LIAM O’Shea may not be quite the sportsman he once was but he has put himself through hoops and over hurdles for his latest project.
The Sheffield musician and DJ has been testing his organisational stamina to create new album (Re)Mixed In Sheffield 3 Crossing The Line.
And not content with pairing city musicians with local production and remixing talent he also has artists in on the project, launched at the city’s Yellow Arch Studios on Saturday.
It all began last year when Liam decided to do his bit to mark the impending London Olympic Games.
Hence there are 39 tracks on the full album – to mark the 39 sports disciplines in the Games - which you can download for free from mixedinsheffield.co.uk. Music acts include Hey Sholay, Sarah Mac, The Violet May, The Clench, Low Duo and Driftrun.
“It’s an Olympic-themed album so it’s nice packaging,” he says. “There are different colours, one for each of the Olympic rings.”
And with sponsorship from the likes of Red Stripe, Smirnoff and GB Posters he’s currently giving away 10,000 promotional CDs around Yorkshire featuring 12 highlights of the album.
“It’s to alert people to it and give them a little taste of what the full album contains; you still can’t beat having a physical presence.”
Each track has bespoke artwork designed around the song, the act, re-mixer and sport, each done by a Sheffield creative, from a graffiti artist to a design agency and metalworkers such as Victoria Kershaw and Deborah Smith, who makes jewellery.
This means Reverend & The Makers track Bassline, for instance, has been remixed by Walter Ego, and comes under the sport category of football.
“The artist then links those elements together so it’ll have a reference to football and to Walter and the Makers, either abstract or very directly.
“That’s made into a piece of cover art, basically a 12-inch record sleeve, which is then framed for our exhibitions.”
They take place in Yellow Arch, followed by The Washington in July when the city centre venue hosts Re(Mixed) In Sheffield for three days. There will be further displays in empty shop windows around The Casbah area, currently used by artists, during the first two weeks of August and October.
“The criteria is you’re living in Sheffield and creating art or music now,” says Liam, who initially announced the bands involved and got people to contact him with their wishlist of potential remix targets “I kept it as democratic as possible. A few of the bigger ones wanted to choose who remixed them, but other than signed artists where management was involved I let people choose. Then I filled in the gaps and assigned the sporting disciplines.”
The result is both sharp, brave or daft. For example, for Anne Savage’s boxing-aligned track Hellraiser artist Mute did a picture of movie horror Pinhead getting smacked in the face.
“I’m not wanting it to be highbrow. I wanted everyone to have fun with it and for it to connect with the everyman.
“And it’s been a hell of a lot of work, but it’s a passion thing. It’s something I do because I just find it interesting. I’m a bit nosey and like to know what people are doing and I’m passionate about music and art and Sheffield. I’ve just put the time in to draw it together.”
Liam, who still runs, but used to box as well as run for his county and captain the school football team, says of the new album: “It’s kind of a litmus test of what’s happening, primarily in electronic music, in Sheffield right now. It’s also like a document of how trends are changing each year and the energy of music at that moment.
“This year there are a lot of house and techno remixes because that’s what’s happening within electronic music here. A couple of years ago it was electro. People do a remix based on what they’re feeling.”
Saturday’s event features three rooms filled with 28 DJs in total, including Chris Duckenfield and Squire Of Gothos and nine bands, namely Alvarez Kings, Blue Lip Feel, Mad Colours, Pistola Kicks, The Banditos, ObLONG, Common Love, Bloodsport and Jodi.
The first album was done at Yellow Arch, so it seemed a good fit, says Liam. “It’s coming home, really. Like the Olympics.”