Along with Fatboy Slim, the Lo-fi's are one of Skints most successful exports with a massive following over in the states. Returning later this month with the second album "Don't Be Afraid Of Love" its difficult to gauge what sort of reaction they'll get after a four year gap from the debut album. The only certainty is that "Feel What I Feel" a track which takes that unique Lo-fi's sound and splices it with S Club 7 will shock critics and fans alike.
Q: 2002 is a totally different musical climate from last time you were around. How do you think people will react to the Lo-fi's Sound?
Martin: There's kind of a big beat backlash going on at the moment which were kind of getting lumped in with, which is a little bit frustrating because we never saw ourselves as a big beat band even on the first album and as I see it there's nothing on this album which can been seen as the big beat thing. Our stuff has always been more about writing tunes.
Dale: Being linked with Skint who always had that thing going on...I think us and Space Raiders are the only actual bands left on Skint now.
Martin: The house thing has really taken off and a lot of DJ's who were doing the Big Beat thing have gone over to do the house. But we just do our own thing whatever and we've never pandered to particular pigeon whole...in fact we've always tried to get out of them.
Q: It must be a worry though returning with an album 4 years after the debut "How To Operate With A Blown Mind"?
Martin: We've made the album that we wanted to make and were really chuffed with what we've done. But we also know that we've done some stuff on this album that people were perceive as really different, but its the right thing to do as a band. You've got to rattle a few cages!!!
Dale: We wanted to make sure it wasn't "How To Operate With A Blown Mind" Part 2 and as you say its been four years. Its got to be something different, but hopefully we haven't burnt any bridges.
Martin: It would have been the easiest thing for us to do to write another "How To Operate". Really the final track on the album "Dark Is Easy" kind of sums that up, for that to make another dark bleak album would have been the easiest thing for us to do.
Q: One of the tracks which is shocking people is "Feel What I Feel". I heard it for the first time a couple of days ago and it really is Lo-fi's Vs S Club 7. One of the rumours going round is that Skint said they wouldn't release the album unless you had a single on there. What's the story?
Martin: Its not true. It was a dodgy one for us because we got this tune together...there's a lot of our influences in there - the bass lines very Stevie Wonder and the soul thing as well, but when we listened to it we thought what will people make of this? People are going to say its not the Lo-fi', but it is the lo-fi's!!!
Dale: Everything from your Motown to Phil Spector has always been pop. You look back in hindsight and you see them as good pop tunes. It proves that we can knock it all out, there's no snobbery with us.
Q: Listening to the album and personally I thought the best tracks were the ones without the samples - "Tied To The Mast", "What You Want", "Lo-Fi's in Ibiza"?
Martin: Were actually getting close to the point where we have no option to get round this sampling thing now. It costs a lot of money to make and album and go out and do gigs and somehow we've got to fund this little trip were on....and the whole sampling thing is just like.
There's one track on this album where we've taken a little bit of speech which lasted about 1.5 seconds and they wanted 60% of the royalties for the track. Its like we've got to put bread on the table, yer know what I mean. You go back 10 years ago and you could get away with stuff. But now there's musicologists and music lawyers who are actively seeking court cases because they get there little cut of what goes on.
Dale: We had this thing with the "Battleflag" track. It was on a good few movies in 1999 and on ER...it was even on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire last weekend. On the back of "Battleflag" we went to America and it broke us over there, but at the same time we hardly made anything do to the royalties and stuff.
Q: Have you ever sneaked a sample in a track and kept quite about?
Dale: (Laughs out loud) Bush rolls past.
Q: The album features collaborations with Bootsy Collins and Greg Dulli. It must have been amazing working we've these legends?
Martin: We did our fair share of the vocals on the album, but there were certain tracks which we wrote where we demoed the vocals and it was like we just can't do justice to this vocal, lets get someone in to do the vocal. Bootsy, Greg Dulli and Jamie Lidell are people we all really admire.
The thing with Bootsy was that it was all done by sending tapes over to America so we didn't actually get to work with him in the studio. We sent over this backing track and gave him the chorus vocal and told him it was probably going to called "On The Pier". We were expecting him to come back with this single solo vocal with Bootsy doing his thing over it, but he sent us back like BVs - he'd got the original singers in Parliament and he'd even got his son rapping on it. Its was service beyond the call of Bootsy!!!
It was interesting with Greg because he's always seen as rock because the Afghan Wigs are a rock band. When you listen to him you can hear this great soul voice and when we got to meet him recently he loves his hip-hop and he loves his soul. There's a lot of common ground between the music he listens to and the music we listen to. We sent him this dirty sleazy music and he got it straight away and sent us back these dirty sleazy lyrics!!!
Q: So is there any chance of you working together in the future?
Martin: We did the Jo Whiley show about a month ago and we gave him a tape of some new stuff we were working on...so hopefully we'll get to work with him again. Our dream is to do a gig with Bootsy, Greg, Jamie Liddel, all the brass players and getting all those people together in one gig.
Dale: Bootsy's up for it, but its just financing it. You can't fly Bootsy over in economy class - the mans got to fly first class!!!
Q: I believe there's a major name remix in the pipeline as well?
Martin: Were working on a Charlatans remix which I suppose if they don't like it...no one's going to get to hear it.
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