Few artists have risen to prominence in the short space of time as George Smeddles has done. Remaining explicitly true to his musical inclination, inspired heavily by a background of Garage, Motown, Jazz, House, Soul and Funk, George’s truly unique portrayal of House music has seen him become a distinctive figure on the global stage.
His latest release is another gleaming example of George’s knowledgeable inspiration as an artist, putting his spin on a definitive dancefloor classic. George’s ‘More Ass Mix’ of Last Night A D.J. Saved My Life makes an instant impact through upbeat House grooves and an insatiably catchy bassline melody, leading into a nostalgic blend of funky guitar riffs and soulful vocal runs that glide in and out of climatic transitions from start to finish.
To celebrate the recent success of the release, we caught up with George Smeddles for a Little Talk:
WWD: Hey George, great to have you with us! You’re currently riding the wave of another successful release. Tell us about the inspiration behind your edit of ‘Last Night A DJ Saved My Life’ and how you built the hype around it.
Hey guys! So, it’s one of my favourite old-school tracks. I used to see the track played occasionally and always thought it could do with an extra touch to fit a bit easier into sets today in clubs: just a bit more ass to help it boot more on the systems, hence the name “More Ass Mix.”
WWD: Taking on such a well-known record always carries an element of risk. In your opinion, what is the best way to approach such a task?
Yes, I think you have to be extremely careful when messing with classics, especially the big ones like this, where the original has touched so many people and still sounds so good today.
Funny enough, my normal advice would be not to touch one, especially not this one – haha!
But this is where my more ass mix came from. I’m not sure how far this series will go, but for me, it was about supporting the original & just adding my own touch. That’s what my mix is all about. I wouldn’t add any more than I already have or remix such a timeless classic because I don’t think it needs it.
WWD: The record has seen some serious love from other artists. How did you set out to build hype around the release, and what advice can you offer aspiring artists to do the same?
To be honest, I just made this for myself & my own sets as I do a lot of my records. I’m always telling up-and-coming artists to make records for themselves as I think it’s a key part of finding your own sound. After making the track a few years ago, I sent it to Michael Bibi last year after seeing how much it was working in my sets. Straight away, I started to see him playing it at multiple parties, and the reactions were crazy!
I kept the record extremely tight, not sending it out to anyone, purely because I want people playing my music when it’s released instead of rinsing it months before and then not playing it when the promo campaign starts to push the record. It just hasn’t worked sometimes over the years, so I always try to change strategies on my releases to see what’s working best at the time.
WWD: You’re renowned for your signature sound. Do you ever feel the pressure to conform to the changing trends and genres, and what advice would you offer artists to help them avoid pigeonholing themselves?
Well, I always tend to make what I like & what I think will work in my sets, so luckily, I never really feel pressure when it comes to genres or trends. I think the big benefit of being a house artist is that you are always at the centre of all the genres anyway. I’m not saying I don’t feel pressure in the studio, my god, I put too much pressure on myself, I think – haha!
But as I said earlier, I think an artist should focus more on their own sound and the story they want to tell. I’m not a massive social media guy, so I speak through my music, I hear lots of music sounding the same these days, but I guess that is what trends are. It will be something else soon, but as I have said many times before, it’s so important you do your own thing just because no one else actually can. It’s impossible for someone else to create what’s only in your mind. It’s really hard to stand out when you’re following from the back.
WWD: What advice would you give the younger version of yourself, knowing what you do today?
Be more ruthless! I always get told I’m too nice, and, to be honest, it hasn’t done me any favours. That doesn’t mean you should be a dick. Just try to keep things business when they need to be.
WWD: Do you ever have doubts about your own work? If so, how do you combat these and push forwards?
Always. There’s only a handful of tracks I’ve made that I haven’t doubted straight away, but come to think of it, even those I doubted at certain times. I just think it’s the way I am. My music probably wouldn’t sound the same, and I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t. I’ve been told countless times not to doubt myself & I have tried, but it’s just in me, I guess – I can’t help it.
If I have a feeling I’ve made a good record, but I’m doubting it so much that I won’t even play it, I will give it to some friends to see how they get on with it. If I see them playing it a lot & the reactions are good, I will maybe test for myself.
I believe everyone hears music differently, just like we all have our own DNA. Whether that be a hi-hat sounding slightly different or a bass note standing out more to our ear. So just because I might doubt a record, it doesn’t mean everyone will hear it how I have.
WWD: What’s your biggest hobby outside of music?
I love football. I’m a big Chelsea fan. Other than that, anything with my friends & family!
WWD: What are the top three places you’ve ever played, and why?
1. Lost Beach Club, Ecuador. The best sound system I’ve played on & you play until you can’t play anymore. Also, the crowd really is incredible!
2. Amnesia, Ibiza. A breathtaking club with a killer system & insane atmosphere.
3. Manchester Airport, underneath a Concord. Manchester crowd energy is unmatched in the UK (and I was playing underneath a f*cking concord, obviously – haha).
WWD: What 5 DJs would you invite to a dinner party?
Kerri Chandler, Chez Damier, Darius Syrossian, Max Chapman, and Secondcity. They are all good friends of mine in the industry & some of the nicest people I’ve ever met!
WWD: Lastly, are there any releases or gigs in the pipeline that you’re really excited about?
I have a new alias I’m really excited to launch in the new year. I also have releases on Meta, Moxy, my label South, Nature & more to be announced when I can.
Also, myself & Darius are doing some really cool one-off parties right now in Manchester at some crazy locations that just seem to be getting bigger & better. So, if you’re reading this, get down to one ASAP! (the next one is in February 2023).
George Smeddles’ ‘More Ass Mix’ of Last Night A D.J. Saved My Life is out now on KOOKOO.