If you're unfamiliar with the brilliance of British DJ-duo Fleetmac Wood, it's never too late to familiarise yourself with their music and parties. Not to be confused with the classic rock band Fleetwood Mac, yet we think the married duo Lisa Jelliffe and Alex Oxley (also known as Roxanne Roll and Smooth Sailing), the brainchild of Fleetmac Wood, wouldn't mind if you do.
Fleetmac Wood is not a tribute act, Fleetmac Wood is a party. A rave and musical dance journey that re-frames the music of Fleetwood Mac through disco, techno and house. From their first set in 2012 in a “sweaty and suitably hedonistic” basement club in London (mind you it was six hours), Fleetmac Wood has now taken this dance party from Berlin to Burning Man and now, Singapore to share their passion with like-minded hedonists around the world.
We managed to interview Lisa and Alex before their set in Singapore at Neon Lights Festival 2019 where they tell us more about their music and what it's like travelling to another side of the world to play their music.
ESQUIRE: What is it about Fleetwood Mac’s music that you think transcends geographics, decades and genres, making their music so iconic?
Lisa: I think their music is genuinely timeless and it also has a strong female contribution from Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks, which set it apart from a lot of 70’s rock groups. Three writers, three singers, an infectious blues groove of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie as well as an emotional authenticity to the songwriting. This music is beyond nostalgic as a younger generation have now forged their own emotional memories to this music and have made it their own. It’s also great to dance to.
ESQ: What originally drew you towards Fleetwood Mac’s music, and how do you think you look at them now after all these years?
Lisa: I noticed that myself and friends would often put on the best of Fleetwood Mac at house parties (after the club) and the more I explored their catalogue, the more I couldn’t get the idea out of my head that a whole night of their music would be polarising and therefore exciting. Only the passionate and curious would attend and that would make for a great start. I sat on the idea for a few years but it suddenly made more sense when a vintage remix community started sharing edits on SoundCloud. The idea for it to be more of a creative project crystalised and we put on our first party seven and a half years ago.
ESQ: Do you think making music is easier when your working partner is also your life partner?
Lisa: Travelling and lack of sleep when we’re touring around can make any relationship challenging, but we are very lucky to share a passion and so many great experiences together. On the remix side of things, I make more of the remixes and visuals and Alex works more on the bookings.
ESQ: Besides Fleetwood Mac, and the Rolling Stones, do you have any other musical artists you'd like to dedicate to an entire night to?
Lisa: No that’s quite enough for right now. We are still discovering new tracks and demos from the immense back catalogue of Fleetwood Mac. They have so many hits to spare! We were inspired by those artists because we are genuinely obsessive about their music and to delve into their music was a natural and exciting thing to do – it wasn’t a business decision.
ESQ: Your remixes are not up on Spotify or iTunes. Is there a reason why?
Alex: At the moment our remixes and mix series are stream only as they are unofficial, we’d obviously love to work with the band in the future.
ESQ: You’ve seen naked men, shawls, capes and more at your parties. What's the most eccentric thing you've witnessed at a Fleetmac Wood Party?
Lisa: Besides people so excited they felt they needed to be totally naked, we had a man dressed as an Albatross, multiple women dressed as Lindsey Buckingham, and anyone and everyone dressed as Stevie. As we like to say “Stevie is a state of mind, not a gender”. We’ve also had a drumming troupe called the ‘Deatbeats’ who joined us on stage at a festival for Tusk, dressed as gold insects. That was quite a scene that I’m sure Mick Fleetwood would have approved of. We like to encourage playful creativity and have a laugh.
Thanks 🤖❤️ @robotheartcommunity and all the wonderful sunrise crew who danced with us in the desert this year. This is us playing the #blammablamma edit of Edge of 17, having no idea that there was a fabulous 🕊 dancing above us in the ❤️ . #fleetmacwood #robotheart #robotheartsunrise #edgeof17 #whitewingeddove
ESQ: What’s the best thing about touring?
Alex: Human connection. Through touring and music we have met people who've now become what we consider life long friends.
ESQ: How does it feel travelling to another side of the world to play your music? Ever worry about the reception?
Alex: We are incredibly lucky to be able to take our passion for music across the globe. We thrive on the audience interaction, and find the energy they evoke is one of shared excitement and love for Fleetwood Mac. We’re all fans together and Fleetwood Mac fans are really fun people (all over the world).
Photo by Julia Drummond
ESQ: What do you want partygoers to leave a Fleetmac Wood party feeling?
Alex: Inspired and elated.
Lisa: Dancing is really important and I want people to remind themselves of that joy – at any age. I think it’s also important that people gather together and have some fun. There’s too much screen time and we need places where we can let off some steam and connect.
ESQ: How do you guys feel after a Fleetmac Wood party?
Lisa: Tired and happy with tambourine bruises! Sometimes full of adrenaline and looking for fun. Alex is usually looking for a kebab.
Catch Fleetmac Wood live at Neon Lights Festival in Singapore on 24 November 2019.
Cover image by Nick Mizen.