If you were raving in the early 1990’s there is a song you still probably remember banging around in your head – Xpansions’ “Move Your Body.” The brainchild of Richie Malone, the group comprised of British electronic producer Phil Drummond, Sally Ann Marsh and Malone set the clubbing world on fire with their hit “Move Your Body” 30 years this month. They don’t exactly know when it came out in April 1990 and other inquiries to people around them were received with a similar response. It was a crazy time it seems. People didn’t keep good records back then.
The group was formed in 1990 and were big in 1990’s, but really took off with “Move Your Body” that crossed over and reached number 7 on the UK pop charts in 1991. It was signed by Arista Records in 1995 and returned to the charts again, peaking at 12 again that year. They are still making records to this day, putting out a new song with a classic feel just in March.
We decided to take a trip down memory lane with Xpansions and talk about the initial success of the track, the life 30 years later and what they learned from having a hit record.
Were you surprised by the reception this song has had initially and then continuing to this day?
Very surprised when it was released, we never thought it would be a really big track. We felt it was more suited to DJ's back then. The fact that it's still a massive club/festival record today surprises us even more, but it has stood the test of time and always get a huge reaction when it's played out.
Were you prepared for its success?
Absolutely not, it was a bit of a shock and being thrust into the limelight was very strange and a bit off putting as we were totally in love with the underground rave scene at the time. So going on TV and doing a lot of press was something we were not prepared for.
How was Xpansions formed?
It was an accident really as in we went into the studio to make a tune and did not at the time even think we would be able to get it released so no group name had been discussed. It was just a case of making a piece of music that we thought would work for DJ's and go from there. The rest fell into place once the track was finished and we played it to a few DJs.
How did the song come together? Was there something special about it from the very first idea?
I had the chords from messing about on my piano at home, the rest really happened whilst in the studio, we had no firm ideas, just some drum loops and other sounds and we just went with it
Did it take a long time to make?
I think it was probably in total about 3/4 days spent in the studio. I do remember vividly after the first session the main riff was a piano sound and I knew it wasn't right, it just felt bland to me and not the big drop I was trying to get. I went away and thought long and hard and had that synth sound in my head. When we did the next session I think it was one of the first parts we worked on, luckily the engineer had a sample of an Oberheim keyboard and we loaded that sound into the Akai sampler and the riff came alive, it sounded big and it was a defining moment in the making of the track.
How have you seen the song’s response and reputation change over time?
Since it originally blew up people did go crazy when it came on back then -- I don't think the records response or reputation has changed that much over the years but time has changed crowds, and things will never be like the early 90's as far as crowds reactions to big tracks.
What is your fondest memory of that era 30 years ago?
So many amazing memories, probably one sticks out more than others and that was the first time I played the track to a really big crowd at a Raindance gig in 1990. The record was only about 2 months old so I wasn't sure how it would go down. I mixed it in and when the drop came it took the roof off, it was a massive buzz to hear the crowd roar when that synth riff came in.
What would your advise be to artists these days who want to make a song that will still be great 30 years later?
I think in this day and age try and be different if you can, that is very hard to do today as there is so much music out there. Maybe seek out instruments and sounds that have not been used in the genre you want to make, just kind of thinking out of the box.