Two musical worlds collide as icons from opposite ends of Glasgow’s sonic spectrum come together for a unique collaboration
At one extreme lie Glasvegas, the symphonic rockers whose Spector-influenced guitars and heart-rending lyrics have made them a band like no other, creating songs which actually mean something, vivid colour in a world of grey.
And at the other end of the soundscape are Slam, the titans of techno who have been at the forefront of cutting-edge electronic music for three decades, their productions and masterclass DJ sets taking them around the world countless times and shaping the sound of dance music every step of the way.
The two stellar artists have flown the musical flag for Glasgow and Scotland globally, yet bizarrely had never met or even explored each other’s music.
That changed when Glasvegas frontman and songwriter James Allan, pushing his boundaries as ever, came up with Shake The Cage (für Theo), a driving, synth-powered slice of electronica with powerful spoken word lyrics dedicated to his young nephew Theo.
The song hooked Stuart McMillan and Orde Meikle when they heard it and spent the night talking about what they could do with it and the collaboration idea was born.
James instantly agreed and asked them to do whatever they wanted – and the result is a sublime rework that sits somewhere between the two artists, capturing the soul of the original in a dramatically different way.James said: “I think when it comes to remixing a song it can be more possible to find a way in when you’re coming at it from a different angle. And Glasvegas and Slam are pretty much coming from opposite sides, but that kinda just means they found a way into the song that was completely different from where I was. Dressing it up in a different way, and it still suits the song. I’m glad we got the chance to work together. “The sounds they added are brilliant. There are a lot of nuanced details that they’ve included, that are more complicated to achieve than you might think when first hearing the song. And the reason I know that is because I’ve spent hours with the song in the first place. The remix sounds quite vicious, and you can never really go wrong with that. I urge the listener to turn it up loud and let their house fall down. It will be worth it.”
Stuart McMillan of Slam said: “We were brought together by a mutual friend, it was at the height of the lockdown period. A time when everything and everybody somehow felt displaced and disconnected. The track just seemed to fit the mood of the world then as it does now. When we heard the song we loved the experimental and emotional elements of the original. That’s something we tried to keep when we made the remix. It’s a fusion of distorted and dark broken beat electronica. A bleak unsettling undercurrent in juxtapose with the emotive nature of the strings and vocals from the original track.”
Over a year in the making, this collaboration sees two of the most innovative artists in music bring together their passions and their sounds to produce an entirely different breed, and it seems the beginning of a potential partnership with all sorts of ideas flying around.
Glasvegas play their traditional festive homecoming show at Glasgow Barrowland on December 17 and limited tickets are available here.
Shake The Cage originally appeared on Glasvegas’ most recent album Godspeed, and was included in the Alan McGee film Creation Stories.
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