Lempo & Roland Clark – Dance Without A Reason (Strictly Rhythm)
After a three year hiatus, following a collaboration on Todd Terry’s InHouse Records in 2017, Lempo and Roland Clark join forces once again to deliver the timeless house classic Dance Without A Reason on iconic imprint Strictly Rhythm.
I was raised on a stable diet of soul, funk and disco. One man in particular I hold in the highest regard is ‘The Hitmaker’ himself, Nile Rodgers. His band Chic are amazing, I’ve seen them live several times, most recently at Castlefield bowl in Manchester last Summer – they actually get better with age, like a fine wine. Nile is legendary as a rhythm guitarist, producer and songwriter, amongst all the pop hits Chic have given us, their first Atlantic records release ‘Everybody Dance’ is the one for me, Bernard Edwards’ bass playing is just rude, Norma Jean Wright smashes it on lead vocals and you’ve even got Luther Vandross on backing vocals… the ultimate slice of feel good disco funk.
‘Modern love’ – David Bowie [EMI Records]
It’s difficult for any David Bowie fan to identify their favourite song or even album as his catalogue was so vast, but you’d find it hard to argue with my choice of ‘Modern Love’. It was the opening track on his ‘Let’s Dance’ album, which coincidently was number one when I was born – this record will forever remind me of my wedding day, we had it blasting out of the car on our way to the church “On Time!”. I was blessed to see David perform live at Old Trafford Cricket Ground in 2002, it rained but nobody cared, he was class. My absolute hero when it comes to musical artistry. ‘Modern Love’ is just an all-round powerful piece of music – killer brass hook and a sprinkle of Nile Rodgers magic.
‘Controversy’ – Prince [Warner Bros. Music]
There’s a lot of records by The Purple One in my collection, but the stand-out for me is the title track from his fourth studio album ‘Controversy’. It was produced by Prince, written by him, and he also performed all of the instruments… show off! The one and only time I was lucky enough to see him perform was at The Academy in Manchester in 2014, it was a really intimate gig that was announced at the last minute, it was truly amazing! ‘Controversy’ is timeless – I still throw this one into my DJ sets today. He was an intriguing and charismatic artist and I think this record summed him up beautifully.
Move Your Body’ – Marshall Jefferson [Trax Records]
Trax Records cult classic “Move Your Body” is well documented as the first piano house track. Marshall is often referred to as a the ‘Father of House Music’, especially within the Chicago scene. I first discovered the track almost 20 years after it was released, when it featured in the ’24 Hour Party People’ movie about Tony Wilson, Factory Records and The Hacienda. As Tony famously said, “This is Manchester, we do things differently here!” – this must have resonated with Marshall as he now lives here in Manchester. We played a gig together last year and I got to spend some time in his company, he’s a very cool dude, loved listening to his stories.
‘(Who?) Keeps Changing Your Mind’ – South Street Player [Strictly Rhythm]
One of my favourite house anthems – smooth, rolling and deep. Strictly Rhythm as a label and Roland Clark as an artist have both been a huge influence on my sound. ‘(Who?) Keeps changing Your Mind’ was released as South Street Player which was a collaborative alias of Roland and George Morel back in 1993. This one’s got some serious soul; the uplifting tone is what made me want to work with Roland. The feel-good vibes and pitch-perfect vocals are what i aspired to recapture on ‘Dance Without A Reason.’
1. Prince – Something In The Water
This is my top favorite because as a teenager I was vastly influenced by Prince musically and it was that one song I would play over and over again. It was so different than anything that I heard that was out at the time. The layered pads and the computer type keys along with his vocals opened up a whole new world for me. It spoke volumes to me and shaped the way I wanted to sound.
2. Stevie Wonder – Jesus Children Of America
In looking back it definitely told me I could go outside the rules of songwriting. What can I say, this tune embodies the most beautiful and prolific lyrics I have ever heard, it was my introduction to being as they say “Woke”. Keyboard riffs progressions lifting the tune higher and higher opens my creative soul. It’s one of those tunes I sometimes play at the end of my set. I always try to sneak a message in at the end of the night.
3. Phyllis Nelson – I Like You
Phyllis Nelson’s “I like You” was a song that when it came on back in the Zanzibar days almost brought me to tears… the music was very emotional for me, don’t ask why… but the bass line did something that moved my soul.. I would sit and just watch Tony Humphries play that tune sometimes he’d play it twice, which really made me happy.
4. Stanley Clarke – School Days
School Days by Stanley Clarke was another teenage treasure, I use to hang out at my neighbors Calvin Gaines house and everyone in his family could play an instrument, I felt a bit left out and picked up a bass guitar and learned the intro bassline. I would play it over and over and over again. It was with this tune I realized bass was the backbone of most every tune, without bass there’s no oomph.
5. Ten City – Devotion
Ten City’s Devotion, helped me get my falsetto voice into shape. I was influenced by the smoothness of Byron Stingley’s voice, I also was so jealous that I heard that song everywhere and it made me say to myself, when in Rome, sound like Byron lol .. I think it worked because the first song I wrote and sang in that voice was Who Keeps Changing Your Mind- South Street Player..
Lempo & Roland Clark – Dance Without A Reason (Strictly Rhythm)
After a three year hiatus, following a collaboration on Todd Terry’s InHouse Records in 2017, Lempo and Roland Clark join forces once again to deliver the timeless house classic Dance Without A Reason on iconic imprint Strictly Rhythm. The uplifting and soulful rhythms of Dance Without A Reason send out a powerful sense of positivity, as the sultry tones of Roland Clark ’s voice complement the luscious cords, brass tones and inspiring melodies. Roland explains “it had been some time since I actually sang on a song and in falsetto, it was pleasantly refreshing after all of the spoken word material I’ve released over the years. This tune will be one for the ages. ” Lempo goes further to say, “t his record has been a massive exercise in patience, a labour of love – but one I am immensely proud of. Now, go forth and Dance Without A Reason ”. Lempo, is an award-winning DJ and producer. Founder of the Applique Music record label, his career began in 2006 with DJ residencies at legendary nightclubs in Manchester where he earned the nickname ‘The Party Starter’. Lempo’s productions have gained several high-profile commercial placements and in 2016 his single Goinout was shortlisted for ‘Best Dance Track’ in the 59th Grammy Awards. He has also signed material with prestigious labels, including Strictly Rhythm, CR2 Records and InHouse Records. Delete Records boss Roland Clark is known as a producer, DJ, and vocalist, featuring on numerous monumental tracks. His musical upbringing was in NYC, where he helped to define the underground house scene in the 90s, with early releases on Strictly Rhythm. He has worked alongside producers such as Fatboy Slim, Todd Terry, Kenny Dope, Mark Knight, Bob Sinclair and many others. In 2014, Roland was inducted into Pete Tong’s BBC Hall Of Fame and in late 2016 he was also hand picked to bring Strictly Rhythm into the millennia, and to help revive the legendary label.
Out Now – Lempo & Roland Clark – Dance Without A Reason (Strictly Rhythm) Cat No: SR12933D