Producer Stuart Price Takes Time To Make His Own Music

Jaques Lu ContStuart Price is a man of many guises, under his own name he’s written and produced a plethora of hit records ranging from Madonna’s ‘Confessions on the Dance Floor’ to Kylie’s ‘Aphrodite’ and the Scissor Sister’s ‘Night Work’. This teamed up with the Pet Shop Boys for their sensational dance album ‘Electric’ and he’s also produced for The Killers and front man Brandon Flowers solo record.

He’s remixed tunes for everyone from Beck to Britney, Coldplay, Goldfrapp, Gwen Stefani, Lady Gaga, Missy Elliott, Sneaky Sound System and countless others. His mixes go out under names like ‘Man with a Guitar’, ‘Thin White Duke’ and ‘Paper Faces’.

Plus he puts out his own music as part of the band Zoot Woman, and under monikers like Les Rhymes Digital and Jaques Lu Cont.

Now one of the busiest men in dance music is coming to town for one night only as he completes a whirlwind tour of Australia.

OUTinPerth editor Graeme Watson spoke to Stuart Price, aka Jaques Lu Cont, ahead of his Australian tour.

I’m intrigued, when you perform you have so many different names and personalities, how do you choose which project goes with which identity?

The name always follows the sound, so when I go sit down in the studio and work on something, I just like to work on it without having to feel like it’s going to conform to a particular project or particular sound.

I find that with a lot of pseudonyms I can concentrate on the music first, and then when I feel like it’s leaning towards one thing, then that’s what it becomes. If it doesn’t lean towards anything then I just come up with a new name.

It’s a nightmare to manage it, and my manager hates it, but it’s the only way I can do it, so I’m not kind of conforming to anything.  I just feel like the idea comes first.

 Is there some work out there which we might not realise is you because you’ve used another name that we’re not familiar with?

I think most of it is pretty much out there. I think for a long time there you know, with ‘Guitar’, because there was only one release under that name a lot of people didn’t know that was me.

I did one twelve inch under the name Cologne. I did one 12inch under that a long time ago and it sort of went under the radar and there was one thing I did with Jake Pearce and the Scissor Sisters as well, where we did a remix and we called it Crystal Pepsi.  It was all pretty low key as well.

Which is a name he’s continued using?

Well yeah he’s continued using it. Apart from that I don’t think I’ve got any more skeletons in the closet, well not musically anyway.

Are you looking forward to just getting out and being a DJ behind the decks again? 

I can’t wait to come, it’s funny, I’d always kind of worked out that when I come to Australia, I always come with a lot of new music that I’ve been working on, or stuff that is fresh out of the studio and it’s just, I don’t know why, it’s because it’s sort of that time of the year.

I’ve had a lot more time in the studio to do stuff, but it always seems to work out that coming to Australia, in the end of spring, start of summer period, I just seem to come up with a lot of new stuff.

That’s not to say that it’s all just one kind of big experimental thing, stuff that I’m not sure if it works or not, it’s a really good opportunity for me to come and play a lot of sort of stuff that I’m into at the moment, and a lot of old stuff that I’ve done as well, that I like to play, but with a new input of fresh new stuff, that might be sort of unidentifiable.

You accompanied Madonna on three world tours. I don’t think there’s a larger tour in the world, than that kind of experience?

The thing actually is that the tour part is not as crazy as the rehearsal part. I think that’s something you always kind of forget about.  Which is, for a five months world tour, there might have been three months of rehearsal before it. That’s three months of rehearsal to be in the same room, you know, kind of working on stuff and hacking away at it. That’s kind of the intense part. That’s the part where it just feeds the level of detail you go in to.  So then once you get moving, sort of five months on the road is sort of almost like nothing!

You’ve produced albums for the Scissor Sisters, Kylie andthe Pet Shop Boys new album is fantastic. Are there people you still look forward to working with, collaboration for aspire to?

Very few, but when I think of people I look forward to working with, it’s, for me the best collaborations have come out of things that for me were not that expected.

I mean when I was a kid I wasn’t a Madonna fan, it was only when, you know I’d been remixing a lot and she asked me to do a re-mix. I found I just really like working with her voice, I really liked how it fitted the kind of sound that I was doing, and she liked it too, and that’s why we started working together.  She wasn’t someone whose music I grew up listening to.

In the same way, The Killers, I did that re-mix at a time when I just wasn’t listening to any kind of rock music at all.  I was only listening to experimental electronic music. So again that wasn’t, initially it wasn’t a really obvious thing.  It was just the music worked and because we got along well that we started working together.

The only people whose music I did really idolise as a kid was The Pet Shop Boys. Their music, I could sing you every single lyric and every single note…off their albums, I know it all. But it never felt like the right time to work together I think.  We knew each other for a long time, even though the idea of working together was probably talked about it just never felt right.

Then when they were doing this album, they said, “Ok we’ve got some demos, you know we want to make an album where we don’t adhere to a kind of pop structure, where we can do whatever the music feels like it wants to do in a club sense,” and it seemed like everything aligned at the right time on both sides.

The experience of working with them was incredible, because they’re quite an intense kind of couple, they would never sacrifice an ounce of their creative integrity. They will never leave a note unturned. They also have a really unique way of arguing with each other in the studio without ever offending each other, they’re really respectful of each other. Sort of each other’s mate and that’s really cool, as well.

And thirdly, they’re really good at leaving you to do your own thing at the right time, so they really not too overly controlling in that sense.

If you look at the major electronic producers of the last thirty years, they’ve all worked with Pet Shop Boys. Is it esteemed company to be in?

Yeah if you think of like, those first singles that they’ve done with Bobby Orlando as well. I mean Neil was an editor of a magazine and somehow on a trip to New York where he was going to do something else, he ended up coming off Orlando’s flight with him. That’s pretty awesome.

Do you have a new album coming out?

Yeah I have, I mean it’s been, it’s for years that I have songs that I’ve been working on for an album, and the majority of them have ended up just becoming tracks for other people.  I mean like you know ‘Hung Up’ was going to be like the first, you know, one of my original album tracks

It’s just, one day I kind of, I was given the choice. I sort of went, ahh, there’s two choices:  track on top of my album or single for Madonna? So the choice is sort of pretty swiftly made but this year. After finishing the Pet Shop Boys album, I thought it was a really good time to go on a little sort of hiatus from producing for other people and just bundle it all into doing my own record.

So I’ve been sort of working on it for the last couple of months and I’m going to spend the next three months, this year, finishing it off.

One album you made a huge contribution to but didn’t get a lot of notice was your production for Seal. Is it a lost classic?

Oh yeah cool, the ‘System’ album! That was the album I did after ‘Confessions’. It was funny, one of my earliest memories of Seal are like ‘Killer’, to most people it’s a really obvious reference, which is a just sort of a piece of magic!

When the album he did with Trevor Horne after that, well that really opened my ears to what someone like Trevor could do with an artist like that, so that for me that was just an incredible album.

When we started getting together in the studio and collaborating on it we managed to talk for eight hours straight every day, although, to be honest probably 7 and ½ hours of that was Seal and probably thirty minutes was me.

So we talked all day and we found that in two or three hours at the end of the day we could sort of pull everything we’d talked about into … into an idea and work on it and find out what we really liked about it. I loved working on it, I loved the process of working with him, I loved how he wrote. It was a real kind of special time.

Seals’ a guy with a kind of interesting career because you can almost split half of his albums on one side, you know with Adamski and Trevor Horn and your album, and on the other side there’s stuff with David Foster.  And it’s like, I like this, but I don’t know what’s going on over there. Obviously he’s very successful at both.

He is, and Seal’s personality is really interesting, because on the one hand he loves being a performer, he loves being the front man on the stage. On the other side he completely understands the roots of acid house culture, I mean he was there, he was promoting night clubs. Like it’s really sort of in his blood!

Stuart Price will be Djing under his Jacques Lu Cont guise at Parker Night Club on Sunday 24th November at 9:00pm Find out more about Stuart Price’s music with our Beginner’s Guide to Stuart Price.


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