Progressive-Sounds: I have been totally addicted to your latest LP "Open." It is brilliantly fresh. I believe it takes a huge turn in style away from the sounds of your earlier works. Particularly with the abundance of lush vocals, I would argue that ‘Open’ diverges away from dance and electronic sound, and leans towards a more soulful, lounge sound. First, do you agree, and if so what led to this and how are fans reacting?
Spooky: In some ways it is a bit of a departure as was Found Sound from what had gone before, but really it’s a blend of everything that we’ve done up until now. We still used a lot of our electronic sounds in the backing but blended them with real bass and some guitar sounds and even some cello played by Caroline Lavelle who worked with William Orbit for a time. With Julie we were really able to explore harmony and layering of vocal parts. She has an amazing ear and built up the harmonies herself at home. Celestine is a raw talent of a different type, she was 21 when she sang most of the tunes and often did them in 1 or 2 takes. She has a classic old school soul voice and really enabled us to explore a sound that we’d never have been able to without her. We are massive classic soul fans and grew up with a lot of Motown in the background of our lives, it’s only now that I realize how much it was played on the radio in the 70’s when we were small kids .We’re getting a lot of love on the record and it’s growing all the time, lots of the fans who have been there from the beginning were very quick to embrace the sound...
We’re getting a lot of love on the record and it’s growing all the time, lots of the fans who have been there from the beginning were very quick o embrace the sound - they’ve been with us for a long journey now nearly 16 years and they are very loyal to us - we are very lucky, if it wasn't for them things would be a lot harder for us, we love you! Since we finally got it together and got a presence on the net we’ve reached a whole new global audience and it’s wonderful to be able to be in touch with the people who buy our music. We have never had this before, we’ve always had a record company or manager in between us and it’s such a breath of fresh air now.
There are always going to be some people who want us just to make progressive house for ever and nothing else and are disappointed with us when we change direction or step out of the box that they expect us to be in but there’s so much music out there and we just need to keep being inspired so we do whatever feels right at the time. We still do club mixes of everything that we release and spend half our lives playing big tunes in clubs around the world - we love this too.
Progressive-Sounds: Julie Daske and Celestine Gordon play a large part in your LP. How did you come to work with them?
Spooky: It started with Belong, Charlie and I had started working together again on and off and the instrumental version was the second thing that we came up with - a few weeks later (Charlie was living in Switzerland at the time) I was handed a demo cd of Julie’s by an old friend of ours and we decided to send her the tune as we loved her voice and sense of harmony. After several weeks this cd appeared in the post - I remember being moved to tears by what she came up with, there was so much emotion in what she sang and it sat so naturally over the track. We kept sending her new stuff as it we came up with it and would travel down to her tiny cottage near Glastonbury and record vocals in her toilet. She is a single mum and it was easier to go to her rather that her come to London.
I first heard Celestine singing in a club in north London, I forget where but she was singing a Nina Simone song, it was jaw droppingly beautiful - time stood still for a few minutes - I was taken to see her by a singing teacher friend of mine called Netty. Instantly I was desperate to work with her, a few weeks later we got her up to our studio and we started writing together.
Progressive-Sounds: I have been listening almost exclusively to "Open" and another LP by Milosh called "Meme." I think his LP shares some of the soul and mood with the new sounds you are producing. Will your label be pushing this type of artist?
Spooky: The label for the moment is really just for releasing our own material but in time we will definaltely sign some other acts in the future - we are open to anything as long as we feel it. We have a lot of stuff ready to release soon which is much more electronic and based more around our club / dj sets.
Progressive-Sounds: What can you tell me about future singles you have in the works? Upcoming remixes?
Spooky: The next single will be a remix of Shelter off the album, we’ve done a couple of club mixes that are main room vibes and we have a fantastic mix by Tarantella, look out for this towards the end of the summer. We’ve also remixed Chymera on Ovum, Guy J and Sahar on Whoop and are working on Soul Mekaniks - Robots for RIP records. We also have done a few tracks with Sasha which will probably end up on a EP later this year. We will release a double a side single of 2 new Spooky club tracks in October with some remixes to follow a month later. Phew I’m exhausted just writing that !!
Progressive-Sounds: We hear you're currently in the studio working with Sasha on the second volume of 'Involver'. How is the project progressing and can you give us a little teaser or bit of information on who's tracks we might hear reinterpreted this time around?
Spooky: It’s taking shape nicely - I can’t really disclose any of the tracks as it’s not my place to do that - but it’ll be worth the wait just like every other Sasha record.
Progressive-Sounds: You are releasing your entire back catalogue through your own label and in a sense, merging the power that was held in five labels down into one. I imagine it works out great for Spooky fans, but how is it working out for you? When can we expect to be able to download tracks from your shop?
Spooky: It’s all up on itunes, Beatport, DJ Download etc - we’ve been too busy to build our own shop - but you’ve reminded me that we still need to do it - but there’s plenty up there I think we currently have 97 tunes up on itunes.
Progressive-Sounds: With the cost of distributing mp3s being rather low, will your online shop allow you more freedom in what you release? In other words, is it easier to test run unreleased tracks and get feedback from the public?
Spooky: Yeah it’s great to finally be in control - but we test the tracks on the road first, play them for a while before we put them out - we don’t want to put any old shit up there !
Progressive-Sounds: You are now touring with 2 mac g5s and Ableton. Can you describe how touring has changed since your first tours? Are new singles ever born on stage?
Spooky: The first tours were a lot more rock orientated, it was early days for dance music and most of the clubs we play in now just didn’t exist, we’d travel around on tour buses and we’d be gigiing with Orbital and the Prodigy and Underworld and we all had so much gear - today we carry the gear on to the plane - before we had a bout 6 keyboards and were always several hundred kilos over weight which got very expensive at times. Now we can DJ, play live and remix on the fly with a couple of computers - it’s amazing and we’re only just scratching the surface of what we’re going to be able to do - we’re more excited than ever about this, we often play for 5 hours and sometimes that’s not enough - we often get inspiration for new vibes or mixes on stage and a few times tracks that were not quite finished get finished by a spontaneous idea that happens live.