UK dance duo Freemasons have produced and remixed a string of gay anthems since forming some five years ago: Kelly Rowland’s Work; Kylie’s The One; Whitney’s Million Dollar Bill; Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer).
All share the pair’s trademark everything-but-the-kitchen sink production style, and James Wiltshire, one-half of the outfit alongside longtime friend Russell Small, admitted to the Star Observer that their love of musical bombast made for some long hours at the studio.
“You wouldn’t believe the hair-pulling that goes on behind the scenes,” he laughed.
“We promise each other that one day we will make a record that doesn’t have quite so many elements to it. We tend to get a bit carried away.”
When we spoke, the pair were toiling over a remix for the next single by up-and-coming pop singer Alexis Jordan. It was proving a difficult beast to tame, but Wiltshire said he hoped it wouldn’t challenge their previous record of four weeks spent remixing Beyonce and Shakira’s 2007 duet, Beautiful Liar (a taxing month that paid off handsomely when their remix propelled the song to the top of the UK charts).
And with their love of swooshy orchestral strings, pounding house beats and wailing divas, it may come as a surprise to learn that both Wiltshire and Small are straight. Perhaps they could be made honorary homos for services to gay clubbing?
“We’re incredibly lucky. We are two straight guys, but we feel so happy in gay clubs. And particularly the gay community in Australia, because we have a lot of real friends there.
“There are people we’ll catch up with on this tour who I remember seeing at our very first Australian gay club gig at ARQ. I remember that first gig, and we felt like rock stars by the end — people were singing every song back to us. It makes all the time we put in to our music so worthwhile.”
This tour will see the pair headline at gay parties in both Sydney and Melbourne on New Year’s Day. They’ll be bringing along one of their favourite vocalists, Katherine Ellis, to provide a live element to their DJ sets.
“Katherine’s a very dear friend. There’s two very different sides to her: the friend we know and love, and then the persona that comes out on stage. She’s amazing to behold,” promised Wiltshire.
With a new single set for release (the Eastern-tinged Believer, featuring so-hot-right-now Wynter Gordon), the Freemasons have big plans for 2011. They’ll release another of their popular Shakedown compilations, and are currently hard at work on another artist album, which Wiltshire hinted might veer “away from dance – something you can sit down and listen to.”
“Ultimately, we want to make the sort of album that you could take on holiday with you.”
info: The Freemasons headline Rogue Revolution at Neverland in Melbourne on New Year’s Day. Tickets from www.roguedance.com.au. They then fly to Sydney to headline Day One at Home The Venue on New Year’s evening. Tickets from www.inthedark.com.au.