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Femi Williams - aka Femi Fem & one third of The Young Disciples
Femi Williams and Marco Nelson, two London-based DJs busy on the warehouse scene, were on the cusp of hitting a creative high point. For them, the Eighties had been about underground boogie and the start of house, hip hop and the search for hard-to-find music. "We were London guys enjoying the soul from an African American golden era - and so looking back, Marco and I didn't really have a plan. We were just doing our thing, but then there wasn't a black music infrastructure. There were the few odd people about such as Central Line, Loose Ends and Soul II Soul, but not enough to be able to say there was an actual full infrastructure."
In tandem with a vibrant club scene, Jazz FM, Choice FM and Kiss FM were the radio stations along with all the other pirate stations and sound systems of the day which were instrumental in broadcasting a wide spectrum of black music. "Back then, we were serious collectors of seven-inch records. We were deeply into elusive soul, funk and reggae (also termed 'rare groove'), and were going to record fares. We were discovering very cool funk 7s from artists like Bobby Byrd and James Brown."
Road to Freedom was recorded at Paul Weller's Solid Bond Studios in Marble Arch, guest turns included Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, Steve White, Mick Talbot, Paul Weller and Max Beesley, and from the album came The Young Disciples' most famous hit, Apparently Nothin'
"The Young Disciples were interested in whatever was new and good", says Femi. "At the time, bands such as A Tribe Called Quest, Teddy Riley, En Vogue, Soul II Soul and Massive Attack were part of what The Young Disciples were all about. We also looked back and drew inspiration from Miles Davis and Quincy"
Further success came Femi's way when his Rotation spot at the Subterranea club won a MOBO Award in 1998. For the past three years, he has been musical director of Supperclub in west London, playing an eclectic mix of new and old tunes, while still keeping his hand in A&R and producing, and remixing for the likes of Randy Crawford, Mary J. Blige, Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé
Full interview in Huffington Post