How a Melbourne Producer Got to Work with Carl Cox & Nile Rodgers

by Isabel Thomson Officer

Steve Ward has long been one of the staples of the underground scene Down Under. Championing homegrown talent, Ward’s label Chameleon Recordings specialises in showcasing the best upcoming electronic talent Australia has to offer. Teaming up with Jamie Stevens a few year’s back, together they joined forces to run the Chameleon Recordings mentor initiative programme to nurture young producers with a knack for production who just need a bit of a guidance to perfect their skills. 

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As many in Aus will know, Ward is first and foremost an exceptionally talented DJ, producer and live artist with several exciting projects currently in the works. Regularly supporting and playing alongside some of the best artists that techno has to offer like Dubfire and Carl Cox during their Australian tours, there’s no doubting that Steve has made a name for himself as one of Australia’s biggest underground artists. 

It comes then as no surprise to find out that a few years back, Ward had the opportunity to collaborate on a track with two of music’s biggest artists, Carl Cox and the legendary guitarist and songwriter Nile Rodgers. The collaboration resulted in “Beat The Track” out now on Bush Records and it was produced and recorded in wait for it, Ward’s Melbourne studio!

Fiction Lab sat down with Steve to get the scoop on how the chance to work with two music greats came about.

How was it that both Carl Cox and Nile Rodgers came to be in Melbourne?
Cox and Rodgers met at Ultra and bonded over their love of disco music and very quickly became good friends. As Nile was about to head to Australia for his first ever tour Down Under as Chic, Carl mentioned that he had a house in Melbourne and that they should get together and collaborate on some music while in town. 

So how did they all wind up to be in your studio making incredible music like “Beat That Track”?After suffering from a major health scare several years back, Nile has since given up his hard partying years in favour of a healthier lifestyle. The guy managed to beat cancer because he actually started looking after himself.
I’m really adamant about balance and eating well and I’m also really passionate about gardening. My studio has lots of natural light and is surrounded by a gorgeous garden with an organic veggie patch. Carl has also had his fair share of suffering from DJ burnout and he loves hanging out at my hippie studio when he’s in town. He told Nile about my place and Nile was immediately keen to come and check it out.
As soon as Carl landed in Melbourne he called me and asked if I was down to work with him and Nile Rodgers and my jaw just dropped!

That must have been a pretty crazy phone call…
It was, I couldn’t believe it! I was still working at my day job at the time and I honestly thought it was a joke at first. I grew up listening to Nile Rodgers as my mum would play his records all the time and the first cassette tape I ever bought was one of Carl Cox’s mixes so you can imagine my excitement when I got this call.

So how did you prepare to host a legend like Nile Rodgers in your studio?
Well it’s not everyday that you get to work with Nile Rodgers and I know Carl Cox was almost as ecstatic as I was. Carl and I got in the studio several times before our session with him just to nut out a few good track ideas so we were super prepared - we instantly knew we were onto something great. 
Like me, Cox told me it was one of the most exciting and important moments of his life as he’d been a fan of Nile’s since he was young.

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What was it like jamming with him and Carl?
Nile was just wrapping up a TV interview before he came to my place. When he arrived we went straight into my studio. Cox was jamming on my Prophet, I was on my 909 Drum Machine and Nile was rocking out on his guitar. The entire session we were all high fiving each other and the vibe was just incredible, very surreal.
It wasn’t long into the session that we had the foundations together for “Beat The Track”. Nile even mentioned how I was one of the best producers he’d ever worked with which was really amazing to hear.

That’s incredible to hear from a legend like Nile Rodgers, you must have been over the moon!
You have no idea. It’s really awesome to finally see this project out after several years in the making. It really was such a special time and highlight of my career to date!
Featuring Nile’s signature funky guitar solos, Carl Cox’s driving beats, Ward’s remix is uplifting and one that is sure to be a total hit destined for festival and club dancefloors across the globe.