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Brand New Heavies

October 2008

WHERE have they been? We last heard from the Brand New Heavies eight years ago when they played the Royal Concert Hall. But since then the Brit soul band, who had hits with Dream On Dreamer and Midnight At The Oasis during the Acid Jazz boom of the early nineties, have been under the radar.
"We were with a major label, our contract came to a head so we parted company," says guitarist Simon Bartholomew, simply.
"Since then we've still been working and recording and stuff but with just a different amount of advertising behind us basically."
Such as?
"We did a five week tour of America last year with Macy Gray. She's quite crackers. We had a few long late nights dancing around and stuff.
"We went to Japan. We played at the Grand Prix in Singapore. We've just played in Bermuda. So there's a lot of shaking going on."
Another recent project is soundtracking a TV ad for Lancome's new women's fragrance Magnifique, for which they've covered Cole Porter's C'est Magnifique.
"I did the most embarrassing thing I've ever done on a video. We were messing around on this video shoot and I did this really stupid dance for about three seconds. And they put it in the video."
BNH formed in London in the mid-eighties under the influence of James Brown.
"We supported him at Wembley once," he says.
"We were soundchecking and James Brown arrives for his soundcheck and he's dressed in this amazing olive green suit with a sort of Kentucky Fried Chicken tie. And we jammed in front of him. He was like 'you guys sound great'. It was mindblowing for us because he basically invented funk.
"Then he tried to poach our horn players. Crafty."
With Jamiroquai and Galliano they led the Acid Jazz charge but underwent numerous line-up changes – always the singer. For their hit period they were fronted by N'Dea, who has rejoined the band for a new assault on their home turf.
"It's good to be back" he says.
"Hopefully new fans will come along."
Having a song on the Happy Feet movie soundtrack may help.
"There's a little penguin doll and you push the button and it sings the song. My mum was dead proud," he laughs.
" I used to come up to Nottingham to DJ at a club called Hot Butter at Beatroot. It was really good. I was playing really serious funk and then this guy would go on and play The Monkees and everyone would go mad. It was quite funny."

Brand New Heavies play the Rescue Rooms on Sunday October 19

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