Interview + Playlist: Space-surf band Japanese Television share their favourite remixes as they unveil James Lavelle’s reworking of ‘Falling Spikes’

Self-proclaimed ‘UK’s number 2 space-surf band’ Japanese Television today unveiled a remix of their track ‘Falling Spikes’ by UK dance music legend James Lavelle (UNKLE, Mo’ Wax Records). It’s taken from a forthcoming release of reworked tracks from last year’s EP III, which also includes versions of JTV tunes by Gabe Gurnsey (Factory Floor), John Paynter, International Teachers of Pop and James Welsh.

We caught up with the band to ask them about the new release, and to share some of their favourite remxies of other artists’ work.

When & how did the idea for a remixed version of the EP come up?

We came up with it in March/April 2020 when we went into the first lockdown.

It seemed like a great way to collaborate with other artists and to keep being creative whilst confined to our flats. It also was great to stay productive and have a focus during those difficult few months.

We were excited to see how others would reinterpret the original EP, and excited for people to hear it.

You’ve got a pretty impressive line-up of collaborators for this one, how did it all come together – did you have specific tracks in mind for each remixer?

We started listening to tracks online, other artists who had been doing remixes, DJ’s, house producers etc. James, James W, Gabe, John Paynter (A Space Age Freakout) and Adrian and Dean (ITOP) were all artists we admired greatly and we thought they would do something really exciting with the originals.

If our memory serves us rightly, Waka at the Golden Lion, Todmorden actually recommended John to us. 

We’re big fans of ITOP through other side projects too i.e. Moonlandingz, Eccentronic Research Council and the whole Sheffield scene.

Gabe had done a remix of Working Mens Club that we loved, and James we discovered through Gabe’s label Phantasy Sound. We heard his tracks and loved them.

Unkle and James Lavelle need no introduction really.

What has each remix brought to the original tracks that might not have been there in the original version?

They’ve completely reworked them in their own way and we gave them complete creative control. It’s ace.

Have you ever remixed another band/artist’s music yourself?  How do you find the process compared with making music as a band?

In return we remixed ITOP’s ‘Flood The Club’ track from their latest album.  Ian remixed the track at home in his studio, which was different in terms of not having the whole band in the room when writing it. We also ended up having to finish our previous EP a bit like that, at home, emailing mixes back and forth.  It’s good fun, but playing live together is easier!

We’d love to do more remixes. It’s such a good vibe to collaborate creatively with other artists. 

What have you got planned for the rest of 2021?

Lots of baking. Music and bread.

We asked Japanese Television to share their favourite remixes by other artists:

Ian’s Choices

Art of Noise – Moments in Love (album version) 
There are tons of mixes of this song, but the extended ten-minute-plus ones are the best. Moody!  

Ceephax Acid Crew – Capsule in Space
Maybe this is more of a cover than a remix but it’s John Barry’s ‘Space March’ redone as acid house. Banging!

Madonna – La Isla Bonita (Instrumental Remix) 
Specifically- play this one at 33rpm. My partner Sophie discovered this thanks to our turntable being stuck on 33, and it became a bit of a post-pub ritual to put it on. Hypnotic!

Al’s Choices:

Unkle – The Answer (Trentemoller Remix)

Working Mens Club – Teeth  (Gabe Gurnsey Remix)
Nice to dance to.

Flamingods – Rhama (Comet Is Coming Remix)
The Comet Is Coming taking this great track from Flamingods into orbit.

Gil Scott Heron – I’ll Take Care Of U (Jamie XX Remix)
The whole album Jamie XX remixed of Gil Scott Heron in 2011 is amazing, but perhaps this is the highlight. 

Tim’s Choices

Dirty Beaches – Lord Knows Best / Françoise Hardy – Voila 
Canada’s premiere Suicide (the band) apologist takes a couple of bars from the Queen of ‘yé-yé’ and spins them out to make this compressed, lo-fi, belter.

The People Under The Stairs – San Francisco Knights / Gabor Szabo – San Franciscan Nights 
Gabor Szabo’s love letter to the SF hippy scene doesn’t mention ‘blunts, broads and beats’, but PUTS’s take manages to chop up one of his guitar lines to make it even prettier.

The Cramps – Sunglasses After Dark / Link Wray – Fatback
I’m pushing it a bit here with remixes / samples , but some of The Cramps best tunes were them ‘borrowing’ guitar lines from 50s & 60s instro records. This ode to looking as cool as Roy Orbison is one of the best, and the fuzz guitar at the beginning is face-melting.

EP III (Remixed) is out on 19th March via Tip Top Recordings.

Interview by Paul Maps

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