HEAD. is a psych driven project, both heady and immersive. It’s a global gypsy tribe devoted to making your brain shake and your soul quiver. Formed by a desire to explore psychedelic and cerebral impact, one phone call at 5am between a veteran London Disco Giant and his punk rock diva cohort has yielded a new supergroup..
The first member to introduce is New York Disco Queen Amy Douglas. Amy had the monster hit “Never Saw It Coming” on DFA with Tim Wagner, also a HEAD. member. Also, Amy is the author of “Something More”, Roisin Murphy’s current single on her new LP release Roisin Machine, which is currently atop the UK charts. Amy is also responsible for 4 moments on the Horse Meat Disco album, 3 of which she penned, 4 of which she sings lead on, the most lead vocals of anyone on the LP, for “Love and Dancing” Horse Meat Disco’s colossal LP which is at #3 on the UK dance charts.
The rest of the HEAD. super-cast consists of London Disco icon Jim Stanton of the party house that is Horse Meat Disco, Steven Klavier vocalist with Moon Boots and Michael The Lion, spoken word artist Cat P and Creative Director of AireLibre, and renowned DJ, tastemaker and influencer, Mexico City’s own Paurro. Veteran producer Tim Wagner of Our Starry Universe and Birds Of Pandaemonium completes the line up as master of production.
This release sits on new label Ladyballs, which is a partnership of Amy Douglas and Tim Wagner. For their second release, the label hits hard with a cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘Two Tribes’. There’s a single, a radio edit and a remix by Paurro. (Soundcloud)
Two Tribes is out 10/30/20 on Ladyballs
Title: Two Tribes
Release Date: 2020-10-30
Interview with Amy Douglas
1.) Thanks so much for talking to us Amy. We are following your work with great enthusiasm. You’re a New York girl. How are things for the good people of New York right now? How you doing?
Hi guys, thank you so much for having me aboard. NYC is a rather downtrodden place right now, vibe is not so great, but then mass helplessness wouldn’t do great for the vibe of any place. The thing is? NYC people are always ready for disaster. We are gonna be fine. We’ll get through this. The joke I like to make is that both 1977 and 2001 have well trained us. Combine both times of distress together and you have a sick joke Frankensituation but, we’ll make it.
2.) It’s fair to say you are taking the Disco world by storm. Can you tell our readers about your background?
Why thank you! I am a certified freak and bonafide geek. Feel free to spit that over the WAP beat! LOL! I am a singer songwriter, background is largely hard rock and jazz and funk. I come from bands of sweaty men who treated me like one of their own. Conversely I also wanted to be representative of my heroes Nile Rodgers and Quincy Jones so I devoured music and got a hand in all areas of it from soup to nuts, mostly focusing on songwriting and of course sannnngin. My heroes generally aside from the titans of writing and singing are the giants of epic rock bands.
3.) What was your musical journey to get you where you are today?
Well as mentioned, hard rock bands but the whole story is that I started very young, I started singing at 6 and writing at 8. I threw myself headlong into music. I threw myself so headlong into music you could say it was almost to the detriment of all else, but I also studied it; composition most notably because I wanted to learn to score and really do a lot more with big band and orchestra. From there? Bands. Also a healthy stint in the same house band at a now seminal and legendary party in NYC called Squeezebox, which gave birth to Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Had a gig every week for a good long while, I really cut my teeth on the ground. I didn’t do anything near dance music til muuuuch later in the game, and while I’m a great fan of disco records, early house records ( I mean I am from NYC), it was never my destiny in my own mind. I had to change my mind a lot and I’m glad I did.
4.) You have a ton of releases going on at the moment. I hear that you are responsible for writing a track on Rosin Murphy’s album. Wow! What can you tell us about the track? How did that come about?
When “Never Saw It Coming”the track that Ladyballs CoFounder and Our Starry Universe CoFounder Tim Wagner and I dropped on DFA, it blew up very dedicatedly in the UK. During this time period Roisin had “Jacuzzi Rollercoaster” out and we kept winding up on a lot of “best of” lists together. When this happened, it was sort of like the internet decided to push us together and eventually I reached out directly to tell her how profoundly moving it was to be included anywhere near her for ANY reason at all, she’s a really huge influence on me and it was just so overwhelming to be….thought of as a peer of sort and so this incredible online friendship began, she’s an incredibly generous spirit. When I came to London last summer to perform at Horse Meat Disco at The Eagle, and also to work with Joe Goddard with whom I do this incredible work called Hard Feelings (but more on that later) and also to continue work on The Blessed Madonna LP, I met up with her at her invitation to The Standard Hotel to see (of all karmic amazingnesses) Andrew Weatherall speak about dub. Andrew, was the man by and large responsible for the success of “Never Saw It Coming” he and A Love From Outer Space co founder Sean Johnston dropped The Crooked Man Remix of it, at Convenanza and the place apparently went so nuts when they did, that I got a flurry of messages about it and I was like “OH MY GOD!” Well….Roisin and I met there, got into trouble, went to the bar, drank whiskey became fast real time friends and she revealed she wanted based on my work and work with Horse Meat Disco, that she wanted me to work on some songs with/for her. Fast forward a year later, and we have “Something More.” I still, can not believe this all really happened sometimes. That the song is being received so well, has been remixed by Soulwax and is kicking holy ass no less as is her incredible album, is miraculous ESPECIALLY now. Even prouder is that we could keep it in the family. Roisin Machine was produced by The Crooked Man! He of the remix Andrew Weatherall dropped! I love the golden sphere of how things are intertwining creatively with a group of the best you could ever ask for and it’s just been…intensely soul stirring and fulfilling.
5.) We heard about your performance at Horse Meat Disco at The Eagle in London. You are working lots with these guys and featuring on their new album. Can you tell us about that collaboration and how you met?
I had been working on a project with Juan MacLean for DFA Records called Peach Melba and we’d just done an EP for Classic/Defected that had been really well received. Juan was an occasional DJ at the night and sure enough the work caught the ear of Jim Stanton, who is now my astral brother and Jim brought me to Horse Meat Disco. Talk about fate of the stars. In addition I’d been working with Luke Solomon at Defected on other ventures so it was like two directions meeting at a fine point.
6.) You seem to be featuring with tons of amazing artists at the moment. I hear you’re working with Hot Chip. What do you have going on there?
Well to be more specific as aforementioned I’m working with one of its founding fathers, no less the production engine of Hot Chip, Mr. Joe Goddard. Hard Feelings is, arguably the most important work I have coming and I’d have to say it’s the most important work I’ll ever do as a vocalist connected to dance and how best to take dance music and shove it back and forth across pop, New Wave, Rock, all of it. It’s a big work, and it has been a once in a lifetime experience for me. Joe is one of the greats. He’s a master. He’s a genius. He’s an amazing human being and he’s such a joy of life to marvel at, learn from and work with. It’s like the entire experience from the inception to current day has been like being driven in a Bentley lined with mink where you’re handfed custom nibbles that were all custom made for you to behave like psychotropics and aphrodisiacs. It’s been otherworldly and what came out of it, is essentially an opera of sad bangers all about the mystifying nature of relationships and of course, their often brutal and doomed endings.
7.) Tell us about your new project HEAD? How did it start? Who’s in the team? What’s it about?
HEAD. came about through a 5am conversation between myself and Jim Stanton of Horse Meat Disco about this feeling like psychedelic music could and should come back in a profound and densely populated way. When I translated this vision to Tim? As so often he took the ball and ran it down the field in for a touchdown, by saying “we could have a party that released singles!” Soon as Covid lifts that’s the plan too. Head otherwise, is an ever inclusive pan view of what’s to come on Ladyballs Records. It’s gypsy tribe. The vibe is dank, hippie, crust punk and dance driven where genres are out the window. Our first single has quite the cast of characters on it, including Moon Boots (and my co-collaborator on “Find A Way” for Michael The Lion) Steven Klavier, Paurro- amazing DJ, the creative director of Aire Libre, and our mutual friend Cat P who is a spoken word artist. By single two? Could be a whole new permutation of people, whoever wants in, gets in with Head. It was to consolidate the vibe in a very Muppet Show opening number sort of way.
8.) You’re releasing on your new label venture Ladyballs. Well that is such a good name for your label. What can you tell our readers about your music policy?
Thank you! LOL! We launched last year and released one single, a cover of Siouxsie and The Banshees “Cities In Dust” and now it’s time to show the awe inspiring power of a fully operational Life Star! My music policy celebrates artists who make dance records but get rock and roll energy, it’s like a vintage rock label with dance and a vintage dance label with rock, and it’s SUPER NYC focused, the way Seymour Stein’s Sire was. I want to focus on incredible talent of which let’s face it, I’m blessed to be able to work with the very best to do it. My music policy is song focused, timelessness, dedication, fun, brazen sexual debauchery and a celebration of the hallmarks of rock culture, but also vintage NYC culture put through a modern lens and taken forward. It’s imperative especially NOW, to make the focus NYC. The story must always evolve and create new legend. I want to be a focal catalyst of enabling that to happen during the darkest times.
9.) You are hitting out hard with the labels first release, a cover of the epic Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Two Tribes. What made you chose the record to cover?
Two Tribes when formerly released was a huge political protest record to make a statement about a very conservative Thatcher ruled UK and most notably at the time The Falkland Islands conflicts were happening and of course it was the Reagan 80’s, and a mess. It’s one of the best examples I could think of penned that was both fist in the air with a “we’re not gonna take it” message but you could dance to it.
10.) What would you say is HEAD’s take on the record? What have you done to it?
Tim’s production on this is SO MASTERFUL it’s gonna knock you all OUT. For one thing we both made a conscious decision to SLOW. IT. DOWN. Make it groove harder, more pocket more grease, more nasty. The notes I have when I look back were “Devo meets Afrobeat”
11.) The world is in a strange place right now. What is your message of positivity to our readers?
I am a huge believer in mantras, better still ones you make for yourself. Find one that makes you feel uplifted and say it EVERY. DAY. OUT. LOUD. That, and I truly believe if we hold on, we’re gonna make it, but we have to be more aware and more present than ever before, no less a lot more selfless. Just know that you have the power to make a difference more now than you ever had. That’s a blessing.
Turn it up & enjoy!