It’s when greed takes over that reason goes out the window: Eddy Temple Morris Interview Pt 2
The second part of the interview with Eddy Temple Morris from XFM’s The Remix (first part here). His was a key show in bringing bootlegs (mash ups) in the UK to awider audience and so this part of the interview puts him on the spot for his favourite mash up artists and the vexed issue of copyright.
7. I know it’s invidious but which mash up artists were your favourites?
Again it’s all subjective, of course, but to my ears the best ones by a mile were the ones like: GoHomeProductions, The Freelance Hellraiser, Jacknife Lee, Loo & Placido, Nid & Sancy, and I think Pojmasta did something that was different from all the other bedroom mashers. There were some individual pieces of genius done by people like Lionel Vinyl, Soundhog, Big Bad Baz, DJ Lumpy and many more that all found their way onto the show, but the afformentioned had something special that took them out of the bedroom – sonically. They transcended the scene.
8. If you wanted to demonstrate to someone the creativity of mashups, which track from the early days would you choose?
Rigby Reggae by Loo & Placido.
9. Were you ever tempted to do mash ups?
I was more than tempted. I did loads. An old friend and I did a bunch of mashups that came out on vinyl under an assumed name but I’ll never say who that was because there are a few knee-capper managers out there I’m frightened of to this day. Above the table, the first official remix I ever did was of Just Jack’s first single, Snowflakes (Cured By Temple Of Jay). With Jay Reynolds help I put The Cure’s Lullaby under Jack, gave it a chorus, and it got a lot of support, Zoe Ball loved it I remember, it even got playlisted on xfm at the time. One of the most requested records on the Xfm X-List over the years was my mix of Ladytron, which people still think is a sample of Iggy And The Stooges. Jay engineered it, I replayed the bass, guitars and keyboards myself, and hired a session player for the solo. Ladytron ‘Blue Jeans’ (Dogged By Temple Of Jay) was the result. It’s still played once in a while on radio and always cracks a smile.
10. A number of mash up artists went on to try to make careers but none seemed to make it really big. Why do think that was? Was it because the record companies didn’t quite know what to do with them?
You’re mistaken. A few went on to be massive. Jacknife Lee has gone on to produce Snow Patrol, U2, Weezer and so many more – it’ll just make you kick yourself you’d forgotten about him. Many went on to have some success, GoHomeProductions most notably. And Pojmasta is, I believe, house engineer for Underwater Records/Tim Deluxe, or was at any rate. He’ll be in the game for life I’m sure. Erol Alkan was one of the mashup lot too, I think his name was Kurtis Rush, but I could be wrong*, he’s done pretty well too Richard X is still making records, he was the one who mashed up Sugababes with Gary Numan [Freak Like Me]. There are many more besides.
Many bedroom mashers had good ideas, which I’d play, then some crafty A&R guy would hear my show on a cocaine hangover then get the proverbial lightbulb moment and make a hit record using an artist they were responsible for. This happened again and again: ‘Call on Me’ by Eric Prydz started out as a Big Bad Baz mashup on the Remix, Mylo vs Miami Sound Machine was originally Phil n Dog’s finest moment [Doctor Pressure]. There were more besides. The thing to remember as well, is that a lot of the bedroom mashup brigade were just that: Bedroom mashers. They weren’t producers in the traditional sense, like Garrett Lee or Paul Epworth. Most of them, while being very talented musically, couldn’t record a band and make a record, so were of no real value to a label. One of the most important facets of music producer is also a people manager, a motivator, someone who gets the best out of others. Many bedroom mashers were solitary creatures, and unsuited to a life holed up in a studio with a band for months on end. Also many of the mash-up brigade were great mashers, but not so great at DJing which is more about connecting with a crowd, so crossing over from bedroom bedlam to superstar DJ was an unrealistic expectation for many.
Smells Like – Big Bad Baz
11. Do you think that the bootleg scene of the early 2000s is something significant in the UK’s diverse musical history or just a footnote of the internet music revolution?
Of course it’s the former. Or replace the word “footnote” with “paragraph’ or even “chapter” and say it’s both.
12. The issue of copyright dogged GYBO from the early days until its closure. Is there an equitable solution? I remember hearing Fergal Sharkey getting passionate about the need for artists to be able to control the use to which the things they produced were put. And if that meant not re-releasing something that was their choice and right.
It’s not brain surgery. If you make something and somebody else takes that and makes money from it, then you deserve a slice of that, how big depends on how much of your original sound or idea is on there. But if it’s being used for fun, with no money changing hands, then lighten the fuck up and let it go. It’s promotion. There’s also a satire angle. You have to be able to reference the thing youre taking the piss out of, without having to pay for the right to take the piss. Everybody just has to be reasonable, all sides, then the equitable solution is there. It’s when greed takes over that reason goes out the window.
A huge thanks to Eddy for agreeing to take part and for answering the questions so fully.
* – he’s not wrong, it was an Erol Alkan pseudonym. But what I hadn’t realised was that Alkan took the name from a Gary Barlow pseudonym (yes, that Garry Barlow).