My feet hurt. It's probably more than likely that due to my usual stubborn attitude towards asking for directions, well we didn't, and lets just say we took the scenic, sightseeing route across London, with plenty of culture flavour included.
Well when I say we, I mean I. After an early start, two and half or so hours on the train then a further at least ten units of the day looking at girlie shops at the reguest of Miss Cocktail, we set upon our way to find Jazz FM, location for meetup with top swedish export DJ, producer and remix artist Stonebridge, and i'll be honest with you, they didn't make it so easy to find. Two tube lines, several stations, no map and 4 miles of walking in the wrong direction, a friendly traffic warden did his best to help. Well he lent us his map anyway. A muttered under your breath 'told you so' from lady cocktail and we were there, 30 mins early and moments walk from a pub, an excellent source of much needed refreshment before proceedings begin.
So hear we are. Introductions out the way, the second name to face scenario of the day and into Stoney's limelight. If we're really honest then Stonebridge's jacket was the light, an impressive gold woven pinstripe affair, a dazzle to the eyes and even though PR guru Jamie had managed to accidentaly silver it up with the marker pen used for signing, it was still a glorious affair. Now down to business I guess. It was a little bit of a strange situation to be in, the four of us sat round a boardroom esq table at Jazz Fm, I have a laptop that won't pickup sound recording's and the pen that is on it's last legs. Stoney has clicked on who we are, he is a registered member of Skiddle after all, and Jamie thinks we're tuggin his leg over exactly that. Stoney explains all, and any tension that was there (after all there always is in these situations) is now well and truly gone. A mass of cd's, posters and other little bits cover the table, and it's almost like no ones quite sure why we are here or what to say..
Stonebridge is in town with his girlfriend for the release of his friends band. He didn't say who, or where, or what, in fact he didn't say too much at all about it apart from the fact it (or they) was all a bit mad. Unconvincingly I persuade him he should play his new single "Freak On" over and over at the event, which apparently was a crap idea. Onwards...
Are you looking for a hat trick with this one then Stoney? It seemed to be the right question to ask, he as after all had two massive UK Top Tens, ‘Put ‘em High’ and ‘Take Me Away’, in the last 6 months. Once the language barrier is stepped over and Stonebridge clicks to what we mean by the question, then the talkin really starts. "He's really optimistic about this one", referring to Jamie, "but then he's paid to be". "Yeah well sometimes u hear a track and it's wicked then it dies after a few plays. I've heard this one so much and still love it, it's played all the time as well. Jamie provided a reply I would agree with,i've sat and watched the video at least 10 times, heard the track numerous occassions whilst i'm out and still love it. It got hammered at Circus, I pipe up, which all parties are pleased to hear, whilst Stoney goes on to explain how he wanted it to be the first single and some how it ended up the third (off the album). We can't actually remember the reason why, but that's a nice little bit of knowledge to use in the pub quiz if you so fancy.
So what was Ultra Nate' like then?
"She's so easy to work with, very laid back and very American but in a good way. Sometimes i don't know how to take Americans, you can't tell whether they are being nice or simply putting it on, i think, (i hope) she was genuine with me though". For some reason it made sense to tell them about the shirt I saw today, 'I'm not American' being the caption, which, naturally created a further oppurtunity for the conversation to spiral out of control. From what I could gather, Jamie likes America, Stoney aint so keen on it, we cover the food, the culture, Vegas, the fact I haven't been and a closing comment about the cities you don't hear much about with small children shooting their uncles. Right then.
Sweden has nothing, no scene, nothing like the british do, making me feel a little bit silly about asking what the scene is like over there. "England was really the birth to a scene, you have big nights, dj's play 2 or 3 places in one night and you have dance magazines". We used to, I pipe up. Now we have mixmag, and that's shit. Jamie looks slightly worried/intrigued about that comment. You don't work for them do you Jamie? I ask. No, but I have some close friends who do, he smiles. Obviously feeling left out of that one, Stoney joins in, "These things are important. They might not be especially good, but they are important to the scene, it all contributes"
By now it's apparent that indeed we're not interviewing Stonebridge, there's simply four people sat around a table having a chat and i'm supposed to be making notes. The pen has died, my day of girlie shopping has melted my brain and to be honest the big bonus of the moment was having a sit down with some nice company. Do you see Sweden a lot? Sarah pipes up, Is it still your home?
I'm there about 4 days a week, it's only 2 hours away. Monday to Thursday im in the studio in Stockholm, then the weekends, it could be anywhere, I have a new agent and it's like big time like egypt, china as well. I've started playing 2 gigs in a night, something I never used to do. Stratfordshire? Where is this. On the July gig when I play Sankey's again I am playing there as well."
Puzzled, we try and work out where Stratfordshire is. "It's either Stafford or Staffordshire, or Stratford, either way it's about 2 hours away from Manchester" is our slightly un geographic contribution. Stoney looks suprised "The venue is called Bullet anyway"
"The people in egypt had never heard me mix. They said they had, but I knew they hadn't. Then they are suprised when I don't do a pop mix" To be honest, you blew us away at Sankey's last time around, everyone commented on what a suprise/what an amazing set you played on the night. Almost smugly, Stone replies 'It's not like I play a techno set or anything, but yeah people are suprised, it's different, it's not like the chart singles' "I knew that the Sankey's crowd didn't want that, and well you know how it went down, amazing! Ferry Corsten has done a mix of Freak On and we told him, we don't want trance, we want it more tribally. It's a really chunky record.
We are running out of time and it's like we have only just begun. The room is relaxed, even Jamie who has yo yo'd about the building has chilled right out for 2 minutes and it's almost a shame to go. Jokingly I manage to get a copy of the album and new single, as well as an autograph for Angel, who took the photos last time around. Stoney jokes about how Selina (angel) made him after publishing his tour dates on skiddle and the conversation gracefully comes to a close. Tired and in need of a beer we plod back to euston, and boy does it take so much less time when you know the way! The tubes are crowded, the whole world went and got itself in a hurry, but we have new clothes, a train ride home and a nice cool beer to end the perfect day.
Sweden’s current most successful hit-maker Stonebridge returns with his third smash hit in less than a year, ‘Freak On,’ which released through Hed Kandi last Monday . Featuring the soulful vocals of legendary diva Ultra Naté, the original radio edit is a sexed-up slab of old skool funk, complete with funky guitar and 808 drum machine, whilst the astonishing Ferry Corsten remix throws some electro mayhem into the mix, with its blur of menacing synths, faster vocals and whirring noises. Go out, buy it and practice dancing. It's going to be so big it'll break you. So there.
RichSkiddle + Sarah Cocktail