FILA BRAZILIA's STEVE COBBY with ALEX ROBBINS at Roxy Blu (12 Brant), tonight (Thursday, August 30). $15-$20. 416-368-6839.
They might have seven albums of original rockers to their name, but spaced-out slow funk duo Fila Brazilia have made their considerable reputation on remixes.
In over a decade of work, the Kingston-Upon-Hull twosome of Steve Cobby and Dave McSherry have reworked dozens of tracks including cuts by Radiohead, Busta Rhymes, the Orb, Greg Dulli and Baaba Maal. Until now, though, Fila Brazilia have never sanctioned a remix of one of their own tracks.
In support of their forthcoming Dump Leads disc, the duo finally permitted friends like Richard Dorfmeister and Ashley Beedle to have a go at one of their tunes. It might seem like an obvious step to take, but Cobby's still not convinced they've done the right thing.
"It's a strange situation to be in," he offers in a rare interview from his Hull bunker. "Despite our work on other people's tracks, we've always had a very finite approach to our own music. We used to destroy master tapes after the record was done, and always considered the finished album as the archive.
"We have so many friends who do remixes, though, that we just got tired of saying no. So far, the experience has been weird. I'm happy with what's been done, but I also like my versions. I'm not sure whether we'll do it again."
Part of the change in tack has to do with Fila Brazilia leaving their longtime home of Pork records and starting up their own label. As the only artists on their 23 Records imprint -- www.23online.co.uk -- Cobby and McSherry have the freedom to do whatever they want, whether it's hiring a six-piece band to play their slow-rolling funk live, putting together a best-of collection where MCs toast over old Fila tracks or bringing in a vocalist to sing on their new album.
"When we realized that we could use a vocalist, we wanted it to sound different," Cobby remarks. "We thought, 'What would it have sounded like if Salvador Dali had produced Missy Elliott?' That's what we came up with.
"We've finally realized that we can do anything we want, so let's start doing it. At the end of the day, you just want to come up with something no one's ever done before, whether it's something really subtle like a dub tune with a ukulele over top or a big, epic remix that totally fucks with someone's original track. The rule is no rules, and that keeps it interesting, at least for us."