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Deepest Blue One-to-One with Joel Edwards

Joel EdwardsMotorBar’s Maggie Woods spent
  ninety minutes talking to the very
  conversational Joel Edwards — one
  half of the heart-throb singing duo
  Deepest Blue (the other half is Matti
  Schwarz), the chart-topping dance duo
  that blew the speakers around
  clubland with their brilliant and much-
  admired single Miracle. No surprise
  that Miracle rocketed to Number One
  in the UK Club Charts. Deepest Blue’s
  first, self-titled, song reached
  number 7 in the UK national charts...”

WHEN I RING DEEPEST BLUE'S JOEL EDWARDS, he is waiting for me to call. I complain about telephone interviewing I much prefer face-to-face but the singer is relaxed and natural and we soon get chatting about a favourite subject we share: cars.

Joel is thrilled to bits with the vibrant, Viper Green 1971 Porsche 911 Targa he drives. He was desperate to buy one, he tells me, and once he'd completed his last album (four years ago) he looked around at the market. We exchange experiences of engine notes — especially while driving through long tunnels in powerful open-topped cars — and he tells me that the Porsche has a fantastic sound.

"Loads of decent cars came up at that time," says Joel, "but I couldn't find what I wanted. And when I did find the Porsche, it needed a lot of work — three years of renovation. But now it's perfect."

The colour is terrific and suits the classic shape of the Porsche. "Youngsters love the colour," Joel tells me. "A friend of mine has a black one but I'm afraid mine steals most of the attention. You can't miss it! I've always been crazy about cars and Porsches really do it for me.

"When I was younger, my father bought a kit car and gave it to me as a project. My earliest memories involve cars — my father was into cars in a big way. I've been to hill-climbs, drag racing and Formula One. I love it all." But Joel has very definite opinions about the use of automobiles. "Cars," he says, "are there to give you enjoyment — not for posing! I like to get as much fun as possible out of any cars I may own — one of my dreams would be to drive down to Monaco. Cool."

Joel's Porsche is not the only 'green' car in his life. He is also a big BMW fan and he has had the X5 he drives as everyday transport converted to run on LPG. One of the many things he likes about BMWs is their reliability. But what if money was no object? Joel didn't hesitate for a second. "Jay Kay was interviewed on Top Gear a while back," he said. "I rather fancied his Lamborghini Miura and I'd really love a 356 Speedster [Porsche's first production model] or an RS — although somehow I don't think I'd get rid of the Targa."

Joel and his Viper Green 911 Targa
Cars and music, Joel readily admits, are his passion. And if he couldn't be a singer or a musician? He'd try his hand at acting. Joel also has a lot of time for his — rather interesting — family: his grandfather went to school in the Himalayas, and his father was born in Pakistan while his grandmother was travelling.

Joel's musical influences are too numerous to mention but he obligingly reels out a few for me: The Beatles, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Yes, Joni Mitchell, Kings, Sex Pistols. He also mentions the tragic Nick Drake and cites Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon as being special. He listens to Radio 4 and is quite particular about the brand of Rock'n'Roll he likes — Little Richard, for one. His favourite music era is not so easy to pin down: "Yes… Sixties, Seventies and some Eighties — especially Electronica — and some Nineties."

Joel considers himself fortunate to have worked with George (Georgie) Fame. "George is full of anecdotes," says Joel, "a really nice, laid-back guy." As for Joel, he comes across as being a great guy too. Passionate about acoustic and dance music, his writing veers naturally to the darker side. "I'm much more melancholy than Matt," he admits, speaking of Matti Schwarz, his partner in Deepest Blue. "He's on a happy trip!"

In his thirties, Joel is pleased that music is much more accessible today — you can make tracks happen at home on your computer. In his teens, he tells me, all his friends had record labels — they were doing it all for themselves. It was that sort of culture — everyone had demo discs. There was plenty of guitar finger-picking and jamming sessions. A case of "Let's get something good going!" Joel is excited by the music industry — he loves what he does and says that today it's more about the music than ever before.

"I do like a lot of sounds — Jackson and his Computer Band has the most amazing bleeps.
I could listen to great melodies all day long. For me, I'd like to do something classical — I listen to classical radio. I'm so driven musically that I'd really love to write a classic song — something like 10cc's I'm Not In Love. And Fleetwood Mac comes straight from the heart.

Joel says that he's always been interested in music: "Among my earliest memories of music is my father terrifyingly playing War Of The Worlds. Once he'd had a glass of wine he'd play it and it sent shivers down my spine!"

Joel Edwards and Matti Schwarz

No doubt at all that Deepest Blue benefits from the passion of both Matti and Joel. "Deepest Blue," explains Joel, "is a hybrid of our styles. We are musically ambitious and want to be Number One."

Does Joel have any regrets? He says: "I once did a solo album for Mercury — Lost And Found. Unfortunately it was never released, but it was one hundred per cent me — it had a completely different feel to it. I'd love that to be released, but it won't happen yet.

There's obviously a lot of hard work that has gone into Deepest Blue's musical accomplishments and they are clearly talented. But Joel is very modest: "It's all about luck. Four years ago we were lucky to have a couple of decent tracks that did quite well. We're trying to catch that wave again. We're out in Russia all the time doing gigs. It's much better out there now. It's a wealthier country — Moscow is more expensive than Tokyo — and it's an amazing place to go. We also love working in Naples with Planet Funk. The studio is opposite the beach. It's a perfect way of life."

Another passion? I ask, aware that we've been chatting for an hour-and-a-half yet it seems like a lot less! "Yes," says Joel without hesitation. "Italian food…" Not surprising really: sporty cars and the world's best food — a perfect combination.
Hmmm... Sounds like Deepest Blue. — Maggie Woods