Terry Farley is putting out a new track? I’m in.
And Harry Dennis is doing the vocals? Wow. Nice.
And Black Science Orchestra reunite to handle the remixes?
Lord! Have mercy…
The Spaces Between is a collaboration between Terry Farley (Heller & Farley, Boys Own, and many more credits over the years), Wade Teo and Club Chi’ll Records’ Ian Snowball. As it happened, Terry compiled a list of the names of jazz artists they wanted to honor in the track, emailed it to Chicago house pioneer Harry Dennis, and “Ghosts” materialized into the world.
‘There’s never a master plan. The good and great stuff always evolve naturally, I think.’ — Terry Farley
Jo Wallace’s F*CLR label released “Ghosts” and put together an astonishing package of remixes from what Ashley Beedle dubs the “sixth incarnation” of the legendary Black Science Orchestra project with co-founder Rob Mello and a new member, Darren Morris. There’s a lot of reverberations here, what with so many of BSO’s signature tracks released on Junior Boy’s Own, including “Where Were You,” “Strong,” “New Jersey Deep,” “Save U,” Walter’s Room LP and more.
If “Ghosts” were a movie poster you’d run out of room for superlatives. What kind of track brought them all back together? It must be something. We dove into the story of “Ghosts” with Terry Farley and Ashley Beedle just after it’s release.
Terry, when did the project get underway? Was it just mucking around or was there a master plan in place from the start?
Terry: There’s never a master plan. The good and great stuff always evolve naturally, I think. Ian Snowball had previously put out Jungle Wonz “Human Condition,” perhaps my fave tune of 2020. This was allegedly a long lost, unreleased tape that Marshall Jefferson found in his mother’s garage! I’m not sure if Harry Dennis was already on the track or was added recently but I was buzzing about the record. I had the idea that it would be amazing if Harry could do something with us if we collaborated as he’s on every house producer’s bucket list.
What is the meaning behind “Ghosts”? I think we all have ghosts, some friendly and some not so friendly. Whose ghosts are these?
Terry: The “ghosts” in this case are the musical heritage that guides us, influences us and makes us realise just how high the bar was set by these great in the lyrics; a bar we simply can’t pretend to reach but one we can pay homage to.
Were the words from Harry, or from you, or a combination of both? Sounds like he’s channeling the Holy Ghost.
Terry: The idea for the lyric subject matter was ours but Harry nailed it perfectly, almost straight away. Those Jungle Wonz records really are foundation stones for the house culture and to be involved in this project really was an honor.
I’m getting used to everyone sending out sad songs or noodling ambient music they made during the pandemic and here you made something that makes you want to jump up and knock over chairs and dance on tables like Flashdance. Where did that spirit come from?
Terry: It’s an uplifting but sombre homage and I’d like to think it’s a “5 am eyes closed” rather than “dancing on a table — it’s 1988” record.
Ashley: I think the spirit within the track and the lyrics are where the energy comes from and the original composition with its nod towards a classic Chicago house record. What’s not to like? The incessant jazz flavored vibe with Harry’s hypnotic vocal delivery over the top? You can dance how you want – it will move you.
Ashley, how did you know it was time to pull out the Black Science Orchestra moniker? Did this project inspire it or was it happening independent of “Ghosts”?
Ashley: The reformation of the sixth incarnation of the Black Science Orchestra with co-founder, Rob Mello and new member, Darren Morris was already underway with productions and remixes before The Spaces Between project came along via Snowy and Jo Wallace’s F*CLR Records.
‘The molecules are colliding, and we’ve already laid down the foundations of 4 to 5 new tracks with amazing collabs.’ — Ashley Beedle
However, it was perfect timing as “Ghosts” came along at exactly the right time for our schedules and the track was such a good fit for Black Science Orchestra. It was a pleasure working with Terry again too – it reinforced the Junior Boys Own connection which is where BSO started back in 1992. In addition to Terry, it was great to work with the additional members of The Spaces Between, Ian ‘Snowy’ Snowball and Wade Teo.
On that subject, Terry, When people see the names Terry Farley and Black Science Orchestra together, they’re thinking “Junior Boy’s Own” and all the great records like “New Jersey Deep” and “Where Were You?” Does this project lead to something more? I notice that there is merch for example at boysownproductions.com. Are you putting “the band” back together again?
Terry: Sadly no — Junior Boys Own as a working label has finished. We had our time and I like to think that all the guys involved contributed to the global house scene — Steve Hall (label manager/co-owner), Ashley Beedle, X-Press 2, Pete Heller, Underworld, Chemical Brothers, Ballistic Brothers and Black Science Orchestra. They were just UK lads starting out and who all, I hope, had a great time on the label. We still do “family” parties for our core crew and produce JBO merchandise.
Ashley, same question about JBO, but also BSO. Neither you nor Terry seem like particularly “nostalgic” artists but here you are, stepping back into an old suit, creating new relationships out of an old one. Is there more to come from Black Science Orchestra?
Ashley: Black Science Orchestra were “active” between 1992 and 2004. We didn’t stop at “New Jersey Deep” and it was only professional commitments that prevented Rob Mello and I from continuing working together as Black Science Orchestra.
But in 2020, the idea of reviving BSO was floated and we both had spaces in our diaries and were creatively excited to bring the Black Science Orchestra sound full circle!! Then the “Ghosts” project came along via Snowy and F*CLR Records and I was approached to consider a remix for the track which immediately got my Black Science hat on after listening through it. This EP galvanised Rob and I into action and we inducted Darren Morris from North Street West studios to become the third member in the sixth incarnation of BSO.
The molecules are colliding, and we’ve already laid down the foundations of 4 to 5 new tracks with amazing collabs with artists from around the world. Who knows — maybe lots of EPs or an LP? You’ll have to wait and see.
What I do know is that the spirit of the first Black Science Orchestra resonates as strongly today as it did on the first release of “Where Were You.” It’s all about flipping the script and keeping it interesting for the listener.
Aside from all of us being older, what’s the difference between working together then and now?
Ashley: Nothing apart from the speed at which technology can deliver the results. What might have taken weeks back in the day, can be presented in a matter of days. The respect and knowledge are still there and the legacy that Junior Boys Own laid down continues through releases like “Ghosts.” Long may it continue.
Terry: I think nowadays, you get to hear the mixes/tracks as they develop as opposed to getting a TDK cassette brought into the JBO office the day after the lads had finished in the studio. Luckily, we loved everything Ash did with the BSO, X-Press 2 and Ballistic Brothers, and so did everyone else. At Junior Boys Own, we caught a wave back then and rode it as well and as long as we could. I kinda loved the idea of going in a studio with two days booked with nothing else but ideas and a bag of records. When Pete & me did remixes for American labels, we would send the DATS off in the post and wait a week to hear if they liked it. Nowadays, we got Harry Dennis receiving our track and sending back with his vocal within 12 hours. That’s HOUSE!