UTAH SAINTSStadium House Trailblazers
This month’s guest selectors were once described as "the first true stadium house band" by the KLF's Bill Drummond. Since they formed in the early 90s, the duo have had 9 Top 40 UK hits, 4 of which hit the Top 10, and have sold over 2 million records worldwide.
I am of course talking about the one and only Utah Saints U U U Utah Saints.
Comprised of Tim Utah and Jez Willis they began as MDMA (Mega Dance Music Allegiance) before becoming The Utah Saints. They first had chart success with the singles "What Can You Do For Me" and of course their legendary hit "Something Good" which heavily sampled Kate Bush's "Cloudbusting".
Utah Saints ran clubs from 1988 to 1994, particularly "Rickys" and "The Gallery" (later the Pleasure Rooms). They booked new DJs, including Pete Tong, Carl Cox, Paul Oakenfold, Sasha, Justice, Annie Mac and Zane Lowe.
They had five further UK Top 40 singles including a top 10 between 2000 and 2012. They’ve also remixed everyone from Blondie and The Human League, to Hawkwind and The Osmonds.
Fun fact: they also created the theme tune to the 1995 movie version of Mortal Kombat.
TRACK NOTES by UTAH SAINTS
1) Quiet Life - Japan
Synths right the way through and the coolest singer and bass player in music. Heard this on the radio and it had a unique combo of disco synth and punk hair.
2) The Things That Dreams Are Made Of
Human League. They were way ahead of their time and a big influence on the Utahs. It was always our aim to sample them one day and we did on our track “Believe in Me”. We met Phil many years later and he told us that us sampling him and making the track a hit had inspired them to go back in the studio and make music again.
3) Don't Stop - K.I.D
He was presented as an Italo Disco artist in the early 1980s but was actually a pseudonym for a Yorkshireman (our home county) called Geoffrey Bastow. He was based in Munich and collaborated with Giorgio Moroder, Boney M and played guitar for Engelbert Humperdink!
4) Cybotron - Clear
This track was recorded in 1982 by Detroit legend Juan Atkins and Richard Davies and was at the forefront of the electro sound. We first heard this on the legendary Streetsounds Electro Series.
5) Your Love - The Prodigy
They started 6 months before us, and we used to meet them most weeks at different raves up and down the country. Liam is a true genius and has always stayed true to his art and never compromised and followed trends. He has always raised the bar in terms of production.
6) Boogie Down Bronx - Man Parish
He was instrumental in defining the electro sound of the 1980’s and had a great knack of putting the funk into electronic music. This electro sound was instrumental in Tim getting a set of turntables around 1985 and staying in his bedroom learning to mix and scratch while all his friends went to the pub. He then went on to be a UK technics DMC semi-finalist in 1987 :-)
7) It's Grim Up North - Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu
It's impossible to do a Synth Hero mix without including a KLF track. The J.A.M.M.s were so important and unique and opened the door for us and so many other electronic acts - unique pioneers. Plus we live up north :).
8) Moskow Diskow - Telex
They were the Belgian trailblazers - a poppier answer to Kraftwerk at the time.
9) Rhythm is Rhythm - It is What It Is
It would be a bit too obvious to put in Strings of Life in here but we couldn’t not put something in by Derrick May. As May demonstrates on this track, machines can have the funk and create soul and emotion in dance music. It is always really hard to mix his tracks in clubs as nothing was ever quantised when he recorded it, hence why it has so much soul.
10) Friends of Matthew - The Calling
This track reminds us of going off each weekend to play at raves back in the 90’s and a time when people made records in their bedroom and pressed up 500 copies and put them out on white label. It also used a similar approach to sampling as we used in our early tunes as it sampled a very early Human League track - “ The Lebanon” and an old disco track by Dee D Jackson which came out in 1977 called “Automatic Lover”.
11) Welcome to Paradise- Front 242
They used synthesisers as sonic weapons. Sheer power live and dance floor friendly industrial grooves on record. Also paved the way for taxi driver mohawks.
12) Feel Me - Blancmange
First heard this late at night on John Peel- it had so much soul and energy as a dark pop song, with such a driving, simple baseline. We also brought our Roland 909 Drum machine off them!!
13) Ghost Rider - Suicide
Arguably ahead of everyone - combining rock's' roll with cheap electronics using the common denominator - distortion and scary vocals. When Jez Utah started out playing in The Cassandra Complex they handed him a casio keyboard a "Suzz" (cross between sustain and fuzz) pedal, some gaffa tape and a Suicide album. Off he went.
The Fairlight CMI (short for Computer Musical Instrument) is a digital synthesizer, sampler and digital audio workstation introduced in 1979 by Fairlight. It was based on a commercial licence of the Qasar M8 developed by Tony Furse of Creative Strategies in Sydney, Australia. It was one of the earliest music workstations with an embedded digital sampler, and is credited for coining the term sampling in music. It rose to prominence in the early 1980s and competed with the Synclavier from New England Digital.