Boy George & Marc Vedo Interview

Pop icon Boy George and super producer Marc Vedo speak to Manchester Gossip about their latest exciting project, 'Funkysober'


With huge support already from Axwell, Roger Sanchez, Robbie Rivera, Sander Kleinenberg, Tom Novy, Ron Carroll, David Jones, Yves Larock and more; ‘Sunshine Into my Life’ sees two of Dance Music's most inspirational producers Boy George and Marc Vedo uniting to form a new leading record label – VG Records.



Pop icon Boy George and super producers Marc Vedo & Darren Tate Aka DT8 project have got together under the pseudonym Funkysober, and have collaborated with the incredible sounds of Sharlene Hector for VG's debut release, to produce a sunkissed track that's destined for Global success. ‘Sunshine Into My Life’ has already notched up full support, and Vedo's Tribal mix is set for every dance floor in the land.


Following a non-stop, sell-out European tour with ‘Night Of The Proms’ in 2010 where Boy George performed to over 15,000 fans a night, one of the world’s most recognizable figures is officially back on mainstream music’s radar for good. Having recently recorded a track for Mark Ronson’s album ‘The Business International’, George and Mark Ronson continue to work together recently appearing at The Roundhouse back in February.


Classically trained musician, DJ and label boss Darren Tate, has been responsible for a string of hits over the years. His first project was a joint effort with Judge Jules in 2000. Together with Jules's wife, Amanda O'Riordan, they named themselves Angelic. Later the same year, he cut a few tracks under the name Orion. September 2002 saw the return of Tate under the name Jurgen Vries. Since then, he has used the name DT8 and most recently was part of DT8 Project. In 2003 He teamed up with Charlotte Church on the huge top 5 hit 'The Opera Song'.


Marc Vedo has featured everywhere from Ministry of Sound, Zouk and Godskitchen in an illustrious career. In recent years his music has been support by heavyweight names like Pete Tong and Tiësto. Recent projects have Marc working with Abigail Bailey and Dutch rising star Jesse Voorn, as well as remixing George Michael’s forthcoming record and the new Joss Stone single for SonyBMG.


Sharlene Hector rose to fame as 'The Coca Cola Girl' - laying down her vocals to produce one of the company's most memorable ads of all time (Hover here to listen). Since then she has worked with Basement Jaxx and tracks for Defected, Purple and Warner.

Boy George & Marc Vedo | The Interview

Craig - Hi George, Hi Marc, welcome to Manchester Gossip, Tell us about your ‘Funkysober’ collaboration,


George - Yes, It’s myself, Marc Vido and also Darren Tate, it’s the three of us that are involved in the bones of the project, Darren and Marc do the music and I do the top line, melody and the lyrics and obviously finding singers, you know over the years I’ve been fortunate to work with some amazing singers, there’s a lot of great voices in the world that deserve to be heard.


Craig - We can see this time you’ve featured Sharlene Hector?


George - Yes, Sharlene’s worked with me a lot in the past, doing backing vocals so she was an obvious choice and she has a heavenly voice. She’s worked with Basement Jax’s, well in fact everyone, every time you switch on the telly, watching Maria Carey or J-Lo, Sharlene’s always in the background ha-ha


Marc - Yes she’s amazing


Craig - She’s famous as being the ‘Coca-Cola’ girl; she sang the vocals on a famous Coke advert?


George - That’s true...


Craig - If it’s not too much trouble do you think you could give me a rendition of the song? (Rather tongue in cheek)


George - Ha-ha – I’m afraid Sharlene’s not here right now and I don’t want to get done for copyright


Marc - Ha-ha – and I only sing in the shower


Craig - My partner Maxine did some research on you yesterday Mark and she tells me you’re a handsome bastard so I imagine you singing in the shower whilst combing your hair in the mirror! Lol


Marc - Ha-ha,


Craig - George, we notice you’re a big fan of Twitter, do you find it a useful tool to engage with your fans?


George - Absolutely, The concept of being able to communicate with people all over the world, yes you can do it via email, but Twitter allows you to engage with your audience, obviously the internet is a brilliant tool for promotion, it’s also a fun thing, it can also be a bit of a cesspit, you do get nasty characters on there but on the whole Twitter is a very positive thing, you know if I was 14 or 20, getting a tweet from David Bowie or whoever would be brilliant, so I try to keep very active on there, I do it myself, I don’t have anyone that does it for me, I do all my own social networking, I do know a lot of artists have people doing it for them which I think kinda defeats the object.


Craig - After we’ve published this interview I’ll tweet the link and tag you in, if you could re-tweet to your 110,000 followers that would be lovely, thanks very much! Lol


George - Ha-ha, yes, 110,000 and growing every day, I got a tweet from Alicia Keys yesterday; I’m hoping to get some of her 3 million followers ha-ha

"I love the spirit of Manchester" Boy George

Craig - Have you guys spent much time in Manchester during your careers?


George - Well yes, the ‘About the Boy’ movie was filmed in Manchester, The Hacienda of course back in the day, I’ve obviously toured a lot with Culture Club and we performed in Manchester many times, I love the spirit of Manchester.


Marc - We were in Manchester on the last bank holiday, we played at Venus. It’s a rockin’ club, Venus is like an old skool house club and it has a great crowd, a very loyal following, who have been following both the club and management for about 10 years.


Craig - Wonderful... Any plans to visit Manchester to promote your new track, perhaps to visit ‘Pride’ or indeed just to get away from London?


Marc - Ha-ha Yeah,


George - Yes sure, I’m not sure exactly when but we’re always up in the north, I spend a lot of my time travelling around the country, not so much as I used too, when I first started DJ’ing I used to joke that I was a northern DJ as I spent my whole time in the North. The dance scene has really quietened down recently in the UK, there’s only really a hand full of clubs now in the country that are really kickin’ it, like 'Venus', most of us DJ’s are now having to travel abroad to find the right clubs to play.


Craig - George, you mentioned your movie ‘Worried about the Boy’, released in May of last year and you were portrayed by ‘Douglas Booth’; did you work on the movie with him? Did you have any influence on how you came across in the movie?


George - No, not at all, I did meet with the writers before it was done but they weren’t really interested in having my input (lol) With a dramatisation of anyone’s life for TV there’s always going to be artistic licence, but overall I was really pleased with it, I thought Douglas was fantastic, he looked brilliant, you know he carried it off, It’s not easy to carry of that look, you know with a blue face and hair falling off your head, for him to do that with any kind of style - isn’t easy, I was very impressed. I came up to Manchester while they were filming and I saw Douglas dressed as me and it was really freaky, ha-ha, Oh my God, you know he’s much prettier than I am, he looked brilliant.


Craig - Marc, if you ever have a dramatisation created about your life, who would you like to play you?


George - Pierce Brosnan lol


Marc - Erm (giggle) I’m a big fan of Jonny Depp, anything he does, I’m like ‘Game on’.


George - Yes and he’d love to get the 500 million purse that Jonny Depp gets


Marc - He lived in bath apparently as well, not far from where I live in Bristol.


Craig - You’ve been described as the next ‘Sasha’ Marc...


Marc - Yes, it feels like many moons ago now, I was quite young at the time, maybe 20 when that article came out in MixMag (2006), I guess it launched my career, since then I’ve joined lots of different music brands Money penny’s, Gatecrasher and the Ministry and started playing abroad and bumping into characters like George and here we are now, working together.. It’s been an exciting journey and right now it is brilliant, we’re working really hard on the music we have coming out together and our label VG records launching with ‘Sunshine’ ... it’s quite exciting times. We’re doing the cover mount CD for DJ magazine for their Christmas issue, that’s a brilliant thing to do, it’s only so often that opportunities like that come along, it’s been a great 16 months...


Craig - Marc, do you remember the first time you met George? The moment you met?


Marc - Yes, it was the MixMag party in London, at ‘Heaven’ shortly after my DJ Magazine article came out, around about 5 years ago... at the time I also used to book George to play at my events ‘Koolwaters’, that’s kinda how it all started, then we started playing all over the world, now ‘Koolwaters’ looks after George’s artist management and bookings and all the press, you know...

Business or Pleasure?

Craig - So you not only have a creative side but also like to keep your finger in the business pie, so to speak?


Marc - Definitely yes, I love business


George - I hate business!


Marc - I have to say I do like it but I love nothing more than being a DJ and making music, I was in the studio yesterday, it’s such a great feeling when you finish a track and come away with a WAV file and play it in the car... It’s such a great feeling, a great buzz.


George - I think for anyone creative that process is the most enjoyable part, you know selling the records and all that kind of stuff is really hard work but creating things is just a beautiful experience.


Craig - The creative process is what you would class as the pleasure element?


George - Yes, Music is, you know very important and has such a great effect on people’s lives.


Marc - I find I’m always most relaxed when I’m either playing, DJ’ing out or making music, although I do love business it is the only side of the business that really stresses me out.


Craig - Its fair to say that being mindful of ‘the business’ allows you to retain some degree of control over what you do?


George - It is, you know as you get older it becomes more and more important to be aware of what’s going on, certainly from my point of view I enjoy what I do so much more now, I look at my work in a very different way, I enjoy it so much, I feel very lucky to do what I do, I'm very lucky to be able to get paid for doing what I love, you know, that’s amazing, ha-ha it’s taken me 49 years to get there! But finally I’m in a great frame of mind in terms of looking at what I do.


Marc - I can certainly vouch for that having watched George DJ for about 12 years now, he the best I’ve ever seen him DJ and you know looks like he’s having a very enjoyable time.


Craig - Well people certainly appreciate what you do and are still coming out in droves to support you guys.


George - Yes, and the thing about dance music is that it is its own cool universe, all over the world, anywhere you go, in the last 2 months I’ve been all over Asia, eastern Europe, I’ve been to Italy, France, Russia, in fact 2 places in Russia and you know, everywhere people are dancing, people are having a good time.


Marc - I think it’s now possible because the scene is regarded as so much more global, which is perhaps part of the reason the English scene has kinda died off a little bit, you can basically go on line and pick up any track, like our track for example ‘Sunshine’ , you can buy it now in any country, 5-10 years ago you would have to wait for it to be released in each individual country, now you can get it on the day it’s released to the world, regardless of where you are on the planet. That has certainly made a big difference to the international scene which I suppose is why you can go anywhere in the world and get a similar reaction to new dance music.

Make sure you only put out something that has heart and soul, then people are going to be excited

Craig - Don’t you think that the immediate availability of music has taken away the excitement that builds up from the anticipation of waiting for a release? You know, in the old days you would have to hunt down a US import before it became available in the UK, the thrill of finding those tracks was just brilliant...


George - Well on the one hand it’s brilliant because a lot more people have got access to be able to make records and create things, the downside of that is that people just copy each other, they do the same thing, so I think from a creative point of view it is really important that you do something that you believe in, you know when i work with Marc on a track I can write Rhubarb, I can write in my sleep but it’s important the lyrics are uplifting, I want it to have a message and that takes time to develop, so I think the important thing is to put out material that is quality and not just doing the obvious, make sure you only put out something that has heart and soul and then people are going to be excited about getting it.


Craig - Yes, well that is interesting; I still miss the excitement that comes from the anticipation of waiting for a release in your home country and I worry that there’s a lot of pressure for artists to get it banged out quickly.


George - Absolutely, I agree; you know back in the day when I first got into music, forget about dance music for a second, as a kid we used to say that we believed there was a wizard behind the curtain, you know there was a kinda magic


Craig - Absolutely


George - And it isn’t really there anymore, everyone knows everything, there’s not the mystery anymore. But things change and unfortunately you can’t go backwards. I think the important thing to do is to make music you’re proud of and that you genuinely care about when you’re being creative. What I’ve learnt is that there’s no panic, I’d rather finish something properly and not rush it and produce something half-baked.


Craig - I think that’s an important message


Marc - It is a bit like that with us, I find I’m always quite eager to get the track down and George is always very patient, takes his time to get the story just right.


George - I don’t just want to put ‘Blar Blar’ on it


Marc - You know ‘Sunshine’ has taken more than 2 years from the moment it was first created to the finished result.


George - That’s like the far side of the moon! Ha-ha


Craig - George, You’re famous for many things including your extravagant hats... How many hats do you own?


George - Well I probably own about 30 but I’ve just ordered like a whole new bunch for the ‘Here and Now’ tour, I start the live tour this Friday and we’re in Manchester on June 26th, so yes, I’ve got about 30 new hats coming which is very exciting, I think they’re coming today! And in all sorts of different colours and I will be sporting them on the road in the next month ha-ha...


Craig - All sorts of colours? George, everybody knows you only wear purple hats...


George - Well no, I do have a few different colours; I had a nice green one on last night, I did a gig called the Blackball with Alicia Keys, Paloma Faith, Beth Ditto and Mark Ronson, It was amazing, Alicia Keys was incredible, beautiful girl, I was very impressed with the whole thing, it’s a great charity.


Craig - Did you raise lots of money?


George - Well not me personally but I believe the event raised a lot of money, it’s the first time I’ve been to one of her events and I was very impressed.

My appetite for drama has greatly diminished

Craig - George, you’ve always been known as a ‘Bad boy of Pop’


George - I’m not bad anymore! Ha-ha Well, I’m a new improved Boy of Pop! Well actually I’m not sure if I’m anything connected to pop these days, I’m not really involved in the world of Pop, I think I have my own little corner which I operate from and I’m happy to do that. But no, those days are definitely over for me, my appetite for drama has greatly diminished.


Craig - I think it’s fair to say you’re an enigma in your own right and you don’t need to be connected to any particular genre however, you’re now working with Mark Ronson, is that your way of perhaps dipping your toe back into the pop world?


George - Yes, Mark Is a good person for me to work with because Mark kinda ‘Gets it’ and he has a real respect for musical history, a lot of young people nowadays can only really experience things in context, you know –‘I don’t get this, it’s not of my era’ attitude. When I was 14 I was listening to Jazz, music from the 20’s and the 30’s and we were like explorers, there wasn’t the same Radio or Music on TV, we didn’t have the internet so we had to go out and look, Mark is someone who has a great respect not only for musical history but also for style and that’s where we clicked, you know when I speak to Mark he’s always asking me questions about certain periods in the 80’s ‘What was this like? You know...


Craig - So you’ve done pretty much everything in your life so far George, any burning ambitions?


Marc - I’m trying to get him to do a parachute jump, he said no fu*kin way!


George - I want to have as much fun as is legally possible!


George - We talked earlier about enjoying what you do, I really just want to have as much fun as I can, and I feel very fortunate, I love what I do and I’m always looking for new ways to express what I’m about, I want to get behind the label and help that to be a success and generally just have as much fun as is legally possible.


Craig - Do you guys have a message for Manchester?


George - Yes, keep it Funky and keep it Sober!


Marc - Yes and keep it RED Manchester!


George - Craig, what team do you support?


Craig - I support Man United...


(George and Marc cheer!)


Marc - I think George likes Vidic


George - Yes, I am a big Vidic fan, in fact in the last big match, really Vidic and Rooney were the only players that did anything. Actually I was really hoping Ryan Giggs would grab a goal and everyone would love him again... there was a thing in the paper that said I was connected to the whole Twitter thing, in fact my comments were very innocuous, and indeed all I said was that it wasn’t anyone’s business except his and his wife’s, however celebrity is a business and perhaps that means that you have a bigger social responsibility to behave. But we are after all only human.

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