RS: The video for "Fascinated" was really
I work in a video club also, and the black and white thing was really big over here. Were you involved with that video at all?
Dave Lee: I wanted to do something a bit like the Blondie PARALLEL LINES--the cover of that album--and that Strokes video came out recently with that white backdrop. So it was inspired by that late 70's, early 80's punky thing, which has been done a few times since then, but I quite like that sort of image and look, and it felt fresh and it suited the record.
RS: You do so much in dance culture, underground, cutting-edge, new producer. You jumped from the underground, you did something fun, you did something commercial, you did something disco, did something house. Do you ever feel pressure to go more underground or do a certain sound?
Dave Lee: I think if you've been doing anything you feel more pressure to go back and do the other thing. I finished the Sunburst Band album, which to me is quite underground, or at least it doesn't have big sales figures. I'm never going to get in the charts with the Sunburst Band, whereas with Raven Maize or Jakatta, they've got more crossover potential with the more mainstream dance shows and possibly even pop radio. So whatever I've been doing a lot of, I feel a little bit of pressure to start doing some of the other stuff. So if I've just done a Jakatta record or a few major label remixes, I think it would be nice to do something deeper and underground. And then if I've been doing it the other way and my profile has dipped a bit on the mainstream stuff where I make more money, then I have the urge to go back and do that.
It was the same when I'm DJing. If I'm DJing, I play more underground stuff than commercial stuff, depending on where I'm playing. It's very difficult to do one underground track and then one slightly more commercial track and then back to the other. You tend to get stuck into one or the other for two or three months and then switch. In a way that's good because it means you're gagging to get back to the other sort rather than thinking oh God, I gotta go back in the studio and make another record, make a few bucks.
RS: Talking about making a few bucks, what comes to mind right now is Take That and Lulu together. Any story regarding that session you want to share with the world?
Dave Lee: What happened there is I got approached by Take That's management. Take That's A&R guy said he wanted them to make some disco records. This was in the mid 90's. Now "Re-light My Fire" wasn't at all a popular track in the UK when it came out, while "Instant Replay" by Dan Hartman was a big hit. But "Re-light My Fire" got revived when house started doing well in the late 80s, and it became a real anthem on the underground about 1989/1990, to the point where if someone did a cover version of that, it was bound to do really well. It would have been a new song for 98% of the people, but it's got that sing-along appeal. To me, anything that becomes an enormous underground record in whatever scene it hits, be it the Northern soul scene or the house scene, it's got the potential to cross over and become a pop hit. The records that cross, which become the anthemic records, are good songs with good hooks and people remember them and there's nothing wrong with that.
So when this guy approached me about Take That doing some disco, I played him "Re-light My Fire" and said it would be a great track to cover. When we did it, ideally we would have preferred someone like Martha Wash or Gwen Guthrie to do the female vocal part, but the same guy who managed Take That managed Lulu and that's why she got involved. To be fair, I thought she did a pretty good job. I was a bit skeptical--I thought, Oh great, Lulu--but I thought she sang the part reasonable well although, it wasn't as credible or authentic as having the real McCoy, if you'd had Loleatta Holloway or someone from the era of the original record, but it went pretty well. We originally did it with Robbie Williams singing lead vocal, but the record company didn't like it so Gary Barlow ended up singing it.