The DMC ‘Epic’s – Sigue Sigue Sputmix

Posted on 02. Jun, 2009 by in Studio Sessions


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sigue sigue sputnikKnown to most as the DMC Epic’s, they were (and not my words) ‘infamous & iconic’ works.  One in particular has followed me around through the years. As the Royal Ruler, Tony Prince always reminds any audience I was put in front of, I did, amongst others, the one called ‘Sigue Sigue Sputmix’. It was the first of these themed mixes, but hands up and a nod of respect to the likes of Double Dee & Steinski‘s great sample based collage’s that probably set my wheels (of steel) in motion.

The plot was simple. The execution was time consuming and sometimes frustrating, but on the other hand could be completely exhilarating. One record was the central entity, the glue that held everything else together. This track had to be very important, relevant to it’s time, unique enough to stand alone as a classic.. oh, and have drum breaks or a dub that I so desperately needed (no access to multitrack parts then of course). Its title was ‘Love Missile F1-11′ by electronic-glam-rockers, Sigue Sigue Sputnik.

It became almost a story telling scenario, a narrative of sorts. I would trawl through stacks of audio pop culture taking movie dialogue samples from VHS tapes, TV documentaries and news bulletins. These ‘clips’ would have a significance in their own right, but more importantly would either back announce the previous musical interlude, or introduce the following one. The sections of music would tie in to these vocal samples, maintain a vibe that reflected the content of the main track, be serious, philosophical, or in some cases, amusing or funny.

korg SDD 1000 delayThe equipment used was then a home/bedroom based set up as I’d not yet ensconced myself at DMC’s pro studio’s. The main kit involved was, 2 X Technics decks, DJ mixer, 2 X Korg SDD-1000 digital delays (pictured above), a Korg drum machine, a small spring reverb unit, a Revox reel to reel tape machine and a cassette deck. revox-b77The Revox would be the master recorder, with all the other sound sources feeding it as and when. I used the two Korg delays (each having only 1 second of sampling time at full bandwidth) as a left and right signal sampler (1 second stereo – not much eh?). These could be simultaneously triggered with the Korg drum machine having entered a pulsed ‘note’ at the appropriate 16th part of the bar (to get that N-N-Nineteen kinda sound – very 1980′s). This system would also [just about] give me enough memory to sample in a 1/2 bar drum loop, thereupon mixing any audio source in from vinyl on the Technics decks or as long dialogue sequences from the cassette deck.

Various (now considered) old skool bullet editing techniques where used to add further excitement and aid links between different sections, often with a verse/chorus returning in it’s correct order of sequence. And that was pretty much it. The sourcing, selection and editing of dialogue clips and vinyl tracks could take two to three weeks, the actual mixing, overdubbing, editing and arrangement assembly probably a full 7 day week. This was all rounded off by a usually mad dash rush to the train station to get it on a Red Star overnight delivery to London – and if that 15 i.p.s. quarter inch master tape had gone missing, I literally had no back up – bloody hell!

I was more than pleased in early ’07 when, after getting a play on James Hyman‘s XFM ‘Rinse’ show, Hard-Fi’s jock, DJ Wrongtom, listening to it in his car, had to evidently pull in to the side of the road to listen and take it all in.. It was great to hear that it could still ‘move’ a DJ/Producer of that calibre in this decade :-) James Hyman (probably the most forward thinking, retro-knowledgeable radio jock on the planet) kindly supported the whole Epic mix series and played the other 4 in following weeks. This inspired me to re-master them all later that year and they’re available from DMC here [you can listen to 'Sigue Sigue Sputmix' in it's entirety by clicking the link below]

SigueSigueRmstr07


See more of Paul’s creative output at Dakeyne Photography

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28 Comments

Sean

05. Jun, 2009

I remember being awestruck when I first heard that mix, and still love it today. It’s on my MP3 player. And the ‘old skool bullet editing techniques’ – I still have 2 1/4″ tape machines that I won’t part with. My main production computer crashed a few years ago, and as teh deadline was looming, i went back to basics and chopped bits of tape together – lots of fun.

Love the epics !

Paul Dakeyne

08. Jun, 2009

hi Sean
Thanks for the comments.. Indeed there is a lot to be said for holding on to kit like the Revox machines so +1 for you on that. The ‘sound’ achievable from real tape saturation is hard to describe, and for that matter, digitally emulate.
Best,
Paul

Bruce McLean

10. Jun, 2009

I remember this mix like it was yesterday. I wouldn,t sleep the night before the next dmc mixes were due. Sputmix was an awesome story and i always thought you guys had rooms full of equipment to put these mixes together. It becomes even more amazing ,having read the above – i mean one second of sampling ???
It truly was inspirational and how many times have i been listening to something or watching a film…… and that clip or sample comes on ….. The light that burns twice as bright …. burns half as long .
Now 20 years later and with more tech at your fingertips, lets have some more “epic” mixes.

Paul Dakeyne

10. Jun, 2009

Hi Bruce, yeah I’m glad that the effort back then is still appreciated and recognised even now. And yes, with all the 21st century technology we have available, indeed, what would an ‘Epic’ be like in 2009? Do you know, it’s not out of the question.. Thanks for the comments and little nudge making me think about the possibilities of an ‘Epic’ in the here and now :-)

Kevin Sweeney

10. Jun, 2009

Paul, Love the website, You truly are very Humble person, The Talent youve shown creating the Epics & Masterpieces over the years is Amazing, & i know i speak for 90% of the production world when i say you are a Legend in your own right. I too remeber the good old splicing block, & razor blades & chinagraph pencils ! Everyone wanted to be as good as Mr Paul Dakeyne, waiting for the monthly LPS to drop through the door, But i have to say the one that sticks out as my fav of yours is Blue Monday “New Order” Re-Ordered.
I still play it today whenever any of my Dj friends say can i listen to a mix they have done, i tell them to listen to this mix, they leave with their jaw wide open !,:-)) Sorry for rambling on mate.Just nice to be able to leave you a special thanks for all your hard work over the years.
All the Best Kev.S

Paul Dakeyne

11. Jun, 2009

Kevin you’re too kind, but thank you…

Sean

15. Jun, 2009

I certainly echo the comments above, particularly about the night before each months new mixes were due, and the fact that another “Dakeyne Epic” is way overdue.

Was “Sputmix” (or any other early works) really put together in Juliets ? I’ve heard apocryphal stories that after kicking out time (in the days when the club closed at 1.30) you (sometimes assisted by Chuz) would then mix through the night and still be there when Ruth turned up for work in the morning…

Paul Dakeyne

15. Jun, 2009

‘Sputmix’ and ‘Re-Ordered’ were both done in my bedroom studio in a flat in the village of Beverley. ‘Tainted Love’, ‘Re-Situated’ and ‘Nitro Deluxe’ were all done at DMC’s first studio at T.P.’s house after I’d moved to London. The stories you hear about mixing through the night after the Hull club’s closing time and being there to greet the cleaners are….. true.. many, many times I did that :-)
Cheers Sean
Paul

Baz

15. Jun, 2009

Great to find some of these classics on here. I remember looking forward so much to the mothly mailouts and spinning them at the Palace Nightclub in Witney to the awe of the crowd but these epics were something else. Not knocking the usual classic remixes from Peter, Brian (what happened to Mr Butler?) and Mike, these just shouted out time and energy in their production. Cheers for everything Paul.

Paul Dakeyne

16. Jun, 2009

I enjoyed doing them at the time.. but it’s really made that time and effort worthwhile when I hear they still evoke memories like this..
Thanks Baz, all the best
Paul

James Hyman

16. Jun, 2009

Echo everyone’s praise above. Paul knows how much I loved those DMC ‘Epics’ of his. Glad to have played them on Xfm to new audience & old fans alike. The Soft Cell & Sigue Sigue Sputnik ones were PIVOTAL in shaping much of my outlook to DJ-ing, music & cut-up creativity. Great memories sparked by those pioneering ‘mash-ups’ of sorts.

Again, respect.

James

Paul Dakeyne

16. Jun, 2009

Thank you James..
I’d encourage all to listen to Mr Hyman’s own mash ups (Tarantino-tastic to say the least) and absorb themselves in his world too..
http://www.jameshyman.com/blog/archives/000740.html

P.

Web Design

24. Nov, 2009

I heard James play this on his XFM show that Saturday evening. I jumped straight on the pc & emailed him how I remember a copy of this turning up in the post when a wee nipper!

Paul Dakeyne

24. Nov, 2009

Cheers for that Matt.. glad you’re still enjoying the ol’ gal!

Paul Dunnington

16. Dec, 2009

Hey Paul – just discovered your website, & very good it is ! Just thought i’d drop you a line to add my 2 penny worth of praise to the rest. I remember back in the early 80′s when you took over the residency in Juliets standing and watching the live mixing you did back then and the comments of one Geoff king whom i partnered for a while ” I can’t compete with this guy – he’s the ultimate technician” whilst Geoff, Steve Tong, myself and the other DJ’s at the time could just about perform acceptable “running mixes” we certainly couldn’t match your technical ability in what was then, and from what i’ve heard over the years , still is your unquestionable musical and technical ability – all the best – Paul

Paul Dakeyne

16. Dec, 2009

Hey Paul – Thank you for the kind comments. Yep, good memories of those days for sure!
Cheers
P.

A fantastic read, It was this and other mixes by Paul that provided the drive for me to bombard DMC with mixes, and finally succeed if only for 3-4 times before moving on. I spent many hours trying to work out how the mixes had been constructed before spending the next 6 months wages on an 8 track reel to reel , sampler or whatever I thought it would take to get near to Paul’s standard of mixing. It was a never ending chase unfortunately.

Adrian Jermy

04. Feb, 2010

I love this mix for it’s attitude and the fact it sounds in keeping with the original ethos of the song.I have been a lifelong Sputnik fan and came across your website by accident and listened to the song…..you’ve made a truly great mix.Reading about how you made it was very interesting and you have great skills…..much kudos to you sir.

Paul Dakeyne

06. Feb, 2010

Many thanks Adrian, glad you came across it

Scott Burns

26. Mar, 2010

Hi Paul, got all your productions on vinyl, jus wanna know, why are production djs so lazy now. radical editing and megamixing is the dogs baws. if i could find decent software, then i would try and resurrect it. any suggestions? cheers anyway mate. ur a feckin legend in my heart big time. and also mr SANNY X. Two of the best!!!!!!! Thanx again. SCOTT.

Paul Dakeyne

27. Mar, 2010

Hey Scott, thx for the kind words fella
Cheers
Paul

Mark Lloyd

04. Apr, 2010

Great site Paul.

Do you remember the Beverley Regal days? I still have the mixer you gave me after you did a set there. It takes pride of place in my own little studio.

Going back to the Regal, I though you had a studio there at one time?

Paul Dakeyne

19. May, 2010

Hey Mark
I certainly do remember (well, mostly) the Beverley Regal days, and nights! I don’t remember giving you a mixer though.. I’m getting old y’see, ha ha..
And yes, I did (kind of) have a studio there for a few months. James, the owner, let me use one of the Regal office’s for a while
Cheers
Paul

Scott Burns

04. Jun, 2010

Hi paul, scott here again, i am doing a remix of divines NATIVE LOVE, all my pals say its feckin bang’n, i quite like it myself, i am using reason 4, i just want to know how i could send it to you, i would like a pros opinion, its still in progress, i tried to message you on my space, but friends only can pm. would love you to hear it and hopefully get positive feedback. thanx again my main man. BIG SCOTT.

Gary Clegg

07. Oct, 2010

Hi Paul, we used to come and see your mixing at Beverley Hills and R&Js. You’d remember us, Gary & Andy from Hull. I’m mixing mad even now. All love from GC the Hull Arena DJ. Just about to celebrate my 10th anniversary there. All the best mate.

Gary Clegg

07. Oct, 2010

That DMC Epics cd by the way…. I’ve got one. Was once offered twenty quid for it. I refused, obviously!! I used to play it when I worked at the White Horse on Carr Lane. Come to think of it, I was there for nearly a decade too!!

Paul Dakeyne

24. Oct, 2010

Hi Gary
Good to hear from you man. Glad to here you’ve still got the bug!
All the best
Paul

Stevo Kifaru

21. May, 2014

I have this on vinyl (latterly converted to wav) and still play this when I can at nights I dj at. In fact I know all the samples/words & often sing along! I’m amazed at learning how you put it all together, what a talent!

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