A Certain Ratio
Formed in 1978 with a core line-up of Jez Kerr, Martin Moscrop and Donald Johnson, adding Tony Quigley, Denise Johnson and Matt Steele for touring and studio contributions, Manchester’s A Certain Ratio embraced the ethic and culture of the late seventies post-punk explosion, sounding like nothing else around them and refusing to fit in.
Following a string of successful tours in 2018 and 2019, ACR (featuring Tony Quigley, Denise Johnson and Matt Steele) released their first studio album in 12 years, ACR Loco in 2020. The new album garnered incredible reviews and in 2021, the band followed up with three EPs of new material along with the remix album Loco Remezclada which saw them working with Speedy Wunderground’s Dan Carey, Manchester’s finest Lonelady, BBC Radio 1 regular Skream and old friends Sink Ya Teeth, amongst others.
2022 sees A Certain Ratio show no sign of slowing down at this prolific and, arguably, most creative stage of their career to date. The band are set to continue with the kinds of live performances that have made them a must-see on many festival line-ups – particularly for those looking to party – and they have returned to the studio to work on the follow up to ACR Loco.
Shortly after forming in 1978, Joy Division’s manager Rob Gretton – having seen A Certain Ratio on one of their many live shows – put them in touch with Tony Wilson, a well-known local TV personality who was then in the process of setting up a record label. A Certain Ratio were one of the first to record for the fledgling Factory Records, debuting with their 7″ single, ‘All Night Party’/’The Thin Boys’.
Hailed universally as pioneers of what became known as “punk funk” thanks to the success of ‘Shack Up’ on both sides of the Atlantic, their sound, which introduced the avant-garde elements of funk, jazz, electronics, tape loops and technology to the pop song, is not easily pigeon holed and their influence on generations of musicians, from Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem, Happy Mondays, Franz Ferdinand, ESG, Factory Floor, The Orielles cannot be understated.
ACR Loco (2020) and Loco Remezclada (2021) followed the re-release of ACR’s studio albums The Graveyard and the Ballroom (1980), To Each (1981), Sextet (1982), I’d Like To See You Again (1982), Force (1986), Good Together (1989), ACR:MCR (1990), Up in Downsville (1992), Change The Station (1996) and Mind Made Up (2008) on Mute, who worked with the band on an extensive ACR 40th Anniversary campaign that included the release of the compilation ACR:SET (2018) and ACR:BOX (2019). The latter included ‘Dirty Boy’, a brand new track featuring Magazine and Bad Seeds legend Barry Adamson, as well as the now-classic, previously-unreleased cover of Talking Heads’ ‘Houses in Motion’, originally recorded for Grace Jones to perform vocals on in 1980, only she never turned up!
Today A Certain Ratio have shared new track “SAMO”, the latest offering from their forthcoming studio album, 1982, that is due for release on March 31st, 2023 via Mute. Across the slick and punchy funk grooves of “SAMO”, named after the graffiti tag of groundbreaking neo-expressionist NYC artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jez Kerr references a string of figures from New York’s ‘80s art scene, an environment which has held massive sway over the band since their time recording there in the ‘80s. He explains, “The song is all about Basquiat and the birth of Hip Hop. We were lucky enough to be in NY around that time, and some of the lyrics in the song are the unique phrases SAMO sprayed around the city.”