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Tim Deluxe- It Just Won’t Do, Just Won’t Do

Reported by Trackitdown TID on August 5, 2005

“Sorry guys, it’s not with the Latin vibes and the Just Wont Do thing, it has more spike and more attitude to it this time, but that is just how I feel at the moment. I don’t want people to see me as being one of those producers who, just because he’s got a new label and album coming out, is going to be doing exactly the same thing he was doing before. I think that’s wrong.”

Sitting at the mixing desk of his Farringdon studio, Tim Deluxe admits he’s in a radically different headspace compared to the last time he chatted to Skrufff 18 months ago.

“What I’m doing now has moved on with the music and everything else, I’m no longer with Underwater and musically it feels like it’s more free in the sense of before I’d be working with a lot of samples whereas now I’m starting from scratch and not sampling anything,” says Tim.

“I’m just bored of the same old club music, those records that when you put them on you immediately think ‘Oh, it’s a house record’. Maybe the music I’ve been making before has become such a mainstream sound that I’ve wanted to move away from it. You can go down your local pub and hear house tracks on the jukebox whereas when I first got into dance music it was all about hearing this music that I didn’t know about, and was really interested in.”

Flicking a switch and pushing up a fader, he demonstrates his point directly, blasting out an unfinished track that’s dripping in rock & roll power chords and relentless Prodigy style energy, appropriately called ‘I Don’t Care’. The track is one of the centerpieces of his almost finished brand new artist album which he’ll be releasing on his own new label At Recordings in the not too distant future.

“I came back from Ibiza last summer and was sick to the teeth with dance music, and was ready to stop altogether, to be honest. I just felt it was same old, same old thing and I was really uninspired,” he admits.

 “There were a few records I liked and they were all coming out of Germany by people like Alter Ego and Tiefschwarz and they reminded me of the feeling I had when I did the White Stripes remix, the summer before last summer. I could see that dance music was ready for a new energy.”

“I came into this studio and called in my friend John, who’s the ex drummer for Spandau Ballet and Fritz, who played guitar on the last album, and we started jamming with drums, bass, guitar and keyboards. It was like a band almost. That then started to inspire me, but I was like ‘Woah, I can’t play this out. Where does this fit in to where I’ve come from?’ I was a little bit scared of what people’s reactions would be. Then I went away to Australia at the end of the year, still not having found my new vibe that I was looking for, and read this biography of Bob Dylan pretty much all of it on the whole plane journey down there, because I got so into it, and there were so many quotes from him and a couple of other people that sunk in with me. Then I got back from Australia and listened to what I was doing, and I’d listened to some other new records and I was like ‘Yeah, I’m doing the right thing’.”

Referencing Bob Dylan several times throughout the interview, Tim admits he’s been transformed by the 60s legend’s wisdom, declaring, “Dylan’s book, he summed it up, it’s about being honest.”

“The fact is that I want to make music that touches as many people as possible but at the same time you want to be honest. I think sometimes people might see me as being cheesy or commercial thinking ‘he earns good money it’s a good living for him’, but it’s not like that, I’ve always liked what I’m doing. People think that if I’m playing a more commercial record, that I’m just doing it because I know it’s going to get the people rocking in the club, but it’s not about that. It’s about expressing yourself,” he insists.

“You have to learn from your mistakes. That goes back to the Boy Dylan book; you’ve got to keep searching. As long as you are a searcher, it’s all good, because you will keep searching. You will make mistakes and they may feel painful, but you take from them and you learn from it all.”

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): How’s this new approach affected your new album?

Tim Deluxe: “Well as time passes, you grow and that’s what’s happening with the music.  You also get a certain pressure as your career develops, because when you have a certain amount of success, it opens doors so you can travel, for example, and get offered more opportunities. So you start thinking ‘this is a cool vibe, I’m getting my music out and being invited to travel to places like Japan, Brazil and Australia and you want that to continue. I still want to sell records and I still want my music to be heard by as many people as possible, though whether people like it, that’s up to them. It all comes back to being honest, and trying not to be contrived.

Sometimes it’s hard, in club music, because you can be constrained by these rules of a breakdown, of an intro being this long or that long, whatever it is, and it’s all a bit contrived and bullshit. That’s what I think I was going against, because I don’t want that same approach. This time the approach has been totally different.”

Skrufff: Gary Numan told us recently that hi biggest hit Are Friends Electric happened pretty much by chance, when he stuck two different songs together as an experiment . .

Tim Deluxe: “That’s how it is, and it’s a natural thing, but it’s also painful, because for any artist there’s the ego talking and saying  ‘last time you sold that many records, so this time you have to sell this many records’. Or the record company is breathing down their neck. The best music gets made when you are free. When you get the time. There has been lots of that on this album. Not that there wasn’t on the last one, but because I was referencing from samples or other vibes, the energies were already set on the record. This time it’s been like a blank page. Some days it goes in the bin, and other days it gets hung up on the wall to be finished.”

 Skrufff: How quickly are you making tracks?

Tim Deluxe: “They are developed over months. I wanted the new tracks to be quite song based which involves sing-writing then getting the singers to physically come in the studio. That takes time, while some of the instrumental grooves have come together in literally hours; like a burst of energy. You can sit here trying all day and not really vibing, then you nip out, you get some food, or you go upstairs, come back down and you just start touching something, or come back into the room with a fresh perspective and subliminally all the stuff from earlier on the day has gone in, but you kind of create this new thing. It could just be from sandwiching something together over the top of something that you thought didn’t work, or was another track. It’s weird how it works, it really is.” 

Skrufff: Chris from the Pet Shop Boys was telling us they’ve been revitalized by these new ‘80’s plug- ins, that are better than original analogue equipment, have you found much of your studio equipment becoming obselete?

Tim Deluxe: “No, because I’ve gone the opposite way. The plug-in thing is good but I’m not a fan of it, though I’ve used the technology- you need to spend real money though. The Pet Shop Boys would probably be alright, they could have quite a powerful computer system, but I’m not a fan of the high street plug-ins you can get, I’ve actually been hiring in old keyboards this time around.

That’s another thing that’s putting me off club music, because all these producers are using Reason (software) and while there’s nothing wrong with it, everyone’s records all sound the same. There’s no attitude or no differenc. With a synth, even though they might have a similar sound and similar characteristics, they go out of tune slightly and over the course of the day they sound difrerent. It just gives so much more character to the music. I think that’s what has happened. It’s become a little bit characterless. That’s why I have loved what the Germans have done. I think they have saved house music over the last year.”

Skrufff: I remember you’d just had a nasty on stage bike accident  last time we talked, are you now more sensible?

Tim Deluxe: “Yeah. I’ve calmed down, I’m not partying as hard. You wake up, you realize it’s not good. You can’t be DJing or recording if you are smashing yourself up. I still like to have a laughbut I think I’ve changed slightly. There’s been a feeling of there’s only so much of that you can do. It’s about evolving, moving on. You go through stages in your life, with music, with how you behave, how you dress, how you look, how long your hair is. That’s what it’s about in the long run.  It’s not just about being one thing. It would be so boring if every day you got up and got smashed and did stupid things. Though you’ve got to go through the phases I think.”

Skrufff: How old are you now?

Tim Deluxe: I was born in ’77.

Skrufff: You were 20 when you were having the first hit?

Tim Deluxe: “Nineteen.”

Skrufff: When you look back on it, do you think: I should have done this or done that?

Tim Deluxe: “Yeah, I do, but that’s what makes me who I am now, in what a cool position to have that knowledge, and that’s what it’s about. You have to learn from your mistakes.”

Skrufff: What were some of the bigger mistakes you made?

Tim Deluxe: “Just remixing everything we were offered back then, we should have focused on being an act instead That was one big mistake, we had this opportunity and we wasted that. We gave away all our ideas on remixes. Also at the time we didn’t really value music as much then. I think it was more just I think because we were young and naïve, also we were pretty skint, so it was a bit of a bonus having a hit record back then. Some of the stuff we were doing, it was just like making hamburgers, in today, out tomorrow. It’s that approach that I’m not really into these days. I’ve really grown tired of it, and grown out of it.”

Skrufff: For somebody out there who wants to make records and has never even started, but really wants to do it. What should they do?

Tim Deluxe: “They need to get a studio. You can software, the Soft- synth thing and stufff like that, but at the moment my mind set is against that. I’d say go and get some cool old synthesisers or guitars or whatever. Learn your instruments that you are going to produce with, whether it is a computer and a soft –synth or whether it is…the easiest and quickest and cheapest way now is go and get a PC and get some programs on it, or get a Mac and get Cubase or Logic, then start getting to work on that. Then just give your tracks out to DJs at gigs. just come up and hand them over.”

Skrufff: What do you think about Mylo?

Tim Deluxe: “I like what Mylo’s done. I can see why it’s worked and I can appreciate it, but the stuff that’s turning me on more, is say, Vitallic. I also like the approach, the feeling and the sentiment of Daft Punk’s new album, even though people have slated it. I think it’s the same energy and the same spirit as ‘Homework’ and I think that’s a good thing. I think it’s records like that – like Alter Ego, Roman Fugel, Tiefshwartz. I like what Switch is doing as well. Maybe that’s my bassline days coming back through, because I really loved his mix on Galvanise. Just raw spike attitude, fuck you stuff.”

Skrufff: Who’s your favourite DJ these days?

Tim Deluxe: “Dave Clarke. I don’t always like all the music he plays, but I just love his attitude, how he plays his music and the attitude of his records that he makes. I play his remixes, I always have done, as well as the remixes he’s done over the years, loads of them. I went through a phase, years ago, when I first got into the dance music, that I was into really hard gabba techno. Lots of people only know for me ‘It Just Won’t Do’ but that’s judging books by covers, that’s their loss, it’s not my problem. That’s what reminds me. You can do what you want. Do what you feel. Don’t worry about whatever, just go with it, and people will pick up on it. We’ll see. That’s where the interesting test will be coming in, when we get it all together and start going: This is me.”

Jonty Skrufff (