RUSSELL SMALL (FREEMASONS)
Very few DJs in the world have top ten hits in their CV. Even fewer can claim to have done it as different artists across two decades. Russell Small has enjoyed two hugely successful careers, first with Phats & Small and then as half of the Freemasons duo whose remixes and hits dominated the UK for a decade.
Russell had been DJ-ing in Brighton since the early 1990’s but it was the tune made in just a few hours back in 1998 which was to change his life forever. ‘Turn Around’ became an instant hit in the UK, reaching no. 2 in the UK charts and rapidly spread all over the world. It launched Russell’s career both as a recording artist and top DJ. More big hits followed (‘Feel Good’, ‘Tonite’, This Time Around’) as well as a couple of albums over five years.
In 2004 Russell embarked on a new recording partnership, this time with James Wiltshire under the moniker Freemasons. Once again it was a quickly assembled tune that was to become another worldwide smash and launch an even bigger second career. ‘Love On My Mind’ took over a year to hit the charts but has become an evergreen clubbing anthem ever since.
Russell and James found that their studio partnership was a match made in heaven and they quickly built themselves a reputation as the best remixers in the business with some of the best club mixes ever produced.
Over the next few years it would be no exaggeration to say Freemasons were one of the hottest dance acts in the world. As well as their own hits such as ‘Rain Down Love’ and ‘Uninvited’ that were coming thick and fast, their remixes of tracks from Beyonce’s ‘B-Day’ album including ‘Déjà Vu’, ‘Beautiful Liar’, ‘Ring The Alarm’ and ‘Greenlight’ became legendary with their versions used as the lead radio edits across Europe, along with other mixes such as Kelly Rowland’s ‘Work’, Kylie’s ‘The One’ and Whitney Houston’s ‘Million Dollar Bill’. Their remix domination continued with mixes for John Newman, Depeche Mode, London Grammar and Hurts.
Freemasons released four albums including the legendary three Shakedown mix albums and their own album ‘Unmixed’ and hit the top ten again with their sixth hit in a row with ‘Heartbreak’ (Make Me A Dancer) featuring Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
The success of their productions led to bookings all over the world, headlining Mardi Gras twice and playing everywhere from Rio to Seoul, culminating in an epic ‘Summer of Pride’ in 2010 in which they headlined at every major Pride festival in the UK and North America.
By 2014 a decade of touring and long hours in the studio were taking their toll and Freemasons decided to take some time out. In 2016, refreshed and reinvigorated Russell is now embarking on a new chapter in his career. Teaming up with producer Dino Psaras (aka DNO P) he released ‘Listen’ at the beginning of the year and ‘She’ is due for release in the summer.
Could Russell score a hat trick of top ten hits with his third incarnation?
“I’m just really excited to be making music again and seeing the reaction it gets from the crowd first hand. It would be great to have another big hit and as I have found over the years dreams do, just sometimes come true,” says Russell.
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