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Faithless Biography

Last updated: 02/03/2012 10:00:00 AM

Faithless-photo
It started in 1995 by Rollo Armstrong, Sister Bliss and Maxi Jazz....they formed the band Faithless!!

The first guitarist of Faithless was Dave Randall but he has left Faithless to start his own solo project 'Slovo' last year (2000) His first album will be released in late summer 2001. Nemo will play the guitars now on Outrospective and can be seen on stage! Jamie Catto was also started @ the beginning of Faithless and did vocals on Reverence and Sunday 8 PM. He also wrote tracks. He has also left Faithless to do his own things and touring across the world with the band '1 Giant Leap'.

Faithless will release their third album in July on Arista/Cheeky. Entitled Outrospective, it will be preceded by a single "We Come 1" in May. Outrospective was written and recorded between Summer 2000 and Spring 2001. It elevates Faithless’ often-celebrated eclecticism to new heights, and covers the broadest sweep of emotions and atmospheres from melancholy to mad love, from glorious empowerment to bittersweet tales of love gone wrong. Outrospective throbs with a very real vitality.

Outrospective was conceived after a lengthy break away from Faithless’ relentless touring schedule, a factor which helped form the melancholy mood and lyrics of Sunday 8pm. Faithless, had after all, spent four years out of five touring since the release of their revelatory debut Reverence (released 1997), as they literally took their music to any place that had shown an interest in the record. This meant that the band found themselves in such unlikely situations as playing shows in the Arctic Circle, on golden sands in Puerto Rico and under armed guard in Turkey.

Having been largely ignored by the mainstream in the UK, they returned from their travels as veterans of the worldwide live scene, something that few bands in their domain could lay claim to. Their epic house singles such as "Insomnia" and "Salva Mea" had an unmistakable impact and influence on the sound of contemporary dance music. Often imitated, never bettered, as they say. The album’s eclectic scope (house, blues, soul, rap, and folk) stood out in a time of no-risk policies.

Maxi Jazz had spent years prior to joining Faithless rapping far and wide, DJing on pirate radio in London and running his own record label. His faith (he is a Nicheren Shashu Buddhist) informs his extraordinarily powerful lyrics ("a true millennium man" — The London Times) and he is the charismatic frontman of the band’s live act. Sister Bliss, a classically trained pianist and successful house music producer in her own right, is without doubt the world’s number one female DJ. It is Bliss who has the pleasure of roadtesting Faithless’ new tunes off acetate, often fresh from the mixing desk.

Rollo’s sister Dido has performed lead vocals on tracks on all three Faithless albums (including "One Step Too Far" on the current album) and her debut album No Angel (co-produced Rollo) has since topped the UK and US charts. Talent runs in the family. Rollo, who once admitted that he "can’t play an instrument, can’t dance in time, and can’t remember any melodies", doesn’t play live with Faithless — "pointless", he reckons, as he "couldn’t play anything onstage anyway". Sister Bliss alleges that their studio relationship is "telepathic, symbiotic". "He gets on with the broad strokes, textures and colors — that’s how he hears music, he’s got that synesthesia (a phenomenon where sounds have color), he says ‘make it really sad, like a rainy day, I want to hear thunder’ — and I get on with all the anal fiddly bits."

Sister Bliss and Maxi Jazz are now the public face of the band. Both fiercely intelligent, Maxi Jazz’s Buddhist worldview complements Bliss’s challenging opinions and encyclopedic house music knowledge. 1998’s Sunday 8pm repeated the success of Reverence, spawning three more hit singles (including the ecstatic, evangelic "God Is A DJ"), was an enormous critical success and in 1999 received nominations at The Brits, the MTV Europe Awards and was one of the twelve Mercury Prize nominations. To this date it has sold in excess of 1.2 million copies worldwide. Add to that the 1.5 million that "Reverence" sold and 4 million singles and you have one of Europe’s biggest dance artists.

There was more touring including a stint co-headlining across South Africa with The Prodigy, and the headline slot of the Muzik Awards tour. They are widely regarded as one of the finest live acts of our generation. Maxi says, "When I’m on stage I see couples who are at least 65. I see disco kids who scream whenever I move. I see people in their thirties, who listen intently, squeezing their eyes shut and pumping their fists whenever they hear lyrics they like. There’s no such thing as a typical Faithless fan and I love that". Bliss continues: "When people come to our gigs, we want them to be lifted. Changed. Empowered. Moved off the ground."

Despite claims that they wouldn’t follow the panoramic heartbreak of Sunday 8pm with more of the same, after early listenings to certain tracks off Outrospective it becomes clear that, sometimes, stadium melancholy is what they do best — the sweeping melodrama of "One Step Too Far" (vocals by Dido) the hazy lament of "Crazy English Summer" which featured vocals by Faithless debutante Zoe Johnston, and Maxi’s rainy Autumn rap on "Not Enuff Love".

This time, however, the flipside to these swoonsome atmostpheres takes the form of the rampant postivity of the Philly Soul of "Muhammed Ali", Maxi Jazz’s devotional to the great man, and the dedication of love of the delirious single "We Come 1" ("I’m the left eye, you’re the right, would it not be madness to fight?") Outrospective starts with a fanfare that signifies a deep-seated confidence and ends with the gigantic soul house of "Liontamer", in between it maps uncharted territory for the band, as well as redefining familiar Faithless templates. It thunders, basically.

In August 2000, Sister Bliss said "I want this next album to be a groundbreaking one. I want this to be the peak of our creative powers." It looks like Faithless can add prescience to their manifold talents.


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