words: Andy McColgan
Faze Action’s space-aged disco is bigger than ever just now – and their new album, Stratus Energy, might just be the perfect soundtrack to the summer
For the last 15 years, brothers Simon and Robin Lee have been living life under the glitterball as the disco-mad alter egos Faze Action. Fusing a diverse mixture of elements into their unique brand of disco house, they first broke onto the scene in the mid 90s with a series of 12”s on Nuphonic which went against the grain. Low-slung disco grooves, African and Latin ideas, and funk and jazz influences were anything but the norm back when electronic music was still stuck on the rave scene of the previous eight years. Fast forward to 2009, and cosmic disco and Italo, Balearic and space disco references are everywhere. Faze Action suddenly seem more relevant than ever.
Their new album, Stratus Energy, the first on new label Faze Action Records, is essential for anyone with an interest in the recent disco resurgence, as well as anyone with a love of classic disco. The album features 11 uplifting disco tracks of a very high standard, and the use of synths, moogs, theremins and strings combine to create the perfect level of psychedelic and intergalactic positivity. With track names like Venus And Mars, Disco Warrior and Starship you get an idea of the direction the brothers Lee want to take you in. All the tunes are original recordings, but they all sound like they could be respectable re-edits of vintage European sci-fi disco numbers. With disco music set to soundtrack this year’s summer (of love), we’re hoping Stratus Energy plays an integral part in all that fun in the sun. EQ caught up with Simon for a chat about the new album…
In the last two years some of the best music has been re-edits of old Italo and cosmic disco records. Was the album a response to these releases?
Well, we’ve always been into and made disco since the mid 90s so for us it was a natural development.
Why do you think the resurgence in cosmic/Italo/balearic has come about?
I guess the re-emergence has come around due to the exposure of DJs like Daniel Baldelli and the fact that the music is an eclectic mix of different styles from funky rock, disco, funk, African, Latin and house. Anything goes…
What were you listening to when you were recording the album?
We listened to a lot of different music – everything from the band Space, Donna Summer, James Vincent, to JP Massiera, Vangelis and lots of different vibes.
How would you personally describe Stratus Energy?
It’s a spacey, sleazy, disco party!
How have the Hypnotic and Good Lovin 12”s been going down?
They have been going down well, the response has been great.
The Tele Music – Disco Free edit from DJ History.com last year was great. How did that come about?
Basically Bill Brewster from DJ History licensed the music from Tele Music and asked us to do a re-edit. They played last week live at Cargo in London. I missed it as I had a gig, but apparently it was great.
Can you tell us a bit more about some of the other remixes and re-edits you’ve been working on in the last year or so?
We have done a mix of Ilya Rudmen on Bear, Cinnamon Chasers and Metronomy to name a few.
Anyone you’d love to work with right now?
Loads, but I’d really love to work with the Arpadys guys from Voyage and Tele Music.
You’ve put records out on a variety of labels. When and why did you start up your own label?
We started up our own label in 2006. Having your own label gives you a lot freedom with when and how to release your music.
Do you have any ambitions you’ve not yet achieved?
Loads! Music never stops and we’re always learning and checking out new music.