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Brian Higgins: "We'd love to be a modern day version of RAK"
Posted at 7:38 PM, 16 August 2009 -

Xenomania is often compared to Motown's set-up, with the artists, writers, musicians and the business all under the same roof. Speaking to The Telegraph, Brian Higgins said however that they aspire to be a modern day version of British record company RAK:

«I think we’ve built a fine platform. People who know us know we really mean it, we care about it deeply, and we’re as into our own music as anybody else on the planet. We’d love to be a modern day version of RAK, where the artists are signed and developed here, and if we’re involved in the writing, great, if we’re not it's because the artists are standing upright and doing it». He added: «It's very difficult to aspire to Motown, it was so unique. But RAK’s cool.»

Vagabond and Mini Viva are the first of a new wave of "producer-driven" artists developed by Xenomania. Higgins: «I object to the word "manufactured" cause I think it's invariably said with a vague sneer. The real phrase is "producer driven". And I don't think people really care whether it is led by the producer or the singer».

Xenomania's house (a converted Victorian rectory), like the RAK house (a converted Victorian schoolhouse and church hall), is key to Xenomania’s methodology. Almost every space has recording equipment, where small teams of musicians beaver away creating backing tracks. These pieces of music are then discussed and dissected in daily meetings and the best are used as jumping off points for Higgins and his team to craft songs.

Keep reading if you want to know more about RAK:


RAK Records was a British record company, founded by record producer Mickie Most in 1969. It was home of artists like Kim Wilde, Suzi Quatro, Hot Chocolate, Herman's Hermits and The Arrows. RAK's extensive and varied catalogue spans over 40 years and includes hits such as "You Sexy Thing" by Hot Chocolate, "Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)" by Steve Harley & The Cockney Rebel and "I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

Mickie Most (1938-2003) was one of the UK's most successful pop music producers, enjoying consistent hits from 1964 until the mid-1980s. His ability to match a song to a performer ensured hit after hit. He created the careers of Donovan, Lulu, the Nashville Teens and the Animals - all of whom enjoyed international success while Most was producing them.

He discovered the Animals and produced the 1964 worldwide hit "House Of The Rising Sun" - that same year, Most won a Grammy. The groups he produced would be at the helm of the British invasion that dominated the US charts for the next two years.

Mickie Most formed his own label, RAK Records, in 1969. Folk singer Julie Felix was the first artist signed to RAK Records. Most then produced Mary Hopkin’s 1970 Eurovision Song Contest entry, "Knock Knock Who's There?".

In 1976, he created the RAK Recording Studios, converting a Victorian schoolhouse and church hall into a recording studio complex with full residential facilities. Hiring the songwriting production team of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, RAK scored several British #1 singles with Suzi Quatro, The Sweet and Mud. In 1980, Mickie Most discovered Kim Wilde and produced the single "Kids In America".

In addition to work as a record producer and label boss, Mickie also appeared as a judge on New Faces, a forbearer to X-Factor and Pop Idol. In 1986, he sold his RAK record label to EMI and concentrated on managing the publishing catalogue and the studios. Mickie Most passed away in 2003, at the age of 64.

RAK Publishing continues to sign new artists and writers, and the RAK Recording Studios are being used by several artists in the music business.


Links:
RAK Studios
RAK Publishing
Mickie Most biography

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