Courtesy Fleetmac Wood
A DJ duo who remix Fleetwood Mac songs exclusively will host an unofficial, late-night after-party at Subterranean, 2011 W. North Ave. on Dec. 3, after Stevie Nicks makes a tour stop at the United Center.
Alex Oxley and Lisa Jelliffe who perform as Fleetmac Wood first gained attention in 2012 when they hosted the launch party for fellow DJ group Psychemagik and spun an edit of the Fleetwood Mac hit “Dreams.” Since then, they have gained global recognition mostly for their signature 4-hour-long sets and priding themselves on not playing just Fleetwood Mac’s greatest hits.
Audiences can don their favorite ’70s looks or wear their everyday clothes, but the purpose of the night is to evoke memories and emotions, new and old.
The Chronicle spoke with Jelliffe about what it is like to be a global success, how Fleetmac Wood still inspires the world and what Chicago fans can expect at their upcoming show.
THE CHRONICLE: How does it feel to look back on 2012 considering the success Fleetmac Wood has now?
LISA JELLIFFE: [Fleetmac Wood] wasn’t something we planned on taking worldwide. It was never a business plan; it was very much a passion project. The first party was like, “This will be fun and interesting, people will love it or hate it, and we’re going to have a great night because we love the music,” and then the response was really overwhelming. It grew in a very natural way. We only ever did a party in London every six months or sometimes once a year. It became a special event, and that’s what’s great about it: It’s sort of like going to worship. There’s a certain amount of celebration and reverence about the event. It’s not something people go to every weekend. Hopefully, it’s something they look forward to.
What do you think makes Fleetwood Mac an inspiring band?
There’s so many reasons why this band [is] so enduring and magnetic for people. Firstly, there has been an interesting and varied line-up—the history of Fleetwood Mac is some sort of rock and roll saga in itself, and the amount of very talented musicians who have been a part of it; there really have been so many contributors. There’s three very prolific songwriters, three singers in the current line-up and a lot of different styles and influences. That’s what makes it so interesting, especially for remixing. We’re still discovering new recordings—demo versions and reissues—it’s like a treasure trove of music.
What people are attracted to are a lot of the songs come from real life stories and there’s nothing contrived about the Rumours album, [which details] real heartbreak and forced communication between broken up couples; that is something rare in music, especially these days for people to experience authentic songwriting.
How would you describe your show to people about to experience it for the first time?
[The show] is an underground dance party that remixes the music of Fleetwood Mac. It’s a way to further the Fleetwood Mac experience. It’s a wonderful way to explore more of their music and do it in a nightclub context. It’s experiencing the music that you love and may have only listened to in your car with your parents, on your headphones. We love the history of Chicago, and it’s an honor to come to Chicago and put on our own night there.
What goes into putting together your set?
We start off by playing the back catalogue that people might not have heard so much of, and stagger the big hits; there are so many big songs that people are dying to hear. We start it off slower and then we progressively get wilder. I guess you could call it a Fleetwood Mac rave, in a way. That’s just part of DJ’ing—when you do a four-hour set, you don’t go in banging it out straight away. You want to create a journey, and you want to build the energy and hopefully get everyone into a state of frenzy by the end of the night.
Is there a different energy in each venue Fleetmac Wood plays?
We play a lot of different places and we find that Fleetwood Mac fans worldwide seem to be really lovely, emotionally driven, happy and hedonistic people. People are there for the right reasons: They come to the party because they love the music, not because they’re trying to be cool or [hook] up. Some people even bring their parents sometimes and we love that. There’s a sense of community and almost like a safe place. We’re all here because we love the music, and you’re free to close your eyes and sing your lungs out.
Is it important to keep your performances a novelty for audiences?
We’re always working on new remixes and gathering more from the far corners of the Earth. We’re about to launch our new mixtape. It’s important to keep discovering and trying new things with our music. The possibilities are nearly endless. It’s not just about “Dreams;” there is so much more music we can work with and play with. It really is a band that once you start digging, you find more great songs that could have been big hits. We also like to change the theme of the night, so we’re doing “Crystal Visions” in Chicago, and we have visuals that accompany that theme as well.
What can Chicago fans expect at the Dec. 3 show?
We have quite a few new remixes we’ll be playing that we’re really excited about and new visuals that explore the crystal visions, psychedelic, dreamy and magical aesthetics that Fleetwood Mac are associated with—in particular with Stevie Nicks of course. We feel that music and visuals sort of go hand-in-hand. There is definitely a certain aesthetic that comes with the band, which we love to explore.
But, the special thing about the Chicago [show] is it is the same night as Stevie’s concert. So, I guess you could call it an unofficial after-party.