PROFILE: The Pamplemousse Project

The Pamplemousse Project - (left to right) Spider Pryor-Williams, Chris Smith

The Pamplemousse Project is the culmination of nearly half a decade’s work from Birmingham producers Spider Pryor-Williams and Chris Smith.

Born across the table of a Parisian restaurant in 2008, The Pamplemousse Project’s blend of live strings, percussion and electronica has been heralded as a cross between Zero 7, The XX and Massive Attack. Not a bad endorsement, and as their eponymous debut EP is bouncing around behind closed industry doors, many pundits have cited it as 2011’s big summer soundtrack.

“I call it chillout,” says Spider, “mainly because that’s what it makes me want to do, but it’s really hard to classify. All I know is that I wanted to create something that I would go out and buy. It took us a long time to get right, but I feel we have. I’d buy our Pamplemousse EP.”

Starting off working for Ministry Of Sound, Spider Pryor-Williams achieved his first major production success remixing Paul Thomas and Funkagenda’s ‘Space’ in 2004 for Mark Knight’s Toolroom Records. The previous year he’d collaborated with Funkagenda to produce ‘Aranjah’ for Birmingham based label, Groovedigital. However, the rising profile of the UK’s club scene made him refocus on more live based arrangements.

“I love House music, but the clubs were becoming too much about being seen at the club and not about the music,” says Spider. “With The Pamplemousse Project we wanted to create something that could be performed live, with a tight group of classically trained musicians. Its still Electronica, or Dance music, just with a more traditional soul.”

The Birmingham Review was invited into the studio to hear the final cut of The Pamplemousse Project EP last month, which includes tracks ‘Horizon’, ‘Nemesis pt1’, ‘Nemesis pt2’ and ‘Serendipity’ from their forthcoming album. We liked it a lot, but we want to know what you think. Could this be your 2011 summer soundtrack?

Listen to The Pamplemousse Project’s debut EP on Soundcloud at

PROFILE: Funkagenda

Funkagenda - courtesy of Funk Farm Records

Funkagenda, aka Adam Walder, rose to prominence after being voted ‘Best Breakthrough Artist’ in DJ Magazine’s auspicious 2009 poll. Now, three years later, Birmingham’s biggest dance export has launched his own record label, Funk Farm, with a recent high profile bash at the Ministry Of Sound in London.

Originally championed by seminal dance music labels Subliminal, Positiva and Big Love, Funkagenda solidified his producer’s position after signing to Mark Knight’s Toolroom Records. Pegged as ‘one to watch’ by most of the dance music fraternity, Walder’s first big hitter for team Toolroom was a remix of ‘Man With The Red Face’ with label boss Knight, released in 2008.

A subsequent string of productions for Toolroom, and a tireless international gig schedule, built Funkagenda’s ‘big room house sound’ reputation, attracting some respectable industry thumbs up and a fervent online fan base in the process. (Funkagenda manages an extremely active Facebook/Twitter profile, attracting both the insanely loyal and just the insane)

Then, in 2009, the boy from the black country received a Grammy Award nomination alongside Mark Knight, for their production input on the Black Eyed Peas fifth studio album ‘The E.N.D.’ (2009). After the release of his debut mix album the following year (Toolroom Knights – Mixed by Funkagenda), Funkagenda’s portfolio began to read like the who’s who of clubland.

But 2011 seems to be heavily focused on Funk Farm, a label conceived in Funkagenda’s original Erdington studio, with ‘Limoncello’ released in Feb and Anil Chawla’s ‘Wzaz’ out earlier this month. And with Godskitchen resident Paul Thomas a spring chicken signing on Funk Farm’s roster, this Birmingham born label could dust down the city’s dance music credentials along the way.

‘Wzaz’ by Anil Chawla is out now on Funk Farm, available on Beatport –

For more information on Funkagenda and Funk Farm visit