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Colombia (1996 – present)

Sidestepper began as a solo studio project in 1996 for main man Richard Blair, who had first gone to Colombia in 1993 to work with renowned folk singer Totó La Momposina — the two had met at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios where Richard worked as an engineer. The result was the first album, 1997’s Southern Star featuring the Latin drum and bass tune ‘Maine’.

The project soon developed into a production and writing duo with colombian songwriter Ivan Benavides, and has since become a full live band. The two began to write together, producing the future club classic and sidestepper’s first vocal tune - Logozo in 1997. Two years later, the band signed with Chris Blackwell’s Palm Pictures. Again Ivan co-wrote and produced and ‘More Grip‘ was released in 2000, a homage to a salsa night out in Bogotá.

Sidestepper began to play live for the first time, playing gigs in the UK and across Europe, at Glastonbury and Roskilde amongst many others, and Richard continued to DJ in the UK and US. Their shows became legendary, they guaranteed a great party that starts on stage and resulted in a collective and euphoric experience, genuinely contagious. Meanwhile, writing work had begun on 3am (In Beats We Trust), as Richard travelled between London and NY where Ivan was living. The two recorded the core of the album in Bogota in 2002, some eventually unused sessions in Jamaica, with Cuban singer Ronald Infante in Havana, and MC’s Rubi Dan and Juxsi D in London.


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