Crazy P's James Baron Names the Soundsystem's Five Essential Jams
It was a season full of memorable parties, and it also spawned the critically acclaimed Wolf + Lamb vs. Soul Clap DJ-Kicks mix album on !K7 Records, which they recorded in Miami.
Now both Wolf + Lamb and Soul Clap are back for a new monthly winter residency at the Pickle, which kicks off on Saturday night. And as if the fantastic foursome weren't enough manpower on the decks, they're also hosting legendary UK disco-house sensations Crazy P Soundsystem.
Originally a DJ-production duo founded by James Baron and Chris Todd in the mid '90s, Crazy P has since expanded into a full band with acclaimed singer-songwriter Danielle Moore as well as instrumentalists Tim Davies and Mav Kendricks. Their sound: A delectable, sultry blend of soul, disco, and house with rare lyrical substance.
Crossfade caught up with James Baron to find out what he had to say about the Soundsystem's five most essential jams.
1. "Do It Good"
"This is early! From our first album release A Nice Hot Bath With... in 1996, with the esteemed Paper Recordings in Manchester. A mate had given a cassette (yes, a casette!) to the guys from the label, and we remember they left a message on his phone saying, "The guy's from Paper. Say yes!" It was such a cool label to be signed to. They were putting out records which were at the forefront of the UK house scene and were instrumental in developing a fresh sound which you can trace all the way to today's music. We were pretty chuffed to say the least. We did the majority of that album in my spare room. We'd found this little record shop on the pier, in the small seaside town I was living in, selling disco 12-inches for a quarter a go. We cleared them them out in no time, dragging our haul back to the sampler (via the pie shop), and getting busy! This tune was born out of one of those sessions."
2. "You Started Something"
"This was the first tune we had written with our wonderful chanteuse Danielle Moore, so it holds some fond memories. We were going out a lot in Manchester and met Danni socially before we thought about making music. There were some great parties going on at the time (Electric Chair, Robodisco, Aficionado) which looking back were inspirational and sparked our creativity. This period was when the goalposts started moving for us. We were subconsciously changing from two blokes with a sampler into a full-fledged band -- this particular tune being the one that kickstarted that process."
3. "Never Gonna Reach Me"
"We wrote this with the band after a long period touring the Night on Earth album, when our musical chops were really firing. It came out of a jam, and we tried to retain that feeling in the final version. It's a very loose arrangement with the vocal's narrative and character taking the lead and the band providing all the dynamic support. It's slow, but it gets pretty heavy in places and hopefully draws you in. A big live favorite. There's also a brilliant Hot Toddy remix which is worth a look."
4. Eddy Meets Yannah's "Solid Ground" (Crazy P Remix)
"We've done a lot of remixes over the years, so I thought it would be good to throw one in here. It's something we've really enjoyed doing, as it enables us to spread our wings a bit stylistically. And we've learned a lot working with all the different source material. I picked this one because it's a bit of a personal fave. It's big, dramatic and orchestral, and was done at the time we were increasingly moving away from our funkier sound. It was unfamiliar ground for us. But it ended up shaping a lot of the When We On album, in terms of its style and depth."
5. "Open Service"
"I think, lyrically and melodically, the new album is Danni's best work to date. She can write a hook and this is a great example. I remember when she came up with it in the studio, Chris [Todd] and I got an immediate buzz. It's so catchy, it feels like you should've heard it before and it was going 'round in our head for days after. You could call it disco, but there's loads of other elements in the hat too. I've even seen the toughest of house heads singing along!"
Crazy P, Wolf + Lamb, and Soul Clap with Electric Pickle residents. Saturday, November 5. Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 10 p.m. Call 305-456-5613 or visit electricpicklemiami.com.
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