One of the success stories of the last couple of years in dance music has been Darren Emerson’s Underwater label, responsible for quality house music from Gus Gus, Paul Jackson and, of course, Tim Deluxe.
Real name Tim Liken, he has enjoyed top billing with 2002’s Miami-busting single It Just Won’t Do, not to mention the exuberant follow-up Less Talk More Action! last year.
His latest offering Star finds him in more introspective mood, and brings his Little Ginger Club Kid era to a natural close. In between Ibiza sets and festival gigs, he took some time to reflect on the year so far.
“There’ve been even better numbers at the party.” Tim Deluxe is speaking of Underwater’s Pacha residency. “It’s looking good this year. I’ve DJ-ed alongside Groove Armada, Lottie and Cassius and it’s been great.”
Does he have any party stories?
“I don’t myself – I’ve not been out properly in Ibiza yet this year.”
And what of the legendary Underwater party animals?
“Well Darren’s been up to stuff,” he says mischievously, referring to the man Emerson, “but I’m definitely not telling you what!”
Oh go on. “No, I’ll get him into trouble!”
Around his Ibiza residency Mr Deluxe is finding time to promote his album, The Little Ginger Club Kid, and the new single, Choose Something Like A Star, and is also putting together a hi-tech slide show for this year’s live turns, which include a slot at Creamfields over the August bank holiday. However, as he states:
“It helps to have real live artists up the front such as Terra Deva, Sam (Obernik) and Ben (Onono).”
All these feature heavily on the album, but Deluxe plans the next record to have…
“… Not as many vocalists and to be a lot tighter. For songwriting I’m going to stick with Ben and Terra – we click really well. When we wrote Less Talk More Action!, for instance, we wanted the top line to have an old time feel, so we said to Terra, ‘Pretend to be EarthaKitt,’ ‘cos that’s not her natural singing voice, and it came out really good.”
It’s clear that Deluxe and Onono enjoy a solid partnership, and it helps that Onono can step out from behind the controls to supply his own soft vocal for tunes like Star:
“He’s a really good top line writer, and we have a cool relationship in the studio. Star’sa favourite of mine, and one of many moods on the album. There are a lot of different things that come together. As far as influences go it’s hard to say – when I make music it’s all based on what I’m subconsciously feeling, a subliminal vibe. Sometimes it could be rock music, other times reggae.”
Deluxe has a reputation of experimenting with bootlegs, and has included versions of Coldplay and The White Stripes in his DJ sets. You may also remember him as the composer of Double 99‘s RIP Groove, which although he reminds me was not a bootleg originally, had a big impact on the UK garage scene following its pairing with Another Level‘s Be Alone No More.
Deluxe says it “comes naturally to me when I’m DJing, but I would never plan to release anyof those tracks.” Instead he’s more than happy to oversee commercial marriages such as the one heachieved for Layo & Bushwacka!, pairing Love Story with Finally by The Kings Of Tomorrow for one of the dance tunes of 2003.
So what’s next?
“Well I’m getting back into the studio in September to do another album with Ben and Terra, then I might be out in Australia for New Year’s Eve on Bondi Beach with Darren Emerson. It Just Won’t Do has been really big there and in Japan. I’ve just come back from touring and it was a big buzz, doinggigs on my own and getting such a good response.”
Looks like the Little Ginger Club Kid is fully booked for the rest of the year then – watch this space.