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Stereo MCs - Turn Up The Stereo MCs

Author: Huwston
Monday, 28 July 2008
Stereo MCs are stalwarts of the UK dance scene. Connecting listeners in the mid-'90s to their brand of urban groove, the core duo of Rob Birch and Nick Hallam have released quality albums since the late '80s and are set to enjoy a new audience with Double Bubble, their sixth studio release to date.

It's amazing that a group can stay relevant for so long. In this case the boys have always kept themselves in clubs with their hectic DJ schedule and also enlisted outside help in the form of 19-year-old producer Tic-Toc. Speaking to Birch he admits that since going independent he's always happy to talk to would-be journos, as it's a great part of their promotional strategy sans major budget.

'Our situation has changed a great deal,' he says. 'Now we have total control, like control over when our music is ready, what sort of mixes we want to release, the cover art, what gigs we want to do and this sort of thing. I even take records round the shop myself, we're back to our roots in a way.'

Those roots range anything from acid rave to hip hop and with both genres having a somewhat political slant to them (or perhaps more accurately, being born from youth living under the Reagan and Thatcher regimes), it was interesting find that Birch doesn't see Stereo MCs as a political band.

'We've never really been a political group,' he says, surprisingly. 'I am not really into politics, it is full of bullshit and that whole world has nothing to do with real life because it is lies and cheats and people rinsing out their own pockets,'

Birch blames the media for changing peoples perceptions about what's important in life, citing the UK media's fascination with youth knife crime and 'hoodies'. He says youths are having a lot of trouble seeing themselves in a positive light.    

'Politicians make me puke, man!' he boasts. 'I write about human politics, I write about what I like, what I see going on around me and a love for living is what I'm in to promoting. Newspapers and TV news, they make you want to think about negativity and worry your life away.'

The views on the record are pretty varied, as are the beats. Not a common trait in dance music, Double Bubble combines singing and funky horns with twisted electronics. Current single Gringo even includes some Bollywood influences.

'I think with this record we wanted to find the new energy and go back to our roots and have a dancefloor feel,' Birch says. 'We've always felt it's necessary to have a good hard drive in your groove department. It inspires you to write lyrics when you're getting your groove on to tunes with a lot of drive. That kind of music makes you want to get on the mic and get chatty. Most club music doesn't have vocals so we wanted to do that but have a bit of The Clash or Public Enemy on top.'

WHO: Stereo MCs
WHAT: Double Bubble through Graffiti/Liberator
WHEN: Out now