Taking nasty little vocal stabs, Coombs crafted ‘The Future Sound of Retro’ (2001) around slamming breaks and jump-up peaks. His remix of the saucy ‘Put The Needle On The Record’ (Criminal Element Orchestra) remains right on the edge, where his remix of Crystal (New Order) firmly perched him. Another catchy line in ‘Sky Juice’ is one of the great examples of a sample that never got cleared and still eludes film producers. Hint: the line ‘Some day this war’s gonna end’ was snatched from a classic film based on a Josef Conrad novel. Coombs made me promise I wouldn’t blow his cover.
Considering your position as a rare cat that can successfully slink through a wide selection of neighbourhoods inconspicuously, do you ever knuckle down before writing a tune and think to yourself ‘I’m gonna give this one a housey vibe’ or ‘This bitch is gonna be party breaks!!’?
“I just do what I feel. The way it works is what you just said. But I like to vary it a little bit. For me, different styles of breaks and house music are for different times of the night and different parts of the set as a DJ.”
Very interesting point. Where do you see this strange mutating beast that is breaks swiveling and sliding?
“Erm.. I see it getting bigger. It’s spreading into other genres. The house side of it is really taking breaks on in a big way. Promoters that didn’t want to know me are now calling me up. I’m getting gigs at a lot of clubs that I wasn’t getting a year ago. They all want to know about Finger Lickin’.”
You seem to find yourself constantly between solid bouts of slalom waterskiing, producing killer bombs, fixing up old ones (a fully restored 1972 Porsche Targa) and DJing to large crowds of discerning punters… what have you been up to recently you wascally wabbit?
“When do you want me to start from? (smirks) After the Perfecto album I did a remix for Ali B’s label ‘AIR Recordings’. It’s called Feel The Funk and I’m really happy with it. Feels like it’s gonna do the business. Gee you’ve caught me by surprised (fossicks for updated info). I’ve written some new tracks. I’ve done a new track with Gem from Soul of Man which is called Burn Brothers and the track is called ‘Machine’. That’s a 4 in the morning, late night (track) deep, throbbing on the acid house tip. It’s going down a storm at the money. I’m remixing Drummatic Twins’ ‘Mind The Gap’.”
Excellent choice – it’s the best thing on their Drummatical album methinks. Keeping it all in the FingerLickin’ family eh?
“Yeah. I’m doing that remix with Gem (Soul of Man) as well actually. I remixed Tribal Tension, one of my tunes. That’s coming out on my label Thrust Recordings. I’m collaborating at the moment with Rennie Pilgrem. I’m also working with Meat Katie”
Magnifico! ‘The Hum’ (also with Meat Katie) seems to be blowing up again.. or maybe it hasn’t died down from its first tsunami..
“Yeah. It’s one of the best things I’ve done recently. It’s had a massive response in the UK. All these genres are taking it onboard. We got the inspiration and ideas through old records. I just take a sound and bang it around and mould it into my own tune. It’s just inspiration. Music evolves and we bring it into the new.”
Speaking of brand spanking new, the whispers are out that an artist album is in the piping hot pipeline. Discuss.
“I’ve started thinking about it. It’s a big thing. I don’t wanna just churn out a collection of records that are any old dance records. It’s difficult to decide what to do with an artist album. I don’t want to get too arty. I’m supposed to be getting it ready for next year. I
don’t want to promise anything because then people say ‘Right! Where is it?’. We’ll see.”
How do you perceive the breaks scene in Australia? You played beautifully to the crowd at last year’s Two Tribes – pairing up with Hyper at 5am was a real treat..
“You’ve pretty much got everything over there. Breakbeat’s big. I can’t really comment on that too much though. I do my own thing and if anybody wants it they come and get it. I remember last time I was out in Australia I spent a lot of time sitting around the pool. I can’t wait.”