Few artists have risen to prominence in the short space of time as George Smeddles has done. Remaining explicitly true to his musical inclination, inspired heavily by a background of Garage, Motown, Jazz, House, Soul and Funk, George’s truly unique portrayal of House music has seen him become a distinctive figure on the global stage.
His latest release is another gleaming example of George’s knowledgeable inspiration as an artist, putting his spin on a definitive dancefloor classic. George’s ‘More Ass Mix’ of Last Night A D.J. Saved My Life makes an instant impact through upbeat House grooves and an insatiably catchy bassline melody, leading into a nostalgic blend of funky guitar riffs and soulful vocal runs that glide in and out of climatic transitions from start to finish.
We caught up with George to talk about his latest work and get a deeper insight into one of the UK’s fastest-rising talents…
Hey George, thanks so much for joining us. You’ve had a great year; tell us about some of your personal highlights so far.
Hi Guys! To be honest, it’s just been so great to be back doing what I love again: busy gig schedule, seeing everyone out enjoying themselves with no restrictions, and of course, I’ve had some big releases that have really done well! It’s always so nice to see people enjoying the music I make!
Your latest release, an edit of Indeep’s ‘Last Night A DJ Saved My Life’, has been flying up the charts since its release. Tell us about the release and what inspired you to take on such a well-known record.
Yes, it’s been amazing to see such great feedback and support from everyone on this one!
So it’s one of my favourite old-school tracks. I used to see the track played occasionally, and I always thought it could do with an extra touch to fit a bit easier into sets today in clubs: just a bit more ass to help it boot more on the systems, hence the name more ass mix.
I actually just made the record for my sets. I was due to play one of my long closing sets in North America & came across the track in a playlist a few days before & thought: “why not have a stab at something I had been meaning to do for so long?”
I do think you have to be extremely careful when messing with classics, especially the big ones like this, where the original has touched so many people and still sounds so good today.
For me, it was about supporting the original & just adding my own touch. That’s what my mix is all about. I wouldn’t add any more than I already have or fully remix such a timeless classic because I don’t think it needs it.
You’ve had some really well-received releases in recent years. How does this latest one stack up against the others in terms of raising your profile?
I think it’s a standout track, everyone knows it already, but I never expected it to do too much for my profile.
I’m glad people are enjoying it, but as I said, I made it for myself, so anything extra that comes from releasing it is just a bonus.
I have noticed a few more of my other tracks have been getting lots more attention, though, as they were released on underground labels, including my own label “South.”
So that has been one of the biggest achievements so far, I think, and of course, going number 1 on Beatport!
Introducing new fans to my music through different styles I make is a massive perk of making different styles of house & not being pigeonholed to any specific genres, so I’m really grateful for that.
You have a pretty defined sound. Are there any particular techniques or equipment you use to achieve this?
To be honest, I don’t really have a formula. I guess it’s just more habits and what my ear is drawn to. I’m always changing plugins for my bass & synths, trying out new studio gear when I get it, using different techniques to write my drums & chop up vocals, & I’m always trying out new sounds on every track.
I’ve been slowly teaching myself to play bass & keys over the last year, so they have started featuring more & more in my music, including my own vocals.
I make music for my sets and for certain clubs. I write a lot about different situations in my life or how I’m feeling, so that’s probably why there’s such a wide range of releases – I guess.
A tip to up & coming artists, I would just say make music what you like, not what you think everyone likes right now. Because all trends eventually die & people move on to the next hottest thing. If you do ‘you’, then you are going to develop your own sounds eventually & carve out your own spot in the market.
You’ve been involved in the operational side of music labels for some time. Do you feel this has helped develop more as an artist? If so, why?
Yes, it’s definitely helped. It’s given me platforms to release music whenever I want, which has been amazing. It helped me to understand the business side more quickly.
Being so involved in labels has just given me a chance & a reason to be around music even more. If I didn’t take all the steps I’ve taken so far, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Your tracks regularly receive support from some of the biggest names in the game. Do you still get the same buzz as when you were breaking into the industry, and are there any artists you still dream of seeing supporting your tracks?
Anytime I see anyone supporting my music, it’s a big buzz. To be honest, now and again, I still see some people playing some of my new records before I have the guts to – haha.
I honestly have so many artists & DJs I respect, so it is extra special seeing that.
I went to meet Kerri Chandler before his street party gig in Shoreditch in the summer. I gave him a vinyl of Festival Track, and an hour later he played it in the street. I’ve never seen a crowd in London go so crazy! That was extra special & I can’t ever see support on my records from king Kerri getting old!
The studio or the DJ booth; what do you prefer and why?
That’s a tough one! I get so lost in both that I literally lose all sense of time & problems. If I had to pick today, I would say booth. I recently had an amazing weekend playing to thousands all over the UK & the buzz was one of the best I’ve experienced in this country yet, especially Manchester!
But ask me tomorrow when I’ve hopefully made a huge house record & I will say studio!
What one piece of music has had the biggest impact on you as an artist?
Armand van Helden’s “You Don’t Know Me.”
It’s one of the first tracks I got on vinyl. It’s my all-time favourite track & I don’t think you could ask for anything more in a house record.
Every time I listen to it, I hear it slightly differently & get something new from it.
From listening to this growing up to playing it to thousands of people on a festival stage and watching how it moves people; there’s so much I’ve gained over the years from this masterpiece.
If you could collaborate with one artist, past or present, who would it be and why?
Kerri Chandler. He’s been my favourite producer since the beginning and being able to get to know him a bit and find out how much of a nice guy he actually is was extra special.
He’s made so many great records & has played such a huge part in where we are today.
Plus, I want to know how he gets his kicks the way he does – haha!
Lastly, what can we expect from George Smeddles for the rest of 2022 and beyond?
There are lots of exciting things coming. I have some mega releases lined up on my label South, and I have huge plans for next year. I also have a new alias I’m really excited to launch in the new year.
I also have Releases on Meta, Moxy, my label South, Nature & many more to be announced when I can.
The rest, you will have to wait and see!
George Smeddles’ ‘More Ass Mix’ of Last Night A D.J. Saved My Life is out now on KOOKOO.