Pepe Deluxé, a Finnish-British band, in just two albums, have displayed such quality in spades that the expectation for the new album, due for release on Catskills Records 25th June 2007, is a mixture of excitement and trepidation.
In 1997, James Spectrum (producer / engineer) and JA-Jazz (sonic adventurer) - along with the now departed DJ Slow - recorded a tune called “Woman In Blue” that sampled Nina Simone. The track (released in ‘99) was instantly recognised as something new and different from the other Big Beat sounds at the time, and the album “Super Sound” helped to cement the groups reputation. Levi’s got to hear it, and wanted it for their Twisted Jeans campaign, and subsequently used it worldwide in 2001. A little deal with Sony later and Pepe Deluxé’s debut album was re-released on the world stage, a truly boundary defying dance record - it was massive, and after a gruelling tour and remix schedule, Pepé went back into the studio for the tricky second. The experience of having a big track licensed, and all the hassle with clearing samples, meant that Jari and Tomi played more and invented more. The group obsessively developed their skills at replaying and recreating original sounds, went to the creative edge to follow up their big debut and multiple textures where before they would have once just used samples.
In July 2003 Beatitude saw the light of day. From the head-wrecking funk lunacy of “Salami Fever” to the languid sexiness of “Lying Peacefully”, Beatitude was the perfect follow up - a real development in sound, technique, and attitude. Jari and Tomi 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.
“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.”
Forward to now, and the new album is fast approaching. Pepe Deluxé, in between Masters thesis’ (“Improving automatic signal to score music transcription systems”), composing soundtracks and for TV, mercilessly hunting down obscure toys (including the UTV 456, semi-portable all tube mixing console designed and build for 1952 Helsinki Olympics) and working on the worlds first fuzz synthesizer (project name “Bad Hair”) are developing a crazy sound, and what’s shaping up to be another production milestone.
There are simply three stages to this new work - the first is the method, no samples, including a mission to record the worlds largest instrument - the Luray caverns stalagpipe organ. The second is compositional, with the majority composed on Piano and then transcribed for a mental variety of instruments, sounds and percussion, and thirdly the lyrics - the mission to write “songs” that fit the madness and invention of their sound.
“We’ve done as much as possible to make the composition and recording process a happy flight into unknown” say Pepe Deluxé.