Get down! Get sexy... or get stuffed!
Of Chance steer layer after seething layer of vocal crunch around squibs
of beat that penetrate guitar noise, that resound Iike shaken sheets of
Age Of Chance have produced a vest of sonic hip hop that they've pulled
over the otherwise best single of the year - 'Kiss' by Prince.
They spend their nights dancing in the glut of good funk clubs that have
appeared as a powerful reaction to the gothic glumness that's hovered
over their home town of Leeds for years. At dinner-times they entertain
journalists in smart cafes, and in the afternoons they practice.
They spent a Iot of time practising and producing 'Kiss' - and it shows.
Now confusion is rippling across the country: how can an indie band produce
a record like this? Well, it's been done. And I've heard pop stars be
shocked by it, listened to pop fans worry about it, and seen soul fans
dance to it.
Listen to 'Kiss by Prince and your hips will twitch into uncontrollable
funk spasms. Listen to 'Kiss' by Age Of Chance and your distorted crotch
jerking will be competing with a gibbering flow of babble and squeak.
lt's a thundering oral release of adulation, praise and sheer lust.
They say: "Prince's version is just the sound of cocktaiI glasses
tinkling and wine bar small talk. We wanted to make a dance sound that
represented iron foundries shuddering, civil unrest and motorway fataIities.
A dance sound that Iinked the cities of Detroit, Leeds, Berlin and New
York - not Prince's Minneapolis!
"None of us bought 'Kiss'. Our interpretation is derived completely
from the times we've heard it in clubs. We didn't want to make a study
of it or anything."
AND WHAT this single signifies is a discipline and direction to Age Of
Chance that is otherwise lacking in the independent arena away from the
offices of Factory, Def Jam and Creation.
Steven E (mouth, severe crop, Adidas Gazelles): "We don't need any
confirmation from outside. Our confidence comes from within the band."
This is an authoritative confidence; an attitude that was broken-in as
ambition, then fuelled by contempt and naivete and then doused by financial
limitation. With 'Kiss' - their third single and a one-off for FON - their
short stay record label have pushed aside some of these restrictions and
the band's patience has been rewarded by achieving their own vision. And
although contemptuous of other bands, their criticisms don't degenerate
into heady slagging marathons. They'd rather enthuse over their own record
than criticise someone else's.
Neil H (guitars, monkey boots, Beastie Boys): "The thing that really
leaps out at me from our stuff is the disco and funk that's at the back
of it all. The musical background with us is so varied it manages to encapsulate
soul. That's not to say things like Sonic Youth or Glenn Branca or Diamanda
Galas, which we also like, don't come through in what we do."
Jan P (snare drum, sarcasm, multi-coloured eyeshadow): "The most
natural thing in the world for us is to go out to a club at night, hear
a good record and dance to it. You don't have to think about it, you close
your eyes and you're in it. It's not just music that influences us, it
stretches to other forms of communication media, like advertising or whatever,
and our own immediate environment. At the same time, it doesn't matter
what music particularly interests us but what we do with it that counts."
It is the width and variety of their influences that has allowed Age Of
Chance to tool up their vision so effectively. From the bludgeoning Motown
drum beat, narky vocal bark and duelling guitars of their first two singles,
'Motorcity' and 'Bible Of The Beats', Age Of Chance have progressed to
a level of noise that sees them stealing clips from operas and Trouble
Funk and blending this with recordings from South Yorkshire steelworks.
These eclectic styles are also visible in their personal fashions. They
boast the loudest cycle shirts, the best leather training shoes, the baggiest
Selfridges' ski-pants and excessive amounts of cheap and ludicrous watches.
It is a perverted Yorkshire interpretation of the teenage American street
beat gangs. More Glow Boys than Yo Boys.
Likewise, 'Kiss' is likely to be the first single to cross the differing
cultures of black hip hop and white indie music and deliver one swift
kick to the head of that vile clot of aural fascism, daytime Radio One.
The sound and image of Age Of Chance is lean, clean, efficient and hard.
They are hip hop puritans.
Neil H: It's natural to want to be good and do what you do well. The harder
we work the closer we get as a team. If you don't, the group suffers."
Geoff T (bass, Liz Taylor posters, Tipp-Ex on 501s): "If you want
to be mediocre, you rehearse when you feel like it. If you want to be,
not good but great, then you have to work at it."
Steven E: "There is no room in this band for laziness. No one has
ever not turned up for interviews or practice, because if they did they'd
Neil H: "There is a quote I read recently from an 80-year-old Class
War supporter who said, if a Rolls Royce drives past it's no good just
swearing or shouting at it. You have to stop the car, smash its bodywork,
kick the windows in and then drag out the occupants and stone them to
"Well, that's what we've done to 'Kiss'."
Geoff T: "Where we score against a lot of other 'noise' bands is
that they try and present what they do in a very avant garde manner, whereas
we present our music in a disciplined pop forrnat."
Neil H: "The thing about hip hop is that it is one area of music
where new work is being done. It really is a genuinely creative area."
Steven E: "With hip hop the whole thing is to move along very quickly."
Geoff T: "And hip hop has a much younger audience. Like, it starts
with eight and nine-year-olds."
Steven E: "The best records released this year have all charted."
T0 FIND a comparable figure to Age Of Chance you look not in the 'nasty'
world of pop, but into the sweat-drenched boxing ring. There, in Mike
Tyson, the youngest ever Heavyweight Champion Of The World, you have an
appropriate contemporary, the perfect parallel.
Both Age Of Chance and Tyson know that attitude comes before anything
else. Before you release a brilliant single, before you smash someone's
nose-bone into the roof of their skull, comes attitude.
Both are products of the grim late '80s. Both know the dangers of indulgence
and excess. Both are in command of their destinies. Both are best at their
business. Boxing isn't a world where failure gets you thrown off a record
label but results in your face being demolished. Nor is it a world where
gobshites are served with libel writs; instead they collect severe brain
Age Of Chance are taking the approach needed for survival and success
in this real world, and they are using it to cut through the music industry.
Neil H: "It's very important that people know we run this band. Lately,
there have been people trying to take credit for what has happened and
what is coming, and that just isn't on. If there is anyone qualified to
benefit from our success it is us-and us alone."
So remember. Attitude! Kiss. Dance Age Of Chance.
Get sexy or get stuffed!