HUSTERS OF CULTURE: RICHARD YORI INTERVIEW

 

We had a post on Hustlers of Culture a while back, after which one of the band members, Richard Yori, got in touch. He agreed to do an interview about what happened to this short-lived band and the Wall of Sound deal. And there’s an early track to download.

1. How the devil are you and what’s the weather like where you are?

Pretty good at the moment, although the weather ain’t always great. I’m “straight from the southside” and my roots are firmly fixed in SE London so won’t be moving for a while.

 2. How did you get started in music? You seem to have been involved in the technical side in the late 80s.

I did my first session back in 1974 at Polydor Records in Bond Street and got hooked on being in the studio from then really. A friend of my grandmother’s worked as an engineer and let me have some downtime to record my own material. We even got as far as an A&R meeting to sell the songs to their one of their big named artists.

Then in the mid 80’s I built my own studio and worked with some fantastic people. Drizabone’s Vince Garcia was a regular Saturday session and Nick Nicely was a local musician/songwriter who still keeps in touch to this day.

My brother worked for EMI at the time and managed to wangle a couple of remixes on spec which got released and charted so the studio operated day and night and you get to learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t.

3. How did you and the others in Hustlers of Culture get together (Matt and Phil Dykes)? And how was it being part of a group/collective with brothers in it?

We got introduced through a mutual work colleague I was helping to put some tracks together. They were really keen, had a vast record collection and although they’d previously worked with a name producer, didn’t really know how to get past sticking a few loops together. My role took their genesis and expanded the work into themes with musical structure and form.

It was a social thing really, and after a few months we had the first (and most critically acclaimed) EP ready for release. The brother thing was never an issue as there was a common goal to make good original music together so we all had a say and all had to agree.

4. How did you end up on Wall of Sound and why did that lead to only one album (your second) and one single?

We’d previously been offered a deal with EMI on the back of the US3 bandwagon as the line up of the Hustlers had been amended to include a more commercial angle with a rapper (EQ) and vocalist (Norman Anderson). They put us in a studio for three days and decided they’d spend the money if we changed the rapper for an American so we turned the deal down because that’s not what we were about at the time.

Wall of Sound were a relatively new label but we already had a trading history with their distributors, Sole Trader, who always promoted our white labels and put us in touch with exporters, so it was a more natural progression than signing to another label.

There was only one album because they never took the option on the second, which turned out for the best, given all that followed.

5. There are rumours of a third Hustlers of Culture LP but nothing listed at discogs. What’s the truth?

I keep meaning to amend the Discogs listings but always seem to upset them when trying to get recognition for all the other stuff I’ve done. In this industry people are loath to give credit where it’s due and when you’ve worked with artists on material but never got a mention on the release it really puts my back up, especially when you’ve spent time and had a musical input on the track.

The third album was really my way of sticking up a middle finger to my partners for their abysmal attitude over the Wall of Sound deal. It’s all the stuff that didn’t get released, or did but never got accounted, as well as the last of the demo material made post “Many Styles” which was work in progress at the time. I guess if the line up had remained as the three of us that’s the material we would have eventually released.

6. Did Hustlers end as messily as so many other groups seem to? And what are you up to now?

It never really stood a chance after I ended up taking Wall of Sound to court. What was even more disappointing was the surreptitious way they extended the term for another 5 years whilst in litigation. That was like twisting the blade after sticking it in.

There is new material in the pipeline which is almost at mix stage. It’s with another collective and really is some of the most soulful stuff I’ve ever worked on as well as my own group 2PeopleTogether with the lead singer.

———

And to download, from the Stax of Phat Trax EP (1992), something more towards the acid jazz/soul end of things:

Hustlers of Culture – What is this [for 24hrs only]

Buy

~ by acidted on March 25, 2011.

4 Responses to “HUSTERS OF CULTURE: RICHARD YORI INTERVIEW”

  1. Ask him about his nose.

  2. Glad to hear Rich is still in the game and as active as ever. It was a privelege working with him, he isn’t just a talented engineer but a great producer with a real ear.

    Rich is generous when he says all we could was string a loop together, we couldn’t even do that. We had some tunes and a good attitude to music. Rich had that but more, he crafted our shit into real tunes which set us apart from much of the one dimensional dross that was around at the time. I still think our stuff sounds pretty fresh today, wich is down to Rich’s production skills and understanding of how to craft real music.

    Yep, things went tits up at the end. Signing with Wall of Sound was a mistake from beginning to end. It was the wrong label for musical and, as it turned out, business reasons for us. If you look at the artists on that label, none of them faired well despite some real talents on the roster. I think Wall of Sound was more interested in defining a musical trend than focussing on artists or output. The label always came first, the artists second.

    So hardly surprising that things went wrong for a number of reasons. A combination of naive stupidity on our part, most definitely (well my part, anyway). I was into music and had no nose for the business end of things and probably took it all far too flippantly. We ended up with serious communication difficulties between us. And a bunch of snakes at the record label. A story often told I guess.

    I’m very proud of what the three of us achieved though. Pretty succesful sales but so much more important was the genuine love and respect from the proper people in the industry and in the clubs. When you see the likes of Jazzie B listing us in his all time top 10 that means so much. And it was great to be part of the scene when it was still about record shops, actually going to clubs, putting out white labels and a dynamic underground scene.

    There’s such brilliant and diverse music coming out every day but I feel for those trying to get by in today’s industry. Its very tough out there. But all still exciting and the music is always there.

    Like the new 2PeopleTogether gear and wish you all the best, Rich.

    Matt

    • Pretty much agree with all of that and also the first part of Richard’s interview. As Matt says, Richard was the engine room of the Hustlers whilst also contributing equally on the music front. Matt and I just turned up with the samples and some rough ideas and he would lick it all into shape. We’d all fine tune it from there.

      As myself and Matt were the DJs and public face of the band, perhaps Rich didn’t always get the recognition he deserved. He was certainly very much an integral part of HOC. Wall of Sound ruined that for all of us, but as Matt points out, no one really flourished there at that time in the industry.

      Good luck to him with his new venture. I checked it out on Facebook and like it a lot. A natural progression for him after HOC and his other project Splice of Life.

      Phil

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