Earlier this month, legendary house producer Roger Sanchez released his highly anticipated retrospective Defected: Strictly Roger Sanchez on Defected Records – a topic that we covered when the S-Man himself dropped by our London studio for an in-depth chat (you can peep the video below). With one CD dedicated to the house pioneer’s career-best remixes, we were pretty hyped to see one rework in particular: the Roger Sanchez Narcotic Mix of Raw Stylus’ ‘Pushing Against the Flow’. Raw Stylus was the ’90s project formed by Ron Aslan and Jules Brookes – with Brookes better known nowadays as Point Blank’s Managing Director.
We caught up with Jules to find out the story behind their breakthrough track. A story that begins when they – then unknowns – would record their own tracks during the downtime at Swan Yard Studio, where Ron worked as a sound engineer: “We’d work all night on our tunes. And then the result we would put on white label,” Jules recalls. “We’d press up a couple of thousand records depending on the feedback, then we would go on the back of Ron’s bike with a few boxes in our rucksacks and we would drive up to Black Market Records and all the other specialist vinyl shops in Soho and around London. We’d play the tunes to them and if they liked it they would take some off us, cash on delivery…. And that’s what we did with ‘Pushing Against the Flow’.”
“‘Pushing Against the Flow’ was our breakthrough single, because we sold 10,000 white labels, were number one in Australia and lots of other charts. We ended up recording an album in New York which had a whole array of highly skilled session players on it, the cream of the London and New York funk scene including legendary drummer Bernard Purdie, and even our own Ski Oakenfull [Point Blank Lead Course Developer] too. We toured all over the world.”
Sanchez’s remix was released in 1996 – and gave the track a whole new lease of life. “Our singer Donna Gardier went into the studio with Roger and sang a whole vocal over the track, that ‘s why you can hear it’s quite different from the original.” Is it strange to see the track contextualised as part of Sanchez’s career retrospective? “I wouldn’t say weird. It’s surprising and exciting. At the time in the ’90s we were in that mix, we were in that circle, I just haven’t done it for years, so when Defected got in touch with me, I was like, yeah of course and rang up Ron and was like, this is cool isn’t it?”
But the PB connections don’t end there. Ski Oakenfull produced Valerie Etienne’s ‘Misunderstanding’ which also makes an appearance in Sanchez’s R-Senal Mix guise. Both tracks go to illustrate Point Blank’s point of difference; we boast demonstrable, real world experience forged out there, in the music industry. Only our students benefit from a network of contacts and the kind of industry insights that can takes years to accumulate on your own, which is why so many of our former students – from Patrick Topping to Monki to Claude VonStroke – are at the vanguard of the industry.
Our new flagship course, the BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering degree offers a comprehensive course of study that not only draws upon the demonstrable industry experience of our instructors but has been validated by Middlesex University, ensuring it meets rigorous academic standards on a par with the best universities in the world. There’s simply no better foundation for a career in the music industry.
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