When The Untouchables’ Free Yourself hit the UK top 20, Dave Robinson got back in touch with the fanzine that had brought them to this attention with a deal they couldn’t refuse. Stiff – which had done great things with the 2-Tone/ Madness explosion some five years before – would finance and distribute a new mod label, which fanzine editors Eddie Piller and Terry Rawlings would head up. Perfect. They just needed to find some artists.
Piller visited Australia to check out the country’s burgeoning mod scene and – with the help of local fanzine Shake and Shout – put together the Countdown Under...Party At Hanging Rock compilation. Closer to home, the team started to sift through mountains of demo tapes and finally chose their first signing and booked them in for rehearsals: Makin’ Time.
The band’s first two singles became Countdown’s first two singles: Here Is My Number (VAIN 1) and Feels Like It’s Love (VAIN 2), both appearing in 1986. The former, with its thunderous Town Like Malice beat, hovered outside the top 40 and was an airplay hit. Twenty years later the sounds of Makin’ Time are still alive and well, via bassist Martin Blunt’s next band The Charlatans, and keyboardist Fay Hallam’s – who made all the mod boys swoon in the Here Is My Number video – The Fay Hallam Trinity.
Nowadays, Hallam is the band’s harshest critic. “I don't look back on any of the music fondly because I know what I'm doing now is so much better,” she says. “But I am grateful of the chance to have recorded it. It's the difference between the writing you did at school, and what you're capable of as an adult. I wrote my first song on the piano in the school gym when I was 14 - a rip off of David Bowie's She's Got Medals - and recorded it at 18. But the Makin’ Time stuff had a certain charm and naivety…”