A IS FOR ARMAND VAN HELDEN

Armand Van Helden is a New Yorker who fuses dance, hip hop and rock. He’s been around since the early days of techno. But he doesn’t half irritate with the NY look-at-me brashness.
His biography says:

 

“You know Armand Van Helden, right? The so-called ‘bad boy’ of house, the man with “a mountain-size ego, the six-pack framed poser with his joke of an Ali G-like pencil beard, the money-hungry remixer who famously cleared the dancefloor at Space, who really wants to make hip-hop, but can’t. You know Armand Van Helden, right? …”
 

 

“…The same Armand Van Helden that doesn’t own a flat, or a car, who chooses to walk around his adopted home of New York, rather than chug about in a chrome-plated SUV. The homeboy who was championing the raw, energetic, fun sound of hip-house long before it became a fashion accessory. The straight-talking, no-nonsense trainspotter who still spends hours thumbing through thrift stores in search of tunes to sample, the music fan that owns thousands of rock records.”

 

 
It’s the first Armand that gets me wound up. I think it’s the beard that does it.

 

Supposedly named after a French porn star, he spent his childhood at army bases in Europe before settling in Boston. By 1992 he had become both promoter and DJ for the after-hours Loft club and made his solo debut – ‘Stay On My Mind/The Anthem’ – for New York’s Nervous records.
It wasn’t long before he was recording for the then-dominant Strictly Rhythm stable, via whom Armand soon built up a reputation with both English and American DJs. His work was exemplified by 1994’s ‘Witchdoktor’ EP – that amplified tribal house’s template. But his real breakthrough came with his remix of Tory Amos’ ‘Professional Widow’ (a UK number 1 back in 1996), Sneaker Pimps’ Spin Spin Sugar’, CJ Bolland’s ‘Sugar Is Sweeter’ and Nuyorican Soul’s ‘It’s Alright, I Feel It!’
He signed for FFFR and in 1999, ‘You Don’t Know Me’ – reached number 1 in the UK charts. A house album – ‘2 Future 4 U’ – followed, with Armand continuing to mix–up styles. He continued to dent the UK charts too, with club crossover hits like ‘Flowerz’, ‘Koochy’ (a top 5 hit in 2000) and ‘Why Can’t You Free Some Time?’ While as a remixer, Armand remixed high profile artists, including Puffy, Janet and the Stones. He has released a number of solo albums and mixes. His latest – “Gehttoblaster” – was published in 2007.
Interviewed in 2004 about his biography:
Speaking of your profile. I read a PR biography sent to me. It was comedic because it has this whole big bad DJ image that they’re starting off with, like you’re rude, you’re this, you’re that. I know that’s not what I’m really getting from you while we talk now so what’s up with the big bad DJ image that they were trying to put out in this biography. It’s really a funny thing to read. “The bad boy of house. The man with the mountain sized ego.”
Armand: It sounds like the English version. I hate to say this but in England, it’s the most important thing to co-op with them. If you don’t work with the UK, then you have zip in the house music, dance music field. In the states, when it comes to press and stuff like that they understand me, because it’s not untypical for a person to grow up listening to rock, house, or hip hop. In Europe, it sure the hell is. In Europe they never really get me. They don’t really understand my culture and my lifestyle. When I seem like this whole hip hop thing and I’m doing dance music, it scares the hell out of them. They just don’t get me.
Tori Amos – Professional Widow (Just Da Funk Dub)
Armand Van Helden – Work Me Goddamit
C J Bolland – Sugar Is Sweeter (Armand’s Drum ‘n’ Bass Mix)
Armand Website
Armand on MySpace

~ by acidted on April 21, 2008.

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