Phats & Small: New Music Is Coming!

Phats & Small are a legendary name in the House Music scene, behind many early hits in the late 90's and early 00's and recently, their iconic 'Turn Around' has received a makeover.

| by | Features, Interviews

Iconic in the scene with a number of huge hits and albums under their belts, Phats & Small have returned though in 2016, there is a little change to the group. Jason ‘Phats’ Hayward heads up the group alongside long time vocalist Ben Ofoedu and the two are back with the brand new remake of their hit single ‘Turn Around’. In the interview, we talk about getting into House music in the late 90’s right the way up to the current time, to which fans of Phats & Small will be happy to hear that new material is set to come soon! Read more below.

What a career you guys have had to date with various hit singles under your belts. Taking things back, how did you become involved in House music and where did the inspiration all come from?

Ben: We became involved in House music through different paths. My own path came through a chance meeting with a guy call Brian Dougans who had a house music project called Stakker Humanoid. After a brief conversation outside a London recording studio, he asked me to become a guest vocalist on his music, I guess at that point my love for House music was born.

Jason: Music and creating has always been my passion. I was a musician first, DJing followed. I got my first guitar at age 5. I was recording and playing with tape to tape from an early age. Played with my first synth (Korg MS10) when I was 11 and formed my first band when I was 13. At that point I realised the versatility of electronic music. As a band we would have to find rehearsal space, electronically I could pop the headphones on and make music. I grew up listening to music from many genres. The Beatles, Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Neil Young, AC/DC, The Specials …. electronic music? Kraftwerk, Human League, Heaven 17 and Jean Michel Jarre. My first exposure to house music was in 88 with Todd Terry’s – Bango (To The Batmobile). I’d say my three most influential electronic records were the Human League – Love Unlimited Orchestra Album, Todd Terry’s Bango and Ten City’s – That’s The Way Love Is. When I heard them they struck a chord ….. I can still to this day remember where I was and exactly how I felt at the time.

In the late 80’s I frequented the early Warehouse Parties like Sunrise, Energy and Raindance where acts like Carl Cox and Liam Howlett (Prodigy) did their first performances. Carl was from Brighton and gave me my first big residency at the Zap Club in Brighton. All the time I was producing. I then went on to work under various names such as The Delorme, Dharma Bums & Affinity. Things really started to change in 1996 when I started my DJ Phats project. I received healthy support from Derrick May, Stacey Pullen, Ashley Beedle, Daft Punk and Fatboy Slim. That was really the beginning of the Phats & Small project. In 98 I hooked up with Ben and the rest is history.

House music has come a long way over the years with the booming club scene and the booming industry. What was it like to perform back then in the clubs and how different was the crowds to what they are today?

Ben: I personally believe venues, surroundings and even tempos can change In music. But a club to me is define by people i.e a (clubbing together of people). If you’re in a room with four people, that is a club! a small club but yet a club. so to me clubs have not changed, when the right music is played on the dance floor I see the same reaction I’ve seen for many years, happiness joy and fulfilment.

Jason: The clubs have changed, but the people remain very much the same. It’s all about dancing, enjoying the music, a collective movement. That’s as strong today as it has ever been. The explosion of the scene in America reminds me of what it was like back in the late 80’s early 90’s. A generation of enthusiastic clubbers hungry for the party, loving the music and as we are seeing, wanting to experience all the musical genres. I love it when the boundaries are broken down and it’s just about the music.

The level of professionalism is great for both clubbers and DJ’s, all of this just adds to the experience. Look at events like Tomorrowland now embracing DJ’s like Dave Clarke. That makes me happy, the next generation able to experience quality DJ’s and producers from all styles & genres.

Obviously now there is a major difference when it comes to the clubs and the House music scene as a whole between now and back then. What is it like for you to watch it evolve and turn into the huge industry that it is today?

Jason: Music is a constant evolution, but Dance Music created a scene. The whole idea and role of a DJ changed. We were making the edits and the records and trying them out on the crowds. This had started way back in the late 70’s but the Summer of Love in 88-89 was the start of something that was here to stay. I remember the press saying it would come and go. I’ve seen it peak and then drop. Laws have changed. DJ’s have switched styles, genres have merged and sub genres have been born …… and all the time it has been about dancing, sometimes with as little as 10 to 20 people often as many as 20,000. The collective energy and togetherness has delivered consistent joy. Just when you think it’s all been exhausted someone comes up with the next big thing. I love it as much today as I did back then …… I’m just very grateful to have experienced it when it was in it’s infancy and still enjoy today.

We must also touch on the hit single ‘Turn Around’ which is still a classic that will get the crowds dancing. How did you come up with the track and where did the inspiration for this come from? Did you ever expect it to have the impact on the music scene than what it did, as it’s embraced as one of the stand out House tracks of the 90’s?

Ben: It was Jason’s idea. I’ll let Jason answer that!

Jason: We were working in the studio (In my living room) on a cut up edit of ‘Change – The Glow of Love’ for our DJ sets. Everyone had gone home and I was listening to the track. The computer was on loop at the end of the mix. The looped section was the basis of Turn Around’s music. I arranged the track and then the following day we put the vocal over. The whole process took about 12 hours. I did experience ‘that’ feeling I described in the first question. Something resonated. Did we ever expect it to be as big as it is? You can only dream for such fortune ….. but as a wise producer once told me many years ago such good fortune comes with hard work and belief. There were many many records before ‘Turn Around’ ….. look at any successful producer and you’ll see a history. It takes a good, solid, 5 years of constant work to reach a standard.

Back then there were only a few people in Brighton who owned an Akai Sampler & an Atari ST. Carl Cox, Fatboy Slim, Dave Clarke & The Rhythm Masters were the only other people we knew in Brighton who we could bounce ideas off. Everyone would help each other out. Great memories.

The 2016 remixes have arrived of the hit single with the likes of Calvo and the Futuristic Polar Bears taking on the track. What’s it like for you as producers to see your track remixed and different styles added to it? 

Ben: For me it’s amazing to see what somebody else can do with your vision. To make your Vision their own I find it fascinating.  I don’t always agree if I did it’ll be my vision not theirs but I appreciate everyone’s musical point of view. With the re-release of Turnaround  I love all the versions that have been given to us by the Polar Bears, mousse, Calvo and Maison and Dragen.

Jason: When the mixes are as great as these we feel honoured to be collaborating with new fresh talent. To be working with a label like Armada Music is a blessing. They’re like a family. We flew out to Amsterdam and were welcomed with open arms and enthusiasm. Great label with a forward thinking vision of the dance music scene. It’s an honour to be part of that vision.

With all the hype surrounding the remixes, is there a potential to see new Phats & Small releases on the way over the course of the rest of the year and a return of the duo onto the scene? 

Ben: I speak for both of us when I say we can’t wait to get stuck in to another chapter of the 17 year old saga that we call Phats & Small. Music is coming in it’s abundance Jason have I said too much?

Jason: We are out doing what we love both on the road touring, doing gigs, road testing new music and in the studio  writing new songs and producing new club tracks ….. working together again is a joy ….. an abundance of music awaits. I do know there is a snippet of something floating around on one of Armada’s channels.

If you were also to give your piece of advice for those looking to get involved with dance music and House, what would you say to them about joining the ranks?

Jason: Make as much music as you can on a daily basis and finish tracks. The way to get to ’that’ level of production & sound is through constant practice.

Jason & Ben: Have fun, be kind and never, ever, ever, give up.

For more information on Phats & Small:
http://www.phatsandsmall.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/phatsandsmall
https://twitter.com/phatsandsmall
https://soundcloud.com/phatsandsmall

Phats & Small have arrived back on the scene teasing new music and a massive 2016. They are back.

Iconic in the scene with a number of huge hits and albums under their belts, Phats & Small have returned though in 2016, there is a little change to the group. Jason ‘Phats’ Hayward heads up the group alongside long time vocalist Ben Ofoedu and the two are back with the brand new remake of their hit single ‘Turn Around’. In the interview, we talk about getting into House music in the late 90’s right the way up to the current time, to which fans of Phats & Small will be happy to hear that new material is set to come soon! Read more below.

What a career you guys have had to date with various hit singles under your belts. Taking things back, how did you become involved in House music and where did the inspiration all come from?

Ben: We became involved in House music through different paths. My own path came through a chance meeting with a guy call Brian Dougans who had a house music project called Stakker Humanoid. After a brief conversation outside a London recording studio, he asked me to become a guest vocalist on his music, I guess at that point my love for House music was born.

Jason: Music and creating has always been my passion. I was a musician first, DJing followed. I got my first guitar at age 5. I was recording and playing with tape to tape from an early age. Played with my first synth (Korg MS10) when I was 11 and formed my first band when I was 13. At that point I realised the versatility of electronic music. As a band we would have to find rehearsal space, electronically I could pop the headphones on and make music. I grew up listening to music from many genres. The Beatles, Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Neil Young, AC/DC, The Specials …. electronic music? Kraftwerk, Human League, Heaven 17 and Jean Michel Jarre. My first exposure to house music was in 88 with Todd Terry’s – Bango (To The Batmobile). I’d say my three most influential electronic records were the Human League – Love Unlimited Orchestra Album, Todd Terry’s Bango and Ten City’s – That’s The Way Love Is. When I heard them they struck a chord ….. I can still to this day remember where I was and exactly how I felt at the time.

In the late 80’s I frequented the early Warehouse Parties like Sunrise, Energy and Raindance where acts like Carl Cox and Liam Howlett (Prodigy) did their first performances. Carl was from Brighton and gave me my first big residency at the Zap Club in Brighton. All the time I was producing. I then went on to work under various names such as The Delorme, Dharma Bums & Affinity. Things really started to change in 1996 when I started my DJ Phats project. I received healthy support from Derrick May, Stacey Pullen, Ashley Beedle, Daft Punk and Fatboy Slim. That was really the beginning of the Phats & Small project. In 98 I hooked up with Ben and the rest is history.

House music has come a long way over the years with the booming club scene and the booming industry. What was it like to perform back then in the clubs and how different was the crowds to what they are today?

Ben: I personally believe venues, surroundings and even tempos can change In music. But a club to me is define by people i.e a (clubbing together of people). If you’re in a room with four people, that is a club! a small club but yet a club. so to me clubs have not changed, when the right music is played on the dance floor I see the same reaction I’ve seen for many years, happiness joy and fulfilment.

Jason: The clubs have changed, but the people remain very much the same. It’s all about dancing, enjoying the music, a collective movement. That’s as strong today as it has ever been. The explosion of the scene in America reminds me of what it was like back in the late 80’s early 90’s. A generation of enthusiastic clubbers hungry for the party, loving the music and as we are seeing, wanting to experience all the musical genres. I love it when the boundaries are broken down and it’s just about the music.

The level of professionalism is great for both clubbers and DJ’s, all of this just adds to the experience. Look at events like Tomorrowland now embracing DJ’s like Dave Clarke. That makes me happy, the next generation able to experience quality DJ’s and producers from all styles & genres.

Obviously now there is a major difference when it comes to the clubs and the House music scene as a whole between now and back then. What is it like for you to watch it evolve and turn into the huge industry that it is today?

Jason: Music is a constant evolution, but Dance Music created a scene. The whole idea and role of a DJ changed. We were making the edits and the records and trying them out on the crowds. This had started way back in the late 70’s but the Summer of Love in 88-89 was the start of something that was here to stay. I remember the press saying it would come and go. I’ve seen it peak and then drop. Laws have changed. DJ’s have switched styles, genres have merged and sub genres have been born …… and all the time it has been about dancing, sometimes with as little as 10 to 20 people often as many as 20,000. The collective energy and togetherness has delivered consistent joy. Just when you think it’s all been exhausted someone comes up with the next big thing. I love it as much today as I did back then …… I’m just very grateful to have experienced it when it was in it’s infancy and still enjoy today.

We must also touch on the hit single ‘Turn Around’ which is still a classic that will get the crowds dancing. How did you come up with the track and where did the inspiration for this come from? Did you ever expect it to have the impact on the music scene than what it did, as it’s embraced as one of the stand out House tracks of the 90’s?

Ben: It was Jason’s idea. I’ll let Jason answer that!

Jason: We were working in the studio (In my living room) on a cut up edit of ‘Change – The Glow of Love’ for our DJ sets. Everyone had gone home and I was listening to the track. The computer was on loop at the end of the mix. The looped section was the basis of Turn Around’s music. I arranged the track and then the following day we put the vocal over. The whole process took about 12 hours. I did experience ‘that’ feeling I described in the first question. Something resonated. Did we ever expect it to be as big as it is? You can only dream for such fortune ….. but as a wise producer once told me many years ago such good fortune comes with hard work and belief. There were many many records before ‘Turn Around’ ….. look at any successful producer and you’ll see a history. It takes a good, solid, 5 years of constant work to reach a standard.

Back then there were only a few people in Brighton who owned an Akai Sampler & an Atari ST. Carl Cox, Fatboy Slim, Dave Clarke & The Rhythm Masters were the only other people we knew in Brighton who we could bounce ideas off. Everyone would help each other out. Great memories.

The 2016 remixes have arrived of the hit single with the likes of Calvo and the Futuristic Polar Bears taking on the track. What’s it like for you as producers to see your track remixed and different styles added to it? 

Ben: For me it’s amazing to see what somebody else can do with your vision. To make your Vision their own I find it fascinating.  I don’t always agree if I did it’ll be my vision not theirs but I appreciate everyone’s musical point of view. With the re-release of Turnaround  I love all the versions that have been given to us by the Polar Bears, mousse, Calvo and Maison and Dragen.

Jason: When the mixes are as great as these we feel honoured to be collaborating with new fresh talent. To be working with a label like Armada Music is a blessing. They’re like a family. We flew out to Amsterdam and were welcomed with open arms and enthusiasm. Great label with a forward thinking vision of the dance music scene. It’s an honour to be part of that vision.

With all the hype surrounding the remixes, is there a potential to see new Phats & Small releases on the way over the course of the rest of the year and a return of the duo onto the scene? 

Ben: I speak for both of us when I say we can’t wait to get stuck in to another chapter of the 17 year old saga that we call Phats & Small. Music is coming in it’s abundance Jason have I said too much?

Jason: We are out doing what we love both on the road touring, doing gigs, road testing new music and in the studio  writing new songs and producing new club tracks ….. working together again is a joy ….. an abundance of music awaits. I do know there is a snippet of something floating around on one of Armada’s channels.

If you were also to give your piece of advice for those looking to get involved with dance music and House, what would you say to them about joining the ranks?

Jason: Make as much music as you can on a daily basis and finish tracks. The way to get to ’that’ level of production & sound is through constant practice.

Jason & Ben: Have fun, be kind and never, ever, ever, give up.

For more information on Phats & Small:
http://www.phatsandsmall.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/phatsandsmall
https://twitter.com/phatsandsmall
https://soundcloud.com/phatsandsmall

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