An interview with Faze Action... by Russell Parker
Faze Action are a British band composed of brothers Simon and Robin Lee. The Lee brothers collaborated for the first time in 1995 to produce the Original Disco motion EP, the success of the group’s debut EP contributed to them signing with Nuphonic Records. The pair then in 1996 produced a single called “In the Trees,” which won them increased exposure and is still probably their most famous track. In conjunction with a reissue of the track in the winter of 2007, a number of remixes were also released by Carl Craig, Jerome Sydenham, and Tiger Stripes.
The pair released their first album in 1997 entitled "Plans and designs". They have subsequently released a number of singles and albums; their tracks have been remixed by the likes of Rae and Christian and Cinematic Orchestra. June 2009 has seen release of their full-length album Stratus Energy, which features 80's-like disco vocals and synths.
Answers: Robin Lee [R] and Simon Lee [S].
Russell: How long have Faze Action been together?
[R]: Since 1995, so that's 14 years.
Russell: Has your sound changed a lot over the years?
[R]: Yes. We have been through a lot of different styles. We have a large and varied record collection. We like a lot of different music.
[S]: Yes. We started out with Disco. Then we went Latin and Afro. Then we went Funk / Soul and now we have found Disco again.
Russell: In the last year or so Disco has enjoyed a big revival, why do you think this is?
[R]: Producers love to borrow from the past and Disco is such an eclectic term. It encompasses a lot of things. It is easy to adapt. Disco music is music that you can dance to. You can take elements of it and fuse them with other things.
[S]: It has been more available and the influx of edits have made it easier to play.p>
Russell: How does the new disco sound compare with the original?
[R]: Technology has been an influence. People are always striving to do things in different ways. I suppose that back when Disco was a very new thing, people used a lot more live instruments. It's expensive to record that way now so people find different ways of doing things like sampling or using drum machines etc.
[S]: To me it's the same but with a different era.
Russell: Is the current Disco resurgence here to stay or just a passing Faze? [pardon the pun]
[R]: Let's be realistic. In it's current form and in the media, it's just a phase. However, it depends how you define disco. For me any record you can dance to is a disco record. Dance is the key. Human beings need to do it. We need to dance. I don't know why but we do. In that case... As it has a serious function in our lives. Disco is here to stay.
[S]: Yes it is here to stay. Because so much music is classed as Disco and there are so many sub genres that are related to Disco so you can pretty much play a wide selection of music. It's more of an attitude to playing great music for me.
Russell: Your latest album 'Stratus Energy' has received great reviews, was it long in the making?
[R]: Stratus Energy was the culmination of the last couple of years work. I think it took about 1 year to get it completed. That is once we had decided to do it and put it out ourselves.
[S]: Yes about a year.
Russell: Being brothers, is it difficult working together?
[R]: Not really. We can say exactly what we think to each other. I think the time for getting annoyed with each other if we disagree over something is way passed. We always find a way or see the other persons point of view after a while.
[S]: Yes and No.
Russell: Do you have equal input?
[R]: Yes. It's a partnership.
[S]: We both have strong points and weak points.
Russell: Future plans for Faze Action?
[R]: We are currently working on the next chapter [album 5]. There will be some new releases very soon. We also have a live band that did some great shows last year so we are keen to do more of that.
[S]: Writing and recording the new album. We have a new release coming out mid January and we will be supporting it with our live show...
Russell: Apart from the obvious past DJs / producers who / what inspires you now?
[R]: Phenomenal Handclap Band, Toby Tobias, Todd Terje, Horsemeat Disco, Prins Thomas, Idjut Boys, Steve Kotey, Pete Herbert, Reverso 68, Ray Mang. We could go on...
[S]: Revenge, Rub N Tug, Dave Lee, Pete Herbert...
Russell: Do your DJ sets incorporate a lot of original disco?
[R]: It's our preference to play old disco stuff but it's all about what's happening on the dancefloor at the time. If the floor requires a certain thing then we play to that style. Playing Fabric is different to playing somewhere like Plastic People. They are both equally enjoyable and rewarding. We will generally try and put that old disco sound in there somewhere though. Because we love it.
[S]: Yes, I agree with Rob.
Russell: Top 5 past and present tunes?
[R]: Top 5 - Past:
Johnny Hammond - Fantasy
Adonis - No Way Back
Voyage - Love You Dancer
Stargaard - Wear It Out
Space - Carry On, Turn Me On
[R]: Top 5 - Present:
Pete Herbert - Yo Drums
Phenomenal Handclap Band - 15 To 20
Cro-Magnon - Riding The Storm
Toby Tobias - In Your Eyes [Tensnake Mix]
Faze Action - I Wanna Dancer
[S]: Top 5 - Past:
Norman Conners - Once I've Been There
Frankie Knuckles - Only The Strong Survive
Loose Joints - Is It All Over My Face
David Joseph - Can't Hide Love
Sabu - We're Gonna Rock
[S]: Top 5 - Present:
Tuccillo - Panorama
House of House - Rushing to Paradise [DJ Harvey Mix]
Ilija Rudman - Night People [Revenge Mix]
Azari & III - Reckless
Chamboche - Feverish [Revenge Mix]
Russell: And finally, what can fans expect from Robin's NYE set in Dublin? Is it your first time playing here?
[R]: They can expect a party. You bring the 'Craic', I'll bring the tunes. It's not our first time in Dublin. But it's been a while.
[S]: Box ticking disco party.
Robin Lee of Faze Action plays 4 Dame Lane on Thursday 31st December as part of Subjects New Years Eve event... Full details: www.subjectevents.com