I wrote a song yesterday called I Got It Bad. The hook was elusive. I had one line but needed four. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle, you have to fill in the blanks. One by one I got them and minutes later the final piece came and shazam, bingo, I felt I hit the jackpot at Caesar’s. The process can take seconds or weeks. “Crush” took a year before I cracked it; the music was so good I had to get a hook that would do it justice and there was no compromise, I either did it or keep hunting till its done. I actually had three hooks but never felt any of them were right, until one day, just as I gave up, I went for a break and it came as I was sitting there forlorn. Without trying my sub conscience popped it out for trying so hard.
Yesterday I got lucky and it happened in minutes, but I already had the first line. You go through an intense rollercoaster of emotions. Like a word on the tip of your tongue tantalizing close or out of reach waiting to be discovered. It’s a beautiful puzzle waiting to be solved and the explosive eureka feeling when you find it is like no other feeling in the world and I guess that’s why I do it.
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I got into music after I heard Level 42 Early Tapes. The reason Early Tapes happened was because of one guy- Andy Sojka.
In 1979 Andy Sojka, who has died of multiple myeloma aged 48, formed, produced and recorded the five-strong music group, Atmosfear. The first fruit of the liaison was their single, Dancing In Outer Space. Thus did he pioneer a new British dance music.
Dancing In Outer Space fused disco, funk, jazz and psychedelic production. It sold 100,000 copies – and the tune survives, still played and frequently sampled.
Educated at Kingsbury high school, north London, in the late 1970s, Sojka opened All Ears, a dance music shop in Harlesden. It quickly became a focus for the 12in 45rpm dance single boom, which had begun in the United States. Many of the customers at All Ears were DJs buying American imports and the British releases that followed.Advertisementhttps://90ab91b47317a2eb13036d1108cad466.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
After Dancing In Outer Space, in 1980 Sojka discovered and named Level 42, and signed them to his Elite label, producing their first single, Love Meeting Love, and The Early Tapes album.
In the 1980s, Elite Records became a home for the new independent British dance music, and releases by DSM (Danny D), Beverley Skeete, Projection, Atmosfear, Sahara and many others featured regularly in the dance music charts. With his music championed by the late Larry Levan at the Paradise Garage, Andy became a cult figure in New York.
Between 1986-88 he worked with Garry Hughes, producing two experimental world music crossover albums. In 1987, a rhythm and blues label was formed. Its first release was Keni Stevens’s Blue Moods, a classic album of British soul music.
In the mid-90s Andy established three new labels, Jump Cut, Meta4, and Chemical Discs, whose catalogue included such notable works as Atmosfear’s Trance Plants (1994) and Jangala Spirits (1997). His last major project was Altered Slates (1998), made with the US group, Masters at Work, the U2 producer Francois Kevorkian, and Dimitri from France. In 1999, he began writing Groove World, an album by Atmosfear due for release later this year.
Sojka is survived by his wife, Karen, and two children.
Andy Sojka, record producer, born July 10 1951; died February 12 2000.
I just this minute watched Phil Collins on YT sing In The Air Tonight on The Tonite Show. I remember my big brother bought it on 7″ and wore it out.
First I thought about Phil Collins. When I was in my original band BFT, my Drummer Dave Youngs who put me on to Brand X and I discovered Phil was a excellent and much respected drummer.
Then I thought of Lenny White who played on the groundbreaking album Bitches Brew with Miles Davis. In the late 90s I worked for a record company called Silva Screen, they had a spin off label called HipBop which featured many jazz artists including Lenny White.I attended a master class with Lenny White before I saw him play at the Blue Note in Hoxton…(my old haunting ground). Lenny said about drumming , “every drummer has his on signature” and he got up and walked across the room. “My walk is different from your walk, your walk is your signature.”
Then penny dropped as when I saw the Roots drummer (Questlove) play that famous fill (excuse the pun!) on In The Air Tonight. He played the fill but it had a slight swagger… Questlove applying his “signature”, his “walk”.
And that one Questlove fill triggered an entire chain of thought. The mind is incredible. What has taken me 10 minutes to write flashed the cerebrum in an instant, at the speed of light.
I have a theory, it just popped into my head, what makes a good sci-fi is the mystery. The question un-answered- really cooks your noodle. The mystery will haunt you, it will keep you engaged it will keep you a fan. The mystery is personal to the individual, you can make up whatever you want but underneath it all you know you will never be right. The question mark will follow you round forever and that’s what make the franchise golden ; immortal. Until of course you explain the mystery…( If you gonna kill the golden goose may as well make a cheap buck right?)
Aliens was a great mystery even after the dreaded third sequel but what really undid all the great work was Prometheus..”Oh let’s explain where they come from , let’s remove the question mark”..Great well done YOU KILLED IT.
“Let’s explain the FORCE”..WHAT?! Yeah replace mystery with bollox science..”midichlorians..yeah a count “..great JOB – KILLED! (Oh and kill Luke for good measure..) EXCELLENT!
Planet Of The Apes
“Where did the Apes come from? How is it humans are slaves? How is it Apes can Talk.”
Problem solved we’ll make two movies answering all the questions so there’s no mystery left – Excellent Franchise DEAD!
Kamala Harris..that’s right the new Vice President.
I immigrated to USA in 2014..was traumatised in 2016 and wrote Hope , my first Album in 2017 as a response.
Three years later the inspiration for the track came as I watched as Kamla in a Senate hearing grilling AG Barr and was suitably impressed. I felt she was indeed a “Bad Bitch”. When she fell out of the race for the Democrat nomination in 2020 she sprang to mind when I wrote the song.“Climbing the ranks doing it the hard way” that’s all about her. “Stacking up racks, Make it rain” all metaphors for a political win.
She has blazed a trail of achievement; being the Second Female Black Senator and prior to that was the D.A to San Francisco. Being the son of immigrants myself I could appreciate her struggle and the opportunity afforded by a country that is fair and free.