From co – creating the biggest Acid Techno Track in the world from a New Order remix that Wesley Snipes had to have in his film ‘Blade’, to label boss at ‘Missle Records’, and managing the infamous Avant Gard ‘KLF’, Tim Taylor has lived a charmed life, I caught up with him to spill the beans on an eventfully career …..
Mike Mannix – Tim, thank you for talking to us at iconic underground it’s an honour to finally get to speak to you. You have had quite an interesting and incredible career working with and representing some of the biggest names in the music industry as well as being a successful DJ-producer and record label boss in your own right. But first, can you tell us looking back, what initially attracted and influenced you onto the decks, and eventually into the studio to produce your own tracks?
Tim Taylor – Hello everyone and nice to be invited to talk to you. That game-changing moment for me happened in 1982 when I went to The Camden Palace which was the UK’s first ever hi-tech “Superclub.” It was London’s own version of Studio 54 and had a capacity of 2500 people. It was a Spectacular in sight and sound. The Resident DJ’s of Camden Palace were Colin Faver – Evil Eddie Richards and Rusty Egan. It was these guys who demonstrated what was possible to do in the mix with 3 turntables and a reel to reel tape machine and a massive dance floor.
I spent over 200 nights in the DJ booth at The Camden Palace between 1982 and 1986 watching and listening and loving this new music I had not heard before. In 1984 I went to Montreal to play at some downtown nightclubs which was my first Resident DJ experience and started working with reel to reel machines and tape editing techniques. I also played at New York’s legendary nightclub called Danceteria in 1984. It was during these early years that I experienced the power of allure of music and realized that this is what I had to do from that point on.
MM – You co-created one of the biggest Acid Techno tracks in history ‘Blood Rave’ with Dan Zamini from a ‘New Order’ sample, tell us about it and the whole process from inception to actually being used in one of the biggest vampire movies ever made ‘Blade’.
New Order – Confusion (Pump Panel Reconstruction Mix)
TT – By 1995 I was in 2 acid bands called Pump Panel and Planet of Drums with Dan Zamani. FFRR / London Records were very impressed with our sound and music direction and we were offered to remix or cover any New Order track of our choice. We refused “Blue Monday” as it’s already perfect and how can anyone possibly improve on the biggest selling 12″ single in UK chart history? Instead, we went for “Confusion” which was originally co-written and produced by Arthur Baker in 1983 and was a great early Electro track.
When we got the 2″ Multitrack tape containing all the parts of “Confusion” we realized that to make a big impression with this opportunity we needed to basically remake it into a whole new track. The original parts and vocals sounded somewhat muffled and were just not blowing us away so we put just the vocal chorus line through a Vocoder and then got on the 909 and 303 for several sessions to come up with something. That famous Acid Riff took 3 days in the studio to create I believe we caught lightning in a bottle with a Bass line for the ages.
Aside from the one word “Confusion” chant we created a brand new track without any other New Order sounds for the “Pump Panel Re-construction Mix“I was informed later that Wesley Snipes was in an LA nightclub when the DJ played this track and immediately stormed the DJ booth to ID the track so he could try to license it for his upcoming vampire movie “Blade”. This is Literally how it happened…he then contacted FFRR in London and a deal was done …the film became a number 1 box office smash in 1998.
Our track was used for a full 4 minutes in that iconic opening sequence which is unprecedented for electronic music in the movies. It was “Acid Over Hollywood”.
MM – Tell us about how Synewave and Missile Records we’re born?
TT – One of the artists I managed was house music legend Tommy Musto. He and his partner Silvio Tancredi also owned Fourth Floor Records in New York and invited me over there in 1989 to hang out with them in their downtown studio and offices that they also shared with Nu-Groove Records. Suddenly, meeting people such as Bobby Konders – Ralphie Dee – Peter Daou – Victor Simonelli and Lenny Dee, this was a blast and all these guys were fun to be around.
It was Tommy and Silvio that encouraged me to make music as well and they gave me my first opportunity to record which was released in 1990 as “Wired – New York New York.” I learned a lot from them about record labels and a whole game that goes with this life. I met Damon Wild in 1990 while he was also working for Silvio and Tommy and we hit it off very well and started a series of collaborations together that were released on EX or Experimental Records in the early 90’s plus the classic “Bang The Acid”.
I wrote/recorded “The Horn Track” by Egyptian Empire in 1992 which was licensed to FFRR/London Records. That became my biggest selling track. This was a very exciting period for me with these regular trips to NYC and recording in studios in Manhattan and Staten Island. Many people still think I am American as I appeared on multiple USA techno releases in that magical period.
In 1994 both Damon and I wanted to pursue our own musical identities and ideas and Damon came up with the Synewave label which for the first few months had both New York and London offices and studios. I needed to just focus on my own musical journey and later in 1994 I came up with Missile Records and Damon continued solo with Synewave. It worked out very well for both of us to just continue our own visions.
MM – You’ve been agent and manager to some of the biggest artists in the music industry tell us about how you met and your working relationship and success’s with –
Frankie Bones and Tommy Musto –
TT – I became an artist agent and manager in 1987 working for a company called JSE or John Sherry Entertainments in London and this continued for 5 years. I wanted to bring new dance music talent to UK and Europe mainly from the USA. I worked with Colin Davie at JSE.
*Frankie Bones and Tommy Musto were largely unknown names in the UK in 1988 but in the Underground world their 808 driven club sound was bubbling up. I went to New York and heard them play together in a club and was convinced that they would become very popular. They had something different about them.
Before the Summer of Love, I booked them a big UK tour and it was their appearance at the 25K attended Energy Rave in August 1989 that I believe was one of the most important and significant DJ performances in electronic music history. This performance began a chain reaction of events that lead to this whole culture from UK+Europe being unleashed on east coast USA from 1991 onward.
With my colleague Colin Davie, I brokered the album deal for “Musto+Bones” to be signed to XL Recordings and also a major compilation album deal with Deconstruction Records entitled “Dance Madness and the Brooklyn Groove”. Plus we secured Musto+Bones many major label remixes from companies such as Island Records – A+M Records – RCA Records – Arista Records – Sire Records – Tommy Boy Records. Also working with Tin Tin Chambers from Karma Productions and Energy Rave Events. We had Frankie flying in from NYC for major raves and large club events 12 times in one year. He hit the Big time over here and was profoundly moved and inspired by these events to begin something likewise in New York and indeed he began the Stormrave parties in Brooklyn from 1991 and the rave story was reborn in the USA.
It had all turned full circle from Woodstock to Ravestock and back. Tommy Musto spent most of the time in the studio and was doing more major label remixes in a house music vein and even remixed Michael Jackson for Sony in the 90’s. It was a very positive experience and now still-evolving story working with Tommy – Frankie and Silvio.
*Womack and Womack –
TT – Colin Davie became their manager in 1988 and I booked the UK and European tours for them while they had the smash hit “Teardrops” and “A Conscience Movement” LP on Island Records. I tour managed a few of their shows and even introduced them live on stage. They were very religious so no backstage party stories there.
*Jungle Brothers. –
TT – I was already doing some hip-hop gigs with Gee Street Records artists like Stereo MC’s and they introduced me to Jungle Brother’s manager and we made the deal to represent this new act a few months before they had their biggest hit “I’ll House You” in 1988. We did a various artists show in a few cities and showcased Queen Latifah as a support act. Original Concept from Def Jam played another UK tour that I booked. Jungle Brothers became a worldwide hip house pop sensation and I booked them a tour of Australia in 1989. Quiet but cool guys.
TT – Sire Records in the USA hooked this connect up and I did a UK tour with Ice-T in 1988 he was the ultimate professional and a real gentleman outside and on stage the godfather of gangster rap persona.
*Guru Josh –
TT – Colin was his manager and I was glad cos Josh was high maintenance and living life at full speed during+after his hit with “Infinity” in 1989. I booked Guru Josh a shit load of gigs in this period across UK and Europe.
*JM Silk –
TT – was part of my first tour in 1987 called “Jackmaster Chicago House Tour “which also featured Darryl Pandy – Joe Smooth and Paris Brightledge. There were 8 different acts and DJs from Chicago and we did the whole thing on a big tour bus around sold out Universities and clubs in the UK…..Lots of Divas on that tour!
Spill the beans on how you worked with and managed the infamous Avant –Garde outfit the ‘KLF’ for 2 years in the early days, a duo comprising of ‘Bill Drummond’ and ‘Jimmy Cauty’ how did it happen? And how did this relationship eventually manifest into a multimillion-dollar record deal in the United States? Was this your biggest act?
I met Jimmy and Bill at various clubs in London like Heaven and The Camden Palace in early 1988. It was always inside the DJ booths we would bump into each other. They too were being influenced by the wealth of new music flooding in from Europe and USA at this time so DJ booths were busy with heads. When I started my first ever A+R LP project “Energy-DJ’s in the House”
I invited KLF to come into our studio underneath the JSE office and record and remix “Build a Fire” with Lenny Dee for the LP and later this track was re-remixed for The White Room LP.
To be honest, KLF were never that enthusiastic about doing any live shows or tours and they usually just had crazy ideas about impossible to arrange gigs involving real nuclear submarines and live sheep on stage.
However, they did decide to play at The Helter Skelter Rave in September 1989 and Energy at Brixton Academy in January 1990. At both gigs, they delivered Monumental performances. I knew that they were going to explode and contacted my friend Richard Sweret A+R at Arista Records in NYC and began the process to sign them to a substantial deal with Arista. It worked out very well for all concerned and the sales were huge in the USA. At one point in 1991, The KLF had 2 different singles simultaneously in the Billboard Top 10 Chart!
It’s still incredible to me that they did not do a World Tour when so many people around the world were gagging for live shows. It’s hilarious and significant that they are returning 26 years later this year in some shape or form. And it’s certainly getting plenty of attention and anticipation. Anyway, I’m writing my perspective on certain events that also touch on this story and others from the insane but pivotal late 80’s to early 90’s whirlwind rave years. It’s interesting that people are so fascinated with these eras now…Let’s explore and explain the magic.
MM – What’s next on the horizon for Tim?
TT – I’m working again with Mr. Ties, and then Tommy Musto again and Ralphie Dee plus a new label concept and collaboration with Prime Direct Distribution in London coming up this summer.