The colour of money is Blue

MIKE ROSS

, Last Updated: 4:53 PM ET

Who says there's no human element in dance music?

 "There's one main thing you should never forget about electronic music: There's always somebody playing it," says Jeffrey Jey, singer for the smash-hit dance act Eiffel 65. "A computer can generate a sound, but it can't generate a tune the way a human being can. It doesn't matter how powerful your computer is. You always have to have somebody coming up with the idea. It's a human creative process."

 After eight years of churning out dance music with Blisscorporation in Italy, Jey and cohorts Maruizio Lobina and Gabry Ponte hit the jackpot. You've no doubt heard the fruits of their efforts: Blue, a huge hit that infects the listener like a fatal brain virus.

 The trio will perform it, plus other similar tracks from the debut album, Europop, at Red's on Monday night.

 These guys represent a new breed of musicians entirely immersed in the computer age. They never planned to form a "band" that plays "pop songs." That's a somewhat alien concept in the dance scene. Like the discovery of penicillin, Blue was an accident.

 Jey recalls the moment of inspiration: "What happened was Maruizio was playing this tune on the piano and the producer walked in and said, 'Maruizio, what are we going to with this?' He said, 'Why not make a dance song out of this one and put some da ba dee on this thing you're playing.' I was walking by at the moment and they said, 'Sit down, help us out with the verse and let's write some lyrics.' He came up with the 'da ba dee.' It's like la la la, or na na na na, something that everybody can actually sing. You don't need to know the language.

 "They asked me to write the lyrics and I was thinking about how people are, their lifestyles, and I thought how could I describe this with one word? How about making it somebody's colour? And that's how Blue got to be written."

 When they were done, "We had a song that actually sounded like a song. It was pretty weird, because it was a crossover. Normally in dance music you wouldn't have a complete song. Normally, you wouldn't have a verse, a bridge and chorus on a dance track."

 They sent the song out to clubs and radio and promptly forgot about it, getting back to the work of creating the fine variations between trip-hop, drum & bass, house music and trance - "whatever you can dance to, we work with it," Jey says. Four months later, however, Blue blew up. It turned out to be the biggest hit Blisscorporation had ever seen. The public began to clamour for faces to go with the music. They formed a band. And rather than waste valuable time coming up with a name, Jey says, they used a computer program. It spit out "Eiffel." The "65" was another accident. One of the producers was talking on the phone and scribbled the number on the label copy of Europop that was on its way to the CD pressing plant. They went with it, pleased with the random syncronicity of events. "It can make you think of all sorts of things," Jey says.

 Jey is definitely into all things electronic, even to the point of using a vocal effect on every single track (the vocorder, plus the "auto-tune" effect Cher uses on Believe).

 "Vocalists are annoyed," he admits. "Some of my friends who are singers say, 'Hey, why are you using this so much?' The explanation is simple: We believe in electronic music, and we're interested in spreading this on anything we could, voices included.

 "The machine is there. Why not use it?"

 Suppress your shudders, musical purists. Eiffel 65 is the wave of the future - until the next wave of the future comes along, of course.

 Tickets to see Eiffel 65 are $15 and available at Red's. Call 481-6420 for details. The group will also appear to sign autographs at West Edmonton Mall's HMV store on Monday at 4 p.m.


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