Monday, 10 March 2014

Roy Vedas - Fragments Of Life

Joe writes: On August 17th 1998*, an act called Roy Vedas released a single on Mercury Records to no acclaim except perhaps mine. Such a weird but infectious lyric, sound, and concept. Even the name of the act is weird. On October 26th 1998, Believe by Cher was released in the UK? Did Cher's producers get the idea for the "Cher Effect" overuse of Autotune from Roy Vedas? No - there would barely have been time.

The account I heard is that producers Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling acquired Autotune on the advice of David Foster, who'd told Cher it suited her voice. Mark was experimenting with, and learning how to use, the software when he happened across the effect by accident. Brian and Mark liked it and nervously played it to Cher and her then-label boss Rob Dickins. Rob started to say "It's too much, it's distracting, take it out...", or words to that effect, before Cher said "It comes out... [dramatic pause] over my dead body". Good call Cher.

In celebration of International Women's Day, Believe has just been announced as the biggest selling single by a female artist ever in the UK. Meanwhile Fragments Of Life continues to languish in obscurity, but still sounds great to me.

* In case anyone wants to update Wikipedia, I got the Roy Vedas release date from a PDF of music industry publication The Tip Sheet, which I have on my computer.


Zachary Leeks said...

Most people thought that Cher had completely ripped off 'Fragments of
Life'. Me included.

The duo of Roy Vedas left a VHS tape by hand in reception that had an
image of a spaceman on the front cover. On the way back from lunch,
myself and James Sherry (who had to listen to all new music submissions)
ate our sandwiches and decided to watched that tape instead of putting
it into the vast bin of tapes - and then proceeded to watch it over 30
times. It was genius. For us it was Air vs Devo. We knew that most of
Mercury Records would not understand it but decided to invite people
into watch it one by one until we found some fans, and then went to
Howard Burman's office to ask for funding for a 2 single deal with
options for an album.

The radio department loved it but wanted a new mix for the airwaves, so
I had a session with Dave Bascome booked in of which the duo of Frank Di
Mauro and Maxi Trusso from Roy Vedas attended. Within 5 hours, they
called me with horror in their voices and asked me to come to the studio
immediately. The mix was stripping back the innocence of the track and
clearly didn't work, so we attempted another recall the following day
and came back with what Dave thought would work.

I sat in a meeting with full team and the radio department, decided to
play them original demo instead and they all loved it. They all thought
I had nailed it. High fives! Ha! So the demo was mastered, £16k was
spent on nothing, and the original demo ended up as Jo Whiley's record
of the week. The track was number 1 in Greece, Turkey, Denmark and a few
other territories whilst here it was #75, I think.

Cher's incredible hit then exploded all over the airwaves and Roy Vedas'
producer Frank considered taking legal action, but instead, he took the
40,000 publishing money Warner's gave him and completely disappeared,
leaving Maxi with nothing and never to be seen again! Maxi Trusso stays
in touch to this day and lived happily ever after as a musician in
Argentina where he still enjoys making music with strange sounding
British accent and crazy lyrics.

This was his latest video:

Fun times.

- Zachary Leeks

J.L. said...

Thanks for this information!!
"Fragments of life" is one of my favorites and I hate this Cher's hit. Wish a lot of luck to the great but still unknown musicians Maxi Trusso and Frank Di Mauro

Kimono Krush said...

I am from Greece and I can guarantee that many people know this song.
It is this strange thing that a 1 hit wonder becomes huge in one country but nowhere else.
A similar case is a song called Rapunzel by Novak.
Huge hit in Greece but nowhere else