Art of the front man part 2 - 'Shaun Ryder the anti front man'
Sometime in 1993 I was first told about this dude named 'Shaun Ryder', of course I had heard of the 'Happy Mondays', but being a yank in London at the time I really had no idea who Shaun Ryder really was etc etc. As I started asking the locals about this bloke I was about to go in the studio with, the reactions were pretty much the same “DONT DO IT!!” of course this just made me want to meet him even more. The rendezvous was set to take place at Battery Studios “I think,” in South London.
X (Shaun Ryder) arrived at the studio with Kermit in tow and I knew right away this was gonna be some “Nother other shit”. At the time I barely understood ‘Mancunese’ so I could only make out half the shit either of them was saying. Something about the joys of kaolin and morphine cough syrup how much they loved The Ghetto boys and Cyprus Hill, Stone Island, Smothers and top tunes etc etc. We got a loop going set up two mics and once the musical and chemical balance was right, X and Kermit went into the vocal booth and proceeded to lay down one of the greatest vocal takes I have ever witnessed.
The problem was me and the engineer were literally on the floor in tears laughing, it was so fucking funny. Shaun was making donkey noises and Kermit was doing Jamaican Patois behind him. We finally got through the take and these 2 come out, dead straight and said, ”Was it alright?”.
Looking back in retrospect I have to give myself a lot of credit, I guess from working with all the rappers I had, I instinctively knew how to deal with these two, that was great, ”Let me fuck with it”, I said.
Now the key to working with Shaun and Kermit was to build as much freedom into everything they did, never ever pinning them down to arrangements (whenever possible), it was mostly free flow stream of consciousness, approaching everything as a remix, Lay down a bunch of shit and then figure out what the chorus was and the verse etc. Of course you then could refine whatever was needed but it was imperative they had the freedom to spar like two boxers at least to find the magic.
I found out later how liberating it was for Shaun when he told me how a lot of producers made him track songs from beginning to end and if he fucked up they went back to the top, loads of takes etc. The moral of the story is, in my opinion, you have to recognize who the artist is your dealing and adapt to what’s gonna give them the best chance for success and not impose shit on them that will lead to frustration or failure whenever possible, by the way: the song is called 'Shake Well Before Opening', (Listen below) all the vocals on the record are from that session.
Pure FOOKING magic!!
Something new I have been working on!
The Winachi Tribe:
'There is no difference with them and any band I could have worked with in the 90s in the sense that they have the same spirit and the are real about their shit. They have been knocking at it for a while now, it’s been a few years and they are really starting to make some headway now and I respect them for that, especially Liam he’s brilliant! He’s so talented as a vocalist he’s got so many angles he can do, they are great!'
Listen to my remix of The Winachi Tribe - The Seed Will Grow BELOW:
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The Winachi Tribe is a collection of exceptional musicians and producers who have performed and toured with artists as diverse as Ian Brown, Black Grape, Happy Mondays, Massive Attack and The Stereo MCs. They bring together urban swagger, soul and funk to create unique electro-funk grooves; a sonic soul collective who are unrestrained by boundaries or formulas, either musically or culturally.
‘Plant the Seed’ is featured in a new documentary ‘We Own the Dance Floor‘, which tells the story of the Hacienda and was premiered at this year’s Glastonbury Festival. The band will be embarking on a UK tour in October.
‘Plant the Seed’ will be released on September 25th on A1M records, along with a Danny Saber remix of the track. The track sees the band collaborating with Julie E Gordon of Happy Mondays.
GET IT HERE!