Atjazz Record Company have recently shared ‘Make It Brighter’, the first release from new signing ‘Mellow Baku and The Friday People’, dropping with 4 solid mixes.
The release was born from a chance meeting and musical sharing at last summer’s SuncéBeat festival where The Friday People’s Steve Butler (also a long term, respected, Southport Weekender resident DJ) played on a memorable boat party alongside Atjazz. This infectious song features the wonderful voice of ‘Mellow Baku’ who brings her unique blend of soulful jazz vocals and lyrical prowess to this resonant piece of music. It instantly hooked Martin ‘Atjazz’ and is no surprise his head (and ears) were turned, tuned and caught…
The original mix is a slick Bossa affair featuring live drums courtesy of Rich Thair (Red Snapper) and a massive brass arrangement from Bah Samba’s talented Scott Bayliss, Ben Hadwen and Max Grunhard.
Atjazz takes the song into the lab and warms things up in his inimitable manner turning out a slick dance floor interpretation which will have the main rooms moving to his rolling beats, electronic soul and vocal treatment. A New Funky Generation (best known for their contribution to the Café Del Mar compilations and Jose Padilla LPs) provide a gutsy, energetic and uplifting mix driven by eclectic rhythms and propelled by the live instrumentation from top UK jazz, Latin and soul musicians Steve Nutter and Mike Sole, headed up by Richard Frost.
The deep heads are indulged with an emotive and powerful Atjazz instrumental, which is guaranteed to delight fans around the world and get the underground floors workin’. This is proper heads down, shiftless shuffle shizzle.
‘Make It Brighter’ is an inspiring, vibrant song with a positive message – one that will be working floors and ears over the forthcoming months, years and beyond. Crank it up, kick back and enjoy ‘Make It Brighter’.
Words adapted from an introductory article by Ben Brophy.
Following the glowing response to this debut release by The Friday People, Gavin Kendrick asked Richard Frost about the project…
How did the The Friday People evolve from your original band A New Funky Generation?
The Friday People is an amalgamation of A New Funky Generation members: myself, Pete Yeaden and Steve Butler, and Mellow Baku’s band: Steve Nutter (bass), Mike Sole (keys), Dave Anderson (drums), with additional support from Rich Thair (Red Snapper), Scott Bayliss (trumpet), Ben Haddley (flute) and Max Grunhard (sax).
Where did A New Funky Generation originate?
A New Funky Generation was originally a club night held at The Cross nightclub in London. The founding DJs were myself, Breeze (RIP) and Steve Butler. I also hosted a room at The Bomb in Nottingham, James Bailey’s follow up club after his move from Venus. Alongside the residents, we invited Glen Gunner, Breeze and Kelvin Andrews to spin as guests. I was playing everything from Northern Soul to US Garage, touching all points in-between.
I then moved to America in 2002 to pursue other career opportunities as the music industry had hit rock bottom for many independent musicians. It seemed a good time to take a break from what we were doing. Meeting Mellow Baku coincided with the birth of my daughter. My wife travelled with business, as did I, and this new project was an opportunity for me to work closer to home. The music industry, now with legal download sites, seemed a more viable option than it had done when I took my time out. I was also finding it increasingly difficult to find a job where you could drink lager, smoke and lie on a sofa whilst at work!
What is your vision for the new outfit?
The same as it has always been: to put a band together with a big personality. We were once described by a music journalist in the 90s as a cross between Chic and Ian Dury and the Blockheads – I think that kind of sums us up quite nicely!
What is the song writing process for the band?
The writing is primarily carried out by Mellow, myself and Steve Nutter. I try to spend two days a week with Mellow and two days a week with Steve and the musicians, then the three of us come together for the final mixes – it works well. We are writing with the intention of releasing full albums, as our music is quite eclectic and not all of it is aimed at the dance floor. I do have mixed feelings about albums though, especially as these days most music is consumed on a track by track basis.
Who inspires you to write?
Burt Bacharach is still my favourite song writer. I was taught to play piano from an early age. My grandad was an old jazzer, and taught me to play using Bacharach material – it has never left me.
Can you tell me about your studio?
We are at Quad Studios, Friday Street in Leicester, hence the name. It is a huge 30,000 square foot, multi-studio complex, right in the centre of town. It’s home to a wide variety of producers from the Fun Loving Criminals to The South (formally The Beautiful South). I love working there, it’s like a social club for musos.
In the studio, we use Cubass 6 and Pro tools mainly, and Logic for some things. We don’t use samples of any kind; I’ve always had a problem with samples – I think its a cop out. So what you hear on our recordings, we have actually played ourselves.
Our studio looks like an explosion in a music shop. It’s full of instruments from a tuba to a didgeridoo! My favourite bit of kit is my old Roland RD1000 stage piano. I have had it since 1986 when they first came out and it’s like a comfort blanket!
How has the release been received?
The tune has really taken off, especially in America with all mixes being pretty even, when it comes to a favourite mix on the reaction reports, and the Atjazz version squares the circle remix-wise.
We are delighted to share the following exclusive guest mix from The Friday People’s Steve Butler. Sit back, turn it up loud and enjoy!
1. Jessica Laure Four – White Mountain
2. Mellow Baku and The Friday People – Make It Brighter (Original)
3. Swell Session – A Heart To Cover For
4. Dexter Wansell – The Sweetest Pain
5. Smoove & Turrell – The Difference
6. Rey Salinero – Meu Universo De Felicidade
7. Kabuki – Tempest (Atjazz remix)
8. Mellow Baku and The Friday People – Funny Thing
9. Mr Jools – Never Gonna Stop
10. Louis Vega – Thinking About Your Body (Intro only)
11. Armchair Generals – Let It Go
12. Mellow Baku and The Friday People – Make It Brighter (Atjazz remix)
13. Charles Webster feat Emilie Chick – Fantasized
14. Solomun – Around (Acoustic version)
15. Kim Wayman – We Are The People