"Queer Eye" DJs Take Centerstage
The immense popularity of Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” also puts the spotlight on Widelife. The Toronto-based remix, DJ and production duo is responsible for the peppy “All Things” that serves as the official “Queer Eye” theme song. Widelife is Ian J. Nieman and Rachid Wehbi who have been spinning, mixing, writing and producing songs together since 1998. Notable achievements include remix work for Deborah Cox (for her latest remix album), Mariah Carey and Leann Rimes (for the “Legally Blonde 2” soundtrack).
Their greatest chart accomplishment to date is the Billboard-topping single “I Don’t Want U,” which continues to be a top-requested dance hit at radio stations across the country. Time to find out more about those groovy melody makers behind “Queer Eye.”
How did you get together as a duo?
Rachid: It was actually through a common friend in 1998 who thought we’d be a good match. I was doing a lot of work with Barry Harris at the time until he went to Los Angeles to work with Chris Cox in Thunderpuss.
What is the chemistry between the two of you?
Ian: That’s right. We complement each other very well. We both enjoy to mix in our songwriting skills with our love for dance music and DJ background.
How would you describe your remix style?
Ian: We bring a variety of emotions to what we do. It is not always upbeat like “All Things.” We don’t like to get stuck in one mood. A great song comes first and then we find a musical arrangement that best fit that song.
Is there a signature Widelife vibe?
Ian: Yeah, I think so. We try to be musicians to club music. We really try to combine our interests with the music we love.
How did get into making dance scores for television shows?
Ian: Some television producers heard our big club hit “I Don’t Want U,” liked the sound and offered us the opportunity to score music for television shows. We did some work for “Queer as Folk” before, but “Queer Eye” is the first theme song we did. We are now working on music for a new show on ABC Family.
What has happened to Widelife since “Queer Eye” has come out?
Rachid: It is absolutely crazy. We are inundated with phone call and requests. We never think the show would be this popular. We just did our thing and we never knew that it would play out like this.
When can we expect the single?
Ian: Not yet. That is really out of our hands. The production company of “Queer Eye” makes those decisions and there are a number of record companies vying to put this song out on the market. We are ready! We have created a few very cool remix versions. There is also a full radio edit of “All Things.” What you hear on the show is just a very short version of the original song.
Who is the vocalist on the song?
Rachid: That is Simone Denny. She is also on tour with us.
How did you come up with the concept and vibe of “All Things”?
Ian: The producers briefed us in-dept about the new show. It was like a big puzzle, but when we sat down for a moment it all made sense and the beat and melody came very natural to us.
Rachid: “All Things” is really meant to translate the excitement and simplicity of the show. That is why we kick off with a clubby vibe in the song, which evolves into a more organic pop sound with the guitars and the base.
What inspires you?
Ian: It really comes from the artist whose song we’re remixing. That’s how it worked with “Queer Eye” as well. When the producer explained the concept of these five guys, I got really fired up. Other things that inspire me can be very trivial, everyday things.
You spin, mix, write and produce music. What do you prefer to do?
Ian: We actually like to think primarily of ourselves as club songwriters and musicians. We enjoy to spin and remix club anthems, but we have been enjoying writing original songs lately. “All Things” is a good example of that.
What artist would you definitely like to give a “Widelife” make-over?
Ian: Ha! Who doesn’t?! Sarah McLachlan perhaps…
Rachid: Toni Braxton. She has a great voice. I guess any big artist that would like to try something different.
James of "Boy Meets Boy" Spills All
James Getzlaff, the handsome "Boy Meets Boy" star, was cruelly tricked by his producers who secretly included straight contestants in the gay dating show. Was it worth it for? Is he still with Wes? Did he know anyone was straight? And was there any behind-the-scenes action? James spills it all in a recent interview with PlanetOut. Some of the highlights:
James on the entire experience of the show:
"Of course, if I had a choice to do it again, I wouldn't. And if I were one of the producers creating the idea, I would have never put straight people in there."
James on the straight twist in the show:
"It added something that got a much larger audience to watch, and I have gotten quite a bit of positive response from those people."
James on the show's cruel producers:
"The last thing gays need is to have anyone think of us as a joke or to make fun of us just for entertainment."
James on plans to leave the show after the plot was revealed:
"Andra and I did talk about leaving. But we thought about it, and we knew the legal ramifications would be severe, and we're not super-wealthy people, and taking on a network for breach of contract would probably run into the millions and millions of dollars. Obviously, we were not going to be able to do that."
James on his current relationship with Wes:
"Wes lives in San Diego, and I live [in Los Angeles]. We don't see each other a lot. We talk on the phone. We e-mail. We do see each other when we can. We're trying."
James on behind-the-scenes action between the house mates:
"I know in our contracts, they really strictly forbade any kind of intimacy between anyone, but I knew that wouldn't stop interest. And actually, it happened."
James on his resentment against the straight guys in the show:
"When it comes to the straight guys, trying to understand why they would do something like this has been really difficult. These are strangers, who kind of just deceived me -- for reasons, yes, but the project is over, and I don't necessarily think that I want people like that in my life."