Intention are UK Producers and
(an interview by Mark
Remixers Michael Gray and Jon Pearn
Michael Gray and Jon Pearn, collectively known as Full Intention,
are respected by leading DJs like Pete Tong, Danny Rampling, Roger
David Morales and Erick
Some of their remixes and productions include Full Intention - I believe
in you, Supafly - Let's get down, Bon Garcon - Freak U, Shena - I'll
be waiting, Dajae'
do you want?, Dina Vass - The love I
you, Mood 2 Swing - Can't get away, Powerhouse
- I got
what you need, Ultra Nate - Free , Jennifer Lopez - Love don't cost a
thing, Duke - So in love with you, Frankie Knuckles - Tears & George
Michael - Amazing, for which they received a Grammy nomination. There's
no doubt that Full Intention have maintained their status as one of
foremost house producer & remix teams in the world.
Their purpose-built, soundproofed studio is within Michael's house, situated
in a beautiful quiet country village just off the M25. He bought the house
In 1993 - by which time he had already been working with Jon for four
years, having crafted a number of disco cut-ups long before it was trendy
- and converted the snooker room into a studio to save the daily trek
to London. The huge window overlooking the countryside also serves as
Full lntention have to work smart in order to meet demand for their remixes.
"It started working
for us when we organized ourselves even down to roughly where we sit -
talk about routine! It helps us be objective and doesn't stem the flow
of ideas. We both engineer, but we have different roles in the Studio,"
How has their approach to remixes changed over the years?
"We don't think it has," Michael playfully retorts. "We always start out
to do soulful vocal house records, incorporating the various trends in
production that come and go. Remixes can take Full Intention upto a week.
If, however, as on most projects, they use live string and horn sections,
it can be anything up to two weeks, These guys never compromise quality.
If a song needs live strings, they go to RG Jones in Wimbledon to record.
Horn sections are occasionally recorded elsewhere, but all the mixdowns
are done in their own Studio.
first remix was Duke's 'So In Love with You', which achieved a Top 20
chart placing. They have just finished remixing Bob Sincar's "love generation".
But do they turn many remixes down? Michael's reply
is something of an eye-opener: "We turn down probably nine out of ten
remixes," he claims. "We will only accept a mix if it has a strong vocal
hook to work around, Some of the tracks we are offered don't need remixing
or they're too close to our style to warrant the treatment:' That said,
remixing accounts for up 30% of Full Intention's time.
What tips therefore, can they offer remixers?
"You don't have to ditch all the original parts and just keep the vocal
says Michael. "If there are some good guitars, strings, horns or keyboard
parts then try and use them as well. Either enhance a track to make it
stronger or completely start again. Don't think because you have booked
an expensive studio with a big sound system your remix is going to sound
pumping eIsewhere. Most of our monitoring is done on NS1Os!" "And make
sure the studio you use is acoustically correct," chips in Jon. "Michael
will always check the finished mix in his car. That is the second studio!"
As far as the competition is concerned, favorite respected remixers include
Kid Crème, Junior Jack & Jazz 'n' Groove.
So how do Full Intention approach a remix?
"We usually start with Jon putting the vocals and any music parts we wish
to keep into the Mac," begins Michael. Jon continues: "Then Michael works
out ideas that have been whirring around in his head the night before
and starts looking through his old record collection! If the vocals are
too slow or fast then we will time-stretch them in the Mac to around 126
bpm." At that stage in the remix, Full Intention use the kick drum from
their trusty 909 to sync up the vocals and any other parts that they are
going to use. Once all the parts are in time, they work on the drums:
"We keep a vast collection of kicks, snares, claps and other drum sounds
on a hard drive in the sampler, and these will all be auditioned, one
by one, until the drums sound right, - and the groove is the same as the
other parts in the mix, " reveals Jon. Michael then plays or hums his
ideas to the classically-trained Jon, who then works on the chords. I
play in aII the keyboard riffs and chord patterns, Jon confirms. "Michael
makes the objective decisions - which riff and sounds to use. I concentrate
on playing. We both decide what works best in the groove to fine-tune
it:' Mike then works the desk, EQ'ing everything into one solid musical
groove. They both share percussion and programming duties, though Jon
operates the samplers: "Although we can, the worst thing we can do is
try to do each other's jobs. " he says. "We know our limitations, so we
get David Snell to do the mixdown of vocals and live strings as neither
of us is so hot on compression." Mike grins, "I'm a fussy git; I have
to be on my own when I'm arranging, because it would probably make a musician
like Jon cringe!" Mike will try every possible combination, as he's so
fussy, agrees Jon. I don't have the patience for that. Then again, when
I come in the next day, he'll have tried everything and it'll be spot-on
Music lovers wouldn't
expect anything less from Full Intention.