Kanye believe it? Rap star samples resort punks

Kanye West on the day of the release of his latest album, The Life of Pablo, which features  a Section 25 sample
Kanye West on the day of the release of his latest album, The Life of Pablo, which features a Section 25 sample
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‘Just another day in the office,’ could be the understatement of the year from Vincent Cassidy – as the Blackpool post-punk band Section 25 is on the brink of international recognition, 30 years on from its heyday.

Rap megastar Kanye West has plucked one of their earliest songs, seemingly from nowhere, to feature on his new album The Life Of Pablo on a track called FML.

In the early hours of yesterday, West shared the full credits of all tracks from release which debuted on streaming site Tidal on Sunday, revealing the use of Hit, taken from Section 25’s 1981 debut studio album Always Now, and listing the band as co-writers.

“We are thrilled, but didn’t see it coming,” Vin said. “We don’t really know how it happened, and that’s the honest truth.

“Kanye has a team of people, producers etc and we have toured the States extensively and have our records from way back still for sale and download, so we just assume someone heard it, liked it and wanted to use it on the track.”

Section 25, who were part of the iconic Factory Records scene in Manchester – alongside the likes of Joy Division and New Order – formed in Poulton, originally a two-piece of Vin and his brother Larry. At the time of Always Now’s release their third member was Paul Wiggin, although there have been various line-ups since.

Section 25 in 2016

Section 25 in 2016

Initially expecting the sample to be a ‘snippet of snare drum’ or something similarly minor, Vin was amazed to hear the track –which pays tribute to West’s wife Kim Kardashian – showcasing much of their original work.

“I couldn’t believe it when I heard FML,” he said. “At about the mid-point of the song, there’s a pause and these drums come in –which are me – and then the whole band plays throughout the second half of the song, with Kanye over the top.

“I like how he’s used the track, especially like the total juxtaposition of what we do and what he does.”

Vin’s brother and founding Section 25 vocalist Larry died suddenly in 2010. But the band maintains the Cassidy name, with Larry’s daughter Lytham High teacher Bethany, another niece and Park Academy teacher Jo and Steve Stringer joining Vin, who was born in Marton, grew up in Skippool and now lives in Inskip.

The late founding frontman of Section 25 Larry Cassidy

The late founding frontman of Section 25 Larry Cassidy

“I got quite emotional to hear the song, with Larry having passed away,” Vin said. “I would have loved for him to have seen and heard this.

“He would have loved it too. He loved to explore new musical ideas, new ways to do things and new ways to put things together that you wouldn’t expect.

“So the fact a rapper, one of the biggest stars on the planet, has used our work is incredible.”

There’s a confidentiality clause in place about the details of the deal between West and Section 25, but Vin says the fact that there is a ‘financial agreement’ is ‘wonderful’.

“It’s such a different business with downloading and file sharing of music,” he said. “It was a piece of plastic in a card envelope in our day, and the nearest you got to bootlegging [sampling] was to record on a tape from the radio.

“Kanye West is a whole phenomenon, not just a musician, but the clothing, the brand and all.

“He’s a person people seem to either love or hate too, but he has been all right with us.”

Section 25 plays The Trades Club in Hebden Bridge on April 15 and FAC251 in Manchester on April 29.