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Pepe Deluxe 'Beatitude' Album Launch

Author: Clea Woods
Sunday, September 14, 2003
The last time we met Pepe Deluxe they were soundtracking the hugely successful, continent spanning soundtrack of the Levi's Twisted Jeans campaign with "Before You Leave". But so much has happened since then that, frankly, everything we thought we knew is now wrong, so let's start again.

'Beatitude' is going to be one your most cherished albums of the year, you just don't know it yet. You'll almost certainly be drawn in by the head-wrecking funk lunacy of "Salami Fever", but you'll stay on just to have another listen to the languid sexiness of the very beautiful "Sleeping Peacefully". You'll stick "First Goodbye"'s deep, cinematic blues on a mixtape and possibly even get a shag because of it. You'll hear future single "Girl" in every high-class, late-night drinking establishment you frequent from here till Christmas, but you'll never tire of it.

Within days of listening to Beatitude for the first time, you'll imagine DJ Shadow throwing his windows open, realising what a fucking beautiful day it is,
and deciding to spend it having a noisy, drunken BBQ with actual human beings rather than picking dust off his sneakers in a record shop basement.

Again - it's that type of album.

But how did we get here- Well, in 1997, James Spectrum and JA-Jazz along with the now departed DJ Slow recorded a tune called "Woman In Blue" that sampled Tony Hatch (the man responsible for, among other classics, the Crossroads theme) and Nina Simone. Everyone thought it was great,including

Simone's record company cleared the sample for the album, but not for the advert. This turned out to be a Very Good Thing Indeed as the group obsessively developed their skills at replaying and recreating
original sounds and textures where they would have once just used samples.

Consequently, three things happened. Firstly, the process made Pepe Deluxe realise what they were capable of doing themselves. Secondly, this realisation pointed the way forward to their new record and thirdly, it gave the group the financial freedom to give up their day jobs and concentrate fully on their music. Tony Hatch isn't complaining either he still made, um, crazy bank. "It sped things up," admits James. "We loved music but we
couldn't invest more time in it."

"It was a job," reckons JA. "It just so happened we weren't getting paid."

Anyhow, the success of the advert also meant that every time the band thought they could get back to the studio they'd be called out for another round of promotional duties, but in Summer 2001, more than
three years after the album "Woman In Blue" had been taken from was released, the phone finally stopped ringing and Pepe Deluxe were ready to make new music.

With Slow off doing his own projects, James and JA faced the huge process of going from three guys using samplers and decks to two guys learning how to record and build a studio that would end up utilising the talents of more than 34 different musicians from around the world. But they did it, and

"Everything,s taken so much time because we didn't know what the hell we were doing. But we do now," JA admits. "We built a studio not to get the sounds of today, but to get the sounds of the samples we loved," says James, a part-time physics student so obsessed his new studio toys he can and will happily talk for hours about spring reverbs and archaic, long since out of production pedals and FX.

"I,m not after the modern best," he says, "just the craziest. The whole concept of the album is trying to be the best of everything." "We spend as long as it takes to make everything right," says JA. "It's about feel and vibe. I mean, we like the crazy noises, but it's really all about the song."

"We had ambitions to make better songs with more elements and layers," says James, a man whose last album was awarded Future Music's Album of the
Month five years after it was recorded. "We get bored of things quickly and we hate doing things twice."

So, what