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Narcotic Thrust: Stuart Crichton's Song-writing Masterclass

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Monday, February 7, 2005
As Narcotic Thrust, Andy Morris and Stuart Crichton have enjoyed massive club hits like Danny Tenaglia fave Safe From Harm and top ten chart hit I Like It, and new single When The Dawn Breaks looks set for similar crossover appeal. Which is perhaps unsurprising given Stuart's songwriting pedigree, which includes production credits for the Pet Shop Boys, Sugababes and most notably Kylie.

As well as remixing her recent single "Red Blooded Woman', he also came up with the mash-up of Kylie's Can't Get You Out Of My Head with New Order's Blue Monday, bringing bootlegs to the mainstream some 2 years ago.

"The Kylie thing came about because I'd been writing a lot of songs with Rob Davis last year and EMI came to me and said they'd really like me to come up with an idea of something different for Kylie to perform at the Brit Awards," says Stuart.

"Initially I had the idea of using the bass line from Michael Jackson's "Bad' then I was out one night when I heard Blue Monday and I thought I know it's been remixed so many times before but To hell with it, I'll use that track; it's the Brits, it's a bit of fun, and it's Kylie; and it worked."

The Rob Davis, Stuart mentions collaborating with is one of Britain's elite, super-successful pop songwriters, though assumptions that songwriting chart hits generates millions are wide of the mark, he insists.

"The state of record sales at the moment is a funny old business, album sales are actually the place to make serious money," he explains. "To give you an example, I know Gary Clarke, the chap that was in Danny Wilson, and he told me a story about when they released their song Mary's Prayer for the third time and it was a big hit for weeks.

He said we walked into his local pub in Dundee the week after it went to number 2 and everybody expected he was loaded, but not only did he not receive any money for a couple of years because of the accounting process with the music industry, he never actually got that much, but everybody automatically thought that he was a millionaire." says Stuart.

"I've had that attitude whenever I go home to Scotland too because they know I've done tracks with a whole load of different pop artists. I've got a nice house, don't get me wrong, but I'm anything but loaded. My wife would love me to be loaded but unfortunately she still has to go out and work. Though I have to say that in case you're not an interviewer but you're actually working for the tax man," he chuckles.

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): Narcotic Thrust seem to pop up every other years rather than every months, what's the story behind when you release tracks, do you two wait for the creative urge-

Narcotic Thrust: "Basically it's because of Andy Morris, the DJ that I do Narcotic Thrust with. Andy spins round the world doing a lot of gigs in Australia, Russia and South America as well whereas I spend a lot of time producing and writing tracks for various pop/dance and crossover acts. It's just a matter of timing and that's why it's taken so long between records. We are going to focus a bit more on Narcotic Thrust this year and hopefully have another two or three releases out before the end of the year."

Skrufff: What's the creative process the two of you use-

Narcotic Thrust: "Basically Andy and I get together in the studio and start by doing the backing track, which is usually an instrumental dance backing track, which then I usually farm them out to my songwriter friends, who then come up with melodies and lyrics . With Rob Davis, for example, he did the first record that we ever did Safe from Harm then he helped on Groovejet and he also did "Can't Get You Outta my Head' for Kylie. For this new single we used Gary Clarke. He was the singer in Danny Wilson and he's an old friend. We're doing a lot of stuff together now, we're writing a lot of stuff, songs for numerous other artists."

Skrufff: Is there anything intrinsically different about writing for a pure pop idol t