- Wed, 2004-06-02 11:09
Deepest Blue are unique. Lyrically accomplished and musically innovative, the duo have a found a way of creating accessible but fresh contemporary pop anthems.
With their own brand of radio friendly, intelligent and uplifting pop, Deepest Blue scored big in 2003 with their first ever collaboration; ‘Deepest Blue’. This summer anthem reached number 7 in the U.K top 10.
Deepest Blue are the brainchild of producer/songwriter Matt Schwartz and singer/songwriter Joel Edwards. We caught up with Joel before the release of their new album, Late September.
''I Like Music because... it gets me to hang out with my friends and play music!'' Joel, Deepest Blue
''I Like Music because... it’s just fresh. Every day is a new day – it’s not like normal work. You come to work and you play. It’s expressive.'' Joel, Deepest Blue
ILM: Your album, Late September is out soon, can you describe it’s vibe and tell me a bit about it?
Joel: If you’re lucky enough to get an album deal which is all we’ve ever wanted, it seems a terrible shame just to put one sort of style of music on it. People know us for dance music and we like dance music, but we’ve put all our influences on there. You can still tell it’s a Deepest Blue album, but its eclectic using every influence we’ve ever wanted to put on a record and being lucky enough to work with some amazing people. We had the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra come in (not all of them), and we got to work at Dave Gilmore’s studio which is a boat on the River Thames, so it was like a proper dream come true for us to put everything we’ve ever wanted to do onto the album.
ILM: You’ve worked with Ed Case, and Skin supplied the vocal to Let It Go and are have a huge vocal talent. How did you get into singing and songwriting?
Joel: I don’t see myself as a singer, I see myself as a song writer. I’ve been a writer for Warners, just doing in-house stuff for them, so they’ll send me acts to work with and I’ll just go and work. The only reason I sing on tracks is because there’s nobody else in the studio at the time, so it’s ‘oh I’ll sing it to get the vocal out the way’. You just start placing tracks and selling tracks, and then people started ringing me up to ask if I could do vocal for them and I’m like I don’t do vocals but yeah sure. Chicane rang up, it’s really weird getting paid for singing because I don’t see it as work – it’s singing.
ILM: What advice do you have for young and new artists?
Joel: Stick to your guns. I did it the wrong way round. The music I like writing is kind of Turin Brakes folky stuff, and that’s the stuff I’ve always been into since I was 15. But all of a sudden people tell you that you have to write in a certain way, and when you’re that young you always follow people’s advice. I just say stick to what you want to do, ignore everybody else. If you’re any good you’ll come through anyway. And it seems a shame because the album’s got some real nice touches. It seems to be exactly the kind of songs I was writing years ago
ILM: Matt says “Every word and sound is an instrument. For me words are sounds. For Joel they are meaning”. Where do you go to write your lyrics, any special creative place? And what inspires you lyrically?
Joel: For years I tried that tradition of writing. People come to your studio and it’s like, right I’ve got to do a song and it’s about this and order that really quickly. But I tend to write about what’s happened or happening to me or my friends and the whole album is covered in references to people I know and that’s the way I like to write. When you listen to a Jodi Mitchell album and you realize she’s talking about real things, and it adds value to my songs personally. I have done songs in the past which had no reference to anything. They were just a bunch of words that rhymed, so you don’t really feel it. So when I’m writing songs, especially for myself, I definitely want to put in personal sentiment and meaning about what’s going on in my life.
Late September on the album, I still get quite emotional about that one, it’s about me breaking up with a girlfriend and it’s sampling all that raw feeling into what you’re doing and singing it.
ILM: You’ve got an eclectic taste in music. Can you tell me your earliest musical memory?
Joel: Pink Floyd being blared out when I was about five years old. My dad’s an old hippy at heart, and just constantly being surrounded my musos and people playing guitar. It was a really good childhood for that, and when you grow up you kind of rebel against your parents, so I grew up with 60s music but got into punk music because my uncle’s were into punk. So I’ve had a varied musical influence, because you’ve got all the melodic stuff, but all the angry stuff as well. And also when you’re about four or five years old and your dad plays War Of The Worlds it’s quite scary.
ILM: You were introduced by a mutual friend, do you still see that mutual friend and will you write a track for them?
Joel: Good old Scott. I went out with Scott for a drink on Friday. He’s not really a musician. He’s a cool guy and he’s one of life’s blaggers. He used to work with Matt and didn’t have a clue what to do, so he rang me to come and help him as he knew I did music. So I turned up at Matt’s thinking it was going to be a complete waste of my time. But we wrote and produced Zoom together and released that, then another one and released that, and then Deepest Blue and released that.
So as far as working together, everything we’ve done together tends to get released, so it’s cool.
ILM: What’s good about the music industry in 2004 do you think?
Joel: Manufactured anything is music for the masses, and if you’re into that it’s great. I feel there’s going to be a new style of music. You know like people are saying dance music has died, well I’m kind of excited to see what will happen. There must have been people dancing to disco in the 70s saying it will last forever, but it died out, so I’m excited to see, if dance music has run its course, where it’s going to go next. What’s going to be the fresh thing to come through, and you need an absolute collapse in musical sense before anything new comes through.
The major labels went and bought all the smaller labels a while ago and started running music again. Because they’ve bought everything it can only be fresh from now on, with new labels coming through – it’s going to inspire people to release music again, especially with the internet and the way that’s going. It’s brand new music again.
ILM: Please describe the Deepest Blue music making process. How do you make an uplifting pop record?
Joel: If we’ve ever been out to a club we usually end up going back to the studio. It’s just about taking in references and hearing what’s going on. One of the main reasons we’ve not done this as a full on dance album is because dance music dates really quickly. So in a year’s time it’d be boring. So we were conscious with this album of putting songs down and using dance production, so it does have peaks in the song. But we’ll remix the songs as and when they come out, so we can use the most up to date remix. I mean, we finished this album three months ago, so already if we’d done it as a full on dance album, it’d already be out of fashion. So for us it’s just about taking on references.
ILM: What are your plans for the summer and future?
Joel: We finished the album a bit too late to get on the festival circuit, which I’m gutted about, because we’ve managed to put an awesome band together – we’ve got the bass player and drummer from a band called the Bays, who are incredible musicians. Matt’s in the studio working and I’m taking it out on the road. We’re playing at V and a proper gig at the Scala coming at.
ILM: Can you describe your ideal night in and ideal night out?
Joel: Ideal night in is when you’re just about to go out and night out is when you’re actually out. I like to go out quite a lot, as soon as I get some time off I’m off out. I can’t stand staying in, maybe I need a more comfortable sofa, but I prefer to be out in clubs or bars or just going to watch music, out being sociable.
ILM: Describe your favourite place on earth….
Joel: Recently I went to a place called Santerini, which is a Greek Island and it’s absolutely beautiful. I’m fully recommending it to everyone and will start working for the Greek tourist board If you imagine a volcano that’s blown it’s top and all the sees coming through like a cauldron and you live in these volvanic places on the edge and it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. I recommend you go.
ILM: What is in your CD player /decks right now?
Joel: An album about a year ago, called Cornelius Point. And I went to see MUM the other day and I’m a massive fans of theirs, they are one of the best bands in the world.
ILM: Can you tell me your favourite tune that makes you smile?
Joel: I’ve always wanted to do a compilation album of songs that sound like the muppets could have done them – like a Neil Young song. So I collect records like that.
ILM: What makes you feel relaxed and chilled out?
Joel: MUM – they’re incredible.
ILM: Makes you want to have a good boogie?
Joel: Energy 52 and one from years ago, that every time it used to come on we’d go mental to, and that’s Humanoid. And of course, Groovers In The Heart.