This is a track by track guide for ‘Professor Elemental And His Amazing Friends’, the new collection of collaborations/rarities/remixes from Professor Elemental.
I make a lot of music that few people ever hear. Sometimes that is a blessing for all concerned: my ill-fated attempt to tell the story of Spring Heeled Jack and attempts at sung choruses, are best left in the vaults forever. But there are also creative swaps and B-sides, commissions and adverts, songs for friends and collaborations for the fun of it. More often than not, these are over Tom’s amazing beats, but this time there are also new friends joining us for the ride. There are also tales to tell, hidden in the spaces between the songs.
TRACK 1: PROFESSOR ELEMENTAL: THE CARTOON (INTRO)
A few years back, when I was lucky enough to appear on Phineas And Ferb, I had the chance to pitch a Professor Elemental cartoon to Disney. Working with storytellers who had worked on everything from The Simpsons to Ren And Stimpy, we presented an exciting Saturday morning show, full of weirdness and wonder. Sadly, Disney weren’t quite ready for the Professor and all that remains is this proposed theme song and a devilishly handsome figurine. Still, surely it’s only a matter of time…
TRACK 2: MORE OF WHAT YOU ASKED FOR
A mashed up remix of Ice Cube’s ‘Today Was A Good Day’ made me fall in love with Mr. Frisbee’s beats, track him down and demand a track. He plays every instrument known to man, is an amazing graphic artist, plays in bonkers psych band ‘Platypus’ and has several children. He doesn’t look nearly as tired as he should do.
TRACK 3: ALL YOU CAN EAT
I can’t remember why I even made this song. Other than I spent a funny night with Pete Cannon and Dr. Syntax stumbling around Boomtown Festival and I think it came shortly after that. Pete’s beats are legendary and I am delighted he blessed me with this banger.
TRACK 4: BARE WITNESS
Bill Evans is not only a genuine professor, but knows one of thoaw rare people that seems to know everyone in the music biz. Working with ‘prof rock’ supergroup Flying Colours, Bill dropped me a line and we got chatting, then boozing, then a collaboration was inevitable. He made this beat and then assembled an incredible line-up of musicians to replay the samples. The result was explosive and it was nice chance for the Prof to get fired up on a track.
TRACK 5: COTTON CLUB [SKIT]
A lovely little skit left over from the ‘Father Of Invention’ album.
TRACK 6: BEEGEES GOT NOTHING ON ME
This disco infused number has sat waiting patiently for a couple of years now. Thom was kind enough to give it to me and I really wanted to see if the Prof could rap like Kanye West for a verse (good early Kanye, not crappy recent Kanye). The result is one of my favourite songs for a while, not least because of Thom’s awesome voice and arrangement.
TRACK 7: ALL IN TOGETHER [DNB REMIX]
I love it when Tom really flips a track around, especially when Nick’s cuts kick in. This was created especially for this mix and touring in 2017.
TRACK 8: MECHTORIA
Doktor A creates fiendish little models and figurines with a distinctive style that has won him acclaim all over the world. So when we started discussing a creative swap (I’d make him a song, if he’d model me a Geoffrey), I snapped up the chance. This was a particularly hard song to write, what with the ‘Flight Of The Bumblebee’ sample and so much info about the good Doktors’ wonderful world to cram in… but we were both happy with it. And it goes without saying the Geoffrey model is a beautiful thing.
TRACK 9: INN AT THE END OF TIME [TEASEA REMIX FEATURING NICK MAXWELL]
As is so often the way, I make the vaguest suggestion that ‘we should do a remix for…’ and a few hours later Tom comes back with some magic. I still can’t believe that any one man can make so many beats on his own, I think he employs woodland elves.
TRACK 10: I HAD A HAT [SKIT]
A left over skit from ‘Father Of Invention’, which was already too long by the time we recorded this. I went through a phase of people knicking my hat at shows and I also started receiving some unwanted attention. This was my angry response.
TRACK 11: PUT UP YA DUKES
This song was put together to promote the ‘Dukes And Dirigibles’ video game and I was rather keen on it by the end. It’s the only song ever where my singing it tolerable. And that’s only because Tom has a special device to make it sound like someone else.
TRACK 12: SWEET SUE [SKIT]
A skit from the ‘Giddy Limit’ sessions.
TRACK 13: 101 QUESTIONS
This is one of my favourite B-sides ever. Made as a prize for a donor to the ‘Don’t Feed The Trolls’ campaign. I was very grateful when I was handed this concept to write about. It was a nice chance to sneak a lot of biographical information into an unusually mellow song for the Professor.
TRACK 14: LAUGHING GAS [SKIT]
In Victorian times, they would sometimes pump nitrous oxide into a theatre to get the audience giddy and giggly. Tom created this track especially for the collection and it’s made me want to bring back those heady days of gassing the audience for laughs.
TRACK 15: THE WAGES OF GIN
It’s a sad truth that, largely because of being unable to leave a show directly after coming off stage, I spend far too much time hungover. This was recorded during ‘Apequest’, but rather lowered the tone. Still, there aren’t many songs about hangovers and it’s nice to record such wretched behaviour from time to time, evening if it’s just a warning to others.
TRACK 16: THEME MUSIC [EXTENDED VERSION FEATURING NICK MAXWELL]
So many people asked for a longer version of this song, so I had to oblige with a full rerecording. I’ve always had a soft spot for those 90s hip hop remixes where the MC redoes his vocals. And of course Nick’s cuts make this tune.
TRACK 17: OUTRO (GET HIGH) [SKIT]
A sweet goodbye from the world’s greatest producer, Mr. Tom Caruana.
You can check out Professor Elemental here: