This unusual dance music outfit is formed around the nucleus of Rollo (b.
Rollo Armstrong, England), one of the prime movers in the UK house scene,
and Sister Bliss (b. Ayalah Bentovim, London, England), one of the most
successful and respected female DJs. It is truly an eclectic collaboration,
with both Sister Bliss and Rollo being innovative and highly-skilled
programmers and producers. They were joined in the original line-up by
rapper Maxi Jazz (b. Max Fraser, Hackney, London, England), singer/writer
instrumentalist Jamie Catto (who is from a folk background), and guitarist
Dave Randall, with occasional vocal input from Rollo's sister Dido (b. Dido
Armstrong, 25 December 1971, England). It is this unique blend of skills
and styles and the band's relentless global touring that has enabled
Faithless' gradual but assured rise to critical and commercial success.
Faithless' debut single on Rollo's Cheeky Records, "Salva Mea', was one of
the 90"s greatest and most influential house records. When it was first
released in 1995, it made a fleeting appearance in the UK Top 30 in August
before disappearing by the following week. Its grass-roots popularity on
the UK's dancefloors was emphatically confirmed when it shot straight into
the UK's Top 10 upon its re-release in December 1996. It went on to sell
over one million copies worldwide and its exhilarating pizzicato string
sound has spawned countless imitators who have also achieved chart success
using the "Faithless sound', one notable example being Sash!"s "Encore Une
Faithless' debut Reverence was, like the band itself, a slow-burning
phenomenon, initially not selling well. On the back of subsequent Top 10
singles and a double album of remix material, however, the album has now
been certified gold in 22 countries. Reverence was refreshingly difficult
to categorize as its tracks ranged from brooding, dub-influenced
ruminations on urban life and relationships, through rap, more traditional
love songs ("Don't Leave") to storming dancefloor epics, such as "Salva
Mea" and "Insomnia". Maxi Jazz's melodic, semi-whispered raps always add an
intelligent and provocative edge to the soaring electronic sweeps created
by Rollo and Sister Bliss. Following its release Faithless were nominated
for and won many awards, including a European Grammy for Best International
Dance Band. Critical accolades included Michael Stipe of R.E.M. naming
Reverence as his favourite album of the year.
The band's second album, Sunday 8pm, saw them developing the more ambient,
meditative element of their work but big-name DJ remixes (Paul Van Dyk,
Robbie Rivera) of the singles ensured their sustained popularity in the
clubs. The first single from the album, the provocatively titled "God Is A
DJ", was a UK Top 10 hit in 1998. In October they won the UK's Muzik
magazine's award for the Best Live Act. They reasserted their club
credentials with the following year's remix set and their third studio
album, Outrospective, which included the striking single, "We Come 1".
Catto had left by this point to work on his 1 Giant Leap project.
Something of an anomaly in dance music, Faithless strive for originality in
their sounds, intelligence in their lyrics as well as seeking to become a
respected live band in the fullest sense of the word. Awards, critical
plaudits and commercial success all form unequivocal confirmation that
integrity and hard work is paying off for Faithless.