Do you still have a double-take reality check where you think, “Shit I’m working with Madonna!”?
“People forget we’ve actually been working together for five years now so it doesn’t faze me at. It never fazed me in the beginning either.”
How come you ended up making the album in your bedroom and not in some flash studio?
“It wasn’t really anyone’s idea. More just that we wanted to experiment with ideas and seeing as I do all my other music here it made sense for her to come over. But once we started working here we didn’t feel the need to go anywhere else, so we just stuck with it. She likes the vocal sound here and I like being able to get up in the night and have everything there, much to my neighbour’s amusement I’m sure! When you work out of your flat you’re less concerned about the money you have to spend on a studio, and more relaxed because you don’t feel silly messing around with ideas in front of people you don’t know. Most dance records that I like aren’t made in commercial studios. Theyre made in rooms like this, by someone with a little bit of equipment but the desire to get something they like out of it, and that mentality was an important part of the process. Don’t get me wrong, we went to LA for the final mix but that gives you some objectivity that things sound good outside of the world you know. It was the same when I was taking rough mixes out and DJing with them. You know within the first 10 seconds if the mix is right and the first 20 if the track is good at all.”
It must have shocked your neighbours when they spotted Madonna on your doorstep?
“The guy next door says. [adopts an African accent] Was that Madonna going into your house yesterday?, I said, ‘No its just my friend.’ “Nice car,” he said, and I said, ‘She really does well for herself. They haven’t quite cottoned on.”
When’s the last time you hit a club together?
“A few days ago. I was paying this dub in New York called MisShapes. It’s a bit like Trash or Nag Nag Nag and full of 300 screaming young gay kids, so when Madonna turned up the place was bedlam. You could feel the floorboards going. It was so crazy the security said Thanks for but don’t ever come again!”
Did she perform?
“Yes, but there was no band – just her singing and dancing and me on the decks. She asked if she could DJ at one point. She got behind the decks and I started showing her which channel was which. She looked at me and said, ‘I know how to DJ’.”
Can she go to a club anymore without getting mobbed?
“The poor girl can’t go out and be the anonymous girl she once was in New York. When she first moved to New York in the early 80s she used to take a book along to a club and read it until the night was getting good, then dance with all these weird and wonderful gay characters. It was in that she saw what she liked about dance music.”
Is there any part of that early Madonna in the Madonna of today?
“What we’re doing now is what she was doing at the start of her career. She said, ‘I used to hang around the DJs long enough to force them to make records for me’, so nothing’s changed there. When you hear her old records there’s no bullshit. On ‘Into The Groove’, if you solo the vocals you can hear the cars going by outside in Manhattan. These records weren’t manufactured pop records, She was literally going around a DJ’s house and saying ‘What’s the best music you’ve got?’ and singing over it”
We’ve been fed so many different image changes throughout her career. Which one is the real Madonna?
“She’s an extreme intellectual and a very deep thinker. That’s why her career has taken all these different turns. People want to find fault with her for that but I think you can’t knock her for being so honest in what she does. She’s very genuine.”