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Southern Sounds – Interview with Utah Saints!

May 19th 2011

UTAH SAINTS! U-U-U-Utah Saints!! They are the epitome of stadium dance music, bringing dance music to the masses back in t’day through the instrument of samples, and through ex-DMC champ Tim’s skills, bring completely rocking mashup DJ sets to clubs around the World. Luckily for us, they are gracing the decks, and the stage, of the inaugural Southern Sounds music festival on Clapham Common, London on June 11th. Southern Sounds will celebrate the very best in Southern Hemisphere music under a Northern Sky under the London skyline, and to make sure we are all well prepped for it, we caught up with Tim and Jez from the Utahs to ask dem some questions and stuff….

What would you have done for a career if it weren’t for music?
That’s a tough question and difficult to answer. For both of us, music or music related stuff is all we do and have ever done since we left school so it would be very hard to imagine to be doing anything else. I think that whatever career we would have done outside music would have involved something creative and being our own bosses.

What’s keeping you busy at the moment?

As well as doing Utah Saints, we run a label and a club night under the name of Sugarbeat. The club night has been running now for over 10 years and we have put on everybody from Justice, 2 many djs through to Dj Zinc, High Contrast through to The Doves to name but a few. We have done club nights in Leeds, Edinburgh, London, Leicester, Manchester and Ireland The Label has only been going 6 months but has started really well and we have quite a lot of releases under our belt already. A typical 7 days in Utah life involves 4 days in the studio and 1 day doing admin and then we are out most weekends doing dj gigs.

Which is your favourite London club?
In terms of Sound System and the best set up for a dj to play in, we would have to say the best places we have played in London are Fabric and what used to be Matter. Over the years though we have had some amazing gigs in London from big superclubs to small dingy warehouses. At the end of the day, it is always about the vibe and the sound system which makes a great club in our opinion

Have you ever played in Utah?
Yes we have played only once in our career. There was a stage invasion on the first track and getting through the rest of the gig was an experience.

You’ve toured with some huge artists such as U2, REM, and Moby – What were they like? Any good stories?
Yes, loads of good stories but it would involve lots of super injunctions having to be taken out…only joking!! These were some great times and life changing experiences that we had but I think the best time that we ever had was spending 3 months on a sleeper coach touring the United States.

It was Record Store Day recently. What’s your view on the vinyl vs. digital debate?
When we dj we use a thing called Serato Scratch. This basically means that you can play special vinyl records that have timecode on them and it triggers the music inside the computer. It emulates vinyl exactly and it is the perfect way of keeping a balance with something from the past but introducing new technology. Vinyl will always hold a special place with Utah Saints but at the same time you have to move forward with technology and not get left behind. The bottom line is that vinyl is not the best format any more for dj’s to perform with or for people to listen to music at home, but there is still a place for a vinyl and we think there always will be.

Did you ever expect ‘Something Good’ to become so huge? Did it change much for you?
We never expected Something Good to be as big as it was. It did change a lot for us as it arguably made Utah Saints a household name and when that happens whether you like it or not, things will change for you. As with anything though, there are good and bad things about it but at the end of the day, it goes with the job. It’s amazing though to think that we made the original version of that track 19 years ago and how big it was both times round.

What is the strangest sample you have ever used?
We always look at Samples as just another sound or instrument that we can layer within our tracks. It could be anything as long as it has something unique about it. One of the best and strangest samples we ever used in one of our tracks was the sound of Tuvan throat singers doing the lead riff which sounded amazing.

What would be your ‘rescue’ tune to get the crowd up and about?
That would depend on the crowd. We have been put in so many situations in our career that the tune that would rescue the crowd at one event could equally be the tune that has the total opposite effect at another gig so we always bring a big library of music with us when we play and always try to read the crowd and at the end of the day the most important thing is to entertain people. If we are honest, we have spent more time in the past trying to work out what tune we would play if we wanted to clear the floor as quick as possible rather than what our rescue tunes would be.

Of your own tracks, is there one you wish you could have made some changes to?
Without trying to sound really arty…a track is never really finished, we just have a cut off point when we have to pass it over to the record label and they take it out of our hands. That’s a good thing because if they didn’t then we would keep making changes to it.

Name one top track that you wish you’d made?

“I feel Love” by Donna Summer as it is timeless track that was way way ahead of it’s time. Even with all the new technology around today, if you tried to make that record again now, you still could not improve on that original 15 minute extended version.

What do you like to do in your free time?
Just hang with our friends and family as free time doesn’t happent that much for us.

If all of the animals in the world were the same size, which would win in a massive scrap?
Probably a Snake!!

Which are your favourite places to visit on tour?
One of our favourite places to play is this club in Menorca that is built in the side of a cave. It has to be the most amazing setting for a club that we have ever played in.

What are your plans for summer?
This summer we will be in the studio making new beats and playing quite a few festivals as Utah Saints including the Southern Sounds festival. We have quite a busy period up coming with the label as we have quite a few releases coming out. You spend most of your time working about 6 months ahead as we are already looking at what acts to book for our club night in October and November and also what music to release at this time.

What can we expect from you at Southern Sounds ’11?
We are most at home when we play festival sets as it gives you a bit more freedom to be eclectic and do things that you wouldn’t necessary be able to get away with in a club. In our dj sets we cut quite fast and always try to keep the energy levels high so people always want to hang around, as they never know quite what we are going to play next. Fetsivals are always a challenge as there are alway such a cross section of people and ages to enetertain and we are always at our best when we are up against it.

Tickets for Southern Sounds are now on sale, and you can buy direct from Breakspoll and Crooked and save yourself a bundle! Buy Tickets Here.

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