Members: Julian ‘Slack’ Palmer, Rob Sawyer, Stefan Heller
Alias: Democratic 3
Throughout the early 1980s, Julian ‘Slack’ Palmer was a DJ in and around Soho. He regularly performed at the Wag Club alongside others such as Jay Strongman and Tim Simenon (Bomb The Bass). In 1983 he started as a club promotions manager at Island Records before being offered the role of head of A&R at newly formed 4th & Broadway Records the following year.
He continued to DJ while working at the record label and it was on one of his daily record-buying trips to Groove Records that he purchased a copy of Double Dee & Stenski’s Lessons which completely blew him away. So much so that he vowed to license it to 4th & Broadway in the UK. Sadly, due to sample clearance issues, it never happened. It did, however, inspire him to create something similar.
He managed to get some studio time with his two closest friends: Rob Sawyer, who was experienced in music publishing and a fellow DJ, and Stefan Heller, an accomplished musician and studio engineer. Armed with some records, turntables, and the studio’s early Akai rack sampler, the three set about creating a track based around Ronald Reagan’s ‘My fellow Americans…’ speech. Cut Loose (My Fellow American) was born. Julian knew of Morgan Khan through his days at Island Records but after a formal introduction by Rob Sawyer, Morgan was keen to licence Cut Loose to his label, Streetwave, and a deal was struck. For reasons unknown or long forgotten, except Julian, the trio was credited using aliases.
The Democratic Three went on to complete bootleg mixes of the first two tracks from Bros (You can check I Owe You Nothing Remix here) and Julian continued his Double Dee & Steinski obsession by enlisting Coldcut to remix Eric B & Rakim’s Paid In Full, a track which was already popular but went on to huge chart success with the Seven Minutes Of Madness mix. Following the success of Paid In Full, The Democratic Three also provided a remix for the following single, Move The Crowd.
Julian ‘Slack Palmer ran 4th & Broadway (UK) from 1984 to 1997 and is currently director of A&R at Columbia Records, a position he’s held since 2012.