A couple of proper Northern dudes. New single ‘Beggarman’ coming out on November 21st, a real mixture of different decades in there. What were the artists that influenced you two growing up that made you want to get into the music world?
Smoove: “I was really young when I first got into Funk music and then later got into Hip Hop music through break-dancing. I collected records from the age of 12, so looking for samples has introduced me to many different styles of music – everything from Prog Rock to Folk, Jazz etc. If you’re going to make interesting music it helps if you have a wide taste in music and an open mind. Hip Hop had a big influence on my production as I loved making beats that hit hard, producers like Pete Rock, Marley Marl and the 45 King. I also liked listening to cats like John Barry, George Gershwin and Henry Mancini for their beautiful string arrangements. John first began singing in rock bands at university because nobody was playing funk or soul music, but he also had a wide ear for music listening to people like Cream, Stevie Wonder, Richie Havens, Steely Dan and more recently old soul and jazz music.”
John, how does it feel being compared to Otis Redding?
“Over the Knot! Being classed with someone as legendary as Otis is one of the biggest compliments you can be paid.”
The track is pulled from your classic ‘Antique Soul’ album, song number three from the long player. To me, it’s an album that reeks of a couple of guys trawling through old record shops looking for that unique sample, explain the album, especially some of the lyrics which mean so much to everyday life…
Smoove: “I am a real vinyl junkie and was digging in buckets of vinyl when I found the sample for our song ‘You Don’t Know’, which was cleared with kind permission from Lindsey De Paul. The whole album is a mixture of samples and live musicianship with programmed beats, which is how we created our “northern funk sound”. The latest single Beggarman contains an obscure brass band sample, which I stumbled across in my own 10,000 plus record collection. When John first heard the ‘Beggarman’ song he instantly began scribbling lyrics to accompany the bizarre song. John is a great lyricist, something that seems to be lost in recent musical times as he wears his heart on his sleeve. When we first recorded together it was a magical moment like the missing link had been found. It still amazes me the speed at which John can write his lyrics – I can’t keep up with him in the studio.
I hear the album deal with Jalapeno was quite a quick turnaround.
Smoove: “We had already recorded and completed the album along with artwork when we offered it to Jalapeno. They gave it one listen and called back with an offer so the deal was done in one hour!”
What are the big 10 tunes you are playing right now?
“Smoove and Turrell – ‘Beggarman’ (Smoove remix)
Tom Bee – ‘Godfathers’ (Black Grass remix – jack to phono)
Grant Green/Orquesta de la luz – ‘Let The Music Take Your Mind ‘(Mukatsuku)
DJ Kid Stretch – ‘Pushin’ (Good Groove)
Nick Pride and The Pimp Tones – ‘Deeper Pimp’ – Smoove retouch (Wack Records)
DJ D Kline and Red Polo – ‘No Other Booty’ (Hot Cakes)
Basement Freaks – ‘Cheeba Dance’ (Wack Records)
Daytoner – ‘Little Wonder’ (Wack Records)
Cooking On 3 Burners – ‘Cars’ (Freestyle)
Smoove and Turrell – ‘You Don’t Know’ (Kraak and Smaak remix – Jalapeno)
Best ever Geordie…
“The Bobby Robson and Andy Cap
“Andy Smith, brilliant selections and mixing skills, he’s a top bloke too.”
The Cluny in Newcastle is great for live bands and imported beers!
Favourite clubs at the moment around the world?
“So many good underground clubs in Europe now, it’s impossible to pick one. However, the most surreal club is called Kraftwerk in Switzerland where a huge waterfall supplies the electricity to the club.”
“What’s your favorite label of all time?
“Acid Jazz and Talking Loud – as it was such a brilliant time for British music back then.”
Your early single ‘I Can’t Give You Up’ famously was selling on eBay for £160 when this limited edition sold out – did you know anyone who was buying it on eBay?
“There was a mod forum on the web where people were in heavy debate over this single which we kept an eye on, but never left any comments as we thought it be best to sit back and look on.”
What is next from the Smoove & Turrell studio?
“We are recording a follow up Smoove and Turrell album which still has no title but we hope to have it complete for summer 2010. So far it’s sounding really nice and we haven’t steered too far away from our northern funk sound.”
Danni or Kylie?
Both we’re greedy!
Thoughts on Kevin Keegan?
“I don’t follow football at all, I’m too busy looking for records, but John seems like a glutton for punishment as Newcastle is not in the Geordie good books at the moment! Kevin is a God in John’s eyes, even though he has walked out twice.”
Best festival you’ve played at this year?
“There have been some big ones. We Played Glastonbury, Kendal Calling, but the Big Chill Festival was really special to us. We really enjoyed the laid back vibe and we got a great response from the crowd. Here’s some footage taken from someone’s phone in the crowd at the big chill http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiqnG0On9h4
How important do you think it is combining live, raw vocal talent with modern technology?
“I think it’s very important to be able to take your studio recordings out and play them live as we have a 7 piece band which we are currently on tour with combining samples with live instrumentation.”
The new single has been picked up by Radio 1’s Kissy Sell Out, Groove Armada and Hexidecimal – and record of the week on various radio shows, what does that mean to you?
“Every time we hear our tune being played in a bar, club, local radio or national radio it brings a smile to our faces so it’s brilliant that these cats are supporting our music. We have also had great support from BBC 6 Craig Charles Funk and Soul show and we won single of the week two times on Radio 2’s Radcliffe & Maconie show as well as performing live on Radio 2, Radio 4 and 6.”
Best record ever made?
John – “Peter Green ‘Man Of The World’
Smoove- James Brown – ‘Give It Up Or Turn It Loose’
Beggarman” is the new single from Smoove & Turrell out on Jalapeno Records. Their “Antique Soul” album is also out on Jalapeno. Catch Smoove on the dex at the Jalapeno Christmas Party on Saturday December 12th @ the Big Chill House in London.