INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE: BIMBO JONES Goes ‘MAY DAY’ in a Good Way

29 04 2011
BIMBO JONES Haulin' to the U S of A for MAY DAY!

BIMBO JONES Haulin' to the U S of A for MAY DAY!

Hola music-loving amigos!
Drew_Wall_ giving a first official post for DANCING ABOUT ARCHITECTURE and glad to be doing it with this one. BIMBO JONES has been turning people to the dancefloor for decades and now those lucky folks in the NYC area can experience them — alongside the equally amazing FREEMASONS— spinning stateside at a special one-time event called MAY DAY at Amnesia NYC on, well, May 1 (funny how that works).
We had a chance to throw the man behind the over 70 #1 mixes of Bimbo Jones a few questions LEE DAGGER and here is what he had to say about the love of GaGa, Acapella and Ciara, DJ love they have, going number one and a ton more.

First, thank you for the music and mixes as a DJ troupe, writers and a band. It has been an interesting ride to the current result of BIMBO JONES that we have today. Number one club play hits, top-charting international songs, live shows with the divine Katherine Ellis and always with a consistent move to getting folks to the floor. All these things factor into where you are now and we are glad to have you there. 
In preparing for this interview I did a quick search on my music libraries and playlists to get up to speed and realized I have near 150 club mixes and radio edits with the stamp of Bimbo Jones on it. When I turned around and listened to them, it is interesting to hear your gradual transformation over the years as a remix unit. Do you hear a change in your sound when you look over what you’ve done or do you know that change is there and make it a conscious choice in your sound, given the “hits of the dancefloor” at a certain time? 
Hi there Lee Dagger here (aka DJ BIMBO JONES) firstly a big thanks to you all for all your support over the years.
Yes there is a gradual change in the sound to a certain degree. Our productions and songs can easily vary from track to track.  Remixes can be a different story. It can all depend on how the original song sounded before the remix. Some can be far easier than others and some can prove to be much more of a challenge. The sound of now is always changing and its good to move forward, though I always like to have the ‘push and energy’ within a track especially if I am going to use it in my dj sets.

How would you describe your sound now? There seems to be a welcome, almost darker, grit to the undertone of your mixes and beats, but, all the while tight enough to get you through the mix without sacrificing the initial lyrics, melodies or overall track. SoundGirl’s current debut UK track ‘I’m A Fool’, Nicole Scherzinger’s recent number one UK song ‘Don’t Hold Your Breath’, Lady GaGa’s global remix package for ‘Born This Way’, these are all examples of a more twisted disco-tweak Bimbo Jones has been giving pop songs of late. Is there a current remix that you think helps showcase where you are or where you are going with club remixing? 
Our sound in the studio has always been about creating a driving energy – be it fun factor or tough. So long as it makes you wanna move and not leave the dance floor for a drink then we are happy. This also goes for all my dj sets worldwide. I always play to the people!! They are my number 1 priority – be it headlining Mardi Gras or playing a small club or bar.
Its nice you mentioned SoundGirl. That’s a very good example. I also love our remix of Avril Lavigne (‘What The Hell’) (though that does sound more like one of our classic P!nk remixes). So it can all vary depending on the original song. This then points us in a direction ready to start the mix. As I mentioned on the panel at the MIAMI Winter music conference this year I sometimes like to listen to the acapella on its own before commencing a mix or even hearing the original. I can get up too 4 or 5 ideas instantly.

Speaking of the art of remixing, the music-loving public hears about major labels and artists getting their single “serviced” for remixes which seems to make the process a bit clinical but necessary given how pop songs need to sell now to every market on every continent to be deemed a true “success”. Do you think this is the right way to get a remix to an artist or do you do it differently? 
Its very important for the artists to use the best remixer’s in the world. It completely opens up the song to a whole new market and ears. Club land can also make a really cheesy artist or track into something cool. We have even had our remixes chosen to be the MAIN mix for radio 1 and other big radio stations off of the back of the popularity within the buzz of our remix in the dance charts and nightclubs.

Is there a remix unit or DJ out there right now that turns your collective heads? Why or why not? 
I personally like a whole mixture of producers and remixers ranging from Vandalism, Esquire, Freemasons, Laidback Luke, Hardwell, Wolfgang Gartner, Avicii, Pirupa, Martin Solvieg, David Guetta, Thomas Gold, Deadmau5 and Chris Lake to name just a few. I may not like ALL of their remixes or tracks but overall they are pretty consistant. I can’t really think of anyone one DJ or producer that gets me as excited as the early DJ Sasha sets from 1990-1992.

On the other side of things there are acts and artists that you’ve made some major mixes for that just haven’t gotten a fair shake in the music world. Off the top of my head the lack of full-on global love for Alphabeat, Kelis not being able to crack the US charts with her amazing last album, Little Boots getting little love from outside her home country, all these still hurt my cranium when I think about it. Is there an artist you’ve mixed that wished got more for what they’ve given? 
We have helped to break a few artists over the years by remixing their first ever big single. This is a very exciting time and great moment for us. As we can transform the artists awareness 10 fold by getting regular plays on big radio stations before the act is born. Top of my head I know we did this for Tinchy Stryder (‘No. 1’), Natasha Bedingfield (‘These Words’), Mika (‘Grace Kelly’), Taio Cruz (‘I Just Wanna Know’), The Script (‘We Cry’), and Alphabeat (‘Fascination’).
Yes there are artists that yes I do wonder why they have not projected forward and yes it bugs me too. I loved our remix and dub remix of Kelis’s Acapella. I wrote a song for her last year while in LA which I am waiting to hear back on. (fingers crossed) x

Has there been a current artist on the scene that you have consciously said Bimbo Jones needs to deliver remixes to their sound because you enjoy where they are headed as an artist? I would love to hear you take a crack at the great material from Robyn’s multi-E.P. release of last year or something in a new music arena like you did when you mixed LeAnn Rimes for ‘Nothing Better To Do’ that was a straight-up country song until you touched it.  
I would say from the past PINK. We loved mixing for her. She ROCKS! I once Djed for her at her album launch. She is so nice. Nowadays we do love mixing for Gaga, I also use to love mixing for Ciara. We would love to write tracks and remix them again and also people such as Missy Elliot, Jay Z, Q tip, Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder and more. Our sound and style can work with so many artists. At the moment we are just finishing album number 2. So far we have written with Cyndi Lauper, Sergio Mendes, Beverley Knight, Katherine Ellis, Angie Brown, Blake Lewis, Cyko Logic and more! I can’t wait for you all to hear it.

You have a core group of artists that can boast not one but multiple remixes from the decks of Bimbo Jones. Good examples of this are Pixie Lott, Kylie Minogue, P!nk and Lady GaGa. Are there key artists you like working with and why? 
GAGA, Pink, Kylie all rock our boats. Great songs and vocals. We remixed Ciara four times I think. We welcome her back anytime and would love to write a track with her! We have a wicked instrumental out called Questions that would sound great with her or even Snoop on!

Speaking of talented entertainers, Katherine Ellis is a woman who deserves her due. Not only with Bimbo Jones but her work as a writer (‘Salsoul Nugget (If U Wanna)’ with M&S Presents The Girl Next Door) and a singer (‘When You Touch Me’ with the Freemasons who Bimbo Jones is headlining with at May Day). What attracted Bimbo Jones to her as an entertainer? 
Katherine is fab a YES a great live singer/ performer. We first met her in 1994 and wrote our first joint song together called Freeze. A track Marc and I started writing ourselves. We work very well together. Katherine stole our FUNK & DISCO hearts with her vocal knock out on HARLEM one stop which the orignal white label had me (trying) to sing on.
Both Katherine and I have separately rocked down under for the past 3 years or so- but never together which is a shame as we have done many gigs together in the UK and Europe.
She is a great writer and singer sensation. We have written 4 songs together on the next album. Watch out!
             

What is out there for Bimbo Jones as a band? Is there an allotment of time for Bimbo Jones as a band and Bimbo Jones as writers and remixers? What can fans expect to see when they see you on the road now? 
Hopefully we all might get more bookings as a band or with me as DJ BIMBO JONES and Katherine the DIVA. Our first ever live gig as a band Marc, Katherine and Me (Lee) was at the legendary Glastonbury festival in Somerset UK in 1995. What a crazy first ever gig! (ask me another time about the storm)!
Marc and I as mentioned have been busy using our own writing skills as well as production skills to work with some great new and legendary acts. Did I mention the Broadway show we have been working on with Cyndi Lauper? (CYN you rule!)
We would SO love to extend our future writing skills with the likes of Kylie, Gaga, Taio Cruz and so on. We are on a roll and are loving this sunny spell.
Expect hands in the air madness at my sets and be sure to come and grab a free cd or t shirt of mine.

Quick Qs:      Death of the CD single, worth an R.I.P.? I am old school all the way. I think its good to see a Dj active sticking on a cd, or vinyl and then working the crowd. I really don’t ever wanna to become a computer DJ. I have started writing a song where the last line of the chorus is “where is the artwork on an mp3”. I don’t want to buy a piece of air when I can buy a cd or vinyl with full lyrics, artwork etc.
                7″ or 12″?  12” all the way.
                Remix or Refix? Remix
                Fave after-DJ set re-fuel snack? Stella Artois
                Best remix you’ve ever set your stamp on?Denise Lopez (‘Don’t You Wanna Be Mine’ — we remixed it but never it went out as update) or P!nk (‘Sober’).

Our appreciation for your extended play on our favorite music! 

Go for more with the links you see here:
MAY DAY BIMBO JONES AUDIO + VIDEO: http://bit.ly/fOg7km
TICKET INFO FOR YOU NYC CLUBBER LOVERS for MAY DAY: http://www.saintatlarge.com/2011/may-day-3/

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