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Q Burns' Abstract Message: 'Crazy Paranoia is Sweeping America'

Author: Skruff
Sunday, May 27, 2001
"There's this wave of conservatism sweeping the country. It's really frightening and it boils down to corporate control," So said Michael 'Q Burns Abstract Message Donaldson' last week as he chatted to Mezz's Jonty Adderley about his new disco based album Invisible Airline, his recent Britney Spears remix and life in the States, where he remains one of the country's highest rated producers. Still signed to Astralwerks (the home of Fatboy Slim, Air and the Chemical Brothers) Q Burns is also about to set off on a world (DJing) tour that will take him to Australia, South America, Russia and Baton Rouge.

Mezz: Your last album was more breaks-orientated, while your new single You are My Battlestar, sounds very different with more of a disco vibe, how representative is it of the new album-
Q Burns Abstract Message: "It's quite representative, though there are a few break-y tunes on the record and others where the sound mixes house with the old 'break-y sound, which in a strange way, sound like 2 step to some people - or at least that's what people have told me. 2 step actually had no connection at all with the album, I was just trying to combine breakbeats with house and making them very swing-y. Lisa (Shaw) also sings on six songs on the album which changes the sound."

Mezz: How did you end up remixing Britney Spears-
Q Burns Abstract Message: "After I'd finished my album which had been very intense to work on I was in the mood to do something silly. I know somebody that works at Jive and happened to visit him in New York and asked him for something ridiculous to remix and he said 'actually I've got this Britney Spears acapella. They were actually thinking about releasing it but they'd already asked Miguel Migs to do his and paid him. His is very different from mine, his a complete breakbeat chillout version. The reason I pressed it up was because I made CDs of it and was giving copies to people like Josh Wink and Deep Dish then I found out that they were playing it. So I thought, OK, somehow I was able to trick Josh Wink into playing Britney Spears, maybe I should press it-'"

Mezz: What can people expect who go to one of your forthcoming DJ sets-
Q Burns Abstract Message: "I'll be playing funky party house and lots of my own mixes. I've been DJing quite a lot here in the States and this year I've definitely found myself in much more of a 'let's have a good time and go crazy' mode which I think has been brought on by the fact I've been playing in San Francisco a lot in the last year. I've picked up the San Francisco DJ vibe which is; 'drink a lot and jump around like crazy' while you're playing some really great tunes."

Mezz: Muzik's latest cover ran with the now traditional angle of British DJs introducing dance music to America (Oakey's It: UK Clubland Cracks America), what's your take on this attitude-
Q Burns Abstract Message: "I don't have an opinion really, since I've always considered the dance scene as a global phenomenon. That Oakenfold comes over here and plays hasn't affected me at all. On the other hand, I know other American DJs who play similar styles of music who aren't too happy about it, as far as them thinking in terms of him keeping them from rising up and getting bigger gigs."

Mezz: Is the average American now primed for dance culture more than before-
Q Burns Abstract Message: "I think they are, but not as far as knowing individual artists' names or the history of dance music. They are in the way that when you turn on the TV these days every advert has electronic music on it. A year ago, all those ads were playing drum & bass. Even people living in rural parts of America now know the music and like it."

Mezz: Has Moby's success changed much-
Q Burns Abstract Message: "The whole market here is really fickle. A lot of people here thought that Moby would open doors for a lot of people, but I don't think it's really happened. No other