Money was a side project of Saul, Dave, Mark and Jim in the late 1990s. Michael Kulas was also involved.
During the Whiplash sessions at Dave’s house in Wales, the guys began to experiment with dance music and Money was the result of this.
There was no official release of any material, but there was a four-song demo distributed at the NXNE Music Festival in Toronto in June 1998, where Money made their live debut and only performance to date.
The first song on the demo was BIKER, a repetitive beat with a male voice fed through a voice distortion machine. In parts it’s slightly reminiscent of ‘Born Slippy’, but it is a million miles away from James.
ALRIGHT heads off in a more conventional trip-hop direction with male voice and female backing vocals. My guess is that it is Saul singing and his voice doesn’t sound half bad.
The Dolly Parton standard JOLENE is covered as the third track here and is the standout track on the demo. It definitely has commercial potential as well with a mainly female vocal, perhaps one of the vaunted leather-clad Money girls, with a male rap later in the song.
The final track RUSH PUSH CASH is sadly a bit of a cop-out as it samples Come Home as if we hadn’t heard enough versions of it already as Money cover a Yargo track. Vocals are limited to mostly repeating the song title.
Whilst as a demo, it is interesting, it’s difficult to see exactly what audience Money would appeal to. The James connection immediately makes them unhip with hard-core dance fans and its not out-and-out techno. Most James fans will probably dismiss it out of hand as there is no obvious connection back despite the people involved.
Interesting, but not essential.
James Side Project, Money, to Premiere in Canada
Three of the members of the British pop group, James have been creating music of their own recently and have only just put a tag on the project, calling themselves Money. The group, consisting of Saul Davies on vocals, guitar, violin, effects and loops, Mark Hunter on keys and David Baynton-Power on drums and drum machine, described themselves as “banging underground techno and trance,” in the April 1997 issue of Chart magazine. At times including fellow James member, bassist Jim Glennie, Money has a revolving cast of vocalists and doesn’t necessarily represent one kind of music style. Glennie says, “We want to set up an organization that we can do various things under. We’d love to be in different bands, bands that people don’t know who is in it. It’s all about having fun with this, getting a name and an identity and playing the game.”
Well, the name the group settled on was Money (PVC was another choice), and the only North American appearance slated so far for this innovative trio is Thursday, June 12th at Lee’s Palace as part of the North By Northeast showcase and conference. This will be Money’s first live appearance ever and possibly the only show it can fit into the James touring schedule that will take them across North America with Lollapalooza this summer.
James turns out electronic Money in Toronto By Karen Bliss, Jam! Music
Four members of James are in the money, so to speak. Make that Money, a currency of a different sort, the electronic offshoot of the British pop group, which makes its worldwide debut in Toronto tonight at Lee’s Palace at 1 a.m., as part of the North By Northeast festival.
“The songs are completely techno,” says James guitarist, violinist and percussion Saul Davies, who sings lead vocals and plays guitar and some keyboards in Money. James drummer David Baynton handles mixing and sampler; keyboardist Mark Hunter sticks to keys and computer, and bassist Jim Glennie plays keys, bass and backing vocals.
“The whole sound of what we’re doing is fairly aggressive,” says Davies, on the phone from Foel studios in Wales where Money has been rehearsing for the gig. “In a very strange way, it’s a bit like a James show. It goes from being very gentle, although very groovy, to being absolutely brutal.”
James was scheduled to perform at Toronto’s Warehouse last night, but lead singer Tim Booth’s neck injury several weeks ago forced the cancellation of the entire tour. Davies says Money had tentatively agreed to perform at North By Northeast, since James was supposed to be in town anyway and James sideman, Canadian Michael Kulas was also showcasing as a solo artist at the festival.
“That cemented it,” says Davies. “This a really big test for us because we’ve never played live before and to play this music live is really difficult. We’re throwing ourselves completely in the deep end with this. In some ways, we feel like it’s not a style of music that we’re even qualified to make. We play in a rock band and we’ve certainly got it into our heads that we can do this, but I think that we’ve surprised ourselves by what we’ve been able to achieve.”
That holds especially true for Davies, who reveals he’s never fronted a band before. “I’m incredibly scared, but it’s really good fun,” he says, adding that Money will be mixing man and machine in its live performance.
“Most techno bands will just use samples or sequencers to get all their sounds. What we’ve done is generated a lot of the sounds ourselves. And we’re in the process of relearning those parts so we can play them live, so it’s going to be a mixture of live playing and sequencers, and a lot of live keyboards as well,” he says.
Money has already self-produced and mixed nine songs, and has just purchased a digital machine in which to continue writing and recording while on the road with James. And since the album is “ready to go” as Davies says, the band’s hoping to have an album out by February.
“That’s one of the other reasons for doing this show,” adds Davies. It’s a really good time and a good excuse for us to do a showcase gig for business people. The James schedule, the last few months, have been so tough that we’ve had only had a little bit of time to do this. We’ve had odd weeks that we can grab during the schedule of James. But we’re hoping to be able to do both.”
James has just shot a video in Spain for the third single, “Waltzing Along” (which was rearranged and rerecorded with Kulas on backing vocals). With Booth’s imminent recovery, the band will honour its commitment to Britain’s massive Glastonbury festival and the Lollapallooza tour, which hits Toronto July 4.
James won’t take a break until late summer, but when it does Davies is working on a tour for Money, which would include Toronto, New York (for the CMJ conference), Philadelphia, Washington and other neighbouring cities.
“James takes up so much of our time, but we’re determined to use the time out of that to completely dedicate to this. We’re looking to release a single in the late summer or fall. As yet, whether it will be through an independent or a major, we’re not sure. We have to see how the business develops in the next three to four weeks.”