Freemasons are infamously named after the Brighton pub adjacent to the studio where the duo started productions nearly six years ago. They first came to clubland’s’ attention with the much loved, Jackie Moore sampling – ‘Love On My Mind’ which quickly made the quantum leap from UK Dancefloors, into the charts and the Freemasons were off to a running start. A second top 20 hit ‘Watchin’ also featuring the extremely talented Amanda Wilson cemented their name with clubbers and industry alike and as the remixes started to flood in it soon became apparent to everyone that the Freemasons were definitely much more than a one trick pony.
Their third Top twenty hit ‘Rain Down Love’ beautifully punctuated the beginning of 2007 and started a chain of events that raised their status across all areas of the music industry. “Rain Down Love’ was much more than just a club record. Co-written by ex Brand new heavies Members Neil Cowley, it featured the voice and lyrical talent of Siedah Garrett, a Quincy Jones trained vocalist who had not only co-written Michael Jackson’s ‘Man In The Mirror’ with Alanis Morrisette’s producer - Glenn Ballard but also duetted with M.J. on ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’.
Ironically (no pun intended) their fourth and most successful single to date was in fact an Alanis cover. ‘Uninvited’ was initially a song from Meg Ryan/Nicholas Cage film City of Angels and after watching the club reactions to a demo they created for Ibiza’s space (and having a cd stolen from the DJ booth that ended up doing the rounds on the internet) Freemasons decided to take the plunge and record their own version.
Finding a vocalist who could create the kind of atmosphere needed to record a song such as ‘Uninvited’ could have been a never-ending task, but a long term friendship with one of England’s most amazing voices - Judie Tzuke provided the answer. Bailey is Judie’s Daughter and recorded the vocal that still pours out of the nation’s radios in just over 2 hours. With the help of an excellent Simon Hale scored string section played by the world renowned London session orchestra, ‘Uninvited’ was propelled into the hearts and minds of the UK public and it’s success was felt across Europe and the US.
In 2008 Freemasons hit the charts again with ‘When You Touch Me’ with Katherine Ellis on vocals and in 2009 they famously collaborated with Sophie Ellis-Bextor on ‘Heartbreak Make Me Dancer’, which became their sixth consecutive hit making them one of the most successful ever dance acts in the UK.
The singles are however, just part of the story. Their massive success as remixers is well documented, and mid 2007 saw their radio version of Beyonce and Shakira’s ‘Beautiful Liar’ replace the Album cut in the UK and kept the single at the top spot for weeks. Their ongoing relationship with US labels and Management became legendary- their remix of Kelly Rowland’s ‘Work’ not only broke clublands’ remix formula with its fast-slow-fast structure, but stormed radio playlists in the UK on release. This began a trend which continues to this day with Freemasons remixes being used as lead mixes for radio - many of which have gone on to huge chart success, including more Beyonce singles ‘Greenlight’ and ‘Déjà Vu’, Whitney Houston’s ‘Million Dollar Bill’ and the Kylie co-production ‘The One’. It is a sign of their achievements in this area that the record companies releasing these mixes now use the Freemasons name on the actual artwork these days.
You might think that with their success with both their own releases and their remixes that Freemasons would coast along the same musical path and continue to enjoy the acclaim of fans and the music industry alike. However, during the final months of 2009, Freemasons noticed the lines between Club music, Urban music and the Mainstream blurring more than ever before. Feeling the mood shifting Freemasons made a bold and radical decision: Change Everything + Change Nothing – James explains:
“Suddenly dance music seemed to be everywhere but not in the classical sense - A new hybrid has developed somewhere between House, Urban and Electronica. We had a choice - carry on and possibly get left behind or drop everything, start redevelopment and create brand new methods of working and come back with a new sound keeping intact our musicality - Oh and rebuild every part of the studio from scratch!”
What started as a 4 month project has taken them into the summer of 2010 as the phone kept on ringing and the boys have busied themselves working for the likes of Shakira, Alexandra Burke , Taio Cruz and Sophie Ellis Bexter (to name a few) but now they are ready to start releasing their new tracks out of their brand new studio and back into the wild. At the end on 2009 a call from Atlantic records propelled them into a studio with Wynter Gordon, an incredibly talented young artist and writer who had successfully worked with David Guetta and Flo-Rida. With seasoned song writers Wayne Hector and Lady V also joining in, the song that came out of that writing session was bound to be special.
“'I still remember the first time Wynter sang” says James “I was still setting levels, but had to really rush as everything she sang was just incredible - goosebumps everywhere - half the lead vocal is the very first take”.
‘Believer’ will be released in its full length version on August 15th.
“We haven’t even done a radio edit of it yet” explains Russell. “That will come later – we just want get it out to the fans straight away, especially after the reception we got for it when we first played it out at Pride in New York.”
The Freemasons have been a major international act for several years with DJ gigs taking them to and fro across the world from Rio, all over Europe, Egypt , Korea and beyond, but in 2010 Freemasons hit the North American soil with both feet running with a string of incredibly high profile bookings - most recently in front of 10,000 New York Pride party people on Pier 54 of the Hudson - an event that even caused the top US lighting engineer to ask to be at every Freemasons gig possible in the future.
‘Believer’ ft Wynter Gordon is a truely epic Freemasons production that confirms their position as producers and artists for years to come. If ‘Believer’ is just the start then their forthcoming new artist album is sure to be something special.