Get To Know: Crazy P
Ahead of The Funk and Soul Weekender in East Sussex, we caught up with shimmery disco outfit, Crazy P’s sassy front lady Danielle to discuss what she and the band have been up to of late and what she’s getting excited about in 2017. Crazy P join George Clinton, Omar, The SugarHill Gang, Flamingods and many more in May NEXT YEAR (full lineup below).
Hi Danielle, thanks FOR sparing the time to speak with us. The latest Crazy P album Walk Dance Talk Sing, released last year, was the bands seventh and was met with a sound reception yet again. Congratulations, you really keep churning out great music that sounds so fresh and inspiring - What’s the secret?
Being in the job for the right reasons I suppose. Music has been part of all our lives forever really; whether that has been as musicians or as dancers on the dance floor...we all collect records and continue to be inspired by new music, new sound and so new ideas. I think if we were doing it for the glamour of it we'd have come unstuck by now. We are also really good friends!
You’ve been touring a lot this year, have you had a chance to get back in the studio or have you had a break from recording?
Yes we have had stolen moments in there and have just completed an EP which will be finding a home soon and getting a release...that’s the plan anyway. Touring has been particularly busy this summer but enjoyable.
Is there anywhere you haven’t played that you are dying to?
Hmmm...personally Id love to play Norway and other parts of South America. I imagine the experience would be just wonderful.
You work so well as a team, but also you all have exceptional achievements individually. Are there ever any clashes in the studio Or do you mainly agree creatively?
I think, as with any relationship that’s been so intense for 20 years, you have to compromise and communicate - sometimes those factors break down but essentially we listen and learn from each other. It’s hard sometimes as our lives can get in the way (or rather we are constantly striving for balance). We often find ourselves with different priorities but generally we work things out as a team and jam until we find a common groove. We usually only argue over who's turn it is to buy coffee and milk. And Jaffa Cakes!
Have you considered doing further collaborations with any other artists?
Yes we would love to. There were a couple from the long list of people 2016 has taken from us but we are always looking to collaborate whether that’s with producers such as Oliver Dollar (the lads did some stuff with him earlier this year) or for me Craig Bratley and Steve Cobby both of whom were collaborations, but Michael MacDonald would be amongst others!!!
If you could pick one deceased artist from the last fifty years to work with, who would it be and why?
PRINCE OF COURSE!!! Or John Martyn. Both exceptional song writers in their own right. I’m sure the lads would add their own choices-but they are mine.
What kind of influences do you draw from? Do you ever meet up just to sit back and jam, to play records?
Yes we do. We do a podcast where we get to hang out and listen to music. Its more difficult as I live in Birmingham now with the lads in Nottingham but we do when we can. So we have to plan these sessions...but its something we are looking to do more of hopefully. Time is of the essence you see and there always seems to be something! Our influences vary from folk to funk, disco to techno, classical to cinematic...whatever mood we are in we embrace.
All three of you DJ as well as play in the band, but a Crazy P DJ set tend to be Chris and Jim. are you ever tempted to do a three-way b2b?
ERM!!! Well we all 3 dj equally as Crazy P these days may I add! We have been known to do a 3 way back to back but usually we combine 2 of us djing with the Crazy P sound system. It involves myself and one of the guys djing and performing our own music with me singing live over our tracks. Usually involves keys too. Other than that there being 3 Crazy P djs we can throw ourselves around the world over any one weekend...we're flexible like that.
I know you are from up North but the London clubbing culture has been at the forefront of everyone’s minds of late. What’s your take on it? Some have deemed it ‘the beginning of the end’ - Thoughts?
Well, I do believe Fabric has been saved, so good news for all those who fought hard and rightfully so won! There are many theories on what was going on and whether it was all to do with the specific situation, which presented itself-the 2 people dying in the club after taking drugs there. Drug taking will always be a part of clubbing for some people. I think laws need to change to help venues work in conjunction with the clubbers and creating a safe environment for this to happen. It won’t go away by shutting places down. Other theories were property developers had a hand in the situation-the good news is its all sorted. Personally I love more intimate underground club nights that are accessible to one and all. To me those are important to culture and community of a city particularly outside of London.
How does the night culture differ from North to South? Do you notice much difference in the crowds when you play?
The North is grittier, sweatier and less glitter driven. That’s a sweeping generalisation and the clubs we tend to play both North and South are friendly, welcoming and filled with clubbers that DANCE! That’s the most important thing. Clubbers need to dance!
You’ve played some great festivals in the past. The first time I saw you perform was at The Garden, Croatia about six years ago, you were magnificent. I know that’s one of your favourites. Are there any standout locations you’ve played in over the last decade?
Colombia! I love Colombia. I dj'd there a couple of years back and since I’ve returned, but this venue was just stunning. It was an old house in fact the shell of an old house. The party was inside and the decor and visuals created a wonderful playground for the small intimate crowd. We've played a National Park in Mexico and at a festival in Australia 2 hours outside of Sydney where we expected King Kong to jump out the trees it was that lush! BUT the best parties are all to do with the vibes. There’s been a few :-)
What are each of your three festival essentials.
Booze, toothpaste, wet wipes...I can confirm that’s the same for the 3 of us.
I consider your music to be very accessible and appeal to several generations. Do you consider this when you are making it or are you just doing your thing?
Just doing our thing and more so as we have gotten older. Its hard not to be respectful to the genre that has provided you with a living but at the same time we have to be more honest about what floats our passion and our creative desires.
This is a question to each of you individually. If you were to send a new lover a tune to express your affections, what would it be and why?
Hmmmm...ok let me ask the lads...mine is Prince ‘If I Was Your Girlfriend’...great sounds in that track...oh and the lyrics! Jim is ‘Sex Farm’ by Spinal Tap. Didn't really think the guys were gonna take this too serious. Toddy’s would be ‘Bad Medicine’ Bon Jovi - well its not but he's not given me an answer so I’m telling him :-)
What’s your take on covers? Are there any records out there you’d love to cover?
Well we've done a few ourselves. Whispers, Candi Staton, Chic, hmm maybe more...at the time they had a relevance. Would we do again ...not sure. I’m sure that there’s one out there that we'd like to cover but it’s not on our radar at the minute. I think a cover done well can be great. James Blake covered a Feist song and a Joni Mitchell song if I’m not mistaken-both of which were superb. The Bee Gees wrote a lot of songs back in the day but for me it’s the covers that stood stronger. Never say never, but not something we are looking to do right now.
You are playing at The Funk & Soul Weekender down in Sussex in early May, it’s a quality lineup. Are you excited about catching anyone else on the bill?
I think apart form the obvious George Clinton and The Sugar Hill Gang, then its important to have a wander and discover world music we haven't come across before. So everyone really!!!
Finally, what does 2017 hold for Crazy P, and individually?
Gigging, some writing early in the year, US and Australia trips, summer festivals of course and with a heavy dose of family life, general balance, and enthusiasm :-)
Thanks so much Danielle!
Tickets for The Funk & Soul Weekender are now available.
Words by Oli