THE WOWIE FACTOR. Neil is 'Superchumbo' Family

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Dez
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THE WOWIE FACTOR. Neil is 'Superchumbo' Family

#1 Post by Dez » Fri 08 Jul 2005, 6:23 am

THE WOWIE FACTOR
He’s one of the most respected DJs around, and now Tom Stephan, as SuperChumbo has released his debut full-length album… complete with vocals from Neil Tennant and Samantha Fox!
Cary James found out more…


We haven’t seen you for a while Tom, what have you been up to?
I’ve spent most of the past three years working on this album. The artwork ended up taking almost a year. I didn’t realise it was going to be such a big deal. There were a lot of arguments and a lot of different designers. And DJ’ing, I’m somewhere every weekend - mostly not in London.
Do you miss playing in London?
I do miss it, and I’m really looking forward to playing at Pump this weekend. When I do get a chance to go out and I see people, I feel kinda homesick. When I have a night off I try to go out in London. I went to The c*** Live at Underbelly, that was really cool.
How has your sound changed since you first started DJ’ing in 1994?
I think you can hear on the album and in what I play, that it’s been influenced by the electro revival thing that’s going on. I wasn’t sold on the idea at first, because I didn’t understand why it had to sound like it was made in the 80s. I didn’t get that part. But I think it has evolved from that, and it’s the spirit of it that’s important.
And are you still into the whole tribal sound?
I am. People like freak out when you say the word ’tribal‘ these days. I do still play some tribal stuff, but what I played was never completely tribal anyway. It’s also about being a bit alternative - a bit twisted.
Let’s talk about the album. Where does the name Wowie Zowie come from?
It comes from one of my best friends, Ed, who dragged me to the Sound Factory for the first time and has been a real inspiration for a lot of my music. I was in New York recording and I told him to come down and we’d do something. He always has a new catchphrase, and his thing at the time was ’wowie zowie‘, most often to describe cute boys, basically. So I told him to just to do ’wowie zowie‘ and within seconds he was off. Then when I was putting the album together, ’wowie zowie‘ just seemed to sum it all up. I think it sounds good. A lot of the stuff that I write isn’t meant to be taken literally, it’s just about how it sounds. Like SuperChumbo doesn’t really mean anything. Well, it means ’super leaded‘ in Portuguese, but that’s not why I use it. I use it because it sounds good.
Why did you decide to do a studio album now?
I tried for a long time to create a sound, a SuperChumbo sound. It felt like I got to that point, and an album would be a way to expand on that.
How did you end up working with Sam Fox on the track ’Sugar‘?
Samantha Fox was fate. I was sitting in a diner in Miami and the waitress said ’Anything for you, sugar?‘ I thought the way she said ’sugar‘ would make a great record, so I sat there eating my breakfast and writing this song. When it came to recording, we had to find someone for the vocal. I heard that Samantha Fox was looking for someone to write with. I thought ’Samantha Fox, what am I going to do with Samantha Fox? Oh my God, ’Sugar‘! She could do ’Sugar‘!‘ I sent it to her, she liked it and she came in to record it. I hadn’t seen her in years, but she looked great and was really cool. She was like ’You want it really slutty, right?‘ And I was like yeah, and she did it. It was totally cool. She was perfect.
And Neil Tennant on ’Tranquilizer‘?
I rang Neil up to tell him Samantha Fox was going to be on the album and he was like ’Are you going to ask me?‘ I hadn’t thought of asking him because I probably thought he wouldn’t do it. So I asked him, he said yes and I started working on something right away. So I sent him some stuff and he called me up and said ’I’ve got it. Let’s go into the studio and do it.‘ When we got there he started singing this thing and it totally threw me, because it wasn’t what I expected. Then we reworked the track and it turned out to be one of the coolest things on the album. It’s totally different from what I imagined it being. I think you can hear SuperChumbo in there, but it’s not like a SuperChumbo record, but at the same time, it isn’t a Pet Shop Boys record.
Didn’t the two of you used to go out?
We used to be in a relationship when I first moved to London 14 years ago. We’ve stayed very close ever since. He’s like my family here. He’s always someone I turn to for musical advice, and sometimes the other way around as well.
Where did you meet?
We met in Toronto. I was living in Buffalo, New York at the time.
You don’t expect to meet Neil Tennant in a club in Toronto.
No, you don’t. It was really weird, and it had a lot to do with me coming to London. It’s really weird how one moment can divert the course of your life.
Was this before or after you decided to go into music?
I was already making some music back then. I remember playing Neil something I’d done soon after we met. I asked him what he thought and he said they were awful, really awful. I remember that moment really clearly, because I was blown away about how brutally honest he was.
It must have been a bit of mindfuck growing up in smalltown America, then suddenly finding yourself living in London and dating a pop star…
I was definitely overwhelmed by being in London. I wasn’t really prepared. I didn’t really know anything except my small town. So I went to film school for a while, but decided that wasn’t for me.
You famously said that when you left film school, it was either to become a dealer, a DJ or a rent boy…
That was because I didn’t have a work visa at that time, and I didn’t have many options. I don’t think I would be very good at being a dealer or a rent boy.
Bet you would have had a really good rent boy name though, what would it have been, SuperBimbo?
God, I’d never really thought about it… it may still have been SuperChumbo.


http://www.boyz.co.uk/JJ05/tmPgs/B/interview.lasso


Well Cool Deal Bro.
All of My Friends are Here! And ready to Disco. (Dez)

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#2 Post by Dez » Fri 08 Jul 2005, 9:09 am

Didn’t the two of you used to go out?
We used to be in a relationship when I first moved to London 14 years ago. We’ve stayed very close ever since. He’s like my family here. He’s always someone I turn to for musical advice, and sometimes the other way around as well.

so all the Material for 'Very' such as -Liberation- was about Tom Stephan. Didn't Neil say that "very" was VERY much 'Personal'
All of My Friends are Here! And ready to Disco. (Dez)

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#3 Post by Dipso » Fri 08 Jul 2005, 1:45 pm

I suppose there is no doubt as to the identity of the "Young Offender". :wink:
Prick up your ears.

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#4 Post by psb-freak » Fri 08 Jul 2005, 7:09 pm

Dez wrote:
Didn’t the two of you used to go out?
We used to be in a relationship when I first moved to London 14 years ago. We’ve stayed very close ever since. He’s like my family here. He’s always someone I turn to for musical advice, and sometimes the other way around as well.

so all the Material for 'Very' such as -Liberation- was about Tom Stephan. Didn't Neil say that "very" was VERY much 'Personal'
Yeah. Liberation is about their relationship.Very isn´t that personal album. Release and Bilingual were.
Interviewer:
-What would you tell someone about yourself if you wanted to impress them?

Chris:
-I´ve got a 12-inch plonker.

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#5 Post by Naughty Zoot » Sat 09 Jul 2005, 5:22 pm

Thanks for the post, Dez. Unlike some of the other interviews we've seen about WZ, this guy did his homework. I don't believe I've heard the " Neil was brutally honest about how bad my early attempts were " story before. And it's nice to see that through the good & bad times the 2 men have maintained a supportive relationship.
I like it here ~~ wherever it is ...

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#6 Post by Zeus On The Loose » Sat 09 Jul 2005, 5:55 pm

psb-freak wrote: so all the Material for 'Very' such as -Liberation- was about Tom Stephan. Didn't Neil say that "very" was VERY much 'Personal'
Yeah. Liberation is about their relationship.Very isn´t that personal album. Release and Bilingual were.[/quote]

Very is their most personal album to date. Nearly all of it is about Neil's relationship with Tom Stephan, Yesterday, When I Was Mad is about them on tour, Dreaming Of The Queen about AIDS, To Speak Is A Sin about their seedy gay bar days.

Exactly which songs on Bilingual are personal apart from It Always Comes As A Surprise, The Survivors and Metamorposis?

Discoteca -about AIDS but not really
Single-Bilingual - a parody
Electricity-About a drag queen in SF
Se A Vida E- generic
Up Against It - generic
Red Letter Day - generic
To Step Aside - generic
Saturday Night Forever - generic
Before - generic

Release

Home and dry - generic/fear of flying
I Get Along - minor political scandal
London - Russians in London
Birthday Boy - gay hate crime in America
Samurai In Autumn - instrumental
Here - track from the musical
Love Is A Catastrophe - supposedly personal
Night I Fell In Love - Eminem
You Choose - generic
E-mail - about e-mails, slightly personal
Does cameos only.

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#7 Post by Janet Street-Porter » Sat 09 Jul 2005, 7:15 pm

I don't think you can classify songs as either personal or 'generic'.

For instance, To step aside is about Neil assessing the effect his art has had on his life; that's a deeply personal song.

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#8 Post by Zeus On The Loose » Sat 09 Jul 2005, 7:15 pm

Janet Street-Porter wrote:I don't think you can classify songs as personal or 'generic'.

For instance, To step aside is about Neil assessing the effect his art has had on his life; that's a deeply personal song.
The lines And if I decide/ to step aside are. The rest of the song isn't.
Does cameos only.

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#9 Post by Janet Street-Porter » Sat 09 Jul 2005, 7:29 pm

Really? I don't agree.

Anyway, all art is personal. Even if it's a barely remembered atavistic echo.

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#10 Post by Zeus On The Loose » Sat 09 Jul 2005, 7:34 pm

Janet Street-Porter wrote:Really? I don't agree.

Anyway, all art is personal. Even if it's a barely remembered atavistic echo.
According to Neil, it isn't.

We're talking about lyrics. Lyrics are only 'personal' when the narrate or refer to a particular personal story of the writer. And in that regard, very, very few PSB songs are indeed personal. Most are generic pop songs with functional lyrics, some tell a story and few are personal.
Does cameos only.

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#11 Post by Lleonard Pler » Sat 09 Jul 2005, 7:44 pm

How can you be so sure, Zeus? You speak as if you had written them yourself or you intimately knew PSB.

We can't know which songs were written (or inspired) because of personal things and memories in their life, even small and insignificant ones, and which songs weren't.

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#12 Post by Zeus On The Loose » Sat 09 Jul 2005, 8:19 pm

Lleonard Pler wrote:How can you be so sure, Zeus? You speak as if you had written them yourself or you intimately knew PSB.

We can't know which songs were written (or inspired) because of personal things and memories in their life, even small and insignificant ones, and which songs weren't.
Neil has talked extensively about which songs are personal and what every song is about.
Does cameos only.

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#13 Post by skyhigh » Sun 10 Jul 2005, 9:27 am

id say home and dry is more personal than you suggest and dont see anything which signifies a fear of flying? Firstly no such thing as a fear of flying, its a fear of death. Id say its more a song abt fear of loss, Neil being the one with these fears. i think its evidently a person who has already experienced pain of loss and therefore very personal.
That's it, it's all over. We're out of here. What a Legacy! (c) Chris Lowe 2009

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#14 Post by Zeus On The Loose » Sun 10 Jul 2005, 10:17 am

paninaro28 wrote:id say home and dry is more personal than you suggest and dont see anything which signifies a fear of flying? Firstly no such thing as a fear of flying, its a fear of death. Id say its more a song abt fear of loss, Neil being the one with these fears. i think its evidently a person who has already experienced pain of loss and therefore very personal.
Err, there is such a thing as fear of flying i.e the fear of air travelling. And I was simply quoting Neil who has himself said that it is about the fear of flying and the loneliness one feels during a transatlantic flight. Neil has said himself it's about someone worrying about their loved one flying home.

So, yours is quite a nice personal take on the song but that's what has been said by the horse's mouth. It's a generic pop song that doesn't talk about a personal experience of Neil so it's not personal. A *personal* song talks about something that has happened *personally* to the writer. Home and dry is not autobiographical.
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#15 Post by skyhigh » Sun 10 Jul 2005, 10:54 am

surely fear of flying is irrelevant because really the fear is of dying in a plane crash.

its not autobiographical but its still personal and shows fragility.
That's it, it's all over. We're out of here. What a Legacy! (c) Chris Lowe 2009

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