Irish Times : Dance demons - Part 1 - U2 France

Irish Times : Dance demons - Part 1

samedi 23 janvier 1999

Source : Irish Times

From The Irish Times :

Dance demons

Bono and The Edge’s continuing quest to ’stay tuned in to what’s happening’ has led them to launch their own dance label. The future, they tell Jim Carroll, is all about co-operation

The Joshua Tree National Park would make a grand place for a wild party. A good location, it has plenty of wide-open space and is far away from anyone who would complain about the noise of a few hundred sound-systems blasting out any variety or amount of dance music. But when U2 posed for Anton Corbijn’s cameras under the Joshua Tree back in 1987, they hadn’t come to party. No siree, U2 had come to pout.

The thought of these four individuals on the cover of The Joshua Tree, sporting standard-issue rock-star clobber and expressions, one day embracing the groove would have been amusing, unlikely. Fast-forward 12 years and much has changed. The dance bugs which seemed mildly contagious in the late 1980s have become full-blown phenomena, changing everything from the way you dance to the way you dress.

And U2 ? Yes, they’ve changed too. Sitting in the study of the Clarence Hotel, Bono and The Edge are about to launch their second label, with manager Reggie Manuel. Unlike Mother, the label set up to release singles in the 1980s by the likes of Cactus World News, The Subterraneans, Roger Doyle’s Operating Theatre and The Word, Kitchen Recordings is a dance label. The first release is from prolific Dublin producer Rob Rowland, an artist who specialises in spatial, minimal techno which is more Detroit than Detroit itself. The second release will be from Belfast duo Basic, an act who stretch the breakbeat blueprint in new and fascinating ways.

U2 and dance music ? It’s a good story which begins when they snogged the groove with the help of Paul Oakenfold and discovered a new lease of life. From that eyeopening remix of Even Better Than The Real Thing, they have toured with DJs, recruited Howie B, opened The Kitchen club in Dublin and now launched a new label.

Kitchen Recordings will be run by Reggie Manuel, long-time pal and the person who persuaded the duo to take on the Rowland release. "It’s Reggie’s show," Bono explains. "We are the bouncers but he has to open and close the doors and get the show on road. We’ve known him for years and years. He has no experience really of how to deal with the music business but he brought us Rob Rowland and he knows his turf. Some people will be very confused by it all !"

Of course, some people will ask whether it’s merely some ploy for credibility. "What would you do if you were in a big band with loads of money ?" asks Edge. "You have to stay alive, you have to stay tuned in to what’s happening and this is the perfect way for us to do that. It’s our way of keeping on top of everything that is happening. It’s not just going off buying loads of 12-inches but having our own label to release stuff which catches our attention."

U2 and the groove first clicked in 1982 when they worked with legendary New York house DJ and producer, Franois Kervokian. "We did three remixes with him around the time of Sun- day Bloody Sunday," Edge recalls. "I hung out with him in New York and he turned me on to some fantastic stuff. We were lucky because we were signed to Island Records and they were very interested in sub-culture stuff so they introduced us to this scene and these people like Francois."

So you weren’t checking out the discotheques and clubs in the Dublin of the late 1970s and early 1980s ? Bono smiles : "In the 1970s, club culture was the enemy. It was girls’ music and we were boys. I did buy Love Ma- chine. Was it by The Stylistics ? There was an instrumental on the B-side which had a serious groove. I bought that record but I don’t think I told anyone because it was just at the time punk rock was breaking and punk rock was about as male, white, hormonal music as you could find.

"It’s funny - as you get older, the music you loved as a boy now just sounds so wrong and especially so long ! And the music that was supposed to be so trivial and throwaway has lasted the test of time. Pop music and dance music from then sound so cool now, whereas progressive rock and the like, well . . ." He laughs. "Rock and roll critics used to shit all over the Bee Gees. Fair enough, the hair-dos were appalling but to think they were dismissed in favour of" - his voice rises - "prog rock !"


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