Utah Saints have been making music and playing gigs around the globe since the birth of house music. The world renowned duo have released 9 Top 40 UK hits, 4 of which hit the Top 10, they have sold over 2 million records worldwide, sampled a huge range of artists from Annie Lennox to Slayer, supported U2 on a UK and European tour, set up and promoted award winning and legendary club nights The Gallery and SugarBeatClub, and have recorded and presented shows for radio stations such as Radio 1, XFM, Kiss and Ministry of Sound.
They have rather precariously walked the tightrope between genres and also between the underground and the mainstream. Utah Saints list of achievements is huge and they are continuing to add to it, 25 years later. Tim and Jez are still very much at the top of their game, DJ’ing every week, curating festival stages and putting on an eclectic range of nights. They have put on everyone from Zane Lowe to A- Trak, and have played alongside everyone from U2 to Erol Alkan.
When the pioneering DJs aren’t performing, they can be found in the studio working hard on their own material and production as well as remixing other artists as diverse as Bring Me The Horizon through to the Stone Roses.
We decided to ask them a few questions about their career, process and future music… read and enjoy!
How did you both meet and at what point did you realise you liked working together?
We met as DJs – Tim was a DMC turntablist finalist who played Hip Hop and House. Jez played Disco, Funk and Metal. Where the music met was Utah Saints, at the beginning of Rave. This made it interesting and exciting from the off, and it still is.
You’ve had a lot of experience in booking acts in both clubs and at festivals, has there been a favourite moment or performance so far in the years you’ve been curating?
As curators we have been really privileged in booking and working with world acclaimed acts – highlights have included Annie Mac, Jaguar, Justice, Erol Alkan, Prospa, Felix Da Housecat, High Contrast, Zinc, Jamz Supernova, 2ManyDJs and Carl Cox, most of whom we booked early in their careers. We’ve also shared stages with amazing acts – Supporting U2 in stadiums, opening for Public Enemy and touring as part of a breakthrough Rave tour in the USA with Orbital, Aphex Twin and Moby.
Have you got a particular era of dance music that inspires or interests you?
We released our first music during a seminal era in dance music at the start of the nineties. It was an amazing time to make music and to go out to clubs and raves. The most exciting time for dance music is right now and always will be – we listen to at least an hour of new music everyday so that we keep informed of what is happening. A combination of then and now mixed with Utahs gives us our sound.
Is there a consistent method to your production, does the sample, the beat or vocals come first?
There is not a set in stone way we make music, sometimes we may have a sample, sometimes we start with beats and an exciting sound. We normally have an idea cycling around 16 bars and there has to be something in that to make us want to finish it. Most of the tracks we have made in the past came together with the sample coming into the track late in the day which is why they stood out as we always try to take a sample and use it out of context and do something new with it rather than sitting music to compliment the sample. It’s a really subtle thing but we have always found that we get better results that way. We normally throw the kitchen sink at a track before pulling everything off again and refining it into the finished idea.
Did the popularity of your 2008 single ‘Something Good’ change both of your outlooks on what you wanted for your future sound?
We think it just confirmed to us that we should make positive and uplifting music which still resonates with us both now more than ever.
Is there anyone you think is killing it in dance music right now?
There is a lot of great talent coming through now but the most exciting things that we have seen live in the past few years would be the Eric Prydz live show and The Chemical Brothers live show.
2022 is a great time though now for music as it kind of felt that with lockdown that we had a bit of a reset of everything so we think this summer will be very special. Lockdown showed us that dance music needs to be played in clubs and at festivals as it is about defining a moment in time.
What’s your next move in terms of career, is there something new you want to try?
We have just spent the last few months working on a video game called Final Vendetta which is coming out on all platforms in May which was great fun to be involved in as it pays homage to the classic beat ‘em up games from the 90’s such as Streets of Rage. We have also spent the last few years seriously crate digging and finding some hidden gems for samples that we are hoping to unleash at some point this year in new music.
What’s your favourite genre to remix and why?
We are happy to mix anything that generally was not a straight up dance track in the first place and that we can put a new spin on. We have remixed many amazing bands in the past such as The Stone Roses and Bring Me The Horizon to name a few and the great things about remixing these kind of Bands is that you find so many cool things to use on a remix when going through their recordings. it feels more of an accomplishment as an artist when you take something from a different genre and can make it work for a new audience.