Artist Interviews

Tidy Treasures – Johnny Dangerous

In the first of a brand new anecdotal series, DJs talk about the Tidy releases that have made an impression on them and share stories about why that release is their Tidy Treasure…

Many moons ago I was a writer for M8 and Wax Magazine and doing this role enabled me to visit many magnificent events in great countries. I was lucky enough to visit Germany on many occasions, attending a few of Low Spirit’s Mayday events and I was at the largest ever Love Parade in Berlin that made history by attracting over 1 million people. At the invitation of Low Spirit it UK, I was fortunate enough to be on their truck as it slowly moved through the crowds along Strasse de 17 Juni. It wasn’t only the large events I went to, I also experience the underground scene there at its finest visiting Hamburg’s Tunnel Club with M-Zone whilst we were staying with Timo Maas. He was resident there and was pioneering the hard trance sound in Germany. It was Timo who first introduced me to Taucher at Nature One’s Waterworld a huge rave in a massive aquapark where they were both playing. This was the well before Taucher began playing in the UK.

It was also around this time that M-Zone produced a track under the guise Whizzkid called I Control The Party which was signed to a label called Dos Or Die. At that time it was a relatively young label. The label dubbed it ‘The DJ Hymn’ and it was released with a Wippenberg remix. At that time M-Zone was huge across Europe nd was getting booked at every major international event. Dos Or Die were holding their three year anniversary party at the Turbinnenhalle in Oberhausen and M-Zone was invited to perform the track live and asked if I wanted to tag along. To cut a long story short I ended up on stage with him performing as Whizzkid with a mic headset tightly rapped around my fat head, (it’s shrunk since then), hyping up the crowd in a mixture of English and the limited German that I knew. It worked and Whizzkid went down a storm.

Two of my all-time favourite tracks were released by the label. The Calvin Rotane mix of Speedy J’s Pullover and Allnighters Black Is Black. The latter was one of the first international tracks to be licensed to Tidy. At the time Tidy was a fresh label within a relatively new part of the scene and I could see why they signed it. I had been playing it in my sets. It was in my eyes, a sign of things to come from the label over the years.

The bubbling acid bassline of the original was a unique sound if you’d only listened to hard house and stood out like a sore thumb! The first time I hear it I was mesmerised and hooked… It was so infectious! One of Timo’s friends had given me the record in Germany after I heard him play it in a club. The hypnotic groove of the original mix with the added melody that cautiously crawled in was fantastic. Black Is Black takes its main vocal sample from A Tribe Called Quests’ Q-Tip who features on Jungle Brother’s 1988 track of the same name. That catchy tribal rhythm that runs throughout comes courtesy of a mid-70’s record, Johnny Wakelin’s ‘In Zaire’. This was German engineering at its finest, constructed with the finest of engines… a TB303. Like all good things to come from Germany… it drove like a dream!

As good as the track was labels didn’t just release an original version, they always released a remix or two alongside it. For this release Tidy pulled out all the stops and broke the budget by enlisting The Sharp Boys to stamp their mark on what was already a brilliant track, For me they made it even more brilliant. They already had a string of successful remixes under their belt including Josh Wink, Sara Parker, Candy Girls and commercial acts such as OMC, Kelly Llorenna, Dannii Minogue, Ce Ce Peniston and Savage Garden. All this came from the success of their Sharp releases on their own label. They created a truly unique sound and rapidly became one of the most in demand remixes within dance music.

George and Steven took the original version and created for me what was not only one of the best remixes of Black Is Black, but also one of the best ever Sharp remixes. It truly is a hi-octane beast. They kept that hypnotic groove that made the original stand out, this time by using a phat compelling bassline and some of the chunkiest, punchy percussion you will ever hear. The Sharp boys delivered a truly alternative remix which reach out beyond the hard house community and made it into the record box of may of the globe’s house DJs too.

This is my Tidy Treasure… Whenever I hear it takes me back to the early years of hard house where the European hard trance sound began its influential infiltration, something that would later become more evident with the launch of tidytwo. It also takes me back to being in Germany, visiting Dos Or Die, mega raves and underground clubs, the biggest party on the planet, travels with M-Zone and partying with Timo and the other highly talented German DJs such as Westbam, Marusha and Gary D.

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