A core solo artist on Get Physical, multi-talented Thomas Gandey has released on many of the world's best electronic labels just in the last year — Crosstown Rebels, OFF, Desolat and Monkeytown to name but a few.
In 2015, he and compadre Radio Slave released their collaborative album project Matom on Carl Craig’s Planet E Communications, leading to a string of live shows including the Berghain’s Kantine and Red Bull Music Academy. The pair also produce techno together as Last Communication, while Tom has also recently collaborated with Olivier Giacomotto and German Brigante.
As Cagedbaby he released two albums on Southern Fried Records, which kick-started his touring career during which he now incorporates more live keys and vocals than ever. As a producer he's made albums with Fatboy Slim and David Byrne, the Olivier Award-winning ‘Here Lies Love’, and the multi-platinum Jeff Wayne’s New Generation ‘The War Of The Worlds’ opus.
“I'm surprised at how little club dance music came up in my list,” Thomas tells DJ Mag. “Thinking about it, these are the ten that hit me hard — mainly from my informative teenage years, when my tastes were just developing...”
01. INXS 'Need You Tonight'
“This is the sexiest track I had ever heard as a teenager, and inspired a lot of my career as Cagedbaby. I do a lot of featured vocals for artists these days and there’s an interesting story about ‘Need You Tonight’, which I took on board. When they recorded the song Michael Hutchence just did a long improvised vocal take for some 30 minutes and it wasn't until after recording that the producer edited it up to make it make sense — so that it flowed like a song. It's a great and creative way to work without rules, and creates unexpected results. That’s a template I still use today, especially on dance tracks where there’s no standard arrangement or often no chord changes.”
02. Jan Hammer Group 'Don’t You Know'
“As a keyboardist, Jan Hammer in his Mahavishnu Orchestra days was a huge inspiration to me. Sure, he did the ‘Miami Vice Theme' but let's forget about that for a moment — way back in the '70s he was an analogue synth aficionado, a Rhodes and riffing Arp soloist player best demonstrated by the beautifully produced and delicate 1977 album, ‘Melodies’. Soft and emotive, I stumbled across this by accident. If ever there was an example that all the music that ever needed to be made was already made in the '70s, this is sure a contender.”
03. Aphrodite’s Child 'End Of The World'
“In the '60s, progressive rock was alive and well and living in Greece wearing kaftans. Vangelis and Demis Roussos were way ahead of The Beatles — making trippier and hippier music than anyone around. Their concept album '666', a musical adaption of the Book Of Revelations, was one of the first to get me into collecting movie soundtracks. I can't under-estimate the effect Vangelis and his endless works — like the score to Bladerunner and albums with Jon Anderson of Yes and the track ‘State Of Independence’ — had on my personal career.”
04. Pink Floyd 'Time (Breathe Reprise)'
“Everyone knows 'The Dark Side Of The Moon' inside out. It's the album we first got high too — standard yet seminal stuff. As a teenager it was always around, and the band’s kids went to my boarding school. I was actually in a ‘kids of' supergroups rock band in school — Rick Wakeman, Alan Parsons, Keith Emerson’s sons and me jamming in band. Experimental prog rock was everywhere in East Sussex when I grew up in all my local pubs.”
05. Seal 'Violet'
“My introduction to Balearic came in the form of the first CD I ever bought from Woolworths. I’d heard Adamski’s’ ‘Killer’ before I got stuck into the album properly on a sailing holiday in the Greek Islands with my parents. Watching dolphins swim along the bow of the boat and realising it was actually Trevor Horn I was listening to, and not Seal at all — he was just the husky vocal on top of it. I couldn’t wrap the headphones over my ears hard enough that holiday, I lived inside that album and this track especially — the four-minute instrumental outro still makes my skin tingle and takes me right back there.”
06. Röyksopp 'Remind Me'
“The fragility of Erlend Oye's voice, the dulcet and quirky tone of a foreign man speaking perfect English. I always wanted to get that character onto my music. The new Bergen wave of the '90s, tied in with my love of the Jan Hammer Group, were definitely an inspiration for Erlend’s Kings Of Convenience. 'Melody AM' was a masterful album, later picked up by Mark Jones for Wall Of Sound, who has solidly released amazing music like the Propellerheads — another seminal album for me. 'Melody AM' sounds like it was made in the depths of winter in a warm log cabin with a load of flimsy analogue synths and a lot of time on their hands.”
07. Grace Jones 'Slave To The Rhythm'
“Trevor Horn makes it twice into my top 10. Especially for the little-known fact that he’d already written this track for Frankie Goes To Hollywood before Grace put on her vocals. It was a concept album, never supposed to be a single, a 20-minute jam of amazing compass-point musicians and early digital sampled drums — Grace polishing it with her endless cool. It’s a perfect piece of music, but I’d love to hear what Frankie would have done with the vocals.”
08. Future Sound Of London 'Papua New Guinea”
“This could have been Banco De Gaia or a Shpongle record for this choice. It could have been 'Windowlicker' or a rare Aphex edit, maybe even The Orb's 'Little Fluffy Clouds' or a Prodigy record off the 'Jilted Generation' album. The open-mindness to it, the cosmic tint that came back into play in my later career, and the concept of where the track took me when my eyes were closed. It's a masterpiece of that early '90s progressive trip-out music, with synth pads for days and samples of world music and an ethnicism — without going all Enigma or Deep Forest on it.”
09. The League Unlimited Orchestra 'The Things That Dreams Are Made Of'
“Any of the Sheffield new wave would have done, or even a Shep Pettibone mix of Depeche Mode, but that BBC4 documentary Synth Britannia literally spoke to me. This track from the Human League's own remix album was the first remix album I ever heard — unlike dubs and instrumentals. We were all familiar with on seven-inches, but the League's progressiveness and approach to minimalism and limited sound gave them a scope that I tried to take to Cagedbaby when I embarked on my live tours. Stripped back and with nowhere to hide, no samples and a tight rhythm section that carried it to the dancefloor. I would take this any day over Kraftwerk.”
10. Willow’s Song 'The Wicker Man Soundtrack'
“A lot of my early inspirations were from movie soundtracks, whether it was an Ennio Morricone spaghetti western or a John Carpenter synth odyssey. The fact that John Carpenter wrote his own movie scores always blew me away, but one of the earliest movies I saw was the 1973 cult horror The Wicker man — I was too young and it stuck with me for life. The tenderness of the Pentangle-esque folk score stayed with me, not just because of Britt Eckland's body double nakedly swaying away to it.”
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