you’ve spent any time in the vicinity of a discotheque recently,
you’ll immediately know Speechless. Containing
more booty than Beyonce’s back end; enough funk to backcomb
Sly Stone’s afro; and more glamour-hugging disco than Bianca
Jagger and her white horse could ever have handled, it’s already
slayed forward-thinking club heads. In 2006, thanks to a mighty push
by Data, who have chosen Speechless to mark their
release centenary, it’s aiming for the hit parade jugular….
irrefutably, get better with age: like Keith Richards, a smashing
bottle of red wine and Uma Thurman. Yeah, the kids are alright and
all that, but as someone far wiser than us once said, life is a
marathon, not a sprint. Think about the long game…which is
something that Oscar Fullone and Kasper Winding have done. It hasn’t
precluded the pair concocting the most ludicrously flamboyant and
utterly magnificent dancefloor track for many a year. Quite the
opposite in fact!
last year on Damian Lazarus’ Crosstown Rebels fledgling label,
Speechless leaves you exactly that. Upon first
listen, you’ll swear it’s an old Salsoul or Prelude
track, or even a bootleg, such is its infectious recognition factor.
Could it be a lost Paradise
Garage favourite? It has echoes of Wacko Jacko, circa Off The Wall;
if you cock your ear far enough it could be culled from the marvellous
Beverly Hills Cop OST; hang on, isn’t that Chaka Khan singing
The answers are: no;
yes it does, but it’s nothing more than coincidence; ditto;
and, undoubtedly a compliment, but again, no.
So who is the
mysterious ensemble behind Speechless? Well, Oscar
and Kasper are what people in the biz call ‘lifers’.
Oscar has been in and around clubs since the year
dot: one of Scotland’s original acid house converts, whether
it be DJing at the Sub Club or The Arches or releasing three of
the first ten Soma tracks, his passion is no mere fashion.
A classically trained musical prodigy hailing from Denmark, he wrote
his first film score at 13; joined a radio orchestra at 14; was
a session drummer in New York for the likes of Teddy Pendergrass
and Terry Riley; and has released his own music in various bands
and solo projects.
Separately, their musical
pedigrees are impressive. Together, they’re a kind of post-acid
house supergroup, if such a term didn’t sound too pompous,
so let’s settle for an unstoppable duo. An unstoppable duo
free of all musical restrictions and free of all fashionable bullshit.
The pair originally met
through their lady friends, both actresses. At first they would
“talk about music, building up a friendship,” (Oscar),
then came making the music.
For the last
10 years, Oscar has been constructing the club
night Mish Mash, a kind of open-ended musical discussion
with the dancefloor – “I felt restricted by playing
just one style of music all night,” he reflects. So he took
matters in to his own hands - Mish Mash is famed
for its wide and wonderful musical policy.
How did Mish
Mash the artist come to pass? One night when playing in
Paris, an old acquaintance and singer Lois came down and started
freestyling over an old disco track, and voila, the die was cast.
Mish Mash was go. Vocalist Louise Norbye aka Lois
hails from Copenhagen, with a background that takes in ballet dancing
and performing as a singer and actress in Denmark and beyond. She
worked with Kasper on her very first album in ’98,
and was an obvious choice to complete the trio. Oscar’s
wife then scribbled down some lyrics, and he and Kasper
entered the studio.
rule,” laughs Kasper, “was to go really
overboard, that there was to be no turning back. It had to be fun
and put a smile on your face…”
wanted it to be quite dirty as well,” interjects Oscar.
“The re-emergence of that New York disco sound was perfect:
there had to be a darkness to it. We wanted it to be big –
big strings, dramatic all with a dirty groove.”
was an inspiration,” recalls Kasper. “And
“We wanted to make something that wasn’t there anymore.
A lot of dance music nowadays has the song missing: there’s
great grooves and great sounds but the songwriting has been neglected.
We wanted to make a track that worked as equally well in a club
on Saturday night, as it would listening to it at home on a Sunday
In the most
simple of terms Mish Mash, the act had become the
artist incarnation of Mish Mash, the club.
Speechless carries it off with pomp and grandeur: a big disco record
for 2006, adorned with monumental peaks and ecstatic troughs, laser
guided strings and one mighty hypnotic vocal. Who would have thought
next for Mish Mash? A live project is certainly
on the cards, an album a certainty, as Oscar concedes,
“all the ingredients are there”.
is up for it, Kasper is immensely talented and
to combine that with the club world…” his voice trails
off, as if in awe of the possible combinations.
And what about those
that say music is a young man’s game? To coin a popular phrase,
balderdash and piffle.
is my life,” says Oscar. “We’re
bringing a very youthful approach to it actually, we’re looking
to stretch the boundaries, and we’re always happy to learn
new stuff. We’re fresh as daisies.”
what?” asks Kasper. “I was very lucky,
when I was younger the times were a lot crazier than they are now.
It’s very conservative today. It’s not me that has the
catching up to do!”
You will be.