Medicine 8

As the world of dance music seemed to be in a state of desperation with super clubs closing and record sales falling, one act stood head and shoulders above them all. That act are called Medicine 8 and you're as likely to finds them listening to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and the Stones as The Streets and Todd Terry. It's what makes them stand out from the pack with their unique blend of hard edge dance music and it's what made them the Best Dance Act of 2002 for Designer Magazine. We caught up with younger sibling Luke May to find where dance music goes next.

Q: How does it feel to beat the Streets and J Walk to the Number 1 Dance Act of 2002 in the Designer Magazine Best of 2002 Issue? And who have been your favourite artists and what's been the big singles for you in 2002?
A: Were over the moon, it amazing. When we did the album we weren't really expecting too much from it. We did it kind of by accident and we were just doing a compilation of the back catalogue of our old label and we did a couple of exclusive new bits which then went on to form this album. For it to have gone so well is a real big bonus, so to beat the likes of the Streets is above and beyond our expectations.

I think in terms of doing something interesting it's The Streets I suppose. It's not necessarily what I would listen to all the time, but in terms of something really fresh and interesting it's probably them. But what I'm listening to at home I like the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. I don't actually listen to a lot of dance music at home because it's what you do and that's possible why people say that Medicine 8 sound different to other people - that's probably because we listen to more band orientated stuff than dance music.

Q: This year was the year that the arse fell out of dance music with the super clubs closing by the week. As the voice of the nation why do think this has happened?
A: I personally think that the main problem is you're hearing tunes on adverts before DJ's are getting them - so it's all overly available if you know what I mean. There's no exclusivity anymore and we live in a world where Estee Lauder have a track before Carl Cox so it takes the mystery away from it for people. They're just bombarded day in day out with repetitive beats, so it means when you go out it's not as special when you hear it.

Q: Nowadays dance music and clubbing is very much seen as just another leisure option to squeeze in between the latest episode of Friends or Big Brother or a choice of holiday option between Ibiza or a Snow boarding holiday. Back in the day what was it that first inspired you with the whole clubbing culture?
A: Just going out. Liam started to go to places like The Sin when he was 15 and he took me to Rage at Heaven when I was 14. We kind of started going out straight away and then when Liam went to university in Leeds I'd end up going there once a month to places like the Corn Exchange and Back 2 Basics and listen to Simon Scott on Dream Fm.

I just loved the whole jumping around and getting fucked up and thought f**k it, let's start making music. We were really big fans of the usual suspects like Kevin Saunderson and Todd Terry, but even though we going out and taking E's and stuff when we were at home I played the drums and Liam would play guitar and we were much more into the Rolling Stones and The Band and Robert Johnson.

So it started off with us trying to emulate what we were hearing at the weekend, but at the same time bringing in the rockier end of stuff and we ended up with what we've ended up with.

Q: As you said before the Medicine 8 sound is different from what is going around now. Do you think the return of dance music to the underground can focus it back to music rather than the more commercial superstar DJ's?
A: I'd like to think so. I think smaller venues are just better, full stop, for clubbers and DJ-ing in. The bigger the place, the smaller the atmosphere - I know it's a bit of a cliché, but it's a cliché because it's true. I think a small sweaty room is the best place to have a party and we like to play quite a tough kind of music.

Q: The first Medicine 8 album was somewhat of an accident as you said before. Have you started working on the second album yet and will there be any collaborations this time round?
A: We've just got our studio built and we've got shit loads of stuff on the back burner because it didn't necessarily fit in with what we were doing before. The next album is going to be slightly more ambitious in terms of songs and music.

It certainly not the plan to do any collaborations because that's been done a bit. But if we find someone who fits the bill, whether they're known or unknown, I think it would be good to have someone who gels it all together rather than seeming almost like a compilation produced by one person which is what some of these things turn out like.

"Iron Stylings" is out now on Regal Records
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