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‘Do You Wanna Be (album version)
This one is in the Freestyle genre. Lots of busy kick drum placement and DX-7 riffs, Shannon’s ‘Let the Music Play’, ‘Give Me Tonight’ and Fonda Rae’s ‘Touch Me’ being the main influences, but we added in a harmonic structure that was reminiscent of something Chic might do. Fred Maher added the percussive flourishes but Martyn Webster mixed it alone. I think Fred loved the idea of doing a Freestyle track but baulked at the idea of something so genre bearing his final imprint. I think Martyn got it just right, and it was our highest charting single.

‘Holy Word (album version)
The second single released from the album and a song which is just about everybody’s favourite I’m Talking track. Zan in her first lead vocal with the band and she does a killer job with a great soulful interpretation. The film clip was made at Chasers, the legendary Chapel Street club, and yes, that is a real fireman who attended the scene after the smoke machines triggered the alarms. Look closely and you will also see a young Magda Szubanski amongst the dancers.

‘How Can It Be’
A song written in the very first group of our compositions. Ballads were not a direction we initially thought we’d pursue, but when we heard Kate’s voice, we knew how great this type of song would be for her and she performs sublimely here. The ballad form also gave Ian a slightly different canvas on which to work the lyrics, so that was another reason to give the form a go. We had thought this might have charted better, but by the time it came out we were overseas and missed promoting it with our full attention

‘Baby, Baby, Baby’
I know, we probably should have stopped ourselves using a title that was so self-referential about the act of pop song writing, but hey, it was 1986. The triple whammy of this song is meant to playfully reference the self-referential style of songs like ‘The Word Girl’ by Scritti Politti. Our title is almost a gag about that lyrical form. It’s a song, about a song, about a song. We did the demo before Fred arrived and it was a straighter style groove, but for some reason, we fancied turning that on its head by making it slightly reggae (ironically in the style of his band, Scritti Politti’s song ‘The Word Girl’). Of all the album tracks, this had his greatest input because of this beat pattern re-tooling.

‘Love Don’t Live Here Any More’
A track that wasn’t included on the album’s first release. Stephen Charlesworth chose it for the band to play and it was a crowd favourite from our earliest performances. It just seemed the perfect vehicle for Kate’s emotive vocal and we were always knocked out by her performance. I guess the fact that it was a cover made the band somewhat dismissive of its potential as a recording option, but we did end up doing it as one of two B side songs on the 12” version of ‘Lead the Way’. Once released, Regular Records asked if they could put it out as a single because it had started to get radio play. We agreed, if they would allow us to tweak the recording with a few extra parts and do a more polished mix with our original engineer Ross Cockle (and also correct the label song writing credits which had somehow come to state “unknown writer” (!) which we were aghast about). The version released here is that rejigged one, which went on to become a successful single in its own right (find the original vinyl 12” and you can hear it in a slightly rawer form).

‘Stay With Me’ (album version)
This one was supposed to sound a bit dinky like ‘Get Into The Groove’ with squelchy bass synth, but that seemed a bit obvious to Fred and he went for a cleaner, more powerful timbre with big gated reverb snare. We spent an enormous amount of time on this, as it seemed a potential single, but it somehow never clicked onto that higher plane. Hate to say I told you so but maybe we should have stuck with dinky!

‘It’s Over’
At last, with a small amount of arm-twisting, Fred let us get our way with the drums, and we used a Roland 808 drum part in the manner of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing’. Another song where Zan steps out to perform a lead vocal and she delivers with a smouldering smoky tone. A big part of the band’s appeal was how Kate and Zan’s voices worked together and contrasting them through different settings helped widen our palette of sounds and move the music in different directions.

‘Disaster’
This one was conceived to use a twin bass line, a device we loved in Isaac Hayes’s ‘Don’t Let Go’, and while that element is still present, it didn’t quite end up working as envisioned. Fred and Martyn both saw it as their chance for a sonic tour de force and they both pulled out all stops to make it a bit over the top, which did match the lyrical intent. Let no synth or reverb blast be excluded.

‘Love Means Everything’ (album version)
The only album cut that had no input at all from Fred and the closest we got to a band track on the record. The arrangement is totally ours. The horn section is a nod toward Chic of course, and the lovely rhythm section playing, that seemed to get pushed out of the way by all that hi-tech production elsewhere, is groovin’. Kate puts the icing on top with a great soulful vocal.

‘Trust Me’
Our first Regular Records single. This one had a slightly difficult gestation. Our initial recording with producer Cameron Allen was doomed because we just didn’t see eye to eye. We didn’t even reach the mix stage. After this debacle, we found a small demo studio where we nailed all the arrangements ourselves and tried again with the more egalitarian Ross Cockle in the chair. The influential tracks for this were the somewhat stylistically different – ‘Street Dance’ by Break Machine and Shannon’s ‘Let the Music Play’. Because of these slightly varied influences, it became a mix of Freestyle and the lighter Beat Street production sound favoured by the breakdance records, and that helped make it sound similar to things coming out of the U.S. at the time like Miami Sound Machine, which also seemed to mash the two styles together. Kate soared over the top making it our first top 10 single.

‘Lead The Way’ (original single version)
For our second single, we started work at Stalbridge Chambers, a dilapidated city building that seemed to house every groovy young artistic entrepreneur in town. Stephen Charlesworth and a gang of synthesiser wiz kids long had a studio there, and with Stephen operating the tape machines and synth sounds, it was a great place to try ideas. This song gives a nod and a wink towards Wanna Be Starting Something but ends somewhere quite different. We had to have two attempts at recording it, starting at South Yarra’s Platinum but ending at Metropolis with the tried and true Ross Cockle at the desk. It went on to be quite a successful follow-up to ‘Trust Me’.

‘So Far Away’
This one is a demo, but done at AAV with Ross Cockle, so it is a high quality 24 track recording. It was done on a day off during the Australian Made tour and we did two tracks that day. This one was slammed down first, mainly with sequenced parts, while the band set up for the more elaborate, almost live recording that followed. A feature of this track is a few lines played by our UK session wiz, Kevin Wiltshire on keyboards and Warren McLean supplying percussive flourishes. A pity it never got to be properly recorded because it featured some great lyrics from Ian.

‘Do You Wanna Be’ (12” mix)
This was created by Martyn recording himself doing live dub mixing sections of the main mix. We egged him on as he spun the big knob on the Eventide Harmoniser or whatever piece of hardware that was at hand. After a number of passes, he used the time-honoured technique of tape splicing to join them into the longer mix.

‘Holy Word’ (12” mix)
We did this one at Britannia Row, Pink Floyd’s studio in London, with Martyn Webster. During recording a somewhat annoying geezer kept popping in to listen to what we were up to, again and again. We were wondering who this interloper was and were just about to tell him to piss off in our best Strine accents when Martyn whispered it was Nick the drummer from Pink Floyd….oops!

‘Run Away With Me’
This was the second demo from our Australian Made day off. Basically a live take and the only studio recording of what we sounded like with heavy hitting drummer Warren McLean. The influence here is Rick James circa his Flag album, although lyrically it’s about as far away from Rick as possible and features some super nasty bass synth playing from Kevin Wiltshire while Barbara supplies some funky slap bass fills in answer. Ian steps up to the mic and delivers a righteous sax solo. This was our very last (surviving) studio recording. At least we went out flying our funky freak flag in a tribute to that man standing on the top. “We want the funk, we want the funk and nothing but the punk funk”.

‘Disaster’ (12” mix)
Recorded at a small advertising voice-over studio in London by Martyn Webster. Done fast and furious in a day with tape splicing and dub mix techniques. Whew… That gated reverb on the snare, the sonic equivalent of big shoulder pads, certainly takes up a bit of space in this one.

‘Someday’ (12” mix)
Our very first recording, pre-Zan joining the line-up, and it’s a song structure that drapes itself around Barbara’s punchy bass line. This was an indie production as part of a deal to provide music for the video art piece More Love Stories by Randelli. We also appeared in the work and this became our video. Recorded at the Victorian College of the Arts with Michael Letho, Warwick Bone and Chris Wyatt. (Where are you, Chris?) Our method of doing the 12” was effectively to compose it beforehand and leave a few sections for punch-ins and tape delays, then do a few passes and splice it all together. A bit primitive, but it got the job done. Having three engineers in the control room at once, all eager to help, but no actual producer, did get a little claustrophobic at times, but we were very fortunate for their help and enthusiasm.

‘Disko (Fall In Love Forever)’
A B-side from the second single. This had always been a great storming live track and Ian solos in an Archie Shepp frame of mind. When Fred Maher recorded our album we pestered him endlessly to tell us Archie Shepp anecdotes from his time with the band Material.

‘Cry Me A River’
Kate chose this standard and we first played it in reduced line-up at Regular Records’ birthday party. We recorded it as a B-side with Ross Cockle. It was a live take with the three musicians together in the studio. Kate does her best “come hither” vocals as homage to Julie London and Ian smoulders away on sax.

‘Lead the Way’ (New York re-recording 12” mix)
This was our first attempt to satisfy our new overlords at London Records. They wanted another option for a single so it was decided by to enlist Fred Maher and David Gamson to re- record a new version of our old second single. By the time we came to record, David Gamson had disappeared to work with Michael Jackson or somebody but left his sequenced keyboard parts. This is the rather over the top 12” version where engineer John Potoker uses every mix move in the book. It didn’t make much of an impression on the grim-faced London executives though and sat unreleased until Martin Fabinyi put together the Dancing compilation a few years after we imploded. Recorded at Francois Kervorkian’s studio with Kraftwerk upstairs and Deodato and Cindy Lauper living in the building, and mixed at Nile Rodgers’ studio (he never missed those souvenir plectrums).

‘Do You Wanna Be’ (SAW 12” mix)
The last thing we did with London records and I say “we” a bit ironically because it was the label’s decision. Nevertheless, it is an interesting take on our music and one we weren’t necessarily against. It would have been nice to be able to report what went on in the top- secret pop music lab that was Stock, Aitken, Waterman, but we were not permitted by London records to attend the mix. The results failed to impress London however (who seemed to blame us) and it was another track which sat unloved in the can until the Dancing compilation record came along.

‘Someday’ (single version)
This one is the single edit of the 12”… Luckily the master of this was still floating around in a friend’s studio and was the video production safety dub.

‘Here, There and Everywhere’
Recorded at the old ABC orchestral studio in Malvern… Done in a few hours and basically a live recording , a bit demo like in its mix character.

‘Lead The Way’ (New York single mix)
Not just an edit of the 12“ version but a separately executed mix… Previously unreleased.

‘Trust Me’ (12” mix)
Done in a similar manner to how we did ‘Someday’ 12” in that we set it out for the engineer in extended form and got them to add some delays etc. to the material.

‘Take It To The Bridge’
An instrumental B side where we got to goof off and pay homage to our heroes… The big influence here is ‘Renegades of Funk’ by Africa Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force. Surely this would have been one of the first ‘samples’ anyone used of James Brown? No cheap sampler keyboards were available at the time and James came straight off the record via cassette… Something we had been doing since starting. We actually had a cassette deck on stage and a series of special short cassette loops [they used to make these for food stalls to record advertising messages at the Royal Melbourne Show!] – affordable samplers becoming available sure made this type of thing easier and James Brown became the top of the sampler’s hit parade.

‘Do You Wanna Be’ (single version)
The slightly different to the album, but best known, single mix. Executed as mix not an edit

‘Holy Word’ (single version)
The slightly different to the album, but best known, single mix . Executed as mix not an edit

‘Scratchin’’
Another ABC Malvern studio recording and an instrumental where we again get to goof off and try some break dance moves… Herbie Hancock and Africa Bambaatta are the obvious references… We freaked out the engineers a bit by bringing in a drum machine and they had to send the assistant down to the Tandy store to buy some plug connectors… Different times indeed.

‘Stay With Me’ (single version)
Unreleased single mix of the album track, executed as mix not an edit

‘Love Means Everything’ (single version)
Unreleased single mix of the album track, executed as mix not an edit

‘The Restaurant’
Soundtrack recording from More Love stories by the video artists Randelli. Off our indie EP and done in Stephen’s studio Stalbridge Chambers onto 4 track [vinyl transfer]

‘Brief Encounter’
Soundtrack recording from More Love stories by the video artists Randelli. Off our indie EP and done in Stephen’s studio Stalbridge Chambers onto 4 track [vinyl transfer]

‘The Bar’
Soundtrack recording from More Love stories by the video artists Randelli. Off our indie EP and done in Stephen’s studio Stalbridge Chambers onto 4 track [vinyl transfer]

‘The Apartment’
A track done by the late Laurie McRae and Stephen Charlesworth alone but released in our name… Soundtrack recording from More Love stories by the video artists Randelli. Off our indie EP and done in Stephen’s studio Stalbridge Chambers onto 4 track [vinyl transfer]

‘Lead The Way’ (original 12” mix)
Done in a similar manner to how we did ‘Someday’ 12” in that we set it out for the engineer in extended form and got them to add some delays etc., to the material .

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