Utah Saints

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This article is about the electronic dance band. For the indoor football team, see Utah Saints (AIFA).
Utah Saints
Origin Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
Genres Electronica, house, hip hop, trance, big beat, trip hop
Years active 1990–present
Labels London, Echo
Associated acts Drumsound & Bassline Smith, Van She, Annie Lennox
Website utahsaints.com
Members Jez Willis
Tim Garbutt

Utah Saints are an English electronic music group based in Leeds, Yorkshire. The members consist of Jez Willis and Tim Garbutt, who were joined on-stage by other musicians when the band played live from 1991 to 2001, since then they have performed as DJs. The band had three top ten singles in the UK Singles Chart in the 1990s,[1] and were notable for their use of sampling technology – in particular, their practice of manipulating samples from mainstream pop and rock songs and combining them with contrasting dance beats, using samples in new contexts.

They had five further UK Top 40 singles between 2000 and 2012.


They were described as "the first true stadium house band" by the KLF's Bill Drummond, though their music is difficult to place into one particular genre. The dance group originally met each other while as music promoters and DJ's for the Mix Nightclub in Harrogate in the early 1990s. Originally called MDMA (Mega Dance Music Allegiance), they first had chart success under the name Utah Saints with the singles "What Can You Do For Me" (UK No. 10), "Something Good" (their biggest UK success at No. 4) and "Believe in Me", a UK No. 8 chart hit,[1] which they described as their vocal sample trilogy as those singles sampled Gwen Guthrie, Kate Bush and The Human League respectively ("What Can You Do For Me" also featured a sample from Eurythmics). Contrary to persistent rumors, the band were not sued by Kate Bush over the use of a sample from Bush's track "Cloudbusting" in the Utah Saints track "Something Good" – the sample was legally cleared before use.[2] Additionally, Bush sold Utah Saints footage from the video of her original song.[3] This track, with new vocals by the singer and actress Davina Perera, experienced a revival in the clubs in 2008 and reached No. 1 on UK Dance Chart. The track featured new remixes by Van She, High Contrast, Prok & Fitch, eSquire, Ian Carey and more.[4]

Utah Saints then moved away from vocal samples with singles such as "I Want You" (sampling thrash metal band Slayer) and "I Still Think of You" (Jez Willis providing original vocals on each). Utah Saints also had three songs; "Hands Up", "Techknowledgy" and "Sick" featured on the hit video game, Carmageddon TDR2000. Also their song "Sick" was also included on the 2002 PlayStation 2 soundtrack Wipeout Fusion

After their debut album, the self-titled Utah Saints, and one further single "Ohio", Utah Saints seemed to disappear for several years, though they were still busy doing remixes (for a diverse range of artists including Blondie, The Human League, Hawkwind, Simple Minds, James, Annie Lennox and The Osmonds and the theme to the 1995 movie Mortal Kombat), and producing tracks for other artists such as Terrorvision. During this time, they recorded an album that was to be called 'Wired World' but was never released, and produced a handful of Utah Saints tracks that have not been released, with titles such as "Star", "Train" and "Rock".

The Utah Saints then took a break saying that they stopped before they got into a vicious cycle of people expecting them come up with hits and write music they wanted to hear.[citation needed] Garbutt toured the United States with Orbital, Moby and Aphex Twin, whilst Willis appeared on the dance music radio station Kiss 105 in Yorkshire, hosting a very popular Sunday night show.[5]

They eventually reappeared in late 1999 with charting singles "Love Song" and "Funky Music (Sho Nuff Turns Me On)" (featuring Edwin Starr on guest vocals),[1] plus "Power to the Beats" and "Lost Vagueness" (featuring Chrissie Hynde). They also issued the album, Two. The album included collaborations with Michael Stipe from R.E.M., Chuck D from Public Enemy, Edwin Starr, and a track with a sample from Metallica, the first time a sample had been cleared by the band.

Also in 2000, Utah Saints did the soundtrack for the video game Carmageddon TDR2000. In 2001, they supported Feeder on the second leg of their UK tour, but only played a DJ set. In 2002, they went quiet again, only to surface again in 2008 with a single release.

They have also been working on projects under other names, such as BeatVandals, as well as developing their regular Leeds and Edinburgh-based club night 'SugarBeatClub'. They opened a new recording studio on the outskirts of Leeds with fellow Leeds DJs and producers Riley & Durrant in 2008.

In 2007, their previous hit "Something Good" was remixed by Australian producers Van She. Originally a bootleg, the Utah Saints approved it and got them to re-record it with a new vocal. It was signed to the Ministry of Sound record label, who released it in January 2008, where it reached No. 8 in the UK chart – their second biggest chart success, behind the original version of "Something Good". The video for "Something Good 08" featured various people doing the "running man" dance that was originally performed by MC Hammer.

Released on iTunes on 11 January 2009 was the Utah Saints' club mix of Girls Aloud's "The Loving Kind". In November 2009, the band also produced a remix of the Liverpool-based dance duo Killaflaw's "Set Me on Fire". This formed part of Killaflaw's third single, and was made available digitally in December of that year.Utah Saints also remixed the band Bring Me The Horizon the same year.

In August 2010, Utah Saints announced the launch of a new record label called Sugarbeats. The first release was Santero's "Drop the Bomb".[6] Utah Saints played the Together Winter Music Festival in London at the Alexandra Palace on 26 November 2010. Then went to play Beat-Herder festival, on the Toiltrees stage, in 2012.

In 2012 "What Can You Do For Me" was remixed by drum & bass duo Drumsound & Bassline Smith, Utah Saints then added to the remix and the track became a collaboration, received airplay and entered the top 10 on the dance charts, and the top 30 in the national charts. Herve and Tantrum Desire provided new 2012 remixes for the song, the remix by Herve was made to sound like a remix of the original 90's single, so Herve cut out the new material performed by Drumsound & Bassline Smith,. "What Can You Do For Me" peaked at No. 28 on the UK singles chart and it was included on the 2012 edition of Ministry of Sound's Addicted To Bass series. Also the Cut-Up Boys mashed up "What Can You Do For Me" with "Midnight Run" by Example and Feed Me.

In 2014, for reasons Utah Saints have no idea about, the original version of Something Good reached number one in Laos.

2015 Utah Saints released one copy of a work in progress track entitled "Swansong D'Amour" which was played on BBC by Mistajam.

Personal details[edit]

  • Tim Garbutt – born 6 January 1969, London
  • Jez Willis – born 14 August 1968, Brampton, Carlisle, Cumbria[7]



Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
1993 Utah Saints 10 165
2000 Two
2008 Freshtraxxx Vol 3 (mix album)


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US Dance
US Mod Rock
1991 "What Can You Do for Me" 10 16 35 3 Utah Saints
1992 "Something Good" 4 4 10 42 98 7 7
1993 "Believe in Me" 8 9 100 20
"I Want You" 25 25
"What Can You Do for Me (David Morales Remixes)" (US only) 3 singles only
1994 "I Still Think of You" 32
1995 "Ohio" 42
2000 "Love Song" 37 Two
"Funky Music (Sho Nuff Turns Me On)" (feat. Edwin Starr) 23
"Power To the Beats" (feat. Chuck D)
2001 "Lost Vagueness" (feat. Chrissie Hynde) 111 25
2008 "Something Good '08" 8 22 29 32 singles only
2012 "What Can You Do for Me" (as Utah Saints vs. Drumsound & Bassline Smith) 28
2013 "I Got 5 on It" (as Rory Lyons ft. Utah Saints)
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.

Samples used:


  1. ^ a b c d e Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 578. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ "Utah Saints – Music Interview". Digital Spy. 14 March 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Horkins, Tony (November 1993). "The Bush Campaign". Rock Compact Disc Magazine (via Gaffaweb). 
  4. ^ "Wuthering Heights – Tamasha Theatre Company". Tamasha.org.uk. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "Interview with Jez Willis". Phase9.tv. Retrieved 17 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "Utah Saints launch Sugarbeat Label". maxumi.co.uk. Retrieved 18 August 2010. 
  7. ^ "Organizations". Wilde-life.com. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "Chart Stats – Utah Saints". theofficialcharts.com. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "Chart Stats – Utah Saints". billboard.com. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved on 8 October 2011. Note: User needs to enter "Utah Saints" in the "Search" field, "Artist" in the "Search by" field and click the "Go" button. Select "More info" next to the relevant entry to see full certification history.
  11. ^ "Utah Saints – UK Chart". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "Utah Saints – Dutch chart". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  13. ^ "Utah Saints – German Chart". charts.de. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  14. ^ "Utah Saints – Swedish chart". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "Utah Saints – Australian chart". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  16. ^ "Utah Saints – New Zealand Chart". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  17. ^ "Utah Saints – US Hot 100". billboard.com. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  18. ^ "Utah Saints – US Dance Club". billboard.com. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  19. ^ "Utah Saints – US Modern Rock Songs". billboard.com. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 

External links[edit]