Music is and always will be about passion, I believe. There is a need to express, to identify, to overcome, to make ends meet, etc. There is a passion and a drive that pushes everyone involved in the process, both before recording and after, both performer and listener.
Until recently, I was a casual, perhaps even a dedicated, listener. My involvement in the music industry didn't go further than purchasing music. But through a series of unrelated events, I find myself not only expressing my opinion about music in a very public forum, but also playing music in upstanding establishments as a DJ. It definitely brings a whole new perspective, and I hear and react to music on a whole new level. The opportunities are endless.
One such opportunity led to me swapping words with the wonderful members of the band Bimbo Jones. Marc JB and Lee Dagger make up the remixing team that has brought us countless #1 club and radio hits across continents. Katherine Ellis, a vocalist of supreme talent, rounds out the performing group, winning over Europe with their funky track "Harlem 1 Stop" and stomping through American clubs with the disco-fantastic "And I Try."
Ben Norman: Marc and Lee, what are your roles in the studio, both for
remixing and songwriting? And how does Katherine fit in for original
Marc JB: Originally, I was from a music based studio background playing different instruments and songwriting and Lee was from a club DJ background; in the studio Lee will play lots of reference tunes and then I will play it and rehash it to be original. Songwriting- anything goes, it may start from a great lyrical idea or a synth sound. Songwriting with Katherine is also quite varied, mostly we will write a banging track and she will come up with the topline, but also we write together on acoustic guitar or sitting around the table with a few cups of tea!
BN: What is your favorite track off of the album?
Katherine Ellis: I really don't have a favorite, it depends on what
mood I'm in, they are all so different…
Marc JB: They are all in my opinion great and something to be proud of, but I really like the dirty vibes of "Don't Want You No More."
Lee Dagger: I would say "I Don't Know Why" or "And I Try."
BN: Katherine, what makes recording a studio album as the
voice of a remixing team different from being a featured vocalist on a
track? How much control do you have in one situation over the other?
Katherine Ellis: It's no different, I have a lot of control in all my projects. I guess this only differs in that I have done so much with Marc and Lee which has been a lot of fun.
BN: What is your favorite Bimbo Jones remix to date?
Lee Dagger: Natasha Bedingfield "These Words" and Pink "So What."
Katherine Ellis: "Thunder In My Heart."
Marc JB: Ahh, there's too many to choose from! I really like Ciara – "Ohh" (Dub), it's funky and sums up a great sunny spring in London.
BN: What are some of the big remixing and performing projects lined up for Bimbo
Jones so far in 2009?
Katherine Ellis: London album launch at Shinky Shonky at the Ku Klub, Lisle street, China Town, we are playing selected songs live from the album between 10 and 10.30pm, admission free!
Lee Dagger: It's a new year so hopefully it will be a big one for us now that we have our debut album out. Lets hope we can do Miami, Glastonbury. and various festivals again. Remixing is fun and sometimes a good challenge but what I am really looking forward to is writing the next installment of the Bimbo Jones album.
Marc JB: Who knows what 2009 will throw at us, we are looking forward to finding out!!!
BN: What about you, Katherine? Any big solo projects in the new year?
Katherine Ellis: I'm performing at the opening of Ministry of Sound in NYC on Jan 30th and I'm going to Australia in March with the Freemasons to perform several club PAs and do some writing for the next album with them. I do have lots lined up but you'll have to wait to hear that!
BN: Are there plans for a follow-up to Harlem 1 Stop?
Lee Dagger: Oh Yes.
Katherine Ellis: YES!
Marc JB: We have something in mind released with Tommy Boy, we are currently looking at remixes, it's gonna be a dance floor filler!!
BN: What made you all decide to record a studio album, and
what was the biggest hurdle in releasing it?
Marc JB: We have been so busy with remixes that we had a surplus of ideas we needed to realize, when Katherine the "Chosen One" came along, finally we had a way of expressing ourselves in a way we never could have imagined!!!
Katherine Ellis: We decided to make an album because we like working together, the biggest hurdle was getting out of our first deal which was a frustrating, timewasting disappointment to us, but hey we all get let down, you just have to carry on…
BN: What has been the biggest reward to date for doing what you do?
Lee Dagger: Seeing the clubbers have fun, singing and loving the music, and then thanking us in return.
Katherine Ellis: Just being able to do what I love for a living year after year, it is a dream come true and I absolutely love it!
Marc JB: Yes I agree with Katherine, I never take it for granted and remember the hard work getting here and always think where the next stop on the Bimbo Jones express is!
BN: Finally, what do you feel are the best and worst things
to happen to dance music in the last 10 years?
Katherine Ellis: Best is that there is more of it, I love dance music! The worst is the piracy and theft of our work as in every genre, it affects our income and causes a lot of problems.
Marc JB: Yeah there has been such an amazing expansion in the array of media types for dance music, like mp3 and youtube, it's such a shame that the serious money is not there to develop stunning new talent and pay for a Bimbo Jones boat with helicopter pad! On the other hand, it's great that everyone on their home computer has the ability to produce great tracks and be successful.
Posted January 20, 2009