Leeds-based Matt Woodward and Jed Skinner formed house act Galaxians in 2012. Over the past five years they’ve forged a beautiful soundscape that’s all about keeping dance floors moving and grooving. Now a trio thanks to the addition of vocalist Emma Mason, they’re about to unveil their full-length, Let The Rhythm In, on Brooklyn’s Dither Down. The LP is an expression of their love for soul to house music, and it’s founded on the studio experience they’ve gained over the years.
Galaxians put the single “Out They Minds” in the capable hands of SIREN, a collaboration between NYC legends Darshan Jesrani of Metro Area and Dennis Kane. It’s nothing short of spectacular, and we’re thrilled to world premiere it! BIG SHOT
We’re delighted to be able to share a new song with you from our forthcoming album Let The Rhythm In.
The song, titled ‘Street Level‘ is the first to feature the new Galaxians line up featuring the voice of Emma Mason, and was recorded at Ross Halden’s Ghost Town studio on Mabgate in Leeds. The studio has since closed after a seven-year residency, with Galaxians having been one of the last bands to have recorded there.
“The Galaxians records we made at Mabgate are some of my proudest achievements, I’m pretty much setting up the new studio for the next one” ROSS HALDEN (head of Ghost Town studio)
The song includes lyrics by Matt Woodward and will be the band’s first song from the new record to be performed live as a trio, along with three further album tracks featuring Emma.
We’re extremely excited to announce our new lineup for 2016.
During recent recording sessions for our upcoming record we collaborated with our friend and singer Emma Mason, who worked with us on four new songs, ‘Street Level’, ‘Subway Dancers’, ‘How Do U Feel?’ and ‘Worldwide Experience’. The four songs form part of a collection of nine which are set to be released as Galaxians’ first full-length album ‘Let The Rhythm In’.
Having been officially invited to join the band in 2016 following the studio sessions, Emma spoke to Stargaze Records….
Stargaze Records: How did your path as a singer take its course? When did you first have that ‘hey, I can sing!’ moment?
Emma: I was a late starter, I knew I could carry a tune and loved music but I didn’t get a notion that my voice was anything special until my late teens. I remember singing a Brand New Heavies song and my sister came in the room looking surprised and said ‘Was that you’? She told me I was really good and it hit home that maybe I was.
SR: I know that for me as soon as I knew I wanted to learn to play a musical instrument that I was going to play either bass or drums, how did your realisation that you were going to do something musical occur?
E: Singing on stage was something I daydreamed about a lot but didn’t have the confidence to do for a long time. There came a point in my mid-twenties where the need to sing outweighed the terror of performing in public. A friend urged me to put an ad in the free paper saying I was looking for a band and it all started from there.
SR; How old were you when you first felt that music was a serious thing for you?
E: Well I’ve always been passionate about music, it keeps me sane, but I probably became serious about my own musical aspirations in my late twenties when I started to write and perform my own music with the band ‘The Bloody Wowsers’. I wanted to perform as much as possible and I realised this was something I needed in my life to be happy.
SR: What was your first performance?
E: My first performance was with a Motown covers band called Chicago Joe and the Soul Divas in a pub somewhere near Leeds. I still laugh at the name and we were a motley crew but the music was decent. I drank a bottle of wine to get over the stage fright.
SR: What kind of music were you heavily into as a teenager?
E: A huge variety of music, Ella Fitzgerald, Depeche Mode, Cud, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, The Cure, The Housemartins, Nina Simone, The Smiths, Sugarcubes, Stevie Wonder, Eddie Cochran, Neil Sedaka, David Bowie, Donna Summer, Aretha Franklin and music from Cabaret and The Rocky Horror show….I could go on and on but those were probably the artists I probably listened to the most. Mum has great taste in music and my older sisters were always bringing music home to listen to so I was lucky.
SR: Who were your first singing influences? Who influences you now?
E: Stevie Wonder has a very special place in my heart particularly his early Motown tracks and 70’s albums Talking Book, Innervisions and Songs in the key of life. I spent hours singing along to Stevie Wonder songs when I was young along with Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald. They taught me how to really sing. I still love those artists but I’ve expanded my tastes since then. In recent times I’ve been influenced by old RnB and gospel artists like Big Mama Thornton, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Lavern Baker, such amazing musical talent largely forgotten by the mainstream. I love discovering new old artists. I’ve been listening to more 80s disco lately too since working with Galaxians, Gwen Guthrie is the bomb. Most of my musical influences are pre-90s.
SR: The art of performing, and of writing music is quite complex isn’t it? But then it is also by nature very simple sometimes. What has always intrigued me is that the nature of art can be very contradictory at times, and that’s part of what drives people to make it, and to engage with it? Because above all else art is human and it mirrors humanity, and contradiction is part of the human condition?
E: I would agree with those statements, I think for for most serious musicians it is a need rather than a choice to make music and that’s why we persevere through the challenging times, disappointments, creative block, crises of confidence and the general burden of the sensitive creative temperament. Sometimes the joy of making and performing music just falls into place seamlessly but, as with life in general, we only really appreciate those moments because of the trials we face.
SR: You’ve had experience at performing in quite a few really different musical environments haven’t you?
E: I surely have, I think because my tastes are so eclectic I never felt the need to limit myself or be pigeon holed, plus it makes life interesting to try new things and increases performance opportunities. I’ve performed in a Motown covers band, acoustic soul duo, swing bands for dancers, rhythm and blues ensembles, I’ve done classic jazz and blues, collaborated with hip hop artists, I’ve even tried a little classical singing as part of a project called Symphony for Yorkshire for the BBC and of course now this wonderous union with Galaxians which is so very exciting.
My cabaret showgirl persona ‘Em Brulée’ has been a big part of my performing life for the last 8 years, I love the decadence of burlesque and cabaret shows, the creativity and the theatre of it. I basically fantasise that I am Sally Bowles in 1930s Berlin. My cabaret work has made a performer of me as well as a singer.
SR: Can you talk a bit about working with Galaxians and how it came about?
E: Well Matt and I have been great friends and neighbours for many years, we have always shared a passion for good music and a mutual admiration and support of one another’s work; we have played together on a couple of occasions. I’ve been a fan of Galaxians since the beginning, so when Matt suggested the boys might want to try a few vocal tracks on the new album I jumped at the chance to be involved.
I think we were all amazed about how seamlessly it all went in the studio, I’ve never enjoyed the writing/recording process so much and the results were beyond expectations. It started out as a collaboration but we want to keep making sweet music together and Jed and Matt have officially invited me into the fold.
BRAINTRUST BLOG // 25.06.15
CHOSEN BY: GALAXIANS
Playlist chosen by us ahead of our show at the Waiting Room in London on July 17.
“I first saw Galaxians play at Tramlines last year in the back room of a social club in the outskirts of Sheffield. They had this intricate set up with multiple analog synthesizers going against a small acoustic drum kit, but they produced this uplifting disco sound going on. I loved the fact that their general positive vibe that they brought to a night meant they can slot onto genre bending bills and make punk kids fall in love with them. Drummer Matt Woodward is a DJ at the Release Yourself parties at Wharf Chambers and we’re delighted that he’s made a fifteen track mix for us. I guarantee you’ll find gems in here.” NIALL CUNNINGHAM (Braintrust)
Galaxians headline The Waiting Room with support from Teej on Friday 17 July. Tickets are available through: Billetto + DICE
1) MATRIX METALS ‘Ray Ban Meltdown’
Matrix Metals is Sam Mehran. He’s possibly more well known as a member of Test Icicles, but for us the MM record is his finest hour. It’s one of those records that defies categorization and people who dig it really dig it. A hard record to describe for sure, but it has a drugged-out, hypnotic, cyclical beauty to it, and it’s all the more amazing when you discover it’s essentially made from tape loops.
2) WICKED WITCH ‘Under Your Spell’
WW is the solo studio alter ego of Washington DC’s Richard Simms and this is from the compilation album ‘Chaos 1978-86’. Again, it’s hard to describe because it’s a pretty nuts record. It’s dark, wild, fucked up psychedelic machine funk, that’s pretty much the only way we can describe it. Matt picked this record up from a-Musik in Cologne recently.
3) RAVIOLI ME AWAY ‘Cat Call’
We played with RMA recently and enjoyed them a lot. They are Sian Dorrer, Rosie Ridgeway, and Alice Theobald and this one is taken from the album ‘The Inevitable Album’ on Good Job Records. It’s just a winner, firstly because it’s a straight up pop hit, secondly because the lyrics are good, and thirdly because the video has them doing some good David Byrne-style dancing in it.
4) SHOPPING ‘In Other Words’
Another ace band we’ve had the pleasure of playing with a few times over the past year. We both dig their album a lot and they’re always super-fun live. Shopping are Billy Easter, Rachel Aggs, and Andrew Milk. They’re also known for being members of other bands such as Wet Dog and Trash Kit. This is one of our favourite songs from their album ‘Consumer Complaints’ (Milk Records) and that guitar line just chops its way into the brain and stays for days.
5) ROLANDE GARROS ‘Polycrosscourt’
Rolande Garros is the alter ego / solo project of Tobias Piel, who is also one third of the trio Les Trucs from Frankfurt. We played with RG at the Robert Johnson club in Offenbach recently and it turned out to be one of the most memorable nights on our European tour this year. And he was one of many very nice people we met that night, too. And that sound system….oh my.
6) J.A. GROOVE ‘Release The Tension’
This is, as far as we know, the only record ever released by Jeff Seifer and Archie Lucas. It’s something of an obscurity but is a regular feature of Matt’s DJ sets at the Release Yourself parties he hosts at Wharf Chambers in Leeds. It’s one of those post-disco / proto-house records from the mid-80s with a super-tight bass line and conga groove that just jumps out of the speakers and gets people up and onto the floor. At 10:48 minutes long it’s no radio-friendly pop hit. It’s for people who want to get in deep, y’know?
7) MADONNA ‘Lucky Star’
…..and speaking of radio friendly pop hits, this is one of our favourite Madonna songs. For us this is Madonna at her finest and in her most natural, instinctive setting. That early 80s NYC boogie funk club sound was just perfect for her in those first years. Of course, ‘Into The Groove’ is incredible and a more obvious choice (for THAT bass line alone) but the naivety and charm of those early songs is so attractive. It’s the sound of pop rapture.
8) KENTON NIX Featuring BOBBY YOUNGBLOOD ‘There’s Never Been No One Like You’
A West End Records NYC classic and christ, there are so many of those that picking one is a mission. Weirdly, we only came across this one fairly recently, despite being huge fans of the label. But that’s one of the many great things about music and buying records – just when you think you know every record on a label something pops up from a rack in a record shop and blows you away. This is one of those. It’s classic West End – soulful, shimmering, and beautifully arranged.
9) JAMES MASON ‘I Want Your Love’
This is a recent release on Amsterdam’s Rush Hour Records, but it’s actually two songs from 1984 and 1978. The A side ‘Nightgruv’ is really good too, and has a great proto-house vibe to it, but this one is a stunning, sexy, slow burner, more in the boogie style. One of the things we love on this jam is the combination of the slow beat with the crazy fast conga pattern. Marry that with the soulful vocal and those great piano chords and it’s a big win.
10) WALTER WHISENHUNT ORCHESTRA featuring GLORIA ANN TAYLOR ‘Deep Inside You’
This is a really beautiful song from 1973, and we read recently that the original EP – which also features the even more stunning ‘Love Is A Hurting Thing’ – is one of the most expensive disco / soul records ever. More importantly, it’s a gorgeous, eerie, seductive, super-soulful record from start to finish and every home should have one.
11) ADONIS Featuring THE ENDLESS POKER’S ‘!The Poke!’
Not our favourite cut on DJ International Records by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s something Jed picked up recently from Kompakt Records in Cologne when we did a bit of record shopping whilst on tour. It’s kind of a daft record, but just has that unmistakable late 80s Chicago house vibe, with those 303 sounds and that wobbly acid house bass line. And it’s always going to remind us of our time in Cologne which turned out to be a real highlight of the tour.
12) DIBLO DIBALA ‘Super K’
Diblo Dibala is a Congolese Soukous musican whose nickname is ‘Machine Gun’ because of his insane skill and speed on the guitar. This song is from a mid-80s album Matt picked up from Deco Records in Withington in Manchester the morning after we’d played a show at Fuel Cafe. If there’s a more positive and uplifting record than this in the entire world we’ve yet to hear it. Diblo’s records are a big influence on Matt’s other band Azores.
13) DEERHOOF ‘Paradise Girls’
Choosing just one Deerhoof song for a playlist is a near impossibility. Choosing a favourite top five albums is difficult enough and we are constantly amazed by their ability to keep writing genuinely incredible music after thirteen albums. Just such a great band and a constant inspiration as people, writers, musicians, the whole shabang. This one is from the most recent album La Isla Bonita.
14) UNIVERSAL ROBOT BAND ‘Barely Breaking Even’
It’s always difficult for us to put into words how much we love the combination of Leroy Burgess (as songwriter and performer), Greg Carmichael (as performer and producer), Patrick Adams (as producer) and John Morales (as remixer). For us this 1982 record is a benchmark and the pinnacle of the NYC post-disco / boogie era (there’s even a record label named after it). It’s just the perfect boogie jam and is a deejaying no-brainer. It always brings a full floor along with whoops and hollers.
15) GOLDEN TEACHER ‘Party People’
GT are Cassie Ojay, Charles Lavenac, Laurie Pitt, Oliver Pitt, Richard McMaster, and Sam Bellacosa. Together they somehow seem to effortlessly combine every element you’d want from a dance act and in live terms there’s probably no one to touch them right now, at least not as far as we know. When we played with them on tour recently their new material just floored us, and we like them a lot as people, too. They are part of Glasgow’s great tradition of community-focused experimental music and art.
Feels like it’s been a while, but we cant wait to have you come dance with us again. We were all so pleased with our last party – over the past few months we’ve all been day dreaming about how much fun we had. You dancers really made it for us.
We just hope we can make it for you again.
This time we hope to make Release Yourself even more special.
We’re delighted to have former Long Blondes guitarist Dorian Cox’ new No Wave bedroom disco outfit Unmade Bed, who will make the trip over from Sheffield to play for us. Have a listen here:
Our good friends and upfront good hearted Leeds party people Runners will be playing too. In case you don’t know they’re a blend of Krautrock, proto-house and ambient techno, and feature members of Hookworms, Chrononautz, Nope, Charlie Cake etc etc:
We’re delighted to announce that we asked some friends to come play some records and they said yes. So expect some new faces behind the decks. If you would like to play at the next party just get in touch.
Most of all though expect to dance freely. What we value most of all in putting on nights like this is our belief that anyone of us can come together from any background, even just for the night, to celebrate each other and dance together. We want you to make friends – maybe even fall in love. We’re hoping that you come and make a connection with someone and Release Yourself.
Get your backs off the wall people – let’s go dancing.
IT’S 20 YEARS AGO TODAY THAT THE WORLD SAID A FOND FAREWELL TO LARRY LEVAN, but for so many he will always live on! Larry was a one-off, a supreme talent that created some of the most thrilling, unique, organic, sexy mixes we’ve ever heard.
His remixes of Gwen Guthrie tracks in particular are simply jaw-dropping, genre-defining (and genre defying!) classics, full of charm, sexiness, and the kinds of sounds you can’t quite describe in words. We only wish we’d been old enough and bold enough (to fly all the way to NY!) to catch one of his legendary sets at the Paradise Garage way back in the day.
Here’s an interesting piece written about Larry from the Discogs website….
“There’s not much that can be said that hasn’t been said already in dozens of articles, reviews and tribute websites, but I’m compelled to add my two cents. I first heard about the Paradise Garage from an article in NYC’s defunct “SOHO Weekly News”, and I was fascinated. The very well written review was published sometime in 1979 or `80, and my interest was piqued, as my world consisted of clubs, parties and venues that thrived on the anti-disco backlash. My willingness to examine my own irrational prejudice against “Disco” occured one night at The Mudd Club, a cutting-edge post-punk dance club with a sound-system designed by Bryan Eno and a punky-artsy clientele that probably prided itself in never having set foot in a “real” discotheque. I counted myself among that herd until I heard a real Disco DJ upstairs, guesting on the second floor, and my eyes were opened wide and my jaw dropped when I watched and listened to this guy seamlessly blending hot Salsoul, West End and Prelude records. Of course the music was amazing and had nothing in common with my media-inspired, brainwashed aversion to so-called Disco music. I was mesmerized and made it my business to get into the Garage come hell or high-water. I had started DJing in the East Village by then and Bobby Shaw, then the promoter for Warner Brothers records, got me on the guest-list and I finally arrived at Disco Nirvana. But even then, Larry opened my mind and challenged my pre-conceived notions of what he was about. In the course of the night I heard Kraftwerk, The Peach Boys, Yaz, Konk, Mikki, The Temptations, Men At Work, D-Train, and the list of ecclectic twists and turns was mind-blowing to say the least..and that sound system. The best I’d ever heard, albeit too loud for my already sensitive ears. I was a regular there until it closed, and due to Larry’s reputation as a moody and unpredictable soul with a slightly self-destuctive bent (like Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison, to name a few), I kept my distance from his inner circle and insisted on paying my yearly membership fee as well as the modest admission price. I never regretted my decision, and only after the Garage closed did I become friendly with the now more accessible and down-to-earth Larry Levan. I feel blessed to have had him share his knowledge and stories with me, and not a day passes when I don’t think about the man or listen to one of his totally unique, trippy and dub-inspired remixes. Literally NO DJ can ever achieve his impact on my life or come close to his skills at sonic reconstruction and open-minded, genius programming. He was a genuine 20th century SHAMAN. I Love you and miss you Larry!”
Here at GLX HQ we can’t get enough of Larry’s work and we thought we might share with you a short list of some of our favourite Levan mixes.
We strongly recommend that you hook up with LL and let him cement himself in your subconscious. PLAY LOUD and DANCE!!
JIMMY ROSS – First True Love Affair
TRACY WEBER – Sure Shot
CENTRAL LINE – Don’t Tell Me
GWEN GUTHRIE – Hopscotch (vocal and instrumental)
GWEN GUTHRIE – Seventh Heaven
FIRST CHOICE -Double Cross
LOGG – I Know You Will
AURRA –When I Come Home
SKYY – First Time Around
INSTANT FUNK – I Got My Mind Made Up
NEW YORK CITI PEECH BOYS – Don’t Make Me Wait
CLASS ACTION – Weekend
There’s so many more, but these are some of our biggest faves….hope you dig :)))
STARGAZE RECORDS FIRST RELEASE NAMED SINGLE OF THE WEEK AT NORMAN RECORDS!
Galaxians // Runners Split 12″ – SG 01, released October 25 2012.
Here’s what they said:
“Oh, nice! I don’t know a lot about this Stargaze label but this mysterious and very limited (only 100 in the world!) 12” has some super-fresh cuts from two top new bands with a shared love for live drums and classic synthesizers. Hot dawg! I doubt our copies will last long so I wouldn’t sit on this one.
On the A side we’ve got duo Galaxians dropping ‘Brace Yoself’, with a stomping disco-funk beat alongside some nimble acid squiggles, cosmic arpeggios and slick synth acrobatics that remind our Brian of Daft Punk, and me of ‘Rockit’-era Herbie Hancock with a touch of New York house influence. This track is so classy! The beats are clean and hard-grooving and the vibes are constantly blazing. You’re gonna rip up dancefloors up and down the country with this. I’ve seen these guys live and it’s a total dance party, don’t miss out if you get a chance.
On the other side there’s Runners, whose debut ‘Starting Line’ 12” impressed us all last year. These four chill dudes like to smoke the reefer and play the synthesizers, and the jam on this platter, ‘Tranquility Base II’, may remind you of Inner Tube minus the guitar or perhaps the TV programme ‘Wish You Were Here’. It’s all celestial smooth synths with a soft head-nodding groove for a real driving-into-the-sunset slow groover with silky, insidious melodies. Totally hot offerings on both sides, highly recommended!”