Tag: Italoconnection

FRED VENTURA Interview

Fred Ventura is the Italo Disco legend who had a number of European club hits such as ‘Wind Of Change’, ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘The Years (Go By)’ between 1984-1989.

Born Federico Di Bonaventura in Milan, he generally wrote and sang his own material, something that perhaps wasn’t so prevalent in the world of Italo Disco.

The first Fred Ventura solo single ‘Zeit’ took its lead from his passion for German language pop and ‘Der Kommissar’ by Falco in particular, although it baffled Italian audiences!

And while his music was later influenced by NEW ORDER and PET SHOP BOYS, it would be fair to say that some musical transfer also occurred in the opposite direction.

On ‘Late Night Train’, there may have been some data exchange with Messrs Tennant and Lowe for the sparkly synth riff from ‘Domino Dancing’, while 1987’s ‘Imagine (You’ll Never Change Your Mind)’ and ‘Heart’ have much in common. Meanwhile recorded in 1985, ‘You Want Me’ has some striking musical similarities with NEW ORDER’s ‘Shame Of The Nation’. But by the release of his first album ‘East & West’, Fred Ventura was already disillusioned with where European electronic dance music was heading and looked towards Chicago House for solace.

Continuing to record in a variety of guises and later running his own Disco Modernism label, he formed ITALOCONNECTION with engineer and producer Paolo Gozzetti with the aim of using classic vintage sounds while looking towards the future. Although they did not release a single in their own right until 2012 with the rousing ‘My Rhythm’, Fred Ventura’s reputation was such that ITALOCONNECTION were immediately in demand as remixers.

In 2010, the pair reworked HURTS ‘Better Than Love’ while in 2011, their radio mix of THE HUMAN LEAGUE’s ‘Never Let Me Go’ was actually BBC Radio 2’s preferred version for airplay.

ITALOCONNECTION released their self-titled debut album in 2013 which comprised of their own tracks as well as productions and remixes for other artists, so 2017’s ‘Metropoli’ featuring ‘Humanize’ could be considered their first album proper.

Some of their more recent productions can be heard on three songs for ‘Dollars & Cents’, the 2019 debut long player by Britalo exponent KNIGHT$.

With the release of a new ITALCONNECTION album coming soon, Fred Ventura kindly took time out to chat with ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about his career to date.

What got you interested in the sound of electronic music?

My first contact with electronic music was around the mid-70s, KRAFTWERK ‘Radio-Activity’ and Giorgio Moroder productions were innovative and pretty unique to the ears of a 13-14 year old boy living in in the suburbs of Milan, even if it was punk rock that grabbed my attention in 1977.

You have been quoted as saying ‘Blue Monday’ by NEW ORDER was the record that changed your life, can you remember the first time you heard it?

‘Blue Monday’ was such a positive shock for even someone like me who was already a fan of JOY DIVISION and NEW ORDER. At the time I was starting producing myself some electronic demos and one morning I woke up and switched on my radio and heard ‘Blue Monday’ for the first time, it was played every hour for 24 hours, it was the record of the day for the station, I remember checking it every hour for almost all day…

You started with a Roland Juno 60 and Oberheim DX, what led you to choose those as your first instruments? How did you find them to use?

It was not easy to buy the more expensive synthesizers like the Jupiter 8 or the LinnDrum so we had to start with cheaper instruments, more affordable but good enough to sound credible.

After using a few other instruments that were rented, I decided to buy the Oberheim DX and a Juno, they sounded fantastic to me and easy to use, I still own both of them.

What can you remember about making your first single ‘Zeit’ in 1984?

‘Zeit’ was the first thing I wrote with a new awareness, after ‘Blue Monday’ I felt legitimated to flirt with dance music and ‘Zeit’ was my personal idea of disco, I was very naïve but I knew what I wanted. The main goal was to make a record, I went to the Disco Magic label office, there I met Roberto Turatti who proposed for me to go in the studio with his partner Miki Chieregato to produce the song for a 12”, a dream come true, I was 21 and full of hopes…

When did you realise there was some sort of an Italo Disco sound emerging, although of course it wasn’t called “Italo” then?

I started to feel part of a sort of movement a bit later, at the beginning it was all about individuals trying to propose their own brand of dance music. Common influences were THE HUMAN LEAGUE, and HEAVEN 17, Bobby Orlando and Patrick Cowley… near the end of 1984, all those Italo records were charting in Italy and starting to spread all over Europe

Did you consider SAVAGE and RAF as rivals or brothers in arms?

I never felt rivalry with any of my contemporaries, I’m still a good friend with SAVAGE and I love ‘Self Control’ by RAF.

You signed to Time Records and had this European pop career, how do you look back on that period as a “star”?

I was not conscious of my sort of popularity, “success” came too late and short, I was already bored of the evolution of the Italo sound, all the producers were becoming more and more commercial.

I felt totally out of place when the BPMs were jumping to 140. Chicago House was getting big in the clubs, I thought it was time for a personal revolution and I quit the scene…

What were your own favourite songs that you recorded in this phase of your career? How do you think they stand up in the pantheon of European pop music?

I’m not that proud of the records I made from 1986 to 1989, I still like the songs but I’m not so in love with the production, the introduction of digital sounds and sampling were changing the feeling of my own demos. By the way, ‘Wind Of Change’ still sounds good to me and is still getting great feedback during my performances.

The UK never really embraced Italo Disco BUT would accept it through the back door via PET SHOP BOYS and NEW ORDER, were you ever frustrated by the hypocrisy especially from the British press? One journalist admitted “Despite the fact that I love the PET SHOP BOYS as much as I loathe MODERN TALKING, I have to admit that musically, they’re not that different!”

Honestly, our main goal was to reach the European market, we felt the UK market was too complicated to reach, considering how many extremely good productions were coming from there. I love the PET SHOP BOYS and NEW ORDER and I have to admit they were my biggest influence. Probably our biggest limits were the lyrics and the Italo-British accent, something that in the rest of Europe was never noticed

In some ways, you were unusual as an Italo artist who wrote and sang their own material, which was not always the case with a number of acts from the genre?

Yes, this was the main difference between me and other Italo artists, songs were written mostly by their producers, I still regret about accepting to record ‘Night & Day’ that was written by my producers of the time, Farina and Crivellente.

Did you feel the ‘character’ artists like Den Harrow and Baltimora tarnished the credibility of Italo Disco?

The fact that many of the “so-called” Italo artists were miming didn’t help to make it a credible genre of music, that’s for sure, but today at last, people are into the music, not the gossip or the fashion.

How did you think electronic dance music has been developing over the years since then?

The evolution of electronic music, it’s been always been associated with technology, after analog synthesizers, we had FM synths, then samplers, then plugins and laptop. There’s not that much left to discover nowadays, so everybody has the possibility to give a look back to old technology and refresh it with a contemporary attitude. It’s a great feeling to be able to use such a variety of old sounds and new technology together, the most important thing to me is to try to use all the knowledge to create something that sounds modern.

Did you ever get frustrated enough to want to make a guitar-based album like Karl Bartos did?

During my career, I have been able to fulfil almost all my music desires, I have made various albums and projects under different names, from my post-punk band STATE OF ART to VIBRAZIONI PRODUCTIONS to BEDROOM ROCKERS, via Milano 2000 Records and Evolution Records, they were all very important steps in my career.

From 1990 until 1994, I was running Evolution Records, a label dedicated to house and techno. After that period, I made a few albums under the name VIBRAZIONI PRODUCTIONS, downbeat stuff, soulful and jazzy.

Then in 2001 together with Enrico Colombo, I did an album as BEDROOM ROCKERS for Universal Italy.

So how did ITALOCONNECTION come into being? Is the concept as the name suggests?

ITALOCONNECTION is the result of over twenty years of friendship and occasional creative meeting between me and Paolo Gozzetti. In 2010, we decided to join forces and give more continuity to our electronic raids using the ITALOCONNECTION pseudonym. The aim is to revive the glories of the early 80s Italo Disco and Synthpop in a modern form.

When was the point when you realised there was still a big love for Italo disco? Did you feel vindicated at all?

Now is more than 20 years since this sort of Italo revival started, travelling around Europe made me realise how big the interest was for this genre. Nostalgia for the past makes people dig and rediscover old music, today there are so many revivals happening at the same time. Actually I never had a vendetta plan in my life, I’m enjoying these moments because I’m having the possibility to produce new music for an old audience but also for a new one that is discovering Italo thanks to the web.

A sign of this was when Italians Do It Better released the 1984 demo version of ‘The Years (Go By)’ with its corresponding instrumental in 2011, how did this come about?

Back in the day, thanks to Myspace, I was able to get in touch with Italians Do It Better and after listening to several of my unreleased songs, they decided to release the demos of ‘The Years’, my most popular song which I wrote together with Turatti and Chieregato back in 1984. I was very happy to make these demos available on vinyl, considering also that I was a fan of the Italians Do It Better sound.

You co-produced three tracks with Britalo artist KNIGHT$, what do you think about these acts who have been influenced by you?

I have to admit that is a great feeling to see new acts showing respect for so many Italo artists and producers, I would never even imagined that one day, I would have become an influence for somebody.

ITALOCONNECTION is now your main project, what does it give you that perhaps wasn’t possible in your solo work?

The opportunity to collaborate with somebody who shares the same feeling and attitude is a real gift, ITALOCONNECTION is a real team and we enjoy every side of our work, playing live together is definitely the thing we love more.

Is there anyone ITALOCONNECTION would particularly like to do a remix for in the future?

I really would like to remix NEW ORDER, PET SHOP BOYS and Paul Haig. Recently we had the opportunity to remix Etienne Daho, another of my favourite artists so all is possible.

What is happening next for you, either solo or with ITALOCONNECTION?

A brand new ITALOCONNECTION album is on the way, it took a while to produce the right follow up to ‘Metropoli’, considering also that we have been busy producing and remixing other artists. The album also will feature a host of special guests, more news coming soon…


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to Fred Ventura

Special thanks to Sebastian Muravchik of SNS SENSATION and HEARTBREAK

The compilation ‘Disco Modernism (1983 – 2008)’ is released by Clone and available via the usual digital outlets

A selection of music by Fred Ventura can be obtained digitally from https://fredventuramuzik.bandcamp.com/

ITALOCONNECTION ‘Metropoli’ is available from https://italoconnection.bandcamp.com/album/metropoli

https://www.facebook.com/Fred-Ventura-320089268041361

https://www.instagram.com/fred_ventura_muzik/

https://www.facebook.com/italoconnection

https://www.instagram.com/italoconnection/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/4wJf9Xnypopb0m96Up3xtC

https://open.spotify.com/artist/2H89jjAoarp9VqMxT8W0et


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
17th February 2021

TRANS-GLOBAL EXCESS Volume 1

Ever since the Canadian budget household gadget firm K-Tel diversified into the territory of compilation albums with ‘25 Country Hits’ in 1966, various artists compendiums have been a major part of the music industry fabric.

In particular, curated various artists albums based on a theme, be they around a record label roster, sub-genre or lifestyle experience, such as ‘Methods Of Dance’, ‘Modern Dance’, ‘Some Bizarre Album’, ‘Retro:Active’, ‘This Is Not The 80s’ or ‘Electri_City’ have been enthusiastically received with the opportunity to discover new artists or obtain rare material.

‘Trans-Global Excess Volume 1’ is the first compilation by Specchio Uomo, the independent label run by James Knights of SCARLET SOHO and KNIGHT$ fame specialising in Italo, nu disco and synthpop. He said “It’s a celebration of the independent spirit and the free movement that brought us all together in the first place” containing “music by friends we’ve met on the road and at shows over the years”.

Any good compilation has several star names to draw a potential audience in, but also features a wealth of quality material largely unknown to a wider audience and this one importantly manages to have both.

It begins in an energetic fashion with ‘You Can’t Get Fooled By Love’ by the rebooted BOYTRONIC featuring original frontman Holger Wobker and James Knights himself, the ANT PEOPLE remix providing some tribal enhancement on its bed of sparkly arpeggio-laden Europop. Presented as a Dark Italo mix courtesy of Jens Plöger of RUN:, the German producer takes PYSCHE’s 1987 single ‘Uncivilized’ into territory which isn’t actually that far off BOYTRONIC.

Meanwhile ITALOCONNECTION’s ‘Now Or Never’ is naturally a more modern twist on the classic Italo form by Fred Ventura, but it really does party likes it is 1987! A comparatively new name but with experienced intuition behind it, ‘Discoboom’ is by SNS SENSATION, the solo vehicle of Sebastian Muravchik of HEARTBREAK; his throbbing Moroder-esque attack, laced with some unexpected heavy metal guitar, could easily be mistaken for his duo with Ali Renault.

‘Soldiers Of Love’ by ITALOVE will conjure sunny nostalgia with visions of perms and mullets despite being a demo from 2012, while ‘If There Was No Gravity’ by THE HOOLIGAN takes the collection into jazz flavoured citypop territory and Vienna’s BROKEN EGO provides some whimsical electropop with ‘When The Lights Go Out’.

Another interesting inclusion is the moody electro of LAKESIDE X with ‘Wonder’ which first appeared in 2012 when the Czech combo performed as part of a RECOIL event when Alan Wilder visited Prague for a showing of his concert film ‘A Strange Hour In Budapest’.

But the highlights on ‘Trans-Global Excess Volume 1’ come from three unknown acts. Best of all is the crashing beats and attitude of PLASMASCHWARZ with ‘Mein Kopf’. Cut from a not dissimilar cloth, ‘Stingray’ by CAPITAL X is a bit feistier, but Düsseldorf husband and wife duo MÄNGELEXEMPLAR offer some wonderfully cool Teutonic detachment.

‘Trans-Global Excess Volume 1’ is a diverse collection; the galloping rock of BROKEN LINKS and the spiky snarl of CONTINENTAL LIAISON might confuse KNIGHT$ fans, but they will be far happier with a slice of girly popwave entitled ‘Drifting’ from Roxi Drive which contains the now almost obligatory sax solo and the future disco of KOMPUTER KID’s ‘Summer Again’.

The most poignant track on ‘Trans-Global Excess Volume 1’ comes with the previously unreleased ‘So Agitated’, a chiptune-inspired number by TRADEMARK, a trio comprising Oliver Horton, Stuart Meads and Paul Soulsby who opened for THE HUMAN LEAGUE in 2004. Stuart Meads sadly passed away in 2013 and although there was a final self-titled album in 2014, the inclusion as a fitting tribute.

Featuring 17 eclectic tracks, ‘Trans-Global Excess Volume 1’ has something for most electronic pop fans and in PLASMASCHWARZ, MÄNGELEXEMPLAR and CAPITAL X, it showcases some promising talent for the future. If you are a fan of KNIGHT$, SCARLET SOHO, BOYTRONIC, ITALOCONNECTION or HEARTBREAK, then there is a good chance that you will like a fair portion of this.


‘Trans-Global Excess Vol 1’ is released by Specchio Uomo as a CD and download on 4th December 2020 direct from https://specchiouomo.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/specchiouomo


Text by Chi Ming Lai
2nd December 2020

KNIGHT$ Interview

Photo by Chi Ming Lai

Combining the Italo spirit of SAVAGE and RAF with British exponents of the form such as PET SHOP BOYS and NEW ORDER, the debut album by KNIGHT$ is one of the best albums of 2019.

‘Dollars & Cents’ is one of those fine immediate electronic pop records, ideal for these turbulent and uncertain socio-political times.

The solo musical vehicle of James Knights, his bright crowd pleasing nature has made him a must-see live performer following well-received gigs in Europe.

With a stylish energetic persona coming over like the love child of Richard Butler and Neil Tennant, the catchy glitterball Britalo of KNIGHT$ will be playing all in clubs over the UK in July as the opening act for A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS.

Gathered together in the corner of a bar in Hoxton to avoid the barrage of televised football, James Knights chatted to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about the making of ‘Dollars & Cents’, working with ITALOCONNECTION, plans for his upcoming shows and surviving the vultures circulating in the music industry…

‘Dollars & Cents’ appears to have been a well-received escapist triumph?

I think so, so far it feels like all the objectives have been achieved. Maybe people were feeling a bit of doom and gloom with Brexit so needed a lift; it definitely did that in the short term.

Was ‘Dollars & Cents’ a natural choice for the title track, did you have a theme in mind for the album?

I knew I wanted the album to be as uplifting and uptempo as possible. In terms of the album title, it seemed to make sense, only because as I went through all nine tracks, that was the one that jumped out at me. I later found out RADIOHEAD had a song called that which was quite disappointing…

You achieved some of that authentic ‘Gelato’ flavour by working with Italo legend Fred Ventura on three tracks, how did the association come about?

I have to thank YouTube for this because I was listening to a lot of Italo playlists and this song came on… I looked up who it was that made it, but I didn’t make the connection between Fred and ITALOCONNECTION. Once I realised, I thought maybe we could do something and I wrote a message to him.

Fred was a total gentleman about being open to working together and when I sent him ‘Alligator’, he completely wanted to get involved. It’s funny, but he said “It’s synth music but it reminds me of THE CLASH”, so thank you Fred and his partner Paolo, they did a good job.

One of ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s Italian friends thought the middle section with the girl speaking sounded a bit “porno”, was that the intention? *laughs*

I have to say, it wasn’t that thought out… my vocals require many takes but that part with the Italian girl Monia Rega took two! I asked her to sing on the track, the first take she did very well but the timing wasn’t quite what I wanted, the second time she got it completely bang on. There was never a discussion about this so I don’t know what to say, we were looking for a vibe but we never mentioned anything dodgy like that! *laughs*

You know there was a weird European TV game show called ‘Tutti Frutti’ where contestants answered questions to get strippers to take their clothes off???

No! *laughs*

‘Hijack My Heart’ had you tightening your trousers for a great Jimmy Somerville impression?

In many other projects that I’ve been in before, maybe I didn’t have the guts to go up that high but it needed to be done. I’ve sung high live but never quite got there on the records. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

It works really well; did you have BRONSKI BEAT in mind when you recorded ‘Hijack My Heart’?

I have to say if I’m going to break down all those elements, the song that I always come back to is ‘Hit That Perfect Beat’ by BRONSKI BEAT… I don’t know if it’s the production or what and I know Jimmy isn’t singing that one, but it’s got a vibe I like it.

Did you raid your sister’s record collection for inspiration, because ‘Running’ isn’t that far off early MADONNA?

Yes, it’s got a bit of that and definitely some Whitney, it was like a “let go” thing to get me out of my comfort zone! It was the hardest track to finish and mix so when I breakdown that whole record, it’s the one where I haven’t had that many opinions on. I think it’s because it just happens, it’s very natural and appears at the end of the record… maybe time will tell, it takes a couple of listens for it to really work. That was the nearest thing to an experimental moment on the album.

Talking of experimental moments, ‘Proving A Point’ is perhaps the most unorthodox track on the album, featuring Holger Wobker of BOYTRONIC…

Yes, it is different from the other tracks on the album, I had a demo of this for many years but the idea to do this with Holger obviously came later. We’ve both had similar experiences and difficulties so we thought with this track, let’s tell it as it is, we needed to let something out.

I really like ROBYN and her albums always have a couple of tracks in, these diversions that give the album some sense within the pop.

So ‘Proving A Point’ is your ‘Konichiwa Bitches’?

Yes, I felt we needed it! *laughs*

What was the idea behind the throbbing ‘Shadows’, another track with Fred Ventura?

That goes back to a demo I had on this old four track TASCAM, I’d played all the synths and they were completely out of time. We knew which tracks were going to go down first on the album but I dragged out this demo, it needed a touch up and ITALOCONNECTION did an amazing job. It’s nice to resurrect things because it means you didn’t waste your time all those years before. It’s got a nice YAZOO feel to it.

Photo by Gilbert Yates

‘Dollars & Cents’ is a pretty straight-up full-on uptempo electronic pop album over nine tracks, had that been a conscious decision, are albums too long now?

Yeah, I could watch my favourite band of all time and two hours would be too much! I know other music fans think differently, but a good hour of anything is fine, my album is not even that!

What do you think of this new trend for two volume album works like MARINA, THE 1975 and TR/ST have done?

I wouldn’t do a debut album that way but maybe there’s room for it later on. But I really can’t imagine doing that, it’s hard enough work trying to write good songs without having then to find a thread, it’s not in my way of thinking.

For both ‘Dollars & Cents’ and the new BOYTRONIC album you’re involved in, you used Pledge Music and there have been some very public difficulties with its cashflow; how has this hampered you as an artist?

If it wasn’t for having a good fanbase, it would have been a complete disaster. But going with Pledge Music when I did was the worst thing I could have done, I went in at the wrong time! You have to think that the music will live on and that people will back you. People will back whatever they believe in and luckily, I’ve had many messages of support and we just got on with it, all of the fans have been great.

So what is happening with the upcoming BOYTRONIC album?

That’s was a bit tricky because I was meant to be paid by Pledge in December, so I’ve put my own money into recording the BOYTRONIC album. Obviously, I’m still down because the album’s not yet released, but I hope that it all comes good. A hell of a lot have bands like JESUS JONES have been inconvenienced and very vocal about the situation, but the only way we are going to get any solace from this is the music.

As history has proven, there is always someone in the music industry misappropriating money trusted to them by artists and fans. So is there a future to crowdfunding because no matter what happens, it seems like artists are just making money for a different type of crook?

I once did a calculation based on a record deal I was offered… I could sell 1000 myself or with the record deal, it would give me wider growth and expose me to more people, but I would earn exactly the same money if I sold 8000!! In this day and age, it’s so hard to sell 8000 copies of anything that it’s better to keep everything in house probably and try to sell 1000. People will say that’s short sighted but I don’t think it is.

Even at an independent level, there are people getting into the music industry who apply a smokescreen for more sinister intentions, be they DJs who hate the 80s doing 80s radio shows or event promoters who believe ticket touts are “free enterprise”. Any thoughts?

They will always be there, and unfortunately there will always be artists who take the same view… any artist that doesn’t believe in what they’re making, they’re in the wrong game… what can I say? it’s survival of the fittest.

Photo by Chi Ming Lai

On a more cheerful note, your album launch party in London was a great success and even led to you inviting the audience to join you on stage just like early SOFT CELL gigs?

It was a big rush, because you never know what’s going to happen at gigs, you know what London is like. The fact that people came out and really got into it, it was brilliant. My stage is their stage and I wouldn’t really want to create a divide.

I’m not interested in crash barriers, if people want to come up, they should be able to come up. I would rather someone join me on stage and lose their minds.

You had an interesting gig is Sweden because of the venue set up?

That was in Halmstad, the original gig had been cancelled and they moved us to what seemed like the local Wetherspoons, I was on at two in the morning and it was crazy! *laughs*

The Swedes love their Italo…

I think it’s just an appreciation of melody coming through via the ABBA tradition, they really know a good song when they hear one. If there wasn’t any melody, we wouldn’t remember anything.

Photo by Chi Ming Lai

You’re touring this UK with A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS?

I’m really excited about it and looking forward to going round the UK again with two nights in London, there’s a lot to be thankful for.

I’ve always loved A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS, I know they get a lot of stick with the haircuts and whatever, but they’re far better than people give them credit for. The songs aren’t that far from THE CURE, let’s be honest! It’s nice to be part of it.

So for those people who may not know what you are like live, why should they come along and arrive early?

They’d be fools not too! I have some nice surprises up my sleeve but for every person who has decided to sit in the pub to have an extra beer, I will match that beer! So if they turn up early, the beers are on me! *laughs*

What’s on the cards for the future?

I’d like to make another record as soon as possible but it always takes longer than you think, but we’ll have to see. And it would be nice to do an end of year show somewhere…


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to James Knights

‘Dollars & Cents’ is released by Specchio Uomo in CD and download formats, available now from https://knights101.bandcamp.com/album/dollars-cents-lp

KNIGHT$ opens for A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS on the following 2019 UK tour dates:

Wolverhampton Robin 2 (11th July), London Dingwalls (12th-13th July), Liverpool Cavern (14th July), Leeds Brudenell Social Club (17th July), Newcastle Riverside (18th July), Glasgow Art School (19th July)

http://knights101.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Knights101/

https://twitter.com/JPSKNIGHTS

https://www.instagram.com/knights101/

http://knightstore.bigcartel.com

https://open.spotify.com/album/24YAx5VzMc2hpQ14xuF0Jn


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
19th May 2019, updated 25th June 2019