Andy Meecham and Dean Meredith are Chicken Lips, pictured here in their cartoon guise; they were also the dudes formerly known as Bizarre Inc, the 90s house act that still hold a special place in our hearts. These days they continue to draw respect and adoration for their own angled take on soulful house and beats; their latest single ‘All That You Do’ on Southern Fried has been given the superior once over by the likes of Joe Goddard and Ben Pearce. Andy’s alter ego The Emperor Machine and Dean’s The Rhythm Odyssey alias complete the funk blessed package.
A follow-up single is promised and a few label projects are on the cards, including Twenty First Century Fox with a folk singer called Lauren, “we took her out of her comfort zone and it’s turned out pretty amazing,” Dean explains.
Brought up on a wholesome diet of music passed down through his family mostly by his sister and brother, who was a big collector of disco and funk. “Over the years I’ve sneaked them out of my mum’s house,” he reveals with a chuckle.
Production-wise between their various studio set ups and file sharings they’ve also started to work in a local studio that’s chock full of analogue gear, “a bit of a museum really, Mini Moogs, Rolands, every kind of classic synth is there,” Dean beams as he weighs up his Lucky 7 for DJMag…
What is the track that really sums up your childhood?
“My mum and dad used to have one of those record players that you could stack up loads of 7 inches on, like a jukebox. We had loads of 7 inches like Elvis or the Everly Brothers.
I think probably it would be something like ‘Rockit’ by Herbie Hancock, that really reminds me of the electro thing, of break dancing in the town on a piece of lino and me learning to scratch and the whole culture. It was a 12 inch, it was blue. I was amazed how long it went on for. I was terrible at break dancing so I ended up DJing for the crew.”
What was the first record that you ever bought?
“‘Gangsters’ by The Specials. I bought it from Stafford Market. That was the first 7 inch I got. All that ska scene that came along, there was a youth disco, I remember having black and white winkle picker shoes, pork pie hat, ska dancing.”
What’s the most embarrassing record in your collection?
“Let me think. That’s quite a difficult one really. I tell you what it probably was, you know about the 12 inch thing, in those days you used to buy it for the twelve inch version. I probably bought a pop act that had done that that wasn’t so cool. There’s probably a Wham record in there. That’s what would be played at the school disco, something for the girls and something for the boys."
"I think I’ve got a Duran Duran 12 inch remix, or there’s probably a novelty record in there like ‘The Birdy Song’. Something that came out at the Christmas parties, there’d be some dodgy party record for the conga..”
What’s the track that’s guaranteed to make you cry?
“It’s weird because talking about stuff from your childhood, my dad is in his 80s now, something like ‘Moon River’ it came on the radio recently and you know when you hear something and straight away it takes you back, it brings back a flashback."
"I remember him playing that, that emotional attachment. I think some people have covered it, but I think it was the old fifties version.”
An album that you’re currently listening to a lot?
“I have just bought, it’s great, Syclops. Something to do with Maurice Fulton. It’s quite club based, but you can tell straight away it’s him. Electronic wise that’s my latest purchase. And also the Theo Parrish remix of Phil Manzanera. It’s the guitar player from Roxy Music. It’s come out through LN-CC and they’ve got a label now and it’s their first or second release.
"That’s quite interesting. And the other thing I bought which was off of eBay was a Glen Campbell album. He was an amazing guitarist, and he played on Frank Sinatra stuff, the Beach Boys stuff.”
What’s the most valuable record in your collection?
“The most valuable for me is ‘Dancing In Outer Space’ which is one of my brothers records. For me it’s still one of the first dance records in my mind. It’s got all those elements, the riffs, the drums, and still now when I get a bit down about dance music having it’s time, I always put that on and it always cheers me up.”
What is your all time favourite track of all time?
“That is the impossible question isn’t it. Probably ‘No Way Back’ by Adonis, because that was one of the first times I heard a house record, and I was like ‘what is this music?’. I can remember hearing it and it was that and ‘Jack Your Body’, ‘Love Can’t Turn Around’ and Marshall Jeffereson’s ‘Move Your Body’ as well"
"There used to be three rooms in this club called The Place, but the guy wasn’t a really technical DJ and he used to talk between the records and I remember him playing these and you’d hear stuff like Joyce Simms and all that sweet soul and all the dance records that were coming from America was quite soulful but there was nothing that was stripped back, that was right in your face with no singing, I mean ‘Jack, Jack, Jack Your Body’, what is that?! It was so crazy.”