Ltd 300 Copies En-To-End 7" Money Talks Mood Mix / Are You Gonna Be Nite Mix
En-To-End 'Money Talks Mood Mix / Are You Gonna Be Nite Mix' 7"
A limited edition release from North London duo En-To-End with a run of 300 copies. These Mixes are exclusive to this 7" release and are not available elsewhere.
The first release from North London duo En-To-End on Backatcha. Last Sunday, lead singer Tony Shand and keyboardist David Henriques spoke about the early days of the band and their music.
Tony: We went to the same secondary school. Bishop’s Stopford in Enfield, North London.
What were you listening to music-wise at school? What was it like? All Top Of The Pops or imports in record shops?
Tony: I remember the third year of secondary, me taking my little square cassette thing, connecting it up to the speakers in the chemistry lab because they had a projector which had a big speaker (laughing). So I connected it up to the projector and I used to play my music through it and it’d come out louder through the speaker and the camera. And I do remember that was the first time me and Dave connected because we were listening to reggae and soul which wasn’t what most of the people at that school were listening to. Everything else was pop music, but it was in the third year of school I sort of remember connecting with Dave, because we were listening to the same stuff, reggae, soul. R&B, disco... so yeah, that’s when we first connected.
And Dave, you were playing music in church, is that right? Because you were on that COGIC album.
Dave: Yeah... yeah, I was playing keyboards in church. We used to play every Sunday, we had the church band there and that was mostly that... what was on that COGIC album.
Are you self-taught, then, music-wise?
Dave: Yeah, well you know, when I was little... when I was a kid I had the old piano lessons. We weren’t really interested in it but you know, (we) sort of had to go. But that was my interest, playing music, but what I was getting taught was not really what I wanted to play, so I worked on playing what I liked.
So when did you start thinking, 'I want to make some of this and record?' Was it with COGIC or were you already thinking 'yeah, I've got a drum machine and a 4-track... I want to make beats sort of thing...' I mean you wouldn’t have said beats back then but you know... ’make a track’.
Dave: Yeah, yeah! Well we were sort of making beats... just with different equipment if you want. Yeah, we were doing it the long way ‘round. We were having fun with it and just making music. Not sort of thinking, ‘we’re gonna do this particular thing with it’ or ‘this is gonna happen’. You know, we just liked making music.
When the mastering engineer was cutting the ’Are You Gonna Be’ instrumental, he said “that’s my favourite track out of all these. Sounds like Davy DMX!” (All laughing). You were in Tuccedo, were you singing or a keys player?
Dave: Yeah, I was a keys player and just really did much of what I did with Tony, cos er... just really making some music.
And the producer was Paul ‘Tubbs’ Williams from Incognito, is that right?
Dave: Maybe he was (in Incognito), but he was mostly with Light Of The World and then became Beggar & Co. Yeah, he produced that.
So did you do the music?
Dave: Well I wrote the music for that Tuccedo track and the lyrics were written by the singer, so that was really all we did. So mainly working with Tony, I was making the music the same way as I was with Tuccedo and Tony was writing.
So something like ‘Confuzzion’, would you go into the studio with pre-programmed material or you just went in and built on the spot?
Dave: Pretty much (laughing)
Tony: Spontaneous... ‘Confuzzion’, as I said the original, not even the lyrics, the music... I wrote the lyrics to some tape made by some guy I met in Southend.
Who was that?
Tony: I can’t remember his name for love or money. All I know is he gave me a tape with about seven tracks on it. I found some other tapes yesterday, I’ll put ‘em all aside for you. I wrote some lyrics for it and he didn’t wanna get involved so I thought well, I still wanna do it. So I called Dave cos I knew he was in a band because I met him on a gig a few months before.
So was that sound completely different on the tape?
Tony: Completely different, it was that guy's music and me trying to put lyrics to it. But when it come to going in the studio with Dave, I just wanted something completely different so this guy in the future wouldn’t say ‘Oh that’s my song’, so I didn’t want to use any of his music. So that’s why the original of it is completely different to what me and Dave created.
I know you’re into records. Did you ever DJ or were you in sound systems?
Dave: I wasn’t but you DJ’d (turning to Tony).
Tony: I DJ’d for a few years when I was working at WKD.
Oh okay, so not in the early days.
Tony: In the early days I was clubbing, mate, I was clubbing hard.
What were the clubs? What were the spots?
Tony: First one I went to was The Royalty in Southgate where I met Roy Ayers... Light Of The World... You used to listen to DJs Froggy, Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Ian Redding and then I followed Froggy to a club called Zero 6 in Southend. We used to go there most weeks and that was where I met this guy who had the tapes, because they were just playing the music we wanted to hear and we could just go there and dance our arses off.
Do you remember the Q-Club with Count Suckle? Before your time but...
Tony: I remember the Q Club but I never went there. But I do remember the name.
How about Crackers?
Tony: Yeah, I went there. The first few times was alright but after a while we lost interest. See, they’d often be a stand-off between two dancers on the floor and at first this was exciting like ‘ok, this is cool’, but then after a while we got fed up with it. They’d take up the whole dance floor and people were just standing there watching. It got boring because everybody wanted to dance and there were a lot of people that took themselves a bit seriously on the dance floor but we just wanted to have fun and do our thing so we ended up going elsewhere.
Outside of the clubs, what radio stations were you listening to?
Tony: I used to listed to Solar Radio
Dave: Yeah, Solar Radio
Tony: And Robbie Vincent, Saturday morning, he used to have a show. Greg Edwards, that’s another place... I used to go to the Lyceum Ballroom for Capital Radio’s ‘Best Disco In Town’... Greg Edwards! (laughing). I’ve actually got a picture of me and him together, I’ve got that somewhere, I found that the other day.
You mentioned Soul Mafia clique and all that, were there many black DJs you were listening to at that time? Not reggae, but specifically soul and boogie guys playing?
Dave: Yeah, Paul Anderson.
Tony: Nah... see when I first started off, I remember going to clubs and seeing some geezer on the dance floor just completely stopping the crowd. I found out that was Paul ‘Trouble’ Anderson and he went on to start doing Djing. I used to listen to him but not so much, because he wasn’t... you had to dig deep to find these DJs and most of the DJs... there wasn’t many black DJs about in those days at all.
Dave: ...No there wasn’t, no.
Tony: There wasn’t. When I was first clubbing there weren’t any.
Do you remember when Kiss first started in the mid-80s?
Tony: I do because I was working in Music Power and the managers were on the radio. You know Nick Power I told you about who was manager of Intrigue? Plus the other manager called H, they were both good DJs on Kiss. They were with Kiss when it first started. It was on Holloway Road.
Sean P mentioned a DJ on Kiss called Greeny as one of the DJs that was streets ahead with the rare groove selection. Do you remember him?
Tony: Nah mate... cos to tell you the truth, I suppose ‘cos Nick was on it, I didn’t listen to Kiss (laughing). I got their stickers and all that. That’s it! I remember when they first started... Aid, you know that rap track that you’ve got?
What, ‘Respect Due’?
Tony: That’s the one, Kiss were holding a competition and I wrote that and sent it to them. I think I came second apparently. I went back up to Luton to record it. So yeah, I didn’t listen to Kiss. I was basically listening to the records I was buying and making mixtapes, you know. Every now and then I’d turn the radio on if you knew there was a good show on but apart from that, I’d just listen to my own records.
You were talking about Music Power and ‘Let Sleeping Dogs Lie’ and ‘Like The Way You Do It’. Did you have anything to do with those two?
Tony: Nah, the first track and the second track they did (Intrigue), I was just on stage with ‘em singing backing vocals and doing the dance routine. I think the second track, for some reason... I knew from then... the manager wouldn’t let me go into the recording studio, so I thought, ‘okay, I’m not really part of this. I wasn’t singing on anything so I just carried on doing the dance routines with them. It’s only when we changed management that I wrote a couple of songs for them, then I felt like part of the band I suppose.
And that was ‘Heaven Made’ and ‘Ropes’?
Tony: ‘Heaven Made’ and ‘Ropes’ yeah.
So jumping forward, when you did that rap track ‘Everybody’s Singing’ and you sampled the ‘Love Controversy’ by Loose Ends... How big a deal were Loose Ends for you guys? Especially with everyone nowadays tagging this whole street soul thing. At that time, what other bands did you rate that were putting out stuff themselves? I mean Loose Ends were major artists already but was there anyone in the scene in the same place as you?
Tony: Soul II Soul had a big influence on me.
Dave: Yeah... Soul II Soul were sort of the leaders of that time.
Tony: Yeah, I know those bands before them like Second Image and who else was there... and Hi-Tension!
Do you remember The Cool Notes?
Tony: Yeah, we used to travel... when we were in Intrigue, we used to do a lot of gigs with the Cool Notes. I think Intrigue’s management must have something to do with their’s as well, we always seemed to be doing the same PAs.
Tell Me About that unreleased track ‘I Still Love You’...
Tony: Well, you played the finished copy to me... I was saying to you, this is something I’ve found that I wrote for Intrigue and you already had the finished edition of it. And then I gave you that other cassette with them demos that I wrote for Intrigue didn’t I? I didn’t realise I’d written that many songs for them, it’s only when I heard them. I was explaining to Dave, I remember the sessions when I was writing those. We were all supposed to be meeting up for a gig and two of the band members didn’t turn up so I just got Larry to sing the songs that I wrote for myself and that’s how those have come out.
And that was you singing on there too?
Tony: That’s Larry singing and I’m on backing vocals. There’s a line on there that goes ‘liiiiine!’ That’s me! (laughing) The main vocals are Larry, I’m singing backing vocals.
I keep seeing people tag the music as ‘street soul’ but when you was putting this stuff out from ’87 to ’92, were you using that term much or was it just people making stuff independently and putting it out because that was the only way to do it?
Dave: I think things just get tagged with something don’t they. That’s what that sound was. It was probably American influenced but done in a UK way. It always had that UK flavour so you couldn’t call it whatever it was before, it had to have a new name.
Tony: Yeah, I remember when we spoke about this. Remember the answer I gave you that we didn’t label it? We just called it music and as David was saying there, he’s confirming what I said really.
Right, and what producers were you into at the time Dave? As a producer for En-To-End, who were you checking for?
Dave: Well we had producers behind artists like Luther Vandross and Chaka Khan. Arif Mardin produced a couple of Chaka Khan things. Producers like that, sort of like the big things that were out there, the sounds they were producing, those were the things you looked to and you kinda aspired to that sort of production, because we’re always looking towards the American market. So I don’t think the big name producers were really around in the UK like that. Although they were producing some good stuff here, it just wasn’t that big marketable thing.
What about PAs? You mentioned one in East London before. Did you guys do more?
Tony: (laughing) Well Dave completely forgot.
Dave: I don’t really remember much of the ‘eighties (laughing).
Tony: I had to remind him about it. It was my brother a couple of months ago... ‘yeah, you did a few PAs you know’, ’cos to tell you truth I completely forgot as well. Until my brother reminded me we’d done a PA... you know that rap track I was telling you about?
Dave’s rhymes on ‘Changes’?
Tony: ’Never Change’ yeah. We'd done a PA in some club in Ilford. All I remember is me and Dave being on some great big dance floor and a whole great big crowd ‘round us. I remember thinking ‘come closer, come closer, there’s too much space between us!’ (laughing) You know, because I didn’t know what to do, but the other PAs I just can’t remember doing, but my brother does.
Dave: And even if we can remember doing a PA, we can never tell you where it was, which club it was in... you know.
What sort of reception would you get at that time? I remember seeing homegrown artists doing PAs back then and often people would get a good reception but generally it was...
Tony: Generally it was like (does a slow handclap impression) but we didn’t get that. If we got that I would’ve remembered it... we got a nice little reception. See, something’s just come back to me now... I do remember doing a PA for the track ‘Are You Gonna Be’. It was a reggae club somewhere in East London and that went down very well.
You mentioned your brother. He did all the artwork and logos. Everything was pretty much DIY. Did you even stamp the labels down at Jet Star?
Tony: No, Jet Star stamped the labels for us. That’s why they kept getting the name wrong mate.
So did they take care of the pressing?
Tony: No, with the first 7”, with the TS Records (logo) on it, I'd done that out of my own pocket. I went to the pressing plant that was just down the road somewhere and got the labels done. I remember going and picking up the finished records, putting them in the back of my car thinking, ‘woohaaaay! I’ve made a record.’ And then because I wasn’t into the music business and didn’t know who to contact, I remember going into Jet Star with it, playing it to him and he sort of liked it, and he said, ‘can you make a club version?’. That’s when we went and did the club version and Jet Star went on from there. Every time I wanted to go in the studio I’d say, ‘Mr Palmer, I wanna go and make a record’ and luckily for us, he’d say 'yeah, go on then'. All the tracks we made were done in two sessions. I can’t remember doing them in more than three. The first time we’d go in, we’d sit there, I’d sort of have something running through my head... I'd have a drum and bass (line) and then Dave would start playing it and I’d start hearing Dave playing some chords in the background and it’s like ‘Ah!’ Once he’s playing the chords I’m starting to think of lyrics and then I’ll start writing something and then Dave would come out with something else. So we’d lay hi-hats, drum beat, Dave would put a bass line down.
Dave: The thing is, we only had so much studio time. It’s not like now where you can just do what you want. You had to book your time and then use your time wisely.
Tony: ...very wisely (laughing) So yeah, all those tracks were made in less than 24 hours.
How many copies did you press of say Confuzzion on 7”?
Tony: Maybe 500.
Right, and what was the reception like? Obviously you had somewhere to sell it but I mean did you ever hear people playing it on the radio in say Birmingham, or Manchester, or around the country on the pirates?
Dave: We didn’t get that kind of feedback.
Tony: I’ll be honest, I didn’t hear it being played once, that’s why when you come forward... when Dave called me and said someone’s interested in our music what was the first thing I said to you? (looking at Dave) I said 'why?' (laughing). No one had heard of us, we weren’t a known band, we were under the radar.
Well.. not anymore.
Now is its time... And what do you think of that in terms of the response now?
Dave: It’s nice to know that it’s appreciated by even just a few enthusiasts. You know, people that enjoy that type of music. So yeah, it’s gratifying to know that people still enjoy it.
Tony: I don’t know how Dave looks at it but my way of... I said to Dave, when you gave me those records and I had a look at them and I saw our names on them, it was like ‘wow, after all these years look at this, we’ve got a record that people want to buy’ and that was my happy place. To me, anything extra is a bonus.
Dave: Yeah, it’s a bit of a buzz knowing people want to own that physical vinyl.
So working at WKD Tone, were you working as a promoter or actually as a bar manager or something like that?
Tony: I started off as a bar manager because I knew one of the managers. He had a Tuesday night that was doing absolutely rubbish and he said to me ‘do you want to try something on Tuesday night?’. So I started a Jazz night and got a house band to start off with. Then I put out an ad for bands to send in their tapes if they want to do a night, set out a deal for the door for them and I run that for a couple of years. We got quite a few nice bands in. I worked the bar there and DJ’d on Saturday nights and sometimes Fridays and yeah, that was my form of income at the time.
Is that where you got musicians too for the records like ‘You Could Never Change’?
Tony: WKD used to host an open mic on Sunday nights and the guy that sings on that track, he used to sing on the open mic, plus Bryan Chambers, he used to do the open mic night as well.
Right, ‘Gotta Get Away’?
Tony: Yes, it was his first record. He cut that with me which made his career (laughing). It’s funny, I went up to Southport, going into the soul stage and seeing Bryan Chambers on stage singing our song and he sort of looked down on me and I looked up at him and sort of thought ‘What the f*ck are you doing?!’ (laughing)... you know, it’s his PA and he’s singing it. That was the first ever song that he’s cut and he’s gone on to to make a good career singing ever since. I’m not bitter (laughing!) “Yer F*cker, What you doing on stage with my song...?!” (laughing)
Tony: That’s what all the En-To-End tracks were written on (Holding up a Fostex 4-track cassette player), I’m surprised I found it!
What were you using Dave for the drums and the keys? What equipment?
Dave: 808... it’s just got a certain sound, a D-X 7 keyboard and I also had a Fender Rhodes.
The song ‘We Can Work It Out’ was called ‘Nothing’s Happening’ on the master tapes. There’s a couple of different intros... that’s a wicked introduction. It reminds me of going to the cinema and seeing a big old Dolby Odeon thing.
Tony: One of the versions with a guitar playing, we didn’t have much on the original and one of the versions has got that guitar playing all the way through. I really do like that version. I remember the guy coming in and playing the guitar but we didn’t use a lot of his stuff because time was short so we just went on what we visualised.
En-To-End, Interviewed on 4 April 2021.