WireImage Who: Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz How They Make Sweet Music:…
- Posted on Sep 24th 2010 4:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
"We wanted to do something dance, and that was kind of the thing at the time," Weymouth tells Spinner. "But we also loved rock 'n' roll. We loved disco. We loved all the stuff going on with [Italian disco producer] Giorgio Moroder, and all that stuff that was getting played at the Paradise Garage in New York City, but we also really liked rock 'n' roll."
With 'Genius of Love,' the second single recorded under the Tom Tom Club banner, Weymouth and Frantz set the template not just for the group's 1981 self-titled debut, but also for much of the music they've made since. The game-changing song gets the extensive remix treatment on disc two of 'Genius of Live,' a 2002 concert album the band reissues Sept. 28.
Drawing on disco, rock and the hip-hop sounds then emerging from the South Bronx, 'Genius of Love' sounded like nothing that had come before. While it barely cracked the Top 40, it's since been sampled by dozens of artists, among them Mariah Carey, who used the track as the basis for her 1995 smash 'Fantasy.'
"It just has a texture that sounds like magic," Weymouth says. "It was kind of a different edge. Everything else was about 120 bpm at the time for dance music, and we wanted to slow it down to give it more internal swing, and not have any four on the floor -- maybe give it kind of an island feel as well. I can't remember if it was 112 bpm or something. Maybe it was around 108, but it was really slow for us, because we were used to playing these nervous paces and breakneck speed and stuff, so it was a delightful challenge."
Nowadays, mixing rock, dance and hip-hop is less a risk than a requirement, and Weymouth need not strain to hear echoes of the Tom Tom Club.
"Ting Tings are one that has been influenced by us," she says. "I think Lady Gaga was definitely influenced by us, too, but there's been a lot more than I can think of. They're definitely our kids, just as we were the children of James Brown and people like that. I think the Gorillaz, they definitely got their whole shtick from us. We were a band that only toured through our animated videos. We had a new sort of personality. There are probably dozens, but those are the two that spring to my head immediately, and that I like."
"We learned from people before us," she adds. "It's a family thing."