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Tim Deluxe: Haircuts, Holidays and Rocking With Spandau Ballet ::

Reported by Trackitdown TID on August 2, 2004

“I’m getting older, my hair’s getting longer and I want to do something with more substance. I’m listening to different music at home these days, records that have a bit more meaning lyrically rather than just instrumental music. I’m a big boy now.”

Getting into raving as a 13 year old Spiral Tribe regular, 27 year old Londoner Tim Deluxe  went on to become one of UK garage’s first stars before teaming up with Darren Emerson’s Underwater in 2001. Kicking off with singles club smashes We All Love Sax and Mundaya he went on to enjoy chart hits It Just Won’t Do, Less Talk More Action and the release of his debut solo album The Little Ginger Clubkid last year, which cemented Deluxe’s reputation as a top dance producer. 12 months on though, he’s adamant that his next musical step will rock, ably assisted by the punked up character who’s just left his studio called John Keeble, apparently something of a name back in the day.

“John used to be in Spandau Ballet, he got introduced to me through a mutual friend, I’ve known him for years and he actually played on the last album,” Tim laughs.

“As soon as we met we just hit it off, he’s an Arsenal fan and it’s all good, he’s a top bloke,” he continues.

“He’s going to be doing loads of drums on the next album, it’s definitely going to be a lot more rocky and guitar based, it won’t be so Latin influenced.”

Future music aside though, his main priority remains Choose Something Like A Star, the fifth and final single from the album and the one that sounds most like Underworld.

“it was meant to sound like then in a way, when you write a piece of music it’s definitely a reflection of how you feel at that time and I remember listening to Underworld a lot when I was making the album,” he admits.

“I’ve always loved what they do and I wanted o make a piece of music that reflected the vibes and emotions and the moods that they capture and Star was my attempt at doing that. It’s my favourite track on the album.”

Skrufff: (Jonty Skrufff) Was it at all weird handing Darren Emerson an Underworld style track?

Tim Deluxe: “Yeah it was, when I sent him the first demo I remember him saying ‘it takes me back to Underworld, I love it’. The way the vocal’s been done is very Underworld in style, it’s definitely a nod to those guys. And also people like Slam and Layo & Bushwacka, and to Detroit techno in general.  I remember hearing Strings Of Life the first time and getting blown away by it so I’ve always had that vibe and I dig what those guys do, even if it’s so far removed from It Just Won’t Do. That’s the beauty of having an album, I get so much more joy and fulfilment out of it, when you’re always trying to do one of big dance records, they end up becoming fodder.”

Skrufff: What prompted you to grow your hair into afro?

Tim Deluxe: “Nothing more than laziness, people think I’ve done it for a new look but it’s nothing to do with that, though I do actually like it and it’s certainly caused quite a lot of attention and having attention, no matter who we are, is always good for the ego. I was touring so much last year and every time I’d get back to London with a few days between gigs I’d just want to relax and I never found the time for a haircut, then I discovered that even though it’s long the way I look after it is exactly the same as when it was shorter. I get up in the morning, jump in the shower and walk out of the door, without thinking about it; i’s just there. Lots of people tell me I’m doing it for a style thing, no, not at all, I’m probably the most unfashionable person you’ll ever meet..”

Skrufff: How much has the new haircut changed the way people treat you?

Tim Deluxe: “When it comes to people who are connected with the law they definitely look differently at me (chuckling) as do doormen. People with any kind of authority look at me differently because they judge me straightaway and I can see it in their eyes when I walk up to a club door, or approach a customs officer or police officer. It’s only when I talk to them and they understand ‘oh he can have a sensible conversation, he’s not a drug head’ that they change.”

Skrufff: You’ve been Djing at the Underwater nights in Ibiza this season, what’s your take on the island this year?

Tim Deluxe: “I’ve only been in and out and haven’t really been to any other clubs apart from Underwatewr at Pach but I’d say in the general scheme of things it looks a little big quieter. But Pacha’s still busy, Amnesia’s still busy, Manumission was 10,000 strong on opening, so what more can you say? Maybe in some ways it’s better because the people that are there, coming to clubs are there for the music, not just the extra numbers to make up the night, the beer boys. It’s good.”

Skrufff: Are you a believer in the concept of the magic of Ibiza?

Tim Deluxe: “Yeah, big time. I heard about it when I was a kid but I didn’t know what it was, I didn’t know if it was a holiday resort or something else, I didn’t quite know what being a hedonist meant at that time. When you go to Ibiza and you discover more and more and see how people change when they get there you understand that yeah, there’s something about this place.”

Skrufff: How do people change?

Tim Deluxe: “They start misbehaving, not in a bad way, but it’s a very easy place and a lot of people lose their inhibitions there. Like anywhere, when you go on holiday you loosen up and relax but going to Ibiza there are so many options and cultures of people, there’s no wonder it has a special energy, it’s mad.”

Skrufff: Puff Daddy’s complained recently about Ibiza being too expensive . . .

Tim Deluxe: “I think it’s too expensive as well. I play at Pacha though I probably won’t be playing there after I say this but I think, there are certain aspects of Ibiza that are over-priced. OK, if you want to charge a certain price on your door for entry that’s fine but then to overprice your drinks as well and to deliver standard drinks, which are presented in such an umimpressive way; I think that’s a piss-take. Truthfully, if you’ve paid 50 euros to get into a club and you’re playing 10 euros for a cocktail you want it to be presented nicely. I think that’s a bit of a cheap shot.

Their point is ‘oh, we have standards, that’s why we charge a certain amount on our door because we don’t want riff raff in our club’; fair enough, but then don’t serve the drinks as if you’re presenting them to riff raff. Have the whole presentation for everything spot on. That’s my gripe with Ibiza, if you want to charge expensive prices look after your customers. There are loads of things there that are overpriced and over-hyped because when you break it down you’re getting exactly the same as you would anywhere else. Don’t overprice things, there’s no need to. Don’t be greedy, that’s my vibe about Ibiza.”

Skrufff: You just got back from America, how was the trip?

Tim Deluxe: “I was there five weeks ago playing in Denver, New York and also Canada. I had a wicked time with the people I met there, I always seem to make great friends in America but I always go there with real trepidation. I get to Heathrow and go uggh (shuddering) and it’s not because I’ve got a seven or eight hour flight but because I know when I get off that the world changes. In America, you get off the plane and you’re immediately treated as a suspected terrorist. ‘Oh, travelling on your own are you, sir? Come this way’. So I can’t travel on my own now? I say, ‘why can’t I travel on my own?’ People who are up to no good travel on their own’ they reply. Yeah right, OK, wicked.’

There are a lot of cool people in America, for sure, particularly in the dance scene, and maybe that’s because they’re involved in dance music and they get out there and see the world but most Americans conform to this kind of nonsense that’s bred all the way through, in the people who work in the armed forces, at airports, and it’s bollocks. It’s not logical.

It’s all about control; ‘don’t do this; don’t do that, that’s against the law’. People say ‘it’s because of Bush but when it was Reagan it was the same. It’s America, it’s a vibe on its own, you either like it or you don’t and much as I like certain aspects there are many things I don’t. It’s mainly the way the country’s run and how the people in power run it and their attitude to putting rules across. Of course, society has to has rules but exercise a little judgement.”

Tim Deluxe’s new single Choose Something Like a Star (featuring Ben Onomo on vocals) is out on August 9 on Underwater Records.

Jonty Skrufff (