Tim Garbutt, DJ/producer
Jez and I met in Harrogate in a club called The Mix. I DJ’d house on Friday, and he played funk and disco on the Saturday. One night, Jez brought a rough copy of What Can You Do for Me on cassette. I played it and the place went mad, so we began working together.
As with all Utah Saints tracks, the tune for Something Good was written before we decided on any samples. It’s generally easier to build tracks the other way around, but our back-to-front method meant any borrowings were used in a different context rather than taking someone else’s creativity, and making it the essence of our track.
For Something Good we recycled a line from Kate Bush’s 1985 hit Cloudbusting. We are super honoured that we’re the only act she has officially cleared a sample for and we hope it’s because we created something new out of her singing. We used it in such a way that Something Good stood up as a song in its own right. We still see tweets now from people who hadn’t realised it was Kate Bush on the track. She is such an enigma, superstar and an all-round great person. We did send her a letter to say thank you, but I’m not sure if she ever saw it.
The song was made on limited equipment – old Akai samplers and Atari computers – and saved on to floppy disks. It took more than two weeks of fine tuning to make it all work.
We were buzzing when the track was used over the highlights of the ’92 Barcelona Olympics coverage by the BBC: you don’t forget moments like that. When we performed it on Top of the Pops, health and safety powered down my mixer during the recording – they were set up for a lead guitarist, not a lead DJ, and I had to work fast to make our performance look natural. Luckily, I was spending eight hours a day practising. It was one of six times the show had us on.
After the first album we spent a lot of time touring, and doing remixes for lots of different acts, from Blondie and the Osmonds to Hawkwind. We were about to start recording another LP, but then got a call to do the Zooropa stadium shows with U2, so we went off and did that. And then a load more shows after that.
That’s why the gap between our first and second albums was a long one. Not as long as the gap before our next one, though. We’re working on tracks now.
Jez Willis, producer/DJ
Tim and I had been DJing since school. He was way cooler, becoming a DMC World DJ finalist when he was 17. He’s still that good now. We always wanted to do music full-time, but never expected hits – we just tried to make interesting tunes that we thought were good.
As a DJ, you constantly think about which tracks work together, and that helped when choosing samples. The Kate Bush vocal came straight off the CD. Hardware in 1992 was very basic, and getting all the elements to sync was tricky. We had to pitch-bend the first part of Kate’s vocal to keep it in time, which is why it goes “oo-oo-aye”.
We threw the kitchen sink at Something Good. There was so much happening, and Guy Hatton, the ace studio engineer mixing it, managed to keep everything together.
Pete Tong was our A&R man at the time, and we were lucky to have such a legend in our corner. He would always input something really helpful, and was confident in Something Good being a hit – in fact, the whole record company thought it was a No 1, which it would have been if it had come out earlier or later that year, based on how much it was selling [the single got to No 4].
When it was rereleased in 2008 we had to rebuild everything on the original track from scratch, and then send it to Van She Tech, the remixers in Australia. We then finished it on a laptop in our Leeds studio. It still has the DIY elements, and when it became Radio 1’s most played track of that year, we were really honoured. Just as we were when it was recently voted the ultimate Ministry of Sound track.
Our music has been used on a number of soundtracks, everything from Mortal Kombat to FIFA to Ridley Scott’s Raised By Wolves. Recently, Olly Alexander from Years and Years posted a video of him hula-hooping to Something Good, which was amazing. What a legend!