What happens if you take one of London's original house heads and the brains behind a number of bona fide Sound Factory classics, two of the fiercest DJs from queer side of the capital’s contemporary house scene, a couple of ace New York vocalists with real attitude, stick them all in a studio together and shake it all about?
You get the Shadybunch, you get Backlash and you get two fierce, modern day runway realness gems ‘Diva Snap’ and ‘Fire’ on one record!
The Shadybunch’s ‘Diva Snap’ sees Terry Farley, who is responsible for Junior Vasqueuz power plays, like the ‘8 Minutes of Madness mix of DSK ‘What Would We Do’ and the ‘Junior Style’ mix of the Happy Monday’s ‘Stinkin Thinkin’ (both of which I personally heard wreck the Factory floor), team up Horse Meat Disco resident DJ and house affiecando Severino .
The idea for the track was hatched after Severino was on Horse Meat DJ duties in the Big Apple (talk about taking coals to Newcastle) and happened to meet with two vocalists with real ballroom pedigree - Paul Alexander, who is one third The Ones and the voice behind things like Size Queen’s ‘Walk!’, and Frankie Fuentes, who was responsible for original bitch track project Jack and Jill on New York’s legendary Strictly Rhythm, and the vocals on Junior Vasquez’s infamous answer phone message based ‘If Madonna Calls’.
Hooking up seemed like the perfect idea - and with house lineage like this, how could they fail?
The track itself draws inspiration from a short exert from US poet, teacher and gay rights activist Marlon Riggs’ 1989 film ‘Tongues United’, made at the height the AIDS crisis, which is essentially a tutorial on how to do the diva snap! But the boys build on this with thoroughbred New York vocal performances from Paul and Frankie, and Terry and Seve’s dance floor savvy shining through with crisp, snappy beats, punchy samples, and more attitude downtown queen who’s been just been told she’s got Barabra Steisand’s nose and that her wig looks like a helmet.
Check the little youtube snippet below.
On the flip we have The Backlash, which sees young Mister Farley team up Dan Beaumont, formerly one third of East London disco behemoth, Disco Bloodbath, but now one half of the Jam Factory, proprietor of the Kingsland Road’s hottest gay dancing spot, the Dalston Superstore, resident at Paris’ Disco Ball and one of London’s best new school house DJs.
Whilst Dan is very much of today, he has great knowledge of the past and is a big fan of both the original Sound Factory scene and all that it spawned, and today’s New York ballroom scene with its R’n’B sensibilities and stars like DJ Mike Q.
Rawer and rougher than ‘Diva Snap’, it’s the banji boy to Shadybunch’s runway queen. And ‘Sweet Brown’s’ vocal are quite unique too!
I asked Dan about how the track came about and he explained, “Terry found the main sample via an American TV news item and immediately saw the house potential of the woman being interviewed. So we took the vox, along with a bag of other samples, into the studio.”
Dan continued, “Terry was very clear about the sound he wanted in terms of the syncopated snare fills and the rawness of the bottom end. We borrowed heavily from our personal house favourites and with the engineering talents of Justin Drake, were able to work it into a record that we both wanted to play - and I have been pumping it in every set I've played since we made it!”
It's a pretty fierce package, which like many of the best house records, gives a nod to the past has its feet firmly planted on the dancefloor of here and now. And if that wasn't enough, there's what is bound to be a rump shakin' Batty Bass in the digital-only pipeline from Hannah Holland.
But what's the overall verdict? 10, 10, 10, 10, 10s ACROSS THE BOARD!
It couldn't have been anything else really!
The Shadybunch and Backlash is released released via Prime Distribution on 9th July but you should be able to pick it up in cooler record shops at the end of next week. Digital release to follow later in July on Batty Bass Records.