IN THE MIX
GARY ASQUITH – RENEGADE SOUNDWAVE
When I was growing up my brother was into soul, like Tamla, so I’d hear that around the house. He did venture off into other stuff too like the Rolling Stones. And then he brought reggae into the home too, so I’d hear that music a lot. When I was a bit older the music that impressed me was Bolan, Bowie and Roxy Music. And then the punk thing happened, and I was fortunate to have been at the right sort of age for that.
I had some friends that were in a band called The Models and I’d go and watch them at clubs like the Roxy and the Marquee. Another friend of mine was Marco Pirroni, who went on to be in Adam and the Ants.
Mick Allen, who was in the Models told me that he was leaving them and he asked me to join a band with him. This became Rema-Rema and this also included Marco. This happened around the time of post-punk and we got a record deal with 4AD.
The name Rema-Rema doesn’t really mean anything. We took it from the name of a factory that we used to pass on our way into London on the A40.
On 1st March, a double album of Rema-Rema being released and its title is Fond Reflections. This is made up of a load of demos that we did back in 1978/79. It’s all stuff that no one has ever heard before and this being put out by 4AD. The album will be available in both vinyl and CD.
After Rema-Rema split up Renegade Soundwave was formed
I collided with the electronic sounding stuff and the early house music scene. Renegade Soundwave was formed with myself, Danny Brittet and Carl Bonnie, this was in 1986.
I had a girlfriend in New York and she was responsible for booking the acts in the Danceteria Club. She booked us and we played there a couple of times.
Run DMC were in the crowd,
New York was banging at the time
There was always something going on and I recall being invited to a party for Divine one night. Another night there’d be New Order and then there’d be Marc Almond.
Going into the later 80’s the Renegades changed our sound. This was due to falling in with sampling. Our first album was like a collection of all our favourite records. We had a really good producer called Flood that helped us make it work. We released Soundclash in 1989 and this was followed by In Dub, which I played again recently, really loud and it sounded really good. I had forgotten how good it sounded, but at the time I was living it and didn’t really notice it.
That period was also really good, but it lost a lot of its impetus once the underground element got lost and the newspapers, like the Sun, got hold of it. It was the same sort of thing that happened with punk, it was underground and then suddenly everyone was a punk rocker, but for all the wrong reasons. I think this happened with the Acid House thing.
When Renegade Soundwave started, we did it with all the right intentions and it felt like we were a hop and skip in front of everyone else. We were sampling and making sounds that no one else was doing. We sampled something from the Warriors called ‘Good News Boppers’ etc on Ozone Breakdown. This was because at the time of making the record I was actually watching the film, told Carl and the next thing it was in the song.
Later on people like the Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers kind of caught up and did the same. The Renegades were included on both the Chemicals and Prodigy‘s albums. Thunder was on the Chemicals’ Brother’s Gonna Work It Out and Ozone Breakdown was on the Dirtchamber Sessions Vol.1.
Around 1990 we did a tour in America with Derrick May, he was our support.
We continued until 1995. By this time the scene had changed. There personality clashes in The Renegades. We started out as a three-piece but the last two albums were only me and Danny.
As a three-piece we’d always been a bit argumentative and difficult but then instead of falling out with everyone else we fell out amongst ourselves and eventually we just stopped being a band. I look back fondly on the Renegade Soundwave, admittedly the first half of it though. I really like the first two albums but can sort of remove from the last ones. But on the whole it was a really memorable time.’