Euromantic Remix: An Interview with Jon Pleased Wimmin
Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2019-03-02)
On Thursday it was announced that U2 would be releasing a new EP for Record Store Day. “The Europa EP” will be limited and released on April 13, 2019. The EP will be a mix of live material and Euro-inspired remixes, including a remix of U2’s “Love Is All We Have Left,” titled the “Jon Pleased Wimmin Euromantic Mix.” The remix runs 5 minutes and 40 seconds and is at end of the EP. A few days ago we had the pleasure to sit down with Jon who remixed the track, and were able to ask a few questions about the new release and his involvement in the new EP.
U2Songs: Hi Jon. Would you be able to tell our readers a bit about yourself and your career to date?
JPW: Hiya! I’m a DJ and drag artist who was brought up in London (born 1969) then moved to Edinburgh in 2000.
I’ve been obsessed with music since my school days, when i would spend every penny buying records and searching for hard to find gems. When I left school I studied Fashion design in London and had my own clothing label (along with my then partner) for a few years. I then started working in drag with two friends doing cabarets and night-club type stuff as a trio called The Pleased Wimmin.
Through talking with promoters and DJ’s my passion for music shone through and I was asked to DJ. My first proper gigs were at Danny and Jenny Rampling’s club Glam at The Milk Bar in London. My gigs piled up as word spread and before I knew it I was travelling around the world, playing everywhere and releasing my own dance music tracks. I’ve been DJing and making music since.
I’ve remixed Soft Cell, Paloma Faith, Erasure, Visage, Divine and Cerrone plus a load more.
U2Songs: Have you worked with U2 before?
JPW: I DJed at their nightclub The Kitchen quite a few times in the 1990’s which was great. I loved that club.
U2Songs: Any particular nights that stand out for you at The Kitchen?
I remember one night after I played there for an MTV party, I partied the night away at the now defunct Mr. Pussy’s Cafe Deluxe with Gavin, Adam and I’m pretty sure Mel Gibson was there, as he was filming Braveheart in Dublin at the time (maybe it was a dream!)
U2Songs: How did you get involved in the remix for “Love is All We Have Left?“
JPW: My friend Gavin Friday knew I loved the Songs of Experience album and asked if I’d be up for doing a remix of something from it. I’ve known Gavin since the mid 80’s, I was a massive Virgin Prunes fan (still am) and hitched over to Dublin to meet them and hang out with them for a few days in 1986. Our paths have crossed quite a few times over the years and we have stayed in touch. I admire his work a lot and he’s a real enigma.
U2Songs: When did the remix get started? Has it been planned for a while or were you approached recently?
JPW: I did the remix in July 2018 so keeping my mouth shut about it has been hell!
U2Songs: The mix is being called the Euromantic remix. Is that your name? Or something that came from U2’s side?
JPW: I knew the EP was going to have a Europa theme, so I came up with that title for the mix.
U2Songs: Bono in the past has been involved in a number of remixes for this most recent album. Did you get any feedback from anyone in the band on your mix that you incorporated into the final mix?
JPW: I didn’t get any feedback until I’d finished the mix and thankfully the band loved it, apparently.
U2Songs: You’ve told me previously that you’ve been a bit of a fan of U2 since 1981. If you had to pick one song from the new album to remix would it have been “Love is All We Have Left?” or would you have had your eye on another favourite.
JPW: When Gavin put me in communications with Maverick, the guys there were interested to hear which songs I’d like to tackle. “Love Is All We Have Left” was at the top of my list. The first time I heard it gave me goosebumps, it was on headphones in the dark on the day of release of Songs of Experience….I could hear exactly how I’d remix it straight away and envisaged it as a Space Age Lullaby, which is hopefully how it’s turned out.
U2Songs: How did you discover U2 back in 1981? Can you tell us what your favourite U2 song is? Favourite album? Do you have a favourite U2 remix?
JPW: I was a huge fan of all New Wave music like Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Cure, Joy Division etc. and I loved U2 from first hearing. I only realised this recently but I think i actually saw them live at the Greenbelt Festival in 1981, which was a kind of Christian Music Festival. My family were in the Salvation Army and a bunch of us from the youth club went to it. The song that really made me fall in love with the band was “New Year’s Day.” I’m such a sucker for a piano and it doesn’t get much better than the riff from that. I couldn’t really pick a favourite song as they change all the time, but I adore “Lemon” (the original version). It has such a dream-like quality that I just find mesmerizing. I think my top 3 albums (at the moment) are Zooropa, Songs of Experience and War.
U2Songs: As a fan what’s it like to finally work with these guys? Did you feel you had to keep the ‘fan’ in check?
JPW: It does feel weird seeing my name on the press release and knowing that something I created is gonna be in among their catalogue of releases. To say I’m thrilled is a bit of an understatement.
U2Songs: I tend to really like songs that reinvent a song. Does your mix stick close to the original or are we in for a surprise?
JPW: I adored the original song and the fact it was almost accapella to start with guided the way for the mix. I like to think I’ve enhanced and expanded the song into an end of night anthem. I also didn’t want to speed it up as I loved the swing and groove it suggested to me.
U2Songs: “Love is All We Have Left” was used as an opening song for the recent tour. Did you get a chance to see the show in concert? What are your thoughts?
JPW: I saw the tour in London and loved it, although they didn’t use the [full] song in Europe. The show was pretty mind-boggling. This band never fail to deliver.
U2Songs: You had a couple of songs reach the Top 30 yourself on the Perfecto label and a number albums of your own music. How different is it to work on remixes for another artist vs producing your own music? Do you save the good bits for yourself?
JPW: I have to really love a track to get stuck in and commit, so i always love remixing these days. My own music tends to come in fits and starts, when I’m feeling inspired. The dance tracks I released on Perfecto aren’t something I would play now, but were fun at the time.
U2Songs: Do you ever get a chance to work U2 into your own DJ sets? What are your favorite songs to use? What kind of response do they get?
JPW: When I do club sets, it’s mainly Underground House, so not really. But I do a regular cabaret / dance party in Edinburgh called The Church of High Kicks which is musically very ‘anything goes’ and you can often hear me sneaking in things like “Summer of Love,” “Lemon,” “Even Better Than The Real Thing,” “Magnificent,” “I Will Follow” and of course, “New Year’s Day.”
U2Songs: Paul Oakenfold recently shared a remix of “Love is All We Have Left” and Patti Smith has been singing the song in concert lately. Have you had a chance to check out any of these alternate versions of the song? What do you think?
JPW: I’ve not, no, but I’m a big fan of Patti Smith, so i’ll be sure to check her version out. I’ve not really followed Paul’s stuff since the mid 90’s to be honest as I wasn’t really a fan of Trance or EDM style music.
U2Songs: What do you have coming up next?
JPW: I’m working on a new single just now which should be out by the Summer and I’ve lots of DJ gigs in the diary. All my upcoming events are on my website – jonpleasedwimmin.com and you can check out some of my DJ sets etc. at Mixcloud (https://www.mixcloud.com/JonofthePleasedWimmin), and there’s also my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/djjonpleasedwimmin).
We’d like to take an opportunity to thank Jon for answering some questions about this new mix. The mix is due on April 13, 2019 as part of the Record Store Day EP that U2 is releasing, titled “The Europa EP.” Further information about the EP, and Record Store Day is available in our discography entry for the album.