Last week we caught up with legendary producer Arthur Baker as part of the New Order tour. Out on the road to promote his forthcoming album Perfecto presents...Arthur Baker it mixes up classic Old Skool productions with newer collaborations alongside the likes of Timo Mass et all. In an exclusive interview Arthur talks about dance culture in the year 2001 and spills all the goss on his forthcoming rock album featuring the likes of Primal Scream, Alabama 3 and Ash. Read on:
Q: How did you hook up with Perfecto records?
A: Well I've known Paul for years. Actually, the first time Paul ever went into a recording studio it was with me. I met him at the Midem music festival in 1987 and it was my first trip over to Europe. We just hit it off really well and after that I came to London via Paris. So Paul booked me into the studio on condition that I let him have it for Europe - that was the first time Paul was actually in the recording studio. And years later he says I was the inspiration for him wanting to make records. We've been friends ever since.
Its not necessarily a typical Perfecto record but its still got those roots. At first they just wanted to do a compilation of the Old Skool stuff but I wanted to present something I'm doing now - I didn't just want it to be a history lesson!!!
Q: Dance music changes so quickly. How do you keep up with it all?
A: Well I have a radio show now on XFM so I'm getting stuff sent to me and I still go record shopping 2 or 3 times a week. Most DJs just play one style so its a little easier to stay right on top of that one style - if people just play house they don't have to be worrying about Breakbeat and hip-hop - I play a bit of everything.
I did the Tommy Boy tour and that was really easy because it was just hip-hop. I brought my hip-hop records and it was very easy. Tonight (Ed: New Order warm-up) I can play anything I want and it becomes a little more difficult. All the big DJ's, Mase or Dan the Automator, had their set ready whereas I'd always come with these records and not have a clue what to play.
Q: When you look at DJ and dance culture today. What do you think of it?
A: There's more genre's and there's more types of music. Its used to be dance music and you'd play hip-hop. When it started out it wasn't as segregated in the way it is now. Very few DJ's will play lots of different vibes - Richard Fearless does - very few though will drop a hip-hop track.
Most DJ's just go with being safe and I can understand it. If I was technically as good a DJ as some of these guys are I would in the midst of a big set...even Paul is guilty of this too because when he first started at Heaven he used to play anything and that was thing with the whole balearic thing - you play anything. I try to educate people when I play music and that's pretty much what I want to do.
To me the whole break scene is more interesting that straight ahead house - no one really blows be away!!!
Q: Dare we mention it UK Garage - what do you think of it?
A: I don't like the vocally stuff, I think its really corny. I like the music and when it becomes integrated into more of a breaks thing like Freq Nasty. There's a lot of stuff on Locked on that really blows me a away.
Q: As well as the Perfecto record you've been working on a rock album. Fill us in?
A: Its going pretty well. I've been working with Tim Wheeler (Ash), Fridge, Mogwai, Alabama 3 and Primal Scream and its close to being done. Its very song orientated but its still danceable - some of us its like early New Order.
I've got to keep my music changing, you don't want to stay stagnant because you get bored. That's why I end up doing rock music and dance music and do it all. Some people honestly like one type of music and I can see the side of playing one kind of music and being really good at playing that type of music.
"Perfecto Presents.....Arthur Baker" is out now