Roy Reid is known to have the mystical Dance Factor, the fabled ability to turn an empty field into a hallowed sanctuary of rave. His humbled highness can transform a suffering venue into a holy location of extreme ‘ardcore. As the classic Indeep tune ‘Last Night A DJ Saved My life’ once proclaimed; “There aint a problem I cant fix, cause I can do it in the mix’. And no truer statement can be used to describe the legend of the decks, Ellis Dee!
The second of the Ellis Dee Project reissues to be taken on by Vinyl Fanatiks and its a personal favourite of ours. The rawness of the production, the simplicity of the structure, the awesome use of samples… this is a pure rolling hardcore gem, a diamond that shines, 27 years after its creation. Our story previously ended on the last release with Roy successfully releasing his solo debut 12” to critical acclaim after he had become the link that joined together the mighty Rhythm Section the year before. ‘Dance Factor’ continues through the year of 1992, as the raves got bigger, the music spread further, and the drugs got stronger. Three things that Ellis Dee was a first-hand witness too in every sense!
For this release Ellis Dee wanted to make something different to his previous vinyl excursion, the infamous ‘Do You Want Me/Rock To The Max’. As he put it to me “I wanted to make something a bit tougher, a bit darker, to show my versatility”. His LBC Studio was still based in Bethnal Green in the East End of London, a couple of miles up the road from where he was from, Hackney, and as per his first release, the mixdown was done in the West of the city at his bandmates house, Rennie Pilgrim. He was riding the wave of success as his first 12 had made it onto the Fantazia album ‘The First Taste’ and the tune ‘Rock To The Max’ was now something of an anthem at the Fantazia raves. The name Ellis Dee commanded respect and people drove for miles to see him at a Rave, myself included!
Feeling confident and totally submerged now into the scene and the lifestyle, Roy wanted to show his ability as a producer after the years of showing it behind the decks. Reigning from the era of Acid House where he could play Donna Summers ‘I Feel Love’ right next to Fast Eddies ‘Acid Thunder’, Roy wanted to push himself rather than emulate his previous success. ‘Dance Factor’ was also the first track that he had used an Atari ST Notator on, after watching Rennie use it on the Rhythm Section tracks. Ellis Dee loved the rawness of the sound it created and this rawness is evident on ‘Dance Factor’. As Roy told me “The Atari ST Notation was so much better for editing on than what I was using before, the Ensoniq ASR 10. It was far more user friendly and you are able to see a lot more of what’s actually going on with the track that you are making. It really helped me step up my production”.
I asked Roy why there wasn’t a B-Side originally on the Ellis Dee Project 2 release which he replied “I thought the track was strong enough to go out by itself. Had I had any doubt, I would of made a tune for the flipside. The track represented what I was about at that time perfectly and what people who came to see me would expect me to play”. During our long conversation I also asked another question which I had often thought about; “Why call it Ellis Dee Project? Why not just go out as Ellis Dee being that it was such a well-known name in the scene?” for which I was told “I was always nicking hooks and lifting samples and it was like a lot of those samples were more than just me alone, I wanted the name to reflect that the finished tunes were more a ‘project’, a collection of differing works and influences that I put together, like a conductor leading an orchestra, except this orchestra had no instruments, just the power of the sampler!’ I couldn’t argue with such a statement!
Just before the output of The Ellis Dee Project there were a collection of releases called ‘Energizer’ on Energizer Records. At the time not a lot was known about the artist who made them (probably due to the use of samples included!) and it was widely thought that the tunes were made by Ellis Dee, when in fact they were actually made by Dave Charlesworth. I wondered if this was something that bothered Roy back then which he quickly replied “No, not at all, I didn’t mind as they were good quality tracks”.
As these tracks are made totally for the dancefloor or more likely a muddy field in Wiltshire, and being a producer myself, I felt I had to ask how much Ecstasy had a part to play in the creating of these tunes with which Roy answered in his classic cheeky way “I couldn’t do fuck all writing when I was buzzing”. I hear you on that one mate! And I think that’s a perfect place to end this little excursion back to 92.
In regards to the repress, Roy was never truly happy with the mixdown he got on ‘Dance Factor’ as he was still learning the Notator, so he added a little bottom end to the mixdown and reinforced the bassline for this repress along with a brand new remix done in a 1992 style… stepping back 27 years and putting himself back into the moment. A little extra bonus from Ellis Dee and his Project to you, the supporter of this repress.
I hope you will join us for Part 3 of the Ellis Dee Project which will be coming up in a few months’ time along with the final edition, Part 4. Alongside that, there will be a repress of his collab with Krome and Time that came out on New Dimension Records, a repress of his alias Norty By Nice ‘Do You Want It/Give It To Me Baby’ as well as ‘Junglist Warrior’ and the ‘Once Again For The Ladies’ EP.
Keep it locked to Vinyl Fanatiks!