The company was originally set up in 1995 by DJs Andy Pickles and Amadeus Mozart as an outlet for their own production. The latter had his named changed to Amadeus Celery Mozart in aid of charity. Perhaps more interestingly, Andy Pickles made fame earlier in 1989 because it was he who combined with his father John Pickles to make Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers, who were a novelty pop act who were only the third band ever to have their first three releases go to number one in the UK singles chart.
Sam Townend is currently label manager. The label was formerly managed by Lee Haslam
Music Factory Recording Studios open 1983 Set up in a converted terraced house in Parkgate, Rotherham by John Pickles
Music Factory Mastermix DJ Service set up 1986Company created to produce “DJ Only” megamixes and remixes through a special PPL/MCPS license. Some of the early mixes were created by Andy Pickles (son of John Pickles and studio engineer) and Martin Smith (computer programmer). From this service a rock 'n’ roll megamix went on to become the Jive Bunny concept, Andy Pickles became the main producer of these mixes which went on to have 3 number ones, 7 top twenty singles and sold over 15 million records World-Wide. Martin Smith and co-producer Darren Ash were to become the duo Megabass which had big album chart success and a top 20 single.
In 1990 Amadeus Mozart & Guy Garrett joined the Mastermix team, creating mix duo called The Two Little Boys, so called after creating an underground rave track with TV legend Rolf Harris, called Stylophonia. Amadeus and Martin joined forces in '91 to create another big mix album series called Hit The Decks, this series was later to become a massive influence on two young unknown producers called Ben Keen and Nick Sentience.
Paul Janes Early producers & production
The Mastermix DJ service spawned many new producers and talent, not only from the main studio offices of Rotherham but also from Amadeus' home town of Kettering. Fellow mixer and friend Martin Smith moved from Hastings to Kettering and in early 91 he received a tape from a local producer Paul Janes. Martin passed on the cassette to Amadeus who invited Paul to the Kettering studios along with another friend of his Paul Chambers. Both Paul’s quickly became remixers for Mastermix DJ service on a regular basis.
Paul Chambers, Paul Janes, Amadeus and Guy Garrett worked closely together on house productions as they all had similar loves and interests for Chicago House, German Techno and Euro NRG. In '93 Andy Pickles and Amadeus started working on more projects together, many tracks were being developed at Amadeus’ home studio and then given a bigger full production in the Rotherham studios. Paul Janes continued to work from his home studio creating some hard fierce remixes and tracks. In early '94 Amadeus created a track called ‘We Used To Party' which sampled Guns & Roses ‘Sweet Child O Mine’. It was instantly picked up by London Records who at this point had a Euro dance hit label called Systematic Records. The bad news was the track could not get released due to legal reasons – the guitar sample could not get cleared and the publishers even turned down a replica cover of the guitar lick. Amadeus went back in
the studio this time with Andy, this time they produced a track that was to become a turning point in their production career and also become the first stepping stone to creating Tidy Trax, the track was 'Only Me'. Using the chord structure from U2’s 'New Years Day' and the vocals from Alison Williams ‘Sleep Talk’. Only Me became a massive club anthem and was supported by every major club DJ in the UK, even Pete Tong. Systematic signed this track and Andy and Amo as an act called Hyperlogic. Red Jerry’s Hooj Choons label created the buzz on 'Only Me' by putting it out on a limited release, this was perfect for Amo & Andy as they were big fans of Hooj and Jerry’s productions. Despite the massive underground buzz on 'Only Me' it only peaked at 35 in the national charts in July of 1995, it had took nearly 12 months to get the track released, Andy and Amo were frustrated by the
slow moving nature of major record companies and had other bad experiences with other labels.
The year before they had a novelty track out under the name 'Two In A Tent' a George Formby sampled track called ‘When I’m cleaning Windows', it had been picked up by Stock and Aitken and was tipped for Xmas top 5 hit, it reached number 25 in Christmas 94 after a lot of problematic dealings with Stock & Aitken’s label.
So with frustration with other labels and the fact that money from the sales were not going back to the producers or the company quick enough – John Pickles suggested to Andy that Music Factory sets up it’s own dance label.
John’s experience in the music business gave guidance to his son Andy to create a label that was underground, keeping overheads low, but a fast turn around of product that could be profitable if only selling a maximum of just 2000 vinyl units.
In late July of '95 Amadeus and Andy had a track they had created which had potential cross-over appeal – It was called 'U Found Out' and sampled ‘the Jets Crush On You’ and the hook line from Depeche Modes eighties classic ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’. This time rather than selling it on to a major label it was suggested it become the first release on Music Factory’s new label – but what was this label to be called and how was it to be portrayed to the record buying market?
Tidy is born… In early August of '95 while returning from a Music Factory business meeting in London, Martin Smith (who now was editor of Music Factory’s dance magazine Mixology) and Amadeus Mozart were talking on the train about John's suggestion of a new dance label.
It was a hot sticky day and Amadeus was slurping away on a can of orange Tango, then the Keep Britain Tidy logo jumped out at him like a smack in the face… Ultimately Amadeus had wanted the label to have a strong identity – a big fan of Hooj Choons strong iconic stick man image – he knew that something simple and striking would work as a label logo. Tidy Tunes was suggested instantly – but didn’t have that special ring to it, while Amo was thinking about the name Martin was re-drawing the logo on a piece of scrap paper, turning the bin upside down and placing a turntable on the top – the logo was formed. After 3 more stops on the train line from London to Kettering the name Tidy Trax had been born.
Martin was excited about the fact – not only was the logo so good – it would be a creative marketing dream – everyone will look at the Keep Britain logo and think of our new label – the word tidy is a cool word – something that is tidy is always a positive phrase… it looked and sounded like a good plan.
The First Tidy ReleaseAmadeus and Martin returned back to the office to tell the team of the plan, the first sleeve was being designed by in house Music Factory graphic designer Tim Wood, while Amadeus got Paul Janes to remix 'U Found Out' which had now got an artist name of The Handbaggers. Sue Green who had worked for Music Factory since 86 worked on the logistics of getting the first single released. It was decided that the first release would start at 101 rather that 001. 101 was at that time Paul and Amadeus’ favourite keyboard The Roland 101. The first tidy man logo was red – the sleeve was designed based on crumpled paper and the tidy trax font was called ‘Confidential’ – everything was set to go… until it came to distribution. To get the first release in the shops a distribution company is needed and tidy didn't have one, Amato were sent the first release by The Handbaggers and they turned it down as did a few others – in the end it was to be put out through Unique and Pinnacle. September 1995 and the first releases hit the underground dance shops – Paul Janes had created a banging hard mix called The Tradesman mix (based on Amadeus & Paul’s love of the sound of Trade at Turnmills) also Amo and Paul did a piano house mix called The Strike Me Down mix, the original Handbag Mode mix was the third track on the disc.
First Handbagger Girls To make it look like a small underground label that had come from a DJs bedroom, Amadeus put his mobile phone number on the disc as a contact detail, a decision he soon regretted due to late night calls and sexual harassment. Although everyone was excited about tidy’s first release, Paul & Amadeus knew that the first track was a bit cheesy and maybe aimed too much at the lighter side of the gay market, Paul’s harder mix was more of the direction they wanted the label to eventually go.
Early Tidy InfluencesAndy, Amadeus and Paul Janes musical influences were very diverse, from techno to rock – from Hi-NRG to hardcore, even easy listening, but one thing they all had in common was the love of the sound of Trade. A gay underground night that had run from the early 90’s at a club called Turnmills in London.
On a production tip the tidy team were big fans of Baby Doc, many would have said Tony De Vit, but Tony was also a fan of Baby Doc’s and used to emulate his production style. Other big influences on early tidy productions were Red Jerry and his engineer Bernie Hurst – The Sharp Boys – Klubbheadz – Patrick Prinz – Paul Masterson - Tony De Vit & Simon Parkes – Rolo. All these producers played a subconscious part in the making and shaping of the tidy sound.
First tidy releases The first few tidy releases were light and very uplifting, if a little bit cheesy. The Handbaggers name came from the fact that music journalists were describing this sound as Hard-Bag or Hand-Bag, this tag was soon to change due to the fact Amadeus and Andy did not like this name labelling. In 1995 tidy only released 3 tracks – The Handbaggers ‘U Found Out’ was the first and the second was another track produced by Amadeus this time under the name Rim Shot. The track was called ‘Everybody On The Floor’ and mixes came from The Red Hand Gang (Paul Janes new concept name), The Saint (Mark Smith Music Factory mixer) A Hyperlogic remix (Amadeus & Andy) and an Alfred Street mix which was the name of the street in Kettering where the track was created.
The 3rd tidy release in '95 came from Music Factory producer Simon Power under the name Angel Deluxe. The sleeve didn’t come out the way Amadeus wanted, the green man should have been a dark green – but a printing problem had the man being pea/lime green (Amadeus never did get over this).
In Jan 1996 Andy & Amadeus went with the Music Factory to an annual music industry event in the South of France called MIDEM. This was to push the early tidy material to other labels around the world and to license it to new territories. It was at this point the infamous labelling of the music became Hard House. With Amadeus against the music being labelled 'hard-bag', the new strap-line used for this exhibition was to be TIDY TRAX – for the UK’s finest Hard House. Amadeus said it was obvious we had to call it hard house – in production we were using house sounds and percussion including the Roland 808 and 909 drums – we were influenced by house, its just it was harder and faster than the original 120 BPM speed, so the Hard House name was born and later became a music style of its own.
On returning from MIDEM exhibition in France tidy was to re-release the first single ‘U Found Out’, this was due to a great response from other labels around the world who hadn’t previously heard the track. A lot of money was to be spent on this track in, two lots of girls fronted the act, two videos were to be made, two different picture sleeves were made, plus another remix package was to be created including one mix from the great man himself, Tony De Vit. Other mixes came from Hyperlogic and Tom Wilson, but there was also a limited edition disc on this release which had mixes such as The Tidy Girls remix (first ever use of the name Tidy Girls) which were Amadeus, Paul & Andy and an A.P.A Dub (guess who that was again). The Handbaggers eventually went on to reach number 55 in the national charts in June '96.
Lesson Learnt The Handbaggers desperate attempt to make the charts taught the tidy team a big lesson – don’t waste money on even trying, deep down it’s not where the label really wanted to go anyway, its original underground feel would be lost and it wouldn’t be able to sustain the costs, so it was time to get back on track. In the meantime tidy had put out very strong releases from the likes of The Benedict Brothers that was Amadeus old mixing partner Guy Garrett (interesting fact number 65 his middle name is Benedict). The next big project for tidy was a new single from Hyperlogic, a production name Amadeus and Andy had created for their ‘Only Me’ single which had already had top 40 success, but the next single was to be a three-way concept as Paul Janes joined the Hyperlogic team. Only Me, the first single had big sample hooks and ‘U Got The Love’ was to be no different, developed from an original concept of Paul’s it contained hooks from The Source – The Prodigy and Shades Of Rhythm, all the parts were re-played and the vocal line was covered.
1996 was a quiet year for tidy with only 4 release in the whole year – the last one being a limited release by The Red Hand Gang called ‘Gotta Keep On (Time for
Getting Down’). 96 was a year in which the tidy team were busy on many other Music Factory projects including producing a monthly magazine called Mixology, making mixes and remixes for Mastermix and producing music mixes for Pure Energy, a Music Factory company that supplied mixes to 1000's of Aerobic Instructors. Andy and Amadeus were also locked in the studio making Handbaggers remixes for major labels and artists, at one stage doing two or three remixes a week. As you can see early tidy releases were all in-house productions mainly coming from Andy, Amadeus and Paul… but in early '97 TIDY108T was to be the first track licensed from another label. The Allnighters 'Black Is Black' was first heard on a mix compilation album in Amadeus' car and was a released in Germany on the Dos Or Die label. With remixes from The Sharp Boys commissioned by tidy, the track became a big success. But it wasn’t just the Sharp Boys mix that made this a special release, it became a big Trade anthem – tidy’s first real break into the club night and scene they had loved over the years.
The UK Gold mix done by Paul Janes and the Lexa mix done by Amadeus became very popular with two of their inspirational DJs – Tony De Vit and Ian M. 'Black Is Black' had become the break through track that put tidy on the map. From this point onwards Amadeus adopted the role of A&R as well as producer and along with Paul and Andy the productions kept on coming thick and fast – tidy were on a roll each release had to be better than the last one. A high standard had to be kept up, Music Factory was still supporting the label financially, it wasn’t making enough money to stand alone, tidy had the luxury of having a bigger machine behind it – even to the point that the next few releases were cut at the famous Abbey Road studios. Paul Janes aka UK Gold All releases were mastered by Amadeus and Paul, then they would both drive down to Abbey Road late at night to attend the cutting of the vinyl…At this point, as well as producing, Andy was making sure tidy was developing as a business, creating licensing deals with labels around the world and working on new distribution connections, in fact Amato who originally turned down tidy on the first release now took over from Pinnacle as tidy’s new distribution company.
97 break through year? As well as licensing in The Allnighters which was the first non in-house production tidy signed a classic anthem from the past, a Trade favourite from Dyewitness called ‘What Would You Like To Hear Again’. Because it was a Trade fave Amadeus got residents Ian M and Pete Wardman to remix it, other remixes came from Eldon Tyrell which was a Paul Janes altered ego, a Tidyman mix which was done by Amadeus and a Benedict Brothers remix. The final remix came from Dancefloor Glory which was another tidy producer who lived near Paul Janes and Amadeus, in fact he had been friends with them for a while also working on Music Factory mixes – his name was Paul Chambers. The next tidy release ‘Mistakes’ was also Mr Chambers, under the name Bulletproof, it sampled Jack Nicholson from the film Witches Of Eastwick and became a big tidy release. Paul works closely with the tidy team and later becomes Flash Harry, The Flashheadz and many more… more about Paul Chambers later. At this point tidy had become a well established
underground label, it had created its own sound by accident, with Mr Janes tough releases like Nuclear Shower under his UK Gold name and many other tidy releases getting harder and a little faster everyone sensed it had formed it’s own style. With the label growing and more pressure on Paul, Andy and Amadeus to keep producing the set up now needed a label manager to help Sue Green with the everyday tasks. Along comes Simon Paul, a club promoter from Reading who had a night called Wallop. Simon joined the team through his connections with Martin Smith who was running Mixology magazine, because he lived in the London area it was time for tidy to look for a London office. With most of the dance industry based in London it was important for tidy to have a presence there, Simon quickly began to build good connections with major labels who at this point had not really kept an eye on tidy as it developed and grew.
As the end of 1997 drew to a close something major was about to come out of the tidy studios, a project that would not only appeal to the hard house world but also crossover into main-stream clubland and radio – this was of course The Untidy Dubs.
The birth of the Untidy Dubs
Paul Janes and Amadeus were having a discussion in the studio talking about working on some experimental tracks that would be more of a dub or DJ tools. Both big fans of Sharp Boys and the minimal sound of the Dutch Klubbheadz they wanted a new tidy sound that would be slower and appeal to DJs who didn’t play hard house. Paul suggested a four track EP in which he would do two tracks and Amadeus would produce the other two – they both went away and locked themselves in the studio for a few days. A week later the project was complete – Amadeus had done two tracks called ‘Get Up And Jam’ and ‘You Can Last’, Paul had done ‘Getting Hot’ and a track called ‘Funky Groove’. They were then played to Simon Paul and Andy Pickles who both said the same thing – Funky Groove is a killer track and has to be the first track on the EP. Ironically Paul had spent days on the ‘Gettin’ Hot’ track and only did Funky Groove as an after thought, such an after thought that the track only took him 3 hours to make. Simon made some test
pressing of the dubs and handed them to the likes of Judge Jules, Tall Paul and a selection of big house DJ’s – the response was phenomenal – Jules instantly loved them and the EP created a massive buzz, but what had intended to be a EP for slower house DJ turned out to also be very popular with the harder DJs too – Tony De Vit, Ian M, Steve Thomas and the other Trade crew hammered them every week.
The first tidy London offices were set up in The Music Village, Osiers Road SW18 – it was shared with a DJ promotions company called Rush Release. This is where Simon operated from – and Rush release were the mailing company for all tidy early vinyl promo’s, this task was then later given to Hyperactive / Euro Solution promotion company.
Tidy later moved from Osiers Road to a new office in Grays Inn Road – near Kings Cross, this office was part of a small complex that’s was also shared with Baby Doc and SJs recording studio. As well as Simon, two more staff were added to the London team – Angela and Michelle. 1998 everyone wants a bit of Tidy This was to be a great year for new signings and big releases; it was the year when Amadeus, Paul and Andy produced more material than ever before, working flat out in the tidy studio’s not only for themselves but for other DJs too.
Sadly 98 was also to be the year we lost the greatest DJ who ever lived Tony De Vit.
Tidy’s next big release was a re-visit to the track that had started it all for Andy and Amadeus – ‘Only Me’. Music Factory’s legal team had been fighting London Records for the rights back for some time and finally it fell back into the hands of the original writers. Amo & Andy decided to put it back out again this time on tidy. With it already reaching number 35 on London Records, tidy felt it had legs to have another crack at being a big club anthem again, so a lot of money was spent on the remix package to regain club support. Along side the existing Red Jerry mix, P & C remix (P and C standing for Tall Paul and Craig Daniel from Trax Records) came new remixes from The Rhythm Masters – Tin Tin Out – Matt Kootchi an Untidy Dub and a new Hyperlogic dub.
Tidy’s annual visit to Midem in France in January proved to be very fruitful. Amadeus used this International music exhibition to pick up new tracks from the rest of the world. DJ Randy from BPM / Jinx Records in Holland had met up with Amadeus and handed him a promotional CDR of all new material on his label – most tracks had only just been finished in the studio – one track on this CD was by a new act called Signum – the track which Amadeus instantly fell in love with was ‘What You Got 4 Me’.
He brought the CD back to the UK he played it to fellow producer Paul Janes who also loved the track, this big riff hooked track sounded like the way forward for tidy and it was instantly signed by tidy, even before it was released in its own Dutch homeland. More about this release in a while as it proved to be a very important signing and release.
98 was building very nicely for tidy, the untidy dubs had sparked off massive interest from the major record companies, they all wanted untidy dub remixes, it became very cool very quickly – big artist names wanted an untidy dub on the vinyl packages. As Paul Janes had created the biggest dub in Funky Groove he had the task of taking on the majority of the dub remixes, but as so many were coming in thick and fast Amadeus and Andy also created the untidy remixes too.
A simple minimal sound which had a pitched down sine-wave groove bassline – distorted hi-hats, large kick drum and sparse vocal hook became the biggest sound of 98 for many DJs. Some weeks Paul did two dub remixes while Amo & Andy did another – 3 a week were being produced, everyone from Erasure to Donna Summer were getting the Untidy Dub treatment and at its heigh,t each dub cost the record companies £5000 a remix, not a bad little earner…!
Ian M, who was a big part of tidy’s initial growth through his DJ performances and contacts, had been a long time friend of Tony De Vit who had now become a huge international DJ and producer breaking into mainstream events and gigs from his gay underground club origins. Tony and Ian had brought the harder energetic Trade sounds to a wider audience and their following was growing at a frantic speed. With Tidy’s inspirational beginnings developing from the sound of Trade, Ian suggested to Amadeus a Trade EP.
Taking Trades 6 main resident DJs and each of them having a track spread over a 3 disc vinyl and CD single. All the DJs agreed and the project was started in early March 98, Steve Thomas, Pete Wardman and Alan Thompson all had their own studio engineers and would create their tracks in London studios. Ian M went to Amadeus’ home studio in Kettering to produce his, Malcolm Duffy went to the tidy Rotherham studios to work with Andy and Amo on his. At this point Tony De Vit had split with his long term engineer Simon Parkes – they had fallen out and their studio which was based in The Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham had now been disbanded – leaving Tony with nowhere to produce his material or his track for the Trade EP. Tony came to the tidy studios in Rotherham and worked with Paul Janes for the Trade EP track – This track was to become ‘The Dawn’.
The end of an era The Dawn of a new sound. Tony came to the tidy HQ and quickly became part of the team – he worked with Paul on a track which was to be his finest moment. Paul and Tony agreed they didn’t want to do a full on hoover track that had no emotion or feeling – Tony’s biggest track in his box at that time was a new white label import from Holland – this track was Signum ‘What You Got 4 Me’ – which was still months away from being released on tidy.
Tony loved this track – but he was playing the instrumental version – and had not heard the vocal version which Amadeus had signed. With Signum on the decks for inspiration – Tony and Paul set about producing an amazing minimal track which had a spine tingling chord breakdown and an addictive synth hook riff. While they were working on this track Amadeus and Andy were in the other tidy studio working on another project. That evening the four producers went out for a pizza and beer and talked about future plans – on their return to the studio Tony and Paul played the track back to Amo and Andy – as it finished Tony took a deep breath and said… I can’t go on from here without telling you something that may effect all our futures plans, especially mine’ it was at this point Tony said…
PART 3 CONTINUES.......
'I have been diagnosed as HIV, but this new track has inspired me, this track means a lot to me’… Tony De Vit Tony had known about his illness for 6 months and at this stage only his close family and friends had been told – he had gone through all the pain of finding out this bad news – had broke with up friend and engineer Simon, his V2 studio business closed and now at last he felt his new connection with tidy was a turning point – he said he was going to fight on and work with tidy to make the next stage of his career even better – he then said that’s why he wanted to call his new Trade track THE DAWN – Tony said ‘it was the dawn of a new era for me and that this was a positive move forward’. He loved working with Paul Janes as they had clicked instantly in the studio and they had great plans for more projects.
M8 Cover Mount In the spring of 98 Andy and Amadeus did their first mix album together which was a Tidy Trax free cover-mount disc for M8 magazine, it was mixed under the name The Untidy DJs and featured tracks from the forthcoming Trade EP a section of some Untidy Dub remixes and the classic Sharp Boys remix of Black Is Black. Meanwhile another album was being planned for release for later in the year – it was tidy first compilation called Keep It Tidy. To help promote this album during the summer build up was to be 4 remixes of previously released tracks from the tidy catalogue, the marketing campaign for this double disc vinyl was that these remixes will NOT feature on the forthcoming Keep It Tidy album. The tracks and mixes were –Rim Shot – ‘Everybody On The Floor’ Rachel Auburn remix – Red Hand Gang – ‘Time 4 Getting Down’ Jon The Dentist remix – Allnighters ‘Black Is Black’ Ian M remix – Angel Deluxe ‘I Wanna Be With You’ Brain Bashers remix. Both sleeves had a gradient front cover depicting the colour of each sleeve that they had previously been released on going from left to right…wonder if anyone noticed? By now Amato Distribution who had originally turned down the option on the first tidy release, were distributing tidy vinyl, and also at this point tidy had set up their first website. The site was designed and programmed by Paul Janes, it was yellow and black and based on the sleeve design of UK Gold’s ‘Nuclear Shower’ disc one. This site was very basic and only really showed the discography of tracks and remixes – contact details and studio equipment lists, but it served its purpose in the early days. The Untidy Dubs were getting more popular by the day and it was at this point that Manifesto Records A&R manager Judge Jules approached tidy trax to sign ‘Funky Groove’ and take the track to a wider audience.
Funky Groove The offer was accepted by the tidy team and the original mix was joined by a Rhythm Masters Sub Club mix and a Judge Jules remix which was produced in the tidy studios. Jules used original producer Paul Janes to engineer the track with him and spent two sleepy days in Rotherham HQ. Although Manifesto did a full club promotion and pressed up limited vinyl and CD singles, the track never got a full release and was pulled at the last minute as PolyGram’s bosses were worried it was too underground for a chart market.
Mixology At this point, as well as being at the helm of the expanding tidy empire Andy and Amadeus were continuing their work at Music Factory, developing new and existing business within the group. One particular useful project was a magazine called Mixology. This was run and edited by Martin Smith and his team, it was aimed at a bedroom DJ / producer and it gave the tidy team access to interview and meet the worlds leading DJs and producers. The paper version of the mag turned into a digital format – and was the first magazine to come out on a multi-media format and a 70 min audio disc. A Mixology FM (forthcoming music) radio show came with the disc every month and the voice of the show was Amadeus – a radio dj character that was an ironic piss take of Pete Tong – although the show was supposed to be serious it did send it’s self up in the way that tidy has always done. Paul Janes and Amadeus produced the show for two years and the jingles and stings had voice overs by Pete Wardman and tidy label manager Simon Paul. Mixology and Tidy became very close – and it indirectly help tidy forge great relationships with record companies and fellow producers, if you ever see a copy of a Mixology you will be able to see the tidy influence running through the pages of the magazine – Tony De Vit did his last ever interview for Mixology – the multi-media video clips show him giving you a last look at his studio before it was dismantled and closed. During its 4 year history Mixology was instrumental in getting Amadeus and Andy to meet the many people who helped tidy develop and grow. There was also a commercially released mix album called TKU (Totally Klubbed Up) which was released back in 97, it features many tidy releases and was mixed by Hyperlogic’s Amadeus – an album worth tracking down if you’re a real tidy fan.
The Mixology team featured many of the tidy team still with tidy today – Martin Smith – Angie Mozart – Tim Wood and others – another in house producer Guy Garrett who had worked closely with Amadeus for over 5 years left the team in 98 and went to join the DMC team in Slough, Guy had produced the Benedict Brothers track and remix as well as working on the odd Untidy Dub.
Amadeus and Andy were working hard to push tidy to the next level, but as well as long days in the studio and office – they would go clubbing every weekend and often went on the road with Ian M and Tony De Vit – (original DJ groupies). Fave clubs to visit were always Trade at Turnmills and Sundissential at the Pulse in Birmingham. Paul, Andy and Amadeus would often take inspiration from their clubbing weekends to their studio productions and it seemed to be paying off.
Madders & Tony It was July 3rd 1998 and The Trade EP was complete with a release date set at Sept 12th – Andy and Amo had arranged a meeting with Lawrence and the Trade team in London - they took the train to Kings Cross which was just round the corner from the Trade offices, the meeting was set for 10.30am – it was an important meeting to finalise the promotion for the EP. At 10.25am as Amo and Andy approached the office Amo’s mobile phone rang – It was Ian M, sounding very upset and close to tears, he broke the news that Tony had died, although Ian and the boys had know Tony was ill in hospital they were in total shock that this had just happened. Ian said – ‘you can’t tell anyone – I have only just found out and there has been no official statement from the family’ – don’t tell Lawrence and the Trade team – they were all very close – but its got to come from the family. And not you because your not suppose to know yet… Just as Amadeus had finished the call and told Andy – Lawrence walked past and said hi-lads are you coming in…the kettles on…? Before they could think Andy and Amo were sitting in the Trade offices with all Tony’s close friends and colleagues – what were they to do – knowing what they had just heard but not allowed to mention the tragic news – Lawrence opened the meeting by saying ‘lets talk about Tony’s track The Dawn’…we think this is the big one for Tony – what do you think lads…? Andy and Amo who were still in shock at this point looked at each other and with terror and dismay – the office phone rang…
Latest installment - 8th Sept....
Lawrence’s face turned white as the news of Tony’s death was told to him – he then relayed the news to the whole office – Andy and Amadeus had to act as instantly shocked as the others, not really knowing what to say. Everyone was totally stunned - the original Tidy/Trade meeting although very sombre, turned its attentions on how to act in a pro-active way to push Tony’s Dawn track into the public limelight and to make sure everyone got hear the track as Tony would have wanted.
Tony’s funeral was a sad and emotional day – the church was packed with clubbers – DJs – music industry personnel – press – family and friends, his chosen track that everyone sung along to was ‘Lord Of The Dance’, such an apt hymn for such a sad loss to our industry. (Tony De Vit R.I.P)
The Residence Trade EP was released on September 12th and went on to sell over 30,000 copies - and tidy’s next release was just as big – the long awaited release of Signum’s ‘What Ya Got 4 Me’. It took 10 months for it to get released from Amadeus first hearing it in France way back in January, and the two discs had mixes from Captain TinRib, Untidy Dub and Plug N Play along side the original vocal and instrumental mixes. The sleeve design was based on the Jinx logo which was the label Signum was released on in Holland – the Tidyman adapted with Jinx colours and lightening effects. The track became a massive and instant success it even dipped into the back end of the charts at number 70.
Trauma was a new name producer Paul King wanted to use for any tracks he had signed to tidy – andHigher was to be his first. Paul had previously produced tracks that came out on Tripoli Trax mainly under guise of F1 and his productions were firm favourites with the Trade Djs and Clubbers. Higher was a big tidy release and became an instant anthem and the last vinyl release on tidy in 98, but the Untidy label was on a roll with Untidy Dubs volume two and 3 both being great sequels to the first Untidy EP. Also another EP on Untidy had been sneaked out by an act called Scooper and Sticks – which was another guise for Amadeus and Andy, the name came from a 70’s TV programme called The Double Decker’s.
With all the release under tidy’s belt the first best of tidy album was due – Keep It Tidy volume one was released in late October 98 and showcased the finest moments of the first 3 years, It was a 3 disc box set – with two disc being separate tracks – the third disc was mixed by who else but Ian M, he mixed the album live in Amadeus’ converted garage home studio in Kettering.
Inside the album was a tidy merchandise brochure, this was a crazy Mozart idea to have it based on a shit 70’s catalogue, and lucky enough one of Amadeus’ friends was Barry Noble – a 70’s and 80’s catalogue model. Barry lived in Kettering and was up for the photo shoot and brought along a female colleague to perform the female poses.
The brochure was such a success if found its way into many music magazines including Mixmag, who loved the concept of a 52 year old man displaying a tidy t-shirt in just a pair of blue y-front pants. Tidy’s ethos was to always take the piss out of itself and to have fun with everything they did, the tidy staff worked hard and played hard together, it was more of a family atmosphere rather than a well constructed business model. The main tidy team only consisted of Andy Pickles, Amadeus, Simon Paul, Paul Janes, Sue Green and Katie Walker, it had the use of all Music Factory’s resources but still giving a perception of a small back-street underground label. 1998 had been a great year for Tidy Trax – but little did they know what was about to happen in 99…
1999 – Bring on the girls…
Both 98 and 99 were prolific years in tidy popularity, hard house was a buzz word and was becoming a powerful force in clubland, Tony De Vit had took the sound from the hot sweaty gay clubs to a mainstream straight crowd, one of them being Sundissential which had now established itself as one of the UKs leading club nights. Tony had played at every big club including Cream and Gatecrasher, he had showed everyone that the harder faster sound wasn’t just about hoovers and horns but there was an uplifting feel to the sound of hard house, Signum had proved that melodic riffs and euphoric chord structures played an important part in the new hard sound.
The first big studio project of 1999 was an original concept by label manager Simon Paul, he remembered one of the early remixes Amo, Paul Janes and Andy had done under the name Tidy Girls, he then suggested we actually found some female DJs to front a release called The Tidy Girls EP. The first girl chosen was Rachel Auburn, a well established DJ within the hard scene and a producer in her own right with Paul Masterson as The Candy Girls. Simon then suggested Lisa Pin-Up who had been a big DJ in the London area and had already created a following for herself; Anne Savage was next to get the call up and instantly agreed as she only lived up the road in Leeds. Finding the fourth tidy girl took a few weeks – but then it was suggested to the tidy team that new female Sundissential resident was attracting a lot of attention in Birmingham – this was a young fairly unknown DJ called Lisa Lashes.
So the 4 girls were chosen – with only Rachel having any studio or production experience all the girls were invited up to the tidy studios to work with Amadeus, Paul and Andy in a combination of writing and production teams. The first one to be produced was Lisa Pin-Ups – she went in the studio with Andy and Amadeus and after two days work came out with a track called ‘All This Love’ – the bassline was similar to an Untidy Dub, but featured a big female vocal and a very light riff refrain, it sounded like a Handbaggers track from the past and Andy and Amo were never really happy with the final mix. Next up in the studio was Rachel Auburn, who again worked with Amadeus and Andy; the studio session was booked for a Friday and Saturday. The boys had worked with Rachel before on the Rimshot remix for the Keep It Tidy album sampler but they recall that the tidy girl EP session was a very hard couple of days, Rachel was very dominant and knew exactly what she wanted, Screwdriver became one of the first bounce style tracks and contained plenty of fun elements, giving hard house a fun bounce it had previously missed. A week later and it was Paul Janes turn to team up with Amadeus for Anne Savage’s track, all three clicked in the studio and ‘I Need U’ was a solid track which showed off Anne’s tougher edge.
Lisa Lashes was up next and she also worked with Amadeus and Paul Janes, they wanted to produce atrack that contained both Rachel’s bounce and Anne’s tough groove. The track was an instrumental for a long time during the session – and the vocals came in by accident, Amadeus had produced a sample CD for studio producers with Martin Smith 8 years earlier which was full of sound fx and vocal soundbites, as the track was playing from computer Lisa played the sample CD over the track – the space vocals from the Moon landing recording sounded perfect – and as it by magic (or luck) the ‘Looking Good’ line dropped perfect on the bar before the riff, Neil Armstrong and made history once again and Lookin’ Good was born. At this point all four tracks were produced, but on playing them all back as a set, Lisa Pin-Ups did not fit in with the other tracks, she had also played the track out on a test disc and also realised ‘All The Love’ was too light and far too commercial. Lisa requested to go back in the studio this time with Andy and Paul as Amadeus was working on another project – and within two days they came out with ‘Rock With Me’ and it really did sit well with the other tracks, it continued the happy bounce feel that Rachel’s Screwdriver had spawned, and the Tidy Girls EP was complete.
Meanwhile while all this was happening tidy release an EP called the Recycled EP – 4 tracks remixed on two ten inch coloured vinyl discs, Amadeus wanted to make tidy releases stand out from others, novel ways of marketing something and putting a themed spin on releases was a game plan that seemed to be working.
Other tidy news at this point included Lee Haslam joining the Music Factory team after building a friendship up with Andy Pickles in their local native town of Doncaster. Lee was a DJ by night and a children’s school teacher by day, he had been a tidy fan since day one and was now becoming part of the team, Lee later becomes an integral part of the tidy label which we will discover later on. The first release of 99 was Travel and Bulgarian, which was from the same stable as the Signum on the Dutch Jinx label, the two disc vinyl featured mixes from Signum, Jon The Dentist, Hyperlogic and Incisions.
Amadeus had been a DJ from 1982 right up till 1994, he had stopped DJing to concentrate on studio production work, but in Jan 99 he had the chance to dig out his headphones and play along side DJ friend and co-producer Ian M at a gig in Bristol. This gig was to be very instrumental and a big stepping stone to what was about to happen next…
So on Jan 9th at a night called ‘Infamous’ held at the Club Loco in Bristol Amadeus returned to his DJ roots, and this is where he saw what the label had done while being locked away in the studio - clubbers actually recognising him and telling him how much they loved tidy trax. From this gig Amadeus got his next gig in March in Jersey but after he had relayed the buzz he got from the first gig to co-producer and friend Mr Andy pickles, the two decided to DJ as a pair. They had both once seen Stretch & Vern play a set in France, and loved the fact they looked like they were just two friends having a laugh behind the decks, drinking beer and playing records … the fun they portrayed seem to give a great atmosphere on the dance floor. The Jersey gig was to be the first time Andy and Amo had ever played together, and due to the fact the Untidy Dubs were currently the biggest project that tidy was famous for, the boys decided to call themselves The Untidy DJs. Thanks to a great warm up set by DJ TJ Hooker the boys went on and instantly went down a storm, both nervous at first but soon quickly found themselves jumping around like nutters and getting a great buzz working as a DJ team. Straight after the gig they were so pleased it went well they phoned Ian M to tell him that they were going to push the DJing and try and get some more bookings.
At this point Lee Haslam, who had joined the Music Factory team earlier, was given the task of setting up Tidy Management – a DJ agency that would primarily get DJ work and bookings for Amadeus, Andy and Lee.
Lee Haslam was now getting more involved with the everyday running of Tidy and the current label manager Simon Paul left tidy to pursue a production career of his own, he went on to become Lost Witness with top 20 success. Lee had known Andy Pickles for sometime and had met through The Doncaster Warehouse club, which was local to them both; Lee’s new role for tidy mainly included the organisation of handling the tidy DJ mailing list and shop distribution. The new look web site which tidy had launched in 98 was now building a up a community of followers, a chat room and message board had now given tidy fans from all over the world the chance to talk to one another about their new found passion. The website was designed by Amadeus and was programmed in Macromedia Flash by his wife Angie with back end programming by Martin Smith.
99 was also the year that tidy stopped producing the Untidy Dubs. In a strange twisted way but typically tidy, Paul and Amadeus suggested that that they kill off the untidy dubs at the height of their success. Every major record company wanted an Untidy remix and there had been 3 EP’s – so to finish them off for good – a forth EP was made with the lead track called “R.I.P.” Also in this year Amadeus made contact with a Dutch producer and label, Edwin van de Witte from RCM Records. They met at the Midem Music Expo, and Edwin became a close contact for tidy’s A&R, the first signing from him was Dave Holmes ‘Samsara’.
DJ Alicie was the producer behind the Dave Holmes name. He also used the name Steve Morley and another big signing around this time was ‘Imagination’ by Jon The Dentist which went on to become a big tidy anthem. Jon had previously worked with Baby Doc some years earlier and was influential in creating some of the early hard house tracks. Ian M was back in Amadeus garage home studio and created ‘Dreamer’, the sound of Trade was still alive and kicking. July 99 saw the follow up to What Ya Got 4 Me’ from Signum with yet another anthem called ‘Coming On Strong. It was also the first year anniversary of Tony De Vit’s death and tidy had promised to keep his name alive. In memory of Tony Tidy put out one of his biggest creations ‘Are You All Ready’ this was backed by a previously unreleased track called ‘Splashdown’. Incidentally the ‘Are You All Ready’ vocal sample was taken from the Remix Producers sample album which Martin Smith, Amadeus and Guy Garrett had release back in the early nineties.
It was a busy time the summer off 99, The Untidy DJs got their 3rd booking, this time 2 gigs in South Africa, one of which was attended by 9000 people. On their return Amo and Andy went back in the studio with Paul Janes to produce another big EP, this time it was the Sundissential Residents turn. Andy Farley, Lisa Lashes, Nick Rafferty and Paul Kershaw were the featured DJs. Amadeus and Paul teamed up with Lisa for ‘We Came We Saw’ – Paul and Andy worked with Mr Farley for Destroy the Sound, Amo and Andy teamed up with Nick for ‘I Need A Fix’ and Mr Kershaw produced his own track in the tidy studios.
It was at this point in tidy’s history that when studio production and licensing tracks from other producers was at its strongest, the label had spread its wings and broadened its sound. One track that was a massive favourite with Amadeus, Andy and Paul was a track from Purple Eye Holland. The Generator ‘Where Are You Now’ was produced by Robert Smit and Ferry Corsten, it became tidy’s most expensive signing – paying out a whopping £8000 just on the advance. It was released on two discs with mixes from Moonman (Ferry Corsten) Untidy Dub, Trauma and The Stimulant DJs.
Meanwhile Amo & Andy the Untidy DJs had played a few more gigs, but still loved to go clubbing themselves, Sundissential at The Pulse In Birmingham and Europa in Leeds were regular haunts, it was here they found their new DJ name. Every time they would turn up for a drink everyone in the club would shout “here come the Tidy Boys”…rather than Untidy DJs… so the name stuck and The Tidy Boys they became.
One Sunday afternoon at Sundissential Europa in Leeds Amadeus and Andy popped in for a drink and a bit of cyber dance moves - half way through the night Madders (co-promoter and all round nutter) ran up to Andy and said “Darren Stokes has not turned up – have you got your records with you?” Lucky enough the boys had the records in the car boot from a gig the night before… Madders shouted “you’re on, lads .. can you cover for Darren?”. Was this to be their lucky break?
SAVANNAH BY THE BOOK; After `Midnight,' This Sublime South Georgia City Is Awash With Visitors -- and Intrigue
Feb 26, 1995; "I see you have `The Book,' " people said in Savannah when they spotted "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" under my arm....