FC Kahuna Brings 'Soul Through Machinery'

Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

"We wanted this record to be defiantly electronic," Daniel Ormondroyd of U.K.-based duo FC Kahuna reveals, referring to its debut album, "Machine Says Yes," due Nov. 19 via Nettwerk America.

"Jon [Nowell, his musical partner] and I wished to create something totally contemporary with the equipment and computers at our disposal," he continues. "But above all, we wanted to try and convey some sort of soul through machinery."

Released earlier this year by City Rockers U.K., "Machine Says Yes" -- which features guest turns by alt-country rocker Eileen Rose, Simon Jones of the Verve, and Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals -- is a futurist journey that is at turns playful and haunting, a willful affirmation of the power and beauty of machines. At the same time, it runs the gamut from ambient tone poems to electro-fueled stompers, replete with squiggly synth lines and an ever-present chorus of Atari-era bleeps and gurgles.

"Previously, when we made tracks, we tried to sample a lot of organic instruments and guitars," Ormondroyd acknowledges. "When Jon and I set out to make this record, we decided to dive headfirst into the technology side of recording."

The set's lead single, the title track, is a propulsive tech-pop jam sung by former Gusgus chanteuse Hafdis Huld. Remixes by Tiga and Josh Wink were serviced to clubs; a commercial 12-inch single arrives Nov. 12.

Ormondroyd and Lowell met in Leeds more than 20 years ago. They raved their way through the acid-house movement in North England before landing in London. In 1994, they founded Big Kahuna Burger, a roving weekly party that nurtured the emergent sounds of big beat, abetted by the turntable skills of Fatboy Slim and the Chemical Brothers. The duo eventually switched gears, launching Headstart at Turnmills, where it experimented with a more futuristic electro sound while returning to the anything-goes aesthetic of acid house.

As Headstart's popularity grew, the pair dived into remix projects. Operating under the guise of FC Kahuna, the twosome reworked tracks for Luke Slater, Morel, and Felix da Housecat.

According to Ormondroyd, the recording of "Machine Says Yes" spanned 21/2 years and was heavily influenced by the duo's sonic explorations at Headstart. "While we continued to be inspired by our early days of clubbing, we were also experimenting with new sounds that weren't very fashionable at the time."

The second single from "Machine" will be the downtempo track "Hayling" (also featuring Huld). The U.S. version of the album includes the Super Furry Animals remix of "Hayling," which is not found on the original.

"Hayling" was featured on a recent episode of the television series "CSI: Miami," while another album track, "Nothing Is Wrong," is featured in campaign for the Hummer H2. Hummer is also promoting the band on its Web site, which allows visitors to view the spot, obtain information about the band, and link directly to FC Kahuna's Web page on the Nettwerk site.

Having recently completed a DJ tour of the U.S., FC Kahuna is scheduled to tour the U.K. with Norwegian duo Royksopp later this year.

Excerpted from the Nov. 16, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.

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