Updating - November 15th
William Orbit has made available three unreleased Madonna remixes that he played at the London Electronic Arts Festival (LEAF). Check out William's OrbitStreamCast on SoundCloud and just click the links below...
# "Ray of Light" LEAF remix - by William Orbit, Jodie Harsh and Sasha
# "Gang Bang" LEAF remix - by William Orbit, Tujamo & Plastik Funk
# "Falling Free" LEAF remix - by William Orbit, Ferry Corsten and Rico Conning
Madonna fans are more than familiar with the sound of William Orbit, as he has been one of the most influential producers / collaborators in her massive 30 year career – infusing his ethereal sound into tracks like Ray of Light, Frozen, and newer tracks like Masterpiece and Love Spent (to name a few). Most recently, Orbit co-wrote and co-produced the Chris Brown international hit ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ and just recently worked on producing the latest Britney Spears album “Britney Jean”.
This past saturday, Orbit performed a prototype concert in Shoreditch as part of the London Electronic Arts Festival (LEAF). This event included the use of cybernetic and mechanical musical devices that he has been developing with his friend and fellow Torch Song member Rico Conning.
Before getting into the music, where he played 3 Madonna remixes, he gave an extremely insightful Q+A, talking in great detail about his relationship with Madonna began, as well as its evolution into a 15 year friendship.
William Orbit played three different Madonna remixes...
# “Nasty” version of Gang Bang
# Justify my Love
# Falling Free version based on Rico Conning remix and the unreleased Ferry Corsten remix
"I’ve done a couple of remixes. It was “Justify my Love”. I might play it later because I’ve done a remix version of it. But I sent them off on cassette and I’ve written my phone number on it and I got a call… from her. She just called up. What happened? No, I had an album that was meant to be a Strange Cargo Album, but nobody liked it. I mean, Warner said “it’s not working for us, you know, it’s just not happening, sorry.”
Then I was getting calls from Guy Oseary, who is her manager, saying “got anything for Madonna?” In fact, we were driving around LA, weren’t we Laurie and she said “send it.” I didn’t want to, but she said “send it, you got nothing to lose.” I sent the whole album and then she (Madonna) called me five days later, when I was back in England, out of the blue, in the kitchen.
I said, so I said to her “How did you get my number?” She said “Oh, it was on a cassette. We dug it out of a pile of cassettes, your number, we thought, ‘what the hell we’d try it’. I twas kind of of last minute.By the way, I’ve written loads of stuffs on these songs I really like. Would you like to come to New York and carry on?” And often as is the case with these kinds of things you so ‘oh yeah, alright’, it doesn’t sink in til later.
But, I went out there, to her apartment in New York with all these cassettes and DATS and things… no organization, no idea how I was going to do this. I never done anything of that level at all.
She said “This is great. and Let’s start tomorrow.” We did the songs and they worked out brilliantly. And once I got on that plane, I was flying. I felt really good. It was like love at first site and then it quickly turned into frustration, I mean, deep frustration on her part, because I was so a rookie. I didn’t know what I was doing at all… with equipment.
I was on an Atari games computer, two of which I had, because they would catch fire. They would literally burn if they got hot, so I always had to have two. They were brown, nicotine stained and she likes things clean and pristine. There’s all these professional American engineers coming in. I was like “I can’t compete with you guys.” and so she got very frustrated, fired me several times. She called me in and was like “I liked you, but now I’m starting to really hate you.” It was really dark actually.
Then, the song “Ray of Light” happened and people came to the studio… she brought a couple of people. She’s giving me black looks, and they were all digging it, so she was like “hmm.. maybe we could do something if we keep going on.” Somehow, Ray of Light changed….
I had this engineer, American guy, I won’t name his name, but he was really angling to get into this whole thing. It’s that kind of world sometimes. He was making me feel quite insecure with my little homemade rig, I didn’t know how to work the big SSL. After Ray of Light, she knew that it was going to be one of us two.
I kind of prevailed. She said “It’s the haircut. His haircut is wrong. I can’t work with people if the hair…” (And it really was wrong by the way.) That was her way of getting out of this difficult question with dignity.
Her voice is so sweet on [Justify my Love], actually “Erotica”, it’s so sweet. She has this voice that nobody has.
There’s not anybody that can sound like her. She actually has a fantastic instrument, technically speaking.
When we recorded [Falling Free] it was Madonna’s favourite. She just sang it. She usually picks holes in everything. Everything gets changed obsessively. That’s what we do. She’s great to work with creatively But this one, she just loved it straight away, sung it, never changed a note. Just enjoyed it. She had a very bad cold, but she wouldn’t be put off."
Thanks to MyMDNA and Madonnarama!