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Steve Anderson, Pop Genius
March 1999: Meet Big Brother!
Exclusive Interview with Steve Anderson

Brothers In Rhythm's Steve Anderson confides in LiMBO (19th March 1999)

LiMBO caught up with one half of Brothers In Rhythm, pop genius Steve Anderson, at 30,000 feet, as he returned from Australia in November of last year. A very special thanks to Steve, and to everyone who submitted questions. Enjoy! Interview by LiMBO, who say "Brothers In Rhythm 10, Pete Waterman 0"

LiMBO: When did you and Dave first become involved with Kylie?

I first met Kylie just after Deconstruction signed her, and we virtually begged them to consider us to work with her. She came out to our studio and had a meeting which set up the original sessions (Confide In Me, Dangerous Game, etc.).

LiMBO: How did your remixes of Finer Feelings come about?

David had mentioned to Tilly Rutherford (PWL) that we would be extremely interested in remixing a Kylie track, and the cassette of Finer Feelings was got over to us. At that time we were best known for our House mixes, so it was fantastic to get the chance to work on a really good mid-tempo track with a great vocal. I still believe its one of the best songs SAW ever wrote for her.

LiMBO: It has been said that it was the use of 'outside remixers' that brought down PWL, as previously everything had been done within 'The Hit Factory'. What are your thoughts on that?

I don't think the outside remixers were responsible for ending the Kylie/PWL relationship, only in that it took control away from them. In fact they were quite lucky with the remixes at that time. For instance, if Finer Feelings had been submitted for remixing in the current climate you would get the obligatory House mix, a Drum N Bass mix, a Breakbeat mix and a 'sound of the moment' mix. I think we sometimes forget how lucky we were to be involved in remixing before the whole thing became so sanitised.

LiMBO: The relationship between yourselves and Kylie seems to be very strong, and as Kylie has developed as an artist Brothers In Rhythm seem to have grown also. Is that the case, and how do you view Kylie as 'an artist'?

Kylie is the most professional person I have ever worked with, and I count her as a close friend. I think that both David and I have developed as producers as she has developed as a songwriter. We had a few of our songs planned for the second album, but as soon as she started writing it became clear that she was developing as an artist, so we scrapped our original plan and let most of the initial ideas come from her. I feel that Too Far and Drunk are both incredible examples of artistic progression, brought about by artistic freedom.

LiMBO: What do you make of Impossible Princess as a final product, and also of the troubles it encountered? And do you have a favourite track?

Kylie's ideas are always unique and inspiring, which I believe comes across on this album. I have to admit I was never overkeen on the Manics tracks, purely because I felt that their involvement overshadowed Kylie's evolvement, especially in the UK where the whole album's perception was based on the first single (Some Kind Of Bliss). This may sound like sour grapes but it would have been nice to see a bit more support for what the album was really about rather than copping out to please the press. My personal favourites are Too Far and Jump.

LiMBO: Could you explain exactly what your role was, as producers and co-writers, on Impossible Princess, and the how the album was created?

On Princess, it was mainly up to us to embellish and add subtle lyric and melody ideas to her already existing plot. The production grows with the creation of the song. Most of the ideas on the demos make it to the finished production. Oddly enough, Too Far was actually written on a Grand Piano and we added the track later! Many of the songs on Princess began as backing tracks and lyrical ideas. It was just a case of matching one to another. The process took place mainly at Peter Gabriel's Real World studios in Bath. The rough demos were then rearranged and real instruments brought in to replace the samples or keyboards initially emulating them. We then added strings at Sarm West in London and ended up back at Real World to do the final mixes with our engineer Alan Bremner. The whole process did take a long time to finish, due mainly to the pure perfectionism of all creatively involved.  

LiMBO: There was a lot of discussion and umm-ing and ahh-ing about the release of Too Far as a single, but it never made the light of day. Do you know what happened with that?

Too Far doesn't conform to 'regular' song structure and "radio record" constrictions, therefore it was neither understood or considered as a viable option. Personally I believe the public don't always like being spoon fed their music and I feel its an incredible record, but I'm not a marketing department.

LiMBO: What are your favourite Kylie tracks (in no particular order!)?

Better the Devil You Know (in any manifestation)

Where Is The Feeling? (BIR House Mix, especially the last three minutes)

Lucky/Dancing Queen (Live)

LiMBO: Favourite Kylie/BIR track?

Confide In Me.

LiMBO: How did you become involved in Kylie's Intimate & Live Tour in 1998?

Originally I was asked to do the musical arrangements for the band. As I knew Terry Blamey had already secured the best players in Australia my first suggestion was to include two British musicians, Carl Mann (Guitar) and James Mack (Percussion) as I believed they would play an integral part in the overall sound and contemporary feel. The whole band gelled perfectly and were all incredibly enthusiastic as well as being consummate professionals. Watching musicians usually associated with John Farnham getting their teeth into Breakbeats, and doing Dancing Queen and absolutely loving it was an absolute joy! As the initial 9 shows sold out in about 20 minutes the tour extended to 26 shows almost overnight. At this point I began to become more involved with the show production alongside Kylie, William Baker (Concept/Styling/Guru) and William Forsythe (Choreographer Extraordinaire). The show was simply the most unbelievable, educational and fulfilling thing I've ever been involved with so far. It proved beyond any doubt what a stunning performer Kylie is and she rocked every night! It was especially rewarding to see this sell out and kick off in England too.

LiMBO: You were involved in the production of the Intimate & Live album. Could you tell us a bit about that?

The last two Sydney shows were recorded by Ross Cockle and then myself and Alan returned to Real World to mix 19 songs. We decorated the studio accordingly with disco lights, mirror balls and a specially imported pink 'K' for vibe! As always Kylie was around for final say on the mixes and we had a ball. I am incredibly pleased with the finished product, especially the fact that it is a complete document of the whole show so the fans don't get cheated. Also, the remixed soundtrack is on the home video and the live album (as I'm sure you know) is available on specially priced import in the UK!

LiMBO: There appears to be a mountain of unused and unreleased songs from the Impossible Princess sessions. Will these ever see the light of day?

The so-called 'mountain' of songs were all kinds of stepping stones in the writing procedure. Some of them have appeared, i.e. Take Me With You, Love Takes Over Me and Free, but realistically the others were a means to an end. I'm sure this sounds frustrating to the fans who want to hear EVERYTHING but some stuff just wasn't up to scratch on all levels. The notable exception is Stay This Way which was completed for the IP album. It was written and recorded very quickly and the one-take vocal is one of her best, but there was little need for a torch song on the record. I do hope it sees the light of day at some point. I also have a soft spot for Floating and Looking Down On Me, neither of which exist as anything more than demos.

LiMBO: Brothers In Rhythm have consistently produced great remixes of Kylie's songs. Confide In Me and Where Is The Feeling, and more recently Too Far, have all been extremely impressive reworkings of the originals. How did the Too Far mixes come about, and are there any more versions we've yet to hear?

The truth is we did the Too Far remix off our own backs to give my partner (Dave Seaman) something of Kylie's to play out in the clubs. It was only after a few people became aware of it that Deconstruction asked us for a copy. Obviously Kylie was aware from day one as she re-sang  the vocal and ad-libs! In fact all the mixes you mention were labours of love and no others exist. Sorry!

LiMBO: Obvious question now! Do you surf around the net much, and do you visit many Kylie sites? 

I used to surf for information and reviews on Kylie until I found this site that had things that even I didn't know about, and a comprehensive list of songs I had forgotten had been written! It was called LiMBO and that's why I'm talking to you and you only. God only knows where you get your shit from!

LiMBO: So what Kylie related plans do BIR have for the future, and will you be working on her next album? 

This is why it has taken so long to get back to you, as I have been back in Australia working on Kylie's Mushroom 25 MCG Medley with William Baker and William Forsythe. It was witnessed by 75,000 people and syndicated live to TV so I hope you guys get to see it. We even got Hand On Your Heart in there for good measure!

As for the future, you'll have to wait and see. That is, of course, if you don't already know! I wouldn't put it past you!! However, I will say that Real World is particularly nice in the spring!!

On a personal note, I would like to thank LiMBO and all Kylie's fans for being so loyal and loving. 

See you soon.

Steve Anderson
November 1998
Published March 19th 1999

© LiMBO 1999. This interview may not be reproduced, either in whole or in part, or mirrored on any other website, without prior permission to do so.

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