”One of the things we wanted to do was bring some of the fun back to dance music,” says James Wiltshire, referring to the impetus for forming the Freemasons in 2005 with Russell Small. And the Freemasons certainly are fun. That holds for the duo’s own productions, including 2006’s ”Love On My Mind,” and its remixes, most notably for Kylie Minogue and Knowles sisters Beyonce and Solange. Fun is also its approach to DJing. Unlike many club DJs, Wiltshire and Small don’t see themselves as musical educators. ”In my view, education stops when you leave high school or university. It shouldn’t be carried out on dance floors.”
Next Saturday, May 2, the U.K.-based Freemasons will finally make their U.S. debut at Town. ”We’re really looking forward to it,” Wiltshire says from his home in Brighton, England. ”It’s one of those situations where we wanted to do it right, find the right people to work with, and the right clubs to play.”
Wiltshire says the duo stopped remixing as of this year to focus on creating its own productions. They’re working on their own artist album, but the biggest project right now is producing tracks for Alexandra Burke, the latest winner of the U.K.’s X-Factor. Her debut album is due out in November on Simon Cowell’s label. ”To be honest, it’s the best gig in town,” Wiltshire says. “[She's] the one singer that’s come along for years that everyone wants to work for.”
The pair took the name Freemasons from a bar in England, where they would often have lunch. Neither Wiltshire nor Small belongs to the fraternal order of the same name. And neither Wiltshire nor Small is gay.
”But we’re always booked in gay clubs, across the world,” Wiltshire says. ”We love it. Gay parties just go off like no other parties on earth, in our opinion.” The two DJed while on a float during Sydney’s Mardi Gras this year, with 120 choreographed dancers behind them. ”We did not stop smiling from the moment we got on till the moment we left.”
Wiltshire says they usually get pestered at every gig with requests for Freemasons work, so expect to hear a lot of the songs you know and love, including one of the duo’s first remixes, Faith Evans’ ”Mesmerized.” ”It’s probably still one of our favorite remixes,” he says. “It’s such good fun, it still makes me smile every time I hear it.”
The Freemasons will spin Saturday, May 2, at Town Danceboutique, 2009 8th St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-234-TOWN or visit www.towndc.com.