And on the eight day...
God Made me Hardcore - the burgeoning electroclash scene has spawned a new label and a host of acts, new and old, and some of those involved explain it all.
2002 was the year when the underground electro scene went overground, with the likes of Ladytron, Fischerspooner, Tiga & Zyntherius and Green Velvet popped into the charts bringing plink-plonk synths and tongue-in-cheek vocals back into fashion. In the midst of this a new label appeared with a few (somewhat) familiar names on its roster.
God Made me Hardcore is the brainchild of a couple of veterans of the dance scene, Richard Norris and Andy Chatterley. Richard started out with Psychic TV on the seminal acid house record, "Jack the Tab", in 1988 and went on to become one half of The Grid with the former Soft Cell member and fellow Psychic TV co-conspirator, Dave Ball. He then became a highly accomplished producer. Andy C was a member of Psychic TV for '93's "Peak Hour" and then teamed up with another long-time Psychic TV collaborator, Richard Schiessl, to form Yum Yum and Sperm Records. Richard and Andy record and perform together as GMMH's main band, the Droyds. As if there weren't enough Psychic TV links already, the Droyds drummer is Matthew Best, AKA DJ Global, who worked with all of the above in Psychic TV and was also the drummer with Yum Yum.
As if to prove the point about synchronicity, there's a strange story about how they all got together, though Andy's wary about going into too many details. "It was through a web site called twentythree.co.uk and a strange character called Scribe... anyway probably best not to go into actual details of the website and the meeting or else we might face ritual sacrifice!" Richard's only explanation is that "the psychic network is strong".
So far, God Made me Hardcore has issued three singles, the Droyds 'Take me I'm yours', featuring a tongue-in-cheek cover of the Squeeze track and a cover of an old Duran Duran track, retitled 'Girls on pills'; a single by Moon Unit (basically the Droyds with Julienne Davis, the woman in the Carling Beer ad and the junkie hooker in Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut", on vocals) featuring a cover of Devo's 'Whip it'; a comeback single from '80s icon Siobhan Fahey; and a label sampler compilation.
According to Richard, the ethos of the group is to put out what they want, when they want, to have fun and to push new electronic music forward. "Chart success would be great, although I'd prefer a slower word-of-mouth building process."
The roster currently features a number of different acts; some exist independently like The Droyds, Siobhan Fahey, Bunnymad 69 and Sensyon, others, like Moon Unit, are Andy and Richard working with different singers. Andy said they are looking at several bands that they want to sign in 2003. "I tell you they are amazing, but I won't mention names till we sign them!"
According to Richard, they want to build up a strong label with a cool roster of artists over time. "We are planning a whole host of artists - The Droyds is our band, but we are also going to be producing other acts - send yer demos in...
"We are going to be developing new artists, launching a fantastic new weekly club on Fridays in collaboration with Nag Nag Nag, touring in Japan, finishing the Droyds album, re-releasing 'Take Me I'm Yours' on Poptones with new mixes, working with Siobhan, collaborating, remixing... lots going on. There will certainly be a second compilation, too."
Richard's decision was a mix of good timing and a wish to start an electro act because the sound was becoming more popular. "For me, it's an extension of everything I've done from 'Jack The Tab' to the Grid and beyond - twisted electronic pop music, basically. I'm glad people are open to those sounds at the moment - so, yeah, the timing is good. Lets have more mutant pop!"
Andy and Richard first worked together on a piece of music for a radio broadcast for the twentythree.co.uk website, which was broadcasted on www.ammocity.com, a website Richard was running. Andy says they worked really well together and formed a great dynamic studio partnership and understanding really quickly.
"Initially, we started working on a project called Wired Hifi, which is filmic down-tempo thing, I love it actually. We were halfway through the album when the idea of God Made Me Hardcore came to us, so that got sidelined for a while, though I think we will finish that album later on in 2003. The whole GMMH thing hit us one day when we were discussing how boring and dull dance music had become and how it lacked characters and songs. It was very timely and obviously in the air. We made 'Girls on pills' and 'Take me I'm yours in the same afternoon about 5 hours for both tracks, which is really punk and completely anti that whole anal studio approach of a lot of dance music. We just had fun and fucked about in the studio."
John Taylor joined later, though he had known Andy for a long time, because the studio he worked in was right next to Andy's studio. "I used to go and see what projects he was working on. And, one day, I bumped into him in the West End and we had a good chat, I told him that I go over to Germany a lot playing electro. That's when I found out he had a new project called The Droyds - in which I was very interested. After a few meetings, I was asked to join the band - of which I'm very proud of and I think we bring a bit of excitement to the scene."
John plays live with the Droyds and does go in the studio with them, but he admits that it's not as much as he would like to. He still has his own projects under the Punx Sound Check name. "I have been in the studio a lot doing a remake of 'Fade to Grey' with Steve Strange and we have just finished a blinding remix of Dead or Alive's 'U spin me round', which will be released soon by Sony - it's going to be huge."
Punx Sound Check, John with Arif Salih, was formerly called Phat Company and released one electroclash single, 'Icon Series #1'. However, because they release house music under the Phat Company name, they didn't want people to get confused, so they came up with a name for the electro stuff.
The Icon Series is a series of limited 7" coloured vinyl releases featuring a musical icon on the sleeve and two tracks of twisted electro music. The first, featuring Sid Vicious, sold within a week. "We have had e-mails from Miss Kitten & Freddy Fresh saying how much they liked the 7". The next release will be Icon Series #2, which will be on yellow vinyl and the Human League will be the icon. The track is called 'Euro Trash Boy' featuring Princess Julia and the B-side will have a much tougher Droyds mix."
As for Richard and Andy's other projects, Richard's Gold Star act and Areeba Records label finished about a year ago. "Gold Star's 'Sex Toy' predates both the current obsession with electro and the sound of GMMH - I regularly play it out and it fits in well." Sperm Records, which Andy set up with Richard Schiessel when he was 19, finished up years ago. "It was a great time and brilliant learning experience for me, both in the studio and in how to run a company. We are still producing together under the name Yum Yum; we have just finished a single with Terra Deva (Shakedown) called 'Dizzy'."
As well as the forthcoming releases, the Droyds have a full list of live appearances ahead of them. Some eyebrows were raised in the London cybergoth scene when their name appeared in the line-up of Flag Promotions' up-coming Electrofest show (6th April). However, Richard explains, "The Electrofest people contacted us as they are keen to broaden their scene to include a wider electronic brief. Sounds good to me - the more the merrier." They also did the Electrogogo one-off X-mas special at Madame Jojo's in London with the Electrofest organisers in December and are playing support to synthpop act Mesh this Saturday (11th January).
by Donnacha DeLong.