Few acts within the world of music can produce not one – but two – impeccably flawless albums, but in UK duo Third Party, the myth of the ‘difficult second album’ has been completely eradicated. Following up their 2017 whopper ‘HOPE’ with recent release ‘TOGETHER‘ (REVIEWED: Here), the progressive pairing – made up of Jonnie Macaire and Harry Bass – have established themselves as true kings of the progressive genre, building a loyal and fanatical fanbase as heads of their own Release Records label.
With Third Party bringing their thunderous tones and an array of special guests including Matt Nash, Pete K, and Corey James, to iconic London superclub Ministry of Sound for a remarkable sixth showcase evening in just three years – few acts are invited to the legendary venue so regularly – we caught up with the Third Party boys to discuss their newest release, their creative process, and a very special forthcoming remix!
Guys! Let’s start by talking about TOGETHER, how many tracks were made in total and how did you decide to trim it down to the selections which made the cut for the album?
Harry: “Well that was a big thing actually… We had a folder with at least 50 ideas, and we knew about 6 tracks we wanted, and the other 3 came together later on. But there was definitely at least one more we wanted on the album, so our idea is that the 4 or 5 tracks which didn’t make it in the end… We’ll put those out as an EP instead!”
Harry, you feature on vocals on various parts of the album. At what point did you decide to make that move and why?
Harry: “It was an accident actually! Even on the old album, we co-wrote all our stuff with people like our good friend Max, and on a few of the tracks I will usually sing on them just to get an idea of how things will sound. When we did ‘Remember’ we weren’t with Max at the time, so I just sang it thinking we would get it resung it later but it sounded alright! We sent it to better singers afterwards, but it didn’t have something like my delivery did on it. It was flat out written by us start to finish so it feels very personal and organic, and it was an amazing moment with the crowd singing back to me at the Liverpool Olympia show recently!”
What is about Ministry of Sound as a venue that gives it such a special family vibe on nights like this?
Jonnie: “It’s a combination of things really, led by the UK crowd. We’ve been to many clubs all around the world but it would be tough to say there’s a better club in the world sound-wise. It’s a dark room and it’s about the crowd and the sound, and that’s it. It is simplistic, but it works perfectly!”
Harry: “We have all our friends here too and that adds to it. We have everyone in the booth together and the crowd sees that vibe. I hate it when DJs kick people out the booth, because for us, it’s all about coming together to create that intimacy!”
You’ve always hashtagged #ProgIsAlive and never left the scene when others did. Now, progressive house is bigger than ever again, so what impact did you play in that?
Harry: “We never wanted to change, when we saw other people doing so, it didn’t make sense. We never wanted to go down that commercial route but why would we want to change? We have always had a really good fanbase, all the ‘filler people’ like tech-house now, that’s the commercial, but our hardcore base will always be here. It’s like trance, music with that kind of feeling will always have that fanbase! I feel the riff-raff left, but they were never our fans anyway. People ask, “Do you think the EDM bubble burst?” but we’ve never bought into hype, we just do our own thing.
I know you play in Asia quite often – How does the crowd differ here in the UK compared to other countries where you play?
Jonnie: “The way the set the flows, especially in Ministry, we want it to be more prog-based than normal. We want a longer set, a lengthy extended version on each song, whereas when you perform an hour set at a festival you need to keep the energy up because of shorter attention spans etc.”
Harry: “With the UK, we play what we want and we know people will like it. Even in other countries, like in Japan, when we released ‘HOPE’ they really bought into that. A package, the merch, the whole concept. They know the music so well, it’s not a fad like in some parts, they know Third Party well.
Jonnie: ” Yeah I think some DJs have become celebrities, but they come not because they know us – they probably don’t our names, so they aren’t there to see a celebrity DJ, they’ve come just for the Third Party sound. And that’s what makes it special.”
I spoke to you just after ‘HOPE’ was released and you told me that your favourite track on the album (Harry) was ‘Veins’ or ‘Live Forever’ (Jonnie), which is your favourite on ‘TOGETHER’?
(At this point, Third Party’s manager Alfie interjects): “It has to be ‘Higher’, it just has the feels! Third Party is all about uplifting old skool samples and the big progressive vibe!’
Harry: “For me, it has to be ‘Higher’ when doing it LIVE, but also ‘Remember’ – and not just for my vocal! It’s the sample that makes it.”
Jonnie: “‘Remember’ for me too! There’s something special about it because it combines everything we have learned creatively, the hook, the melodic sample, everything.”
Harry: “Our whole aim on this album was to make this a bit more accessible to all corners of music. A lot of our friends who don’t even like Third Party or dance music would text me and say “I’ve never liked your stuff but this is good!” – It was more of an accessible artist album. You could listen to at home but it works live too!”
Tell us about your Release Records label – What is set to come on the imprint during the rest of 2019?
Jonnie: “With the album, we have really put 100% into that and the Third Party side, but now we will put 100% into the label. We might even be doing a sub-label! We’ve got an exciting new remix which should be out soon too!”
Harry: “We have a lot of label stuff floating around so we need to put it on the table and work it all out.”
Delivering another electric performance in the English capital, Third Party continue to innovate time after time, bringing a euphoric and spine-tingling show to their fanbase. With Ministry of Sound once again decked out in the trio of white stripes that make up the producer’s iconic logo, the pair head into summer 2019 armed with an incredible new remix – exclusively dropped during their performance here – this year is already shaping up as the most exciting in their stellar career to date!
— Third ≡ Party (@ThirdPartyLive) April 6, 2019