House Masters – Rocky, nice to speak to you. Exciting times afoot for X-Press 2, a brand new album swinging our way later this year. Decided on a title yet?
“Ha, it’s still work in progress Dan, it’s going to be ‘The House of X-Press 2 presents… – but we haven’t agreed on the final part yet!
You have some amazing collaborations on board the album, tell us more…
“We have some stunning people on board, Rob Harvey, David Mensah, Tomi Garcia, Tim Deluxe, two tracks with Roland Clark, DOLL and a certain Alison Limerick who we are in the studio with today.”
Alison’s 1991 ‘Where Loves Lives’ is one of dance music’s all time classics. What is her voice like today?
“Mate, you know, unbelievable. She wouldn’t spill the beans about how her voice is so such up there. She came up to the studio on Friday and what a professional. She sounded amazing,. Whatever she has got she still has – and in bundles.”
It must be difficult going choosing track 1 from the album…?
“Dan, it’s a great position to be in. All great stuff, it’s terrific to try and pick one of maybe five or six truly outstanding records. What a quandry we are in!”
Which collaboartion with an artist on this album has really blown you away?
“That is such a difficult question. If you pushed us, Roland Clark. We originally sent him a backing track and he sent is two tracks back, wow. We knew there and then where we were going, a definte turning point.”
It’s been a few tough years for house DJs in clubland but all of a sudden house is back in vogue, why do you think this has happened?
“I think it’s because of all of the cool young producers around right now. They are looking at the older music stuff as an influence. The same way we were doing in the 90s, looking back at Techno, borrowing stuff from Disco – that’s what the new breed are doing today but making it their own, it’s so healthy. We do our radio show on Ministry on Thursdays and you wouuldn’t believe the multitude of new stuff we get sent. We could fill a 6 hour show honestly. It’s a a great sign that there is so much brilliant music out there right now.”
What are the big 10 tunes you are playing at the moment?
“Dan I am at Waitrose at the moment, give me half an hour to get back to the studio!”
1. X-Press 2 & Tim Deluxe ‘Lost The Feelin’
2. Virgo – ‘It’s A Crime’ Caribou Remix
3. Giorgio Roma ‘Across The Eastside’
4. Tanner Ross ‘For You’ feat. Flo Night (Deniz Kurtel Remix
5. Daniel Bortz – Don’t Be Fooled
6. Robert Owens – One Body. Kaine Interpretation
7. X-Press 2 feat. Doll – This Is War. KiNK Remix
8. Zomby – Natalia’s Song
9. Osunlade – Envision. Âme Remix
10. Skudge – Ontic. Rolando’s Understand Remix
Favourite club you have played at this year?
“The Wickerman festival in Scotland was unbelievable. Also Macarena in Barcelona was superb. A tiny club where we played for six hours, beautiful people, just one of those night’s you didn’t want to end.”
Do you still get excited performing in clubs after all these years?
“Absolutely. We are constantly inspired about new music, new producers, new DJs who are always creating elements of their own. It keeps us going. People like Daniel Bortz who is always moving forward, very interesting, very cutting edge and always inspiring. Julio Bashmoor, his sound sounds old but it’s not, it’s his own take. I’m getting tingles just thinking about these guys. We’ve been doing this for 23 years and we still get the same buzz, there is nothing like getting a reaction from our music – nothing comes close.”
What is the best record ever made?
“No question. ‘Planet Rock’ Afrika Bambaataa.”
What is your Guilty Pleasure tune?
“Ha. Colin Blunstone ‘Say You Don’t Mind’.”
A few big name DJs have hit their 50th Birthday this year and continue to rock the floor, what are your thoughts on DJs carrying on playing towards their Bus Pass?
“I think it’s healthy, myself and Diesel have a way to go admittedly – but if you are still relevant and people want to listen to your music then why not? Look at Dave Roddigan, DJ Derek, Norman Jay – all brilliant.”
Did we spot you at Hampton Court the other day?
“Yes, I was watching The Kings Speech, lovely day.”
So it’s your birthday. What 3 DJs would you ask to come and play – and don’t say Diesel and Ashley!
“Dan, they would be the last on my list. Only joking, Diesel is standing next to me in the aisle at Waitrose! Crikey, well Junior Vasquez at his 1994 peak for his tribal houseness. Paul Murphy for his Jazz days and Tee Scott to provide his Disco and New York beautifilness.”
And finally, DMC are the proud owners of the Back To Mine series…what ten tracks would be spin for us if we came back to yours after a club…?
Over to Diesel…
01) “River” – Terry Reid.
The title track from a flawless album by this American folk artist. I don’t know much about him but a dear friend of mine put me onto this many years ago. Cherished it ever since.
02) “How Can I Love You” – Eleanore Mills.
An absolutely outstanding soul record, possibly my favourite by a female vocalist. Her voice just gets to you. You can hear the heartbreak in her voice. Stunning.
03) “Say” – Cat Power.
This is a very personal one for me and my other half: it was what we were listening to when we first met. It’s from an album called Moon Pix which for me is still her best record.
04) “Beat Bop” – Rammelzee Vs K. Rob.
Listening to it recently, it still sounds fresh today and still way ahead of anything in the genre. The production is breathtaking. The best hip hop record ever made.
05) “In A Rut” – The Ruts.
The Ruts will always have a special place in my heart. I grew up in an area called Hayes which is where the band were from. For me they were up there with The Clash. A timeless punk song.
06) “You’ve Got To Have Freedom” – Pharoah Sanders.
A real gem of a jazz dance tune and one of the first that started me off on being an obsessive jazz collector. Pure spirituality.
07) “You Are Everything” – Diana Ross & Marvin Gaye.
There are really no words to describe this but just to say that it reminds me of my Mum. A record I have loved as long as I can remember.
08) “Drums Not Dead” – The Liars.
New to me, but I just can’t get enough of this New York band. A stunning album of drones, textures and beautiful songs.
09) “Sur Une Nappe De Restaurant” – Jacques Dutronc.
A big record in our house. French psyche funk. My family know all the words.
10) “All The World Loves Lovers” – Prefab Sprout.
I have a soft spot for this band. This is from an album called Jordan, their Monumental come back. Songwriting on another level.