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Let it Ride Sarge!

Author: Jo Vraca
Monday, 20 August 2001
"I've done lots of interviews in the last couple of weeks and people are wanting to know what my favourite ice-cream flavour is," laughs Andy J, astounded. "Sometimes I get really uncomfortable with questions like that and I think, come on, this is something that you would ask Tom Cruise or a pop star. Up until now it's just been, 'how did you make the track-'"

While Andy J wouldn't welcome a move towards what some call the Smash Hits Interview Technique, you get the impression that in the few years since his ARIA win for Dance Record of the Year with the funk-laden 'White Treble, Black Bass' under the Sgt Slick alias, he's had to dodge a few less than palatable questions about his likes, dislikes, quirks and goshdammit, what colour underwear he's wearing.

That said, NW Magazine, home of the gossip column, news of who's dating Tom and the latest in culinary techniques has labelled Sgt Slick's latest release, 'Let It Ride' as having a "feel good disco sound." God bless 'em. Add to that Andy's 'appearance' as a DJ in the locally-made film 'Wog Boy' ("It was far from being my professional calling," he admits), a video for 'Let It Ride' complete with the singing, dancing GoGo Mobile couple and you would have to say that Andy J's bringing dance music to the masses.

While a few trainspotters may decry his commercial success - because remember, dance music producers shouldn't become successful, they should just do it for the scene, man - Andy reminds them that his style has not altered. "As Sgt Slick, when White Treble came out, I wouldn't say that was a commercial track," he explains. "I mean, it had the hooks and it was commercially viable but that was strictly a club thing to start with and it got built up in the clubs then radio started playing it. With 'Let It Ride', that's got a full vocal so some people are saying that it's commercial but for me, it's on exactly the same vibe as White Treble - that's the Sgt Slick sound, that's it down to a T. It's just where music has gone in the last few years that tracks like that are labelled commercial."

Three years have transpired since the last Sgt Slick imprint replete with its funky, sexy, filtered action has had us turning up the radio. In the meantime, as Andy clarifies, he hasn't exactly been sitting around waiting for the dole cheques. "I haven't been lazy," he defends, laughing, "I've been doing lots of other stuff in the studio. I've been doing a truckload of remixes under the Smash'n'Grab name with my studio partner [Darren Glen]. I think we've done close to 25 or 30 remixes in the last two to three years. That takes away a bit from your original stuff in the studio.

"When you're constantly doing remixes it's hard to get a flow happening on the original stuff and I really need that flow but when you're always being dragged off to do something else, it's hard to finish something off." And along the way, a few not-so-savoury remixes (whose identity Andy won't divulge - "That's what's good about having multiple names, you don't have to tell people all of the names you work under."), a remix of Quench 'Embrace the Sunshine', remix work for Kate Ceberano, Deni Hines, Pendulum and a re-working of Pseudo Echo's classic 80s release 'Funky Town' as well as production work with Andy Van, John Course and Darren Glen as Blackout have all kept him occupied.

But for the month leading up to the release of 'Let It Ride', remix work was put aside and Andy has finally managed to complete a project of his own, one which has seen him take poll position on the ARIA club chart yet again. Remixed by Andy Van and Adelaide's Mobin Master, 'Let It Ride' incorporates the vocals of Jamaica Williams and the lyrics of Madison Avenue's Cheyne Coates who also sings backing vocals on the track. "[Cheyne and I] didn't actually sit in the same room together much. I did all that I could do on production and she came over and kicked me out of the studio for a few hours and went about writing the<
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