‘We sent Kate Bush a thank you letter’: How Utah Saints did some good | dance music

Tim Garbutt, DJ/Producer

Jez and I met in Harrogate at a club called The Mix. I was DJing house on Friday and he was playing funk and disco on Saturday. One night Jez brought back a raw copy of What Can You Do For Me on cassette. I played it and the store went crazy so we started collaborating.

As with all Utah Saints tracks, the melody for Something Good was written before we decided on any samples. It’s generally easier to build tracks the other way around, but our back-to-front approach meant that any borrowings were used in a different context, rather than taking someone else’s creativity and making it the essence of our track.

For Something Good we recycled a line from Kate Bush’s 1985 hit Cloudbusting. We are very honored to be the only act she has officially shared a sample with and we hope this is because we created something new from her vocals. We used it in such a way that “Something Good” turned out to be a song in its own right. We still see tweets from people who hadn’t realized it was Kate Bush on the line. She’s such an enigma, superstar, and all-round great person. We sent her a thank you note but I’m not sure if she ever saw it.

The song was recorded with limited equipment – old Akai samplers and Atari computers – and saved to floppy disks. It took more than two weeks of fine tuning to get everything working.

We were thrilled when the route was used by the BBC for highlights of Barcelona 1992 Olympics coverage: moments like this are unforgettable. When we performed it on “Top of the Pops,” health and safety precautions turned my mixer off during recording – they were set up for a lead guitarist, not a lead DJ, and I had to work fast to make our performance feel natural. Luckily I spent eight hours a day practicing. It was one of six times the show had us.

After the first album we spent a lot of time touring and doing remixes for many different acts from Blondie and the Osmonds to Hawkwind. We were about to start recording another LP, but then we got a call to do the Zooropa stadium shows with U2, so we got on with it. And then a lot of shows after that.

So the gap between our first and second album was long. However, not as long as the gap before our next one. We are working on tracks now.

Utah Saints video for “Something Good”.

Jez Willis, Producer/DJ

Tim and I have been DJing since school. He was way cooler and became a DMC World DJ finalist at 17. He’s still that good. We’ve always wanted to make music full-time but never expected hits – we just tried to make interesting tunes that we thought were good.

As a DJ, you’re constantly thinking about which tracks go together, and that helped with sample selection. Kate Bush’s voice came straight off the CD. Hardware in 1992 was very basic, and it was difficult to sync all the elements. We had to distort the first part of Kate’s voice to keep her in time, which is why she sounds “oo-oo-aye”.

We threw the kitchen sink on Something Good. So much happened and Guy Hatton, the genius studio engineer who mixed it all, managed to pull it all together.

Pete Tong was our A&R man back then and we were lucky to have such a legend in our corner. He always added something really helpful and was confident Something Good would be a hit – in fact the entire record company thought it was a No. 1, which it would have been had it come out sooner or later that year, based on how much it was sold [the single got to No 4].

When it was re-released in 2008 we had to create everything on the original track from scratch and then send it to Van She Tech, the remixers in Australia. We then finished it on a laptop in our Leeds studio. It still has the DIY elements, and when it became Radio 1’s most-played track that year, we were truly honored. Just like we did when it was tuned the other day Ultimate Ministry of Soundtrack.

Our music has been used on a range of soundtracks from Mortal Kombat to FIFA to Ridley Scott’s Raised By Wolves. Recently Olly Alexander from Years and Years posted a video of him hula-hooping to Something Good which was amazing. What a legend!

The Utah Saints are at the 90’s Fest in Magna, Sheffield on August 6th and on tour.

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