Combining two of the most established and hard-working dance artists around was only ever going to have one outcome. Steven Redant and Peyton’s friendship gleams as bright as their passion for music, and has done for the last few decades. Their eccentric and varied plethora of cultural and musical backgrounds have had a huge impact on this highly anticipated release, which signifies and stands for a lot more than just a record. Already receiving heavy support from Phil Marriott at Gaydio, Tom Stephan & Abel Aguilera of Rosable, Australia’s Joy FM and Danny Verde, not to mention the unbelievable reaction it got at the Sydney’s recent Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras event, the hype is certainly building up around this one, it will be shining out in no time. ‘Let It Shine’ is out on Swishcraft Music on the 7th April, so we caught up with Steven Redant and Peyton to chat about the release…
Interview by Will Waldron
Hi guys, thanks for talking to us today. Congratulations on the new track, can you tell us about the initial thought processes behind ‘Let it Shine,’ and how the release came about?
P) Steven and I have mentioned working together before, but as I told Steven many times, he just wasn’t famous enough for me to even consider working with him before, haha. (He will enjoy that reply!) The truth of course is that it just took the right project to come along, and to Steven’s credit, that project came to life when he created the track now known as ‘Let It Shine.’ At a time when I have been focussing most of my creative energy on an album which is a fairly drastic departure from dance music, Steven sent me this track and asked me if I would be interested in collaborating with him on it. I was immediately drawn in by the tribal beats and the African chorus, and the idea of adding a gospel vibe to this powerful fusion of sounds was too tempting to resist.
S) Peyton and I have been buds for a very long time, from when animals could still speak. Every year when I go to deejay in Ibiza, we hang out and rant about the good old days, about the good new days and we reorganize the entire world. It would be such a happy place for us. I’ve always wanted to work with Peyton, but it had to be on the right project. Something gospel, something original, something different. And then I came up with the base for Let It Shine. African drums and a powerful driving bassline and I wanted a gospel voice over it. As if to connect history. There’s only one voice I could think of that would fit perfectly. This was something that got Peyton’s juices flowing too. He flew over from Ibiza to Barcelona on a massive hangover, but still his happy chirpy self and a voice from the grave. 2 tea’s and some gibbling over the lyrics he came up with and we immediately got round to recording. It was one of those magical sessions. The creative energy was flowing and we’d riff off each other’s idea. It’s for days like this that you work in the studio. Getting the track out on the other hand, was a bit of an ordeal courtesy of some lovely people in the music industry but in the end we found a great partner in Swishcraft. Who we trust to take good care of our musical “baby.” Peyton’s lyrics are just amazing. While wanting to share good vibes and happy feelings of love on the dancefloor they transcend our dancing-happy-place and turn out to be a lesson for everybody in these dark days of populist politics where nobody has anything but his own interests in mind. We should all let our light shine and resist the dark side. RESIST!
I’ve read before that you two have been good friends for many years, did you always have a collaboration in mind?
P) Steven and I had discussed it on occasion, but the fact is that our sounds have actually always been quite different. It wasn’t necessarily the most obvious of pairings. It took Steven to have the vision for a tribal gospel fusion, which at first I questioned for about five minutes before it suddenly made total sense. After all, gospel has its roots in Africa (like most things of course) so putting these two sounds together is exceedingly effective because they share the same essence and come from the same source.
S) I did. Peyton not so much. Hahaha. Never mix work and pleasure, right? No, it took so long because the right project hadn’t come up.
Who have you both been listening to recently that has had an influence on the sound and style of the track?
P) I know it’s probably blasphemy to admit this, but I don’t really listen to much dance music these days. As a writer I’m more interested in listening to good songwriting, regardless of the style of music. Good songwriting isn’t necessarily dictated by current trends in sound, and as dance music has gradually moved away from song-based lyrically-driven compositions, I have found myself referring to it less and less for inspiration. A producer/DJ however has the somewhat more daunting task of keeping up with sounds and staying on trend, so Steven will no doubt have been doing his homework! I just keep listening to Ella Fitzgerald sing the Cole Porter songbook to remind me what genius sounds like.
S) Honestly, I don’t think there’s a track out like this one. I listen to what my dancefloor tells me, to the people who dance to my music. I make music for them, for my sets to be better, original and invigorating. I want my audience to smile and go home with a good feeling.
Peyton – what are your views and ideologies behind the vocals and lyrics?
P) I have always been committed to the idea that music is ministry. When we dance, our hearts are open and our souls are vibrating on a higher frequency so there is no better time to deliver a positive message through music. Last year was a pretty sucky year for just about every person I know. We are certainly living through uncertain times, and it’s easy to begin wondering if the bad guys are winning. However, I truly believe that darkness is nothing more than the absence of light, and so to fight it we must come together and just shine our light even brighter. The dance floor can and should be a place where miracles happen! After all, for many people it is a kind of church.
Steven – The tribal sounds feature heavily throughout, is this something you aimed to do at the beginning or did it fall into place naturally as the production progressed?
Oh no, I really wanted a very tribal track. A mix of African and Brazilian percussion with entrancing chant over it. That was my basic thought. I’m not the kind of producer that lets himself go on a ride and see whatever comes out. I’m a total control freak and I have a very clear idea of what I want when I go into the studio. Which is awful and stressful, because I spend so much time finding that one sound that I have in my head. And until I find that very specific sound it’ll stay in my head and there’s no way moving forward. Very much fun for people working with me. Not annoying at all. #ispeaksarcasm
How did you go about deciding who got to remix ‘Let it Shine?’
P) Remix decisions were made by Swishcraft and Steven, and I just trusted them to make the right choices which they did. It’s a very strong remix package all around but the Dirty Disco remix actually blew my mind and had me dancing around my living room like a maniac for hours until my neighbours finally threatened to call the police. True story!
S) Remixes are promo. You want to reach a group who you think will like your song, but not in it’s current form. Together with Matt and Peyton we then go around to share ideas. I’m not much into 10 remixes of the same song, I’d rather have just 2 or 3 great ones. Tom Siher is a gay circuit genius and everything he puts out ends up in the Beatport charts. He was smitten with the vocals and did a great job on it. And the one that happily surprised us all was the Dirty Disco one. The guys went out of their comfort zone and keep up with something that gave both Peyton and me goosebumps. We were chirping schoolgirls when it went in.
Finally, what does the future have instore for Peyton and Steven Redant, is there another collaboration in the pipeline?
P) I’m not even sure God knows what the future holds these days, but Steven and I will no doubt be working together in some capacity again in the future, even if it’s just working on finishing off a few jugs of Sangria.
S) We’ll see what happens but for the moment the only collaboration we have in mind is sharing a bottle of wine in Peyton’s garden in Ibiza this summer (which is always a good starting point for a new track).
Steven Redant & Peyton – Let It Shine Label: Swishcraft Music Release Date: 07/04/2017