic Freakout’ and ‘A Night On Earth’ albums, before switching to Ralph Lawson’s 2020 Vision for their subsequent two long-players.
Their latest LP, ‘Age Of The Ego’, is their eighth studio album, their second for Walk Don’t Walk/!K7, and it’s rammed full of impeccably swung nu-disco, funky electronic jams and groovy house bombs. With two stalwarts of underground house — James Baron, aka Ron Basejam, and Chris Todd, aka Hot Toddy — on board, their productions are always on-point. Songwriter and vocalist Danielle Moore’s bittersweet words provide a cool counterpoint, with ‘Barefooted’ coming over like a long-lost Prince jam and ‘We Will Fuck You Up’ a retro-futurist electro-funk missive beamed in from another galaxy.
A great spectacle live, the quality control on Crazy P’s productions is second to none, with ‘Age Of The Ego’ alluding to political issues more than any of their previous albums. “What came out on several tracks was Brexit, the state of UK politics and the way I feel about divisive, abhorrent manipulation by certain media outlets,” Danielle says. “I suppose lyrically it is political, a reflection of the times, but with a twist of humour and always a lot of love.” Here, Danielle picks five of her most influential tracks alongside a selection from co-writer/producer Chris Todd...
Chris Todd’s picks:
01. Nona Hendryx ‘Transformation’
'A real favourite of all of ours. It’s a really forward-thinking track, both sonically and lyrically, and certainly resonates with this post-modern shifting world we find ourselves in at the moment. The drums influenced ‘The Witness’ a little, as well as some of the textures, and the space in the track.”
02. Jan Hammer Group ‘Don’t You Know’
“From the album ‘Melodies’, from back in the Jan Hammer Group days — it’s a real stand-out track from this album. The sound palette is awesome, blending a lush analogue arpeggio bassline, synth strings with more organic textures of Rhodes and live drums. The chord progression has some nice jazzy modulations but the track remains groovy and soulful nonetheless.”
03. Tornado Wallace ‘Voices’
“Taken from the superb ‘Lonely Planet’ album from 2018. This track shares some of the textures on our new album, the lush airy pads, marimba percussion, shimmering chorus-drenched guitars, reminiscent of Talk Talk’s ‘East Of Eden’ and Roxy Music’s ‘Avalon’. It’s a sublime track conjuring up beautiful ’80s tropical landscapes.”
04. Connan Mockasin ‘Charlotte’s Thong’
“Maybe not a direct influence but this has been on repeat for me ever since it came out. It’s beautiful, simple reputation brings a tear to my eye every time I hear it. Connan’s such an interesting, unique artist, on every level — the production, guitar playing, the vocals, the writing... as a guitarist I find him fascinating, such a great loose style. Love him!”
05. Alan Braxe & Fred Falke ‘Most Wanted’
“There’s a fair bit of arpeggio and general analogue business going on in the new album, and this is another example of lush analogue textures but with the dancefloor firmly in mind. Taking the main riff and some of the beats from K.I.D’s ‘Don’t Stop’, and laying a beautiful pad chord progression over the top, it’s simple but oh-so effective!”
Danielle Moore’s picks:
06. Cameo ‘Just Be Yourself’
“Cameo have been a solid influence on me for a long time, and having seen their performance on The Tube I realised the talent of the full band. Through superb performances, dance routines and singing, Cameo retain quality driving baselines, ridiculous beats and synths to get your shoulder pads out for! If only I could rock a lycra onesie like them I’d be on it. I would say ‘Barefooted’ has a funk element to it and if I had to point to an inspiration this would be it.”
07. A Certain Ratio ‘Won’t Stop Loving You’
“A Certain Ratio have always been an inspiration as they manage to melt indie into disco and create something unique and continue to make it relevant today. It’s punky edged and driving, and this next song for me is the perfect indie-pop song. I’ve seen them live regularly recently and they create such a wonderful energy together that it’s hard not to come away with positivity. Musically, they are incredibly versatile and talented!”
08. Grace Jones ‘Nipple To The Bottle’
“Grace Jones is one unique woman, singer and performer. I have never witnessed someone capture an audience like her. She commands the stage fearlessly and it’s completely hypnotic to watch. Musically, this song is superb, with its simple repetition and wonderful production, and provides a soft bed for the power of the vocal. I don’t like too much singing or too huge a voice, and yet whilst Grace Jones has the voice of a warrior, she retains a rhythm that makes you want to hear more. Love her!”
09. Tom Tom Club ‘Genius Of Love’
“Tom Tom Club achieve this wonderful song with a simple layered vocal with harmonies... it’s wonderfully conversational, soulful and subtle and the bassline is a perfect rhythmic drive. It’s so hooky and memorable. Definitely would have tried to emulate this sound vocally at some point. Performance-wise, I love the fact they all look like they’re having a bloody good time. Not taking themselves too seriously whilst retaining ultimate professionalism.”
10. Prince ‘Hot Thing’
“Prince had a natural talent and effortlessly managed to craft a huge body of varied work. This particular era was a fave for me. After watching the ‘Sign Of The Times’ live performance I couldn’t ever imagine seeing anything so good — and I don’t think I ever will. The energy created by this force of a band musically and physically is ridiculous! It’s sexy and stimulating, the drums, percussion and the sax solo towards the end complete a wholesome body of music. Get Prince and Cat to lay a dance routine over the top and it’s got you squealing with delight.”
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