The Freestylers have been rocking dancefloors for years, but just lately they have absolutely blown up with their tune Push Up. It’s topped the Aussie music charts, is frequently heard on commercial radio and in television advertisements, and has been ruined by that William Hung wannabe, Australian Idols’ Flick. The success of their follow up Get A Life is evidence of their skills and talents, proving they’re not just as flash in the pan as they’ve also got two previous albums which have sold over 350,000 copies, and a string of remixes to their credit. They’ve been DJing for the last 10 or so years and I spoke to Matt Cantor earlier in the year just as Push Up was released. Speaking to the other half of the duo, Aston Harvey recently, I asked what kind of impact the success of Push Up and the album Raw As Fuck had made on them.
“It’s hard to take in because obviously we live on the other side of the world, and we only get told “Push Up is this number or that number’”, Harvey begins. “I get texts from friends in Australia saying ‘you don’t understand, your record is massive over here’. It’s a brilliant feeling, and sometimes its quite good when you don’t live in these countries and you’re getting this massive positive feedback. We didn’t set out to make a record that crossed over so big… You just make a record, and know that you like it, and put it out there. With the Freestylers, we’ve had record companies take this single and that single and do what ever with it, but this is the first time we’ve had one single do pretty well across the board.”
“We weren’t even thinking of making an album, when we decided to make Raw As Fuck. We just had done a load of tracks and put them together. Push Up went in the charts in England, but because we’re so dominated by house music and the money process, we didn’t get too high, but it put us back on the map in the UK. It’s been doing well in Europe, and I’ve just found out in South Africa we’ve got a Number 1 record!” he exclaims with a laugh. “You can’t really magically do another Push Up, but there will be something along those lines. Mat and I aren’t getting any younger, so there might be a track similar, try and get a pension going!” he laughs. “Not saying it’s going to be cheesy,” he quickly adds, “I think the reason why Push Up has done so well is it sounds like a commercial record, but it also sounds like a really cool record – it sounds well produced. It doesn’t sound like an amateurish pop act just out to make money.”
Whilst we missed the last DJ tour back over the Easter long weekend, the Freestylers band will be making it to Adelaide for the Big Day Out. “The band involves 6 people on stage, an MC and a singer, bass player, guitarist, drummer and me on keyboards, scratching and sampling. The MC is Surreal, who’s not on the album but has been with the band since the start of the year, and the other vocalist is Valerie M, she’s touring with Groove Armada at the moment, she moonlights between us,” he chuckles. “She sang one song on our second album (Told You So). And I’m hoping a girl called Julie Thompson, who does sing on the album (Too Far, Losing You), she plays guitar and I want to experiment a little with that, to see what happens.”
“I find having a band takes us to another level,” Harvey goes on to explain. “It’s really expensive to get a band together to travel, etc… It’s not like we’ve been five mates who’ve been playing since high school who split the profits or whatever. I have to pay all these different musicians to perform. And then there’s all the waiting around all day – sound checks and all that. As compared to DJing – just turn up with a box of records, you can be a bit drunk and that, it’s completely different. But I love doing both!” he exclaims. “Matt doesn’t do anything in the band… well, he and I were doing the same thing, and he decided he doesn’t really like touring with the band. Yet It’s worked out for the better, because it’s quite good to go away and come back fresher. Going away, getting ideas on the road.”
Like all Englishmen, Harvey loves Australian weather. “It’s looking a bit cold and drab here in the UK at the moment,” he laughs. “I’ve only ever played in Adelaide once, and we played in this really weird kind of club, it felt like a school hall,” he chuckles. He’s talking about the old Skylab, above Minke, about a gig that happened 3 or so years ago, and it was a mad night of Adelaide’s typical small but up for it crowd. “I’m sure we’ll go down pretty well!” For those who can’t wait to see them live can pick up Raw As Fuck with a limited Remix CD featuring mixes by Ronnie Size and Krafty Kuts amongst others, as well as pick up the Fabric Live 19 Mix CD featuring Surreal MC.