Tag: Kid Kasio (Page 2 of 5)

Vintage Synth Trumps with FICTION STUDIOS

Fiction Studios is a boutique recording studio located right in the heart of Central London, fully equipped for recording, mixing and mastering while also available to hire for Voiceover and ADR recording.

The studio was set up by brothers Dominic and Nathan Cooper in 2016; Cooper is best known for his role in the film adaptation of ‘Mamma Mia’ while Nathan was a member of THE MODERN and today performs as KID KASIO.

Combining Dominic’s experience in the acting field and Nathan’s background in music production, the air conditioned studio caters for bands, musicians and voiceover artists.

The studio also features an array of classic analogue gear which The Electricity Club decided would be a good reason to visit and challenge Nathan Cooper to a round of Vintage Synth Trumps…

First card today and it’s a Korg Mono/Poly…

I’ve got the plug-in! My friend’s got a Mono/Poly and he swears by it, we were in a band together when we were young…

…I thought you were young? 😉

Yeah! *coughs*

His name’s Gabriel Prokofiev, we both got into synths at primary school and we’ve both built up a collection over the years. I’m quite jealous of his collection, there’s a few he’s got that I haven’t and the Mono/Poly is one of them.

What was the first synth you owned?

It depends if you want the first good one or the first keyboard? My first keyboard was a Yamaha PSS-110, I found one again recently on eBay and thought I’d buy it on a whim… it’s awful! It’s got these samples of a dog bark and cat meow and what’s supposed to be a cuckoo! *laughs*

So it was more like a toy?

Yes, so I followed that up with a Casio SK1 when I was about 10-11 which had a sampling thing in it, so that you could burp into it and play ‘Happy Birthday’ out of burps! *laughs*

But my first proper synth was when I was 14, I begged my mum to buy me what I wanted, which was a Roland Juno 60. In those days, you went to ‘Loot’ magazine… this was at a time when they were really cheap because everyone wanted a Roland D50 or Korg M1.

I would say it’s the same one I own now, but it isn’t… sadly in the early 90s, I was recording in Ezee Studios with TOYAH and MARILLION’s producer Nick Tauber.

He told me to leave the synth there as we’d be back in a couple of weeks.

But the session got put back and put back and we didn’t go back for nearly a year, so when I finally returned it was gone! I was heartbroken!

A lot of people just stared blankly when I asked where it was, we couldn’t trace where it had gone. The one I replaced it with, I’ve had now for a fair amount of time.

The Juno 60 is a robust old thing isn’t it?

Every synth I have at Fiction Studios has at some point, needed to be completely refurbished, apart from the Juno. It never goes out of tune! The only thing that ever happened to it, was when I was touring with THE MODERN and I snapped one of the keys while I was loading it back onto the van. It was after a horrific gig at an indie venue called ‘Filthy McNasty’s’ which was where THE LIBERTINES were signed, so God knows what we were doing there! *laughs*

What I really wanted was an Oberheim or a Jupiter 8, but that was out of my range, so the Juno fitted in the budget for a birthday present. I know Howard Jones used one and it was analogue so that was it.

OK, next card!! What are the chances, it’s a Juno 60!!! *laughs*

When I set up Fiction Studios, I was lucky to be loaned some of my dream synths like the Oberheim OBXa.

I also have the Prophet 5 which I saved up for ages for, but having said that, the go-to synth is still the Juno 60, it’s still used in my KID KASIO stuff more than anything else.

Maybe it’s because I know it so well and all the patches on it were programmed by me, but there’s something about the interface on it, it’s just so easy to manipulate, it does what you want it to do, to fit into the track. Having said that, you get less happy mistakes with it though. I guess because I know all the sounds on it so well, so it rarely does anything that truly surprises.

Now, here’s a monster on the next card, a Yamaha CS80!!

That’s the dream isn’t it? I’d love one! I have the Arturia softsynth version. I always think of VANGELIS, the ‘Blade Runner’ soundtrack and Stevie Wonder who used it a lot. It’s one of those synths that’s got a ‘sound’ to it with that ribbon controller.

The ribbon controller is an interesting point as the Polymoog had one too and I’m assuming that kind of controllability is very difficult to simulate using software?

Yeah, totally! It’s why I use as much hardware stuff as I can because when I’m using mod wheels, pitch bends and stuff, I’ll programme the part in MIDI and then have the part playing through the synth while tweaking it and then I’ll record the sound onto the computer, adding any kind of modulation manually.

Because you’ve got that tiny bit of human touch to it, that is what people kind of connect to.

Although it’s still synths, it’s got some human authenticity to it. You can use pitch bend and stuff with softsynths but you don’t get that same interaction. And I think that can make or break a sound sometimes.

I remember on one of my KID KASIO tracks ‘Full Moon Blue’, I was using a harmonica sound from a Yamaha DX7 but it wasn’t quite sounding right, and everyone said I needed to use a breath control; so you put this thing in your mouth and plug it into the back of the synth and it will change the sound as you blow.

I love things being electronic and mechanical but sometimes if you add something like that, it adds that human element to it. There’s something about humans AND machines.

So why set up a studio when today, someone can grab hold of a laptop, get GarageBand and do everything there? Why does anyone out there need somewhere like Fiction Studios?

Good question… because many softsynths are now based on old analogue ones, it’s got people hankering after the authentic sound, even though softsynths do a really great job.

I think most people are aware the original sounds are better, but people can’t get their hands on them and they are expensive these days; a lot of people don’t have the room for them as well.

So in the current environment where synthpop is popular, there is a market for people coming in and wanting to play around with the old synths and run their ideas through some classic analogue flagship gear. It’s nice in that sense that people can do that. Some people often just want another pair of ears so if people want me to produce something, I can listen to what they’ve done and steer it in a certain direction.

Modern music has become very inward because of home recording…

Yes, it’s become very introspective. You can get something sounding good on GarageBand and get it up to a professional level but you always need someone else, that’s why all KID KASIO albums are mixed by Adrian Hall because I need that extra pair of ears, he can hear stuff that’s clogging up the track that I’ve been too entrenched in to notice.

So that’s why a studio with an in-house engineer or producer is great to make professional sounding tracks, or they can use the synths to produce their own stuff.

How did your most recent single ‘Drive (Some Kind Of Love)’ come about?

It was inspired by the film ‘Drive’ which came out in 2011; I’d just finished doing the ‘Tamara Drew’ soundtrack with Ben Todd and ‘Drive’ really blew us both away.

We thought it would be great to write a song that could stylistically fit into the film.

We performed it live and realised it went down pretty well. So that’s why I decided to release it.

When it was being mixed, I gave Adrian some reference points which were ‘The Boys Of Summer’ by Don Henley and ‘You’re The Voice’ by John Farnham. The track had this American vibe to it which a lot of my stuff doesn’t have, my sound is very Synth Britannia but for some reason, ‘Drive (Some Kind Of Love)’ just had this MISTER MISTER element to it!

I envisaged the video being filmed on an American highway in an open top car, but it ended up being done in London with me driving around in my Reliant Scimitar classic car and the video came out ok *laughs*

Looking at Fiction Studios, I’m amazed how spacious it is… what did you have in mind when you chose this location?

It is right in the heart of London, very few studios are now, normally you have to go to the East of London or the trendier parts, this is slap bang central.

I was looking for a space with my brother and his accountants have got a firm on the fifth floor of this building. He mentioned to them he was looking for a location to set up a studio and they suggested their store room in the basement.

We came down to have a look and it was not what you would expect an accountancy firm’s store room to look… there were boxes of files but because this firm looked after actors, models and people in the entertainment industry, there was all this weird stuff there.

I was looking around and there were MTV and Nickelodean Awards for ONE DIRECTION!! The firm represented them! So there was a pile of their tour clothes and what was really sad was all their stuff that fans had given them was here!

So there was this huge great portrait of Harry Styles staring at me that some fan had spent ages drawing! And it was down there gathering dust! *laughs*

Anyway, I noticed a library area that looked something out of Hogwarts from ‘Harry Potter’ and it was set up originally as a film set but never got round to being used. They offered to move it but I said not to as I could imagine bands hanging out in this bit because it had a really nice vibe.

The brickwork and features are all fake, but the 6000 old books are real! Occasionally you’ll pick a book out and it’ll be from the 1850s. So it’s great for inspiration, and what I’ve found I’ve done recently is I’ve been tidying up, looked up at the shelves and see the spine of a book that has the title of a song I’ve just written! It’s very weird!

And there’s no curfew or restrictions on the time of day an act can use the studio?

No, people have booked Fiction Studios until very late at night and it has 24 hour concierge so you can come and go when you please.

You have your synths but you are equipped to record acoustically as well, was this important in the viability of the studio?

Yes, the drum kit has been put near the library area. I would happily just set it up as a synth studio but I was looking into this as a business, so I didn’t want to close it off and make it accessible to everyone. And it’s worked the other way, I haven’t really had enough synth acts in here! I’ve had indie bands, opera singers and everything here so it’s been really interesting *laughs*

So, time for another card, an Oberheim 2 Voice…

I haven’t got a 2 Voice but I’ve been really lucky recently to accquire an OBXa, which was one of my dream wants because I’m a big fan of Richard Barbieri from JAPAN, where they used the similar OBX and Prophet 5.

There’s just a sound about the OB series; since getting one I’ve actually come to really respect Richard Barbieri’s work because it’s not as easy as turning it on and having those sounds.

You can find them when you tweak but it’s hard, and makes me realise he was a bit of a genius when it came to that stuff. How I came to acquire it is one of those funny things, I was at a party and I got chatting to a guy called Ian Merrylees who is a TV Editor.

He said “I’ve got a few synths at home”. Now nine times out of ten with these types of conversations, it turns out the synth is a Casiotone… so I asked him what they were and he said “one’s an Oberheim” and I’m like “WHAT?”

It had been in his loft for fifteen years… so I went round to his house to have a look, and not only did he have an OBXa, but he had a Prophet T8 as well! He wanted to see them used, and he very kindly loaned them to Fiction Studios, although they needed loads of servicing… I needed about four people to carry the T8 into the car, it’s a real monster! *laughs*

What other synths do you have here at Fiction Studios?

As well at the Oberheim OBXa, Prophet 5 and Prophet T8, there’s a Crumar Performer which after the Juno 60 is my most used synth, the SH101, Yamaha DX7, Korg MS2000, Korg DS8 and a Korg Poly 800 which my band mate Chi in THE MODERN found in a skip!

My most recent addition to the synth armoury was from when Roland came down to the studio and were impressed with the look. So the deal is they will lend us anything if they can film in here every now and then, so I have been lent a Roland JDXa which Nick Rhodes of DURAN DURAN spearheads the campaign for. It has a really nice interface, it looks amazing.

It’s great for live because unlike the old analogues where you need a torch because you can’t see the controls, this has everything lit up really nicely and there are in-built effects so everything sounds nice straight out of the box.

You have two mixing desks here?

One is for bands to use when they rehearse in the live area, it’s an old Datum series made by Hill Audio who provided the desks for Live Aid.

I was keen on having an old analogue desk, so I got this Soundtracs IL36 32 channel mixer from a friend of mine who was downsizing. That’s the thing about these desks nowadays, no-one wants them, my friend just wanted it taken away, it took five people to lift it! But I love it because it’s got a great sound to the EQs, I run all my synths through it. I have a nice Focusrite pre-amp so that it sounds like those old Neve desks, it’s got a beautiful analogue sound.

I use Logic to record but if people want to use Pro-Tools, they can. I have a nice Neumann U87 microphone and an Avalon pre-amp so you can get a good vocal chain. The monitoring uses Genelec speakers so it’s all here for people if they want it.

Another card, an ARP Odyssey…

I was this close to getting the Korg remake last year and then the studio came up. So when there was the offer of these other synths and I was getting the studio set-up, I had to spend my money on other things. I’d like to get one because ULTRAVOX used it…

…you know Billy Currie’s just sold his?

Did he? Why would you sell it?

He did sell it for £8500!

Ah! That’s why you’d sell it! *laughs*

How much is the remake by Korg?

Don’t quote me on this, but I think it’s about £700 so it’s a lot cheaper than buying an old one and it’s got MIDI.

Now I see here you have a tape recorder AND a drum machine… *laughs*

The tape recorder is all rigged up and came into use recently. Dave Ball from SOFT CELL came in with some old ¼ inch tapes of demos recorded when he and Marc Almond were at Leeds Polytechnic. He wanted to find out what was on them in case there was any other stuff that hadn’t been heard before, and there was!

That was a great experience, he’s such a nice guy and one of my idols, so to sit there and go through this stuff first hand was amazing, This early stuff was almost punk and really out there lyrically, it was amazing how simplistic some of the synth lines were, that’s the beauty of them.

The Oberheim DMX was kindly donated by a friend, I must give it back to him soon as I’ve had it for about ten years *laughs*

It’s got a brilliant kick drum, snare and clap sound which I use in almost everything I do but I tend to sample it rather than use it as a drum machine.

There are modern drum machines like the Roland TR8, but most people just use software, so is there a place for drum machines in recording today?

I think there probably is, but I still use loops quite a lot. Most people will use a programme in Logic for drum sounds called Battery where you can load up whatever vintage drum machine you want and play it on the keys of a synth, layering up the percussion framework into the computer.

I like the inspiration you can get from loops, I use a company that supplies them and you can pick one out by year. When you buy a particular year like say 1982, they send you a pack of a hundred loops played on the popular drum machines of that year in various tempos and stuff. So what I invariably do is use that as a basis and layer the sounds up with real ones from the DMX or a sample from a 12 inch single. The great thing about the DMX is that you can open it up and tune up each drum to the song via the dials inside.

When it comes to using a drum machine to programme, it’s quite fiddly and you end up recording it back into the computer anyway, so it’s a bit pointless. But it is nice to have it hands on.

Final card, it’s the Polymoog…

People say I haven’t got any Moogs in the studio but they’re one of those makes that I never got into.

I want one, partly because Howard Jones had a Moog Prodigy but when I was young, I always associated Moog with the more proggy end of music and it sort of put me off *laughs*

It’s funny because RODNEY CROMWELL admits he’s “a Moog Snob”

I guess it’s the difference between 1977-1980 which is more the lo-fi era of electronics where he comes from musically, while my stuff fits more into the more later end of synthpop 1982-1983…

Ah, the digitally stabilised analogue period…

Yeah, exactly *laughs*

Having said that, if anyone wants to donate a Moog synth? I do have all the Moog plug-ins but it’s just been one of those things.

So what are you up to at the moment musically?

Apart from producing an array of acts here at Fiction, I’m planning the video to the final release from my KID KASIO ‘Sit & Wait’ album. It’s going to be made up of old footage of me in bands from the 90s.

Also I’m putting the final touches to an EP of cover versions I’m releasing next year. And busy writing and recording for my third KID KASIO album.


The Electricity Club gives its warmest thanks to Nathan Cooper and Fiction Studios

Fiction Studios is based at 49 – 51 Bedford Row, London, United Kingdom – for further information, please phone 020 7404 7111 or visit their website at http://www.fictionstudioslondon.com/

https://www.facebook.com/fictionstudioslondon/

https://twitter.com/fiction_studios

https://www.instagram.com/fictionstudios/

Vintage Synth Trumps is a card game by GForce that features 52 classic synthesizers


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
18th August 2017

DNA: The Legacy of A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS

Out of all the British bands to emerge from the post-punk era, Liverpool’s A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS made one of the most lasting impacts on modern popular culture.

Noted by lead singer and keyboardist Mike Score’s outlandish hairdo, his distinctive bonce was sent up on ‘The Wedding Singer’ and ‘Friends’.

Meanwhile, Samuel L Jackson’s “YOU! FLOCK OF SEAGULLS!” line from ‘Pulp Fiction’ in reference to an assassination target’s hairstyle was appropriated by the music press to mock the band! But A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS have a musical legacy too.

In 1983, they won a ‘Best Rock Instrumental Performance’ Grammy Award for the track ‘DNA’, at a time when The Second British Invasion had still yet to fully take hold in an America still drunk on TOTO and JOURNEY!

Then in 2005, THE MODERN released a single entitled ‘Industry’ which bore more than a passing resemblance to ‘The More You Live, The More You Love’. According to band member Nathan Cooper, better known these days as KID KASIO, this was purely accidental: “We didn’t realise until halfway through the promotional tour for it. We were doing an interview for a little radio station in Sheffield and the presenter pointed it out and played both back to back!!!! We were speechless and a bit embarrassed… the verse for both songs is almost EXACTLY the same!!”

Then bizarrely, the poacher met the gamekeeper!

“We actually supported them years later” remembered Cooper, “we were so embarrassed, we were going to drop ‘Industry’ from our set! But in the end, I just went up to Mike Score and explained it and said ‘I’m really sorry, it was unintentional’. He was really lovely about it”. THE MODERN weren’t the only ones mining the Seagull Songbook.

In 2007, MARSHEAUX borrowed the main riff from ‘Space Age Love Song’ for their ‘Dream Of A Disco’, often thought of as the Greek synth maidens’ signature song. Indeed, imitation can be the sincerest form of flattery…

Mike Score unsurprisingly trained as a hairdresser, but music was where his ambitions lay. Joining forces with his drummer brother Ali and bassist Frank Maudsley, they rehearsed as a three-piece and began writing songs along the way. But it was not until after the recruitment of guitarist Paul Reynolds that things began to gain momentum.

By late 1979, Merseyside had become a hot bed of emerging musical talent with acts such as ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN, THE TEARDROP EXPLODES, DEAD OR ALIVE, WAH! HEAT, CHINA CRISIS and OMD. But with their Sci-Fi songs and penchant for dressing up as spacemen, A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS never fitted in with their local contemporaries.

So one could imagine the reaction of Mac The Mouth and Droolian when Mike Score and Co were the the first of the gang to break America when their eponymous debut album reached No75 in the US charts on the back of ‘Telecommunication’, a Bill Nelson produced song from it, becoming a No1 US Dance hit!

A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS had got their original break when Bill Nelson produced and released their debut single ‘(It’s Not Me) Talking’ for his Cocteau label in 1981. But it was with their fourth single ‘I Ran’ that they first nestled just outside the UK Top40. With an echoing guitar kick, this was futuristic synthesized rock along the lines of ULTRAVOX that crucially became a US Top10 in the Billboard Hot 100.

The embracement from America came via MTV; Mike Score’s memorable back combed hair style and the band’s unusual appearance appealed to a college demographic which was tiring of permed long hair and blue denim. With a sound that combined enough conventional rawk guitar to have mainstream appeal while adding a spacey sheen with prominent synths, A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS were onto a winning formula.

Produced by Mike Howlett, who also steered OMD, BLANCMANGE and CHINA CRISIS to chart success, ‘A Flock Of Seagulls’ was a concept album of sorts about an alien invasion that featured ‘I Ran’, ‘Space Age Love Song’ and ‘Telecommunication’, plus other great tracks such as ‘Modern Love Is Automatic, ‘Messages’ and the Grammy Award winning ‘DNA’.

Also produced by Howlett except for the album’s closer ‘(It’s Not Me) Talking’, ‘Listen’ released in 1983 made an even bigger impact, thanks to the song many consider to be A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS’ crowning glory, ‘Wishing (I Had A Photograph Of You)’.

With a percussively clanky backbone and using just black keys for its infectious melody line, it was the big home hit that A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS has been waiting for. Further singles ‘Nightmares’ and ‘Transfer Affection’ were good but did not reach quite the same heights, although that mattered little as at this point, the quartet were one of the most heavily rotated acts on MTV.

Their third album ‘The Story Of A Young Heart’ in 1984 was the beginning of the artistic and sales decline, although the lead single’ ‘The More You Live, The More You Love’ was classic A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS in the vein of ‘Space Age Love Song’.

By the time of the fifth long player ‘Dream Come True’, Reynolds had left the band as the remaining threesome settled into their new base of Philadelphia, but A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS had lost that distinctly British edge that made them so appealing to the US in the first place.

‘Heartbeat Like A Drum’ was a passable watered down digital pop song of a period when British acts like OMD and THE HUMAN LEAGUE were chasing the American dollar, but the Hi-NRG paced ‘Who’s That Girl (She’s Got It)’ was poor and the beginning of the end. By 1986, the Score brothers had fallen out and A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS had disbanded.

The legacy of A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS has now been bolstered by a new compilation on Cherry Pop with the self-explanatory title of ‘Remixes & Rarities’. Featuring most of the band’s singles in radio edit and extended format, it also acts as a document to some of the more hidden experiments of the band, and how popular music was changing under the spectre of MTV and club culture.

There were rumours that while ‘Dream Come True’ was being recorded, A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS were turning into a Mike Score solo act. Two lengthy instrumentals ‘The Last Flight Of Yuri Gagarin’ and ‘Rosenmontag’ that featured on the flip of ‘Nightmares’ certainly give the impression that this was starting to be the case, even back then. Having not been included on Cherry Pop’s album reissues, this pair of collage curios certainly haven’t been missed… also not much cop is the rather badly put together ‘Single Medley’.

Much better though are the nine minute version of ‘Wishing (I Had A Photograph Of You)’, an edit of its B-side ‘Committed’ and the extended remix of ‘Never Again (The Dancer)’ which comes over like OMD but with more guitar.

The ‘Full Moon Mix’ of ‘The More You Live, The More You Love’ fairs less well, being one of those horrid dub styled reworks that were prevalent from 1984 onwards and which featured very little of the actual song!

An assortment of live versions fill the remainder of this compendium and these recordings act as a reminder that despite the exposure on MTV, it was actually A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS’ ability as a live band and a willingness to tour as support to the likes of bigger acts such as GENESIS, THE POLICE and THE GO-GO’S in the US that cemented their success.

A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS continue to play live today with Mike Score being the sole remaining original member. While he might no longer have his hair or his Scouse accent, ‘Remixes & Rarities’ is evidence that despite how they were derided in their own country and have been sent up by popular culture, A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS have a significant number of great songs in their back catalogue that worldwide audiences still want to hear.

And not many bands actually get to achieve that…


With thanks to Matt Ingham at Cherry Red

‘Remixes & Rarities’ is released by Cherry Pop as a double CD set on 24th March 2017, pre-order from https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/remixes-rarities-deluxe-2cd-edition

The albums ‘A Flock Of Seagulls’, ‘Listen’, ‘The Story Of A Young Heart’ and ‘Dream Come True’ are all still available on CD via Cherry Pop https://www.cherryred.co.uk/artist/a-flock-of-seagulls/

http://www.aflockofseagulls.org

https://www.facebook.com/seagullsrunning

https://twitter.com/seagullsrunning


Text by Chi Ming Lai
11th March 2017

TEC004 featuring MARSHEAUX, KID KASIO + RODNEY CROMWELL

tec004-johnnewstead-005Following the very successful TEC003 event in 2014 with VILE ELECTRODES, SPEAK & SPELL plus guests including Mark Reeder and Sarah Blackwood, as well as a DEPECHE MODE memorabilia exhibition by Deb Danahay, The Electricity Club went back on the road.

Their latest event TEC004 graced the beautiful Norfolk city of Norwich at Epic Studios.

The day was kicked off by a marvellous memorabilia exhibition of items from the Synth Britannia era. Deb Danahay’s collection mainly depicted the early years of DEPECHE MODE circa 1981. Deb shared her very first DM fan club information sheets, photos, backstage passes, newspaper cuttings as well as YAZOO fan club photos, backstage passes and personal notes. Meanwhile, one of the UK’s most devoted fans of DEPECHE MODE, Michael Rose treated eager observers to some excellent pieces of rare memorabilia.

tec004-johnnewstead-031These included tour programmes from the ‘Some Great Reward’, ‘Music For The Masses’ and ‘Violator’ eras. There were the Bong fan club publications as well, plus letters and assorted promo photographs.

And there was the famous jacket Dave Gahan wore on the iconic ‘The World We Live In and Live In Hamburg’ video of nearly from the 1984 ‘Some Great Reward’ Tour, and also the first video release by the band.

Stephen Roper provided his keepsakes relating to GARY NUMAN. He collated a book about the Numan’s imperial era entitled ‘Back Stage-A Book Of Reflections’, which featured contributions from the man himself. More recently, Roper has ventured into gig promotion, hosting a successful live appearance by former KRAFTWERK member WOLFGANG FLÜR and joined forces with The Electricity Club to present TEC004.

The Electricity Club’s own Paul Boddy, who also doubles as one quarter of the modern SPEAK & SPELL’s set up, kicked the “music bit” off with a fabulous DJ Set, containing the likes of ERASURE, FAD GADGET, DEPECHE MODE, THOMAS DOLBY, JOHN FOXX, LADYTRON and BATTLE TAPES.

tec004-simon-watson-029The happy crowd milling around the venue consisted of diehard fans of electronica, studded with the likes of Sarah Blackwood ex-CLIENT and DUBSTAR, Anais Neon and Martin Swan from VILE ELECTRODES and George Geranios of Undo Records. Also along for the fun were Keith Trigwell of SPEAK & SPELL, Simon Helm of Nordic friendly music blog Cold War Night Life plus radio DJs Rob Green and Chris Watts.

The compère for the evening was the lovely Caroline Rose, who was probably the only person in The Electricity Club’s circle who could pronounce “Les Disques du Crépuscule” and managed to get the audience properly geared up for the evening’s festivities as well as provided interesting info on the night’s acts.

tec004-johnnewstead-027TEC004’s guest DJ James Nice graced the gathering with a variety of new and vintage tunes.

He recently resurrected the prestigious Belgian label Les Disques du Crépuscule and its sister Factory Benelux offshoot, as platforms to issue a plethora of archive and experimental material, as well as releasing new music by MARNIE, MARSHEAUX, DEUX FILLES and LES PANTIES.

Nice, who is a music publisher and writer, with an accomplished 2010 book ‘Shadowplayers: The Rise And Fall Of Factory Records’, now looks after both labels, curating its heritage as well as taking care of new acts.

The sleeve notes for these releases are written by the man himself, but as he told TEC in his recent interview: “My notes tend to be honest rather than gushing or pseudo-academic, and that’s probably why I rarely get commissioned to write liner notes for other releases!”

tec004-johnnewstead-014In front of a TEC004 audience that had gathered from as far as Switzerland, Holland, Ireland, Liverpool and London, RODNEY CROMWELL took to the stage first. Led by Adam Cresswell, his short but sweet set of tunes including ‘Baby Robot’ and ‘Black Dog’ from debut long player ‘Age Of Anxiety’, chronicled his own personal problems with depression. There was also the terrific bonus of his older ARTHUR & MARTHA track ‘Autovia’ featuring bandmate Alice Hubley on lead vocals.

He was pleased with the early crowd turnout as he had told TEC earlier this year: “I think it’s harder to get gigs now… maybe that’s because electronic music’s not as fashionable, because back in the mid-noughties, it was on the back of Electroclash and that hipster thing!”. Well, it was a very successful set too and he managed it without blowing up one of his Korgs, like he had done at the warm-up gig in London the day before!

tec004-johnnewstead-008The golden boy of 2016, Nathan Cooper aka KID KASIO showcased his talents next during a lively 40 minute set. Cooper has had a successful couple of years, releasing his stunning retro-inspired album ‘Sit and Wait’ with such gems as ‘Full Moon Blue’ and ‘The Kodo Song’, which were both performed to a rather appreciative audience.

tec004-johnnewstead-007Previously of THE MODERN and MATINEE CLUB, Cooper has been involved in electronic music for years and worked with all the big names like Stephen Hague.

Most recently, he opened a fabulous recording studio Fiction Studios in London, together with his oh-so-famous actor brother Dominic. Cooper managed to pick up a parking fine during rehearsals, so he amusingly pleaded to the audience to buy at least six CDs to cover his loses!

His set went down tremendously well; with massively upbeat and entertaining tracks like ‘The Story Of Kid Charlemagne’ and the über fast ‘The End’, the crowd did not want to let KID KASIO off stage.

tec004-johnnewstead-006KID KASIO certainly prepared the audience for Greek Goddesses MARSHEAUX, whose hour-long set was simply stunning. The duo are soon to play at the first African electronic music festival in Senegal and kicked off with tunes from their latest acclaimed album ‘Ath.Lon’, accompanied by arty background projections.

But the big hits like ‘Breakthrough’ from ‘Lumineux Noir’ were also included and inevitably got the audience pumping.

Apart from being pleasing to the eye, Marianthi Melitsi and Sophie Sarigiannidou also know how to get the crowd going and a few certainly got involved in a very articulated manner. The audience were dancing and singing to the brilliant ‘Inhale’ and the mood continued with DEPECHE MODE’s ‘The Sun & The Rainfall’. With exquisite harmonies brought by the girls, a few people in the audience actually said they preferred MARSHEAUX’s cover album of ‘A Broken Frame’ to the original.

tec004-simon-watson-006After the show to an advanced preview of The Electricity Club’s upcoming modern synthpop compilation to be released on Undo Records, many rushed to purchase ‘Ath.Lon’ with its stunning sleeve, dutifully signed by the duo. The demand was such that certain items on the merchandise stand flew out so fast, that a few missed out on goodies such as the lush luminous sleeved ‘Ghost’ 7 inch vinyl.

At TEC004, the happy crowd was entertained and everybody was having a great time. Now, this is what happens when electronic music events are curated by electronic music enthusiasts.


TEC004 DJ sets

tec004-johnnewstead-022James Nice – Les Disques du Crépuscule

MIKADO ‘Par Hasard’
HARD CORPS ‘Porte de Bonheur’
TELEX ‘Moskow Diskow’
CRYSTAL CASTLES ‘Intimate’
VITALIC ‘Flashmob’
GRACE JONES ‘She’s Lost Control’
KAS PRODUCT ‘So Young But So Cold’
FACTORY FLOOR ‘Fall Back’
SPARKS ‘Tryouts For The Human Race’


tec004-johnnewstead-012Paul Boddy – The Electricity Club

6/8 Set #1
MESH ‘Born To Lie’
DEPECHE MODE ‘Personal Jesus [Alex Metric remix]’
THE HUMAN LEAGUE ‘Empire State Human [Chamber’s Reproduced remix]’
OMD ‘Sailing On The Seven Seas [Larrabee mix]’
GOLDFRAPP ‘Beautiful’
ERASURE ‘Love Is A Loser’
FAD GADGET ‘Swallow It’
SOFT CELL ‘Where Did Our Love Go?’

4/4 Set #2
tec004-simon-watson-012HARD CORPS ‘Je Suis Passé’
DIE KRUPPS ‘Der Amboss’
KIM WILDE ‘Cambodia [EMP re-edit]’
YAZOO ‘Goodbye 70s’
TORUL ‘Mad World [Rob Dust remix]’
GIORGIO MORODER ‘The Chase [Jaia Express remix]’
DONNA SUMMER ‘I Feel Love [Afrojack remix]’


‘The Electricity Club’ preview

tec004-simon-watson-009SIN COS TAN ‘Trust’
POLLY SCATTERGOOD ‘Other Too Endless (Vince Clarke remix)’
TENEK ‘What Do You Want? (Alternate TEC version)’
ANALOG ANGEL ‘We Won’t Walk Away’
ARTHUR & MARTHA ‘Autovia’
MARSHEAUX ‘Suffer The Children’
SECTION 25 ‘My Outrage’
047 featuring LISA PEDERSEN ‘Everything’s Fine’
tec004-simon-watson-015TAXX ‘Is it Love?’
LIEBE ‘I Believe In You’
QUIETER THAN SPIDERS ‘Shanghai Metro’
iEUROPEAN featuring WOLFGANG FLÜR ‘Activity Of Sound’
TWINS NATALIA ‘Destiny’
MESH ‘Tuesday’
MIRRORS ‘Between Four Walls’


tec004-simon-watson-001The Electricity Club gives its warmest thanks to all the bands, DJs, venue crew, team, helpers and attendees who made TEC004 such a great success

http://www.marsheaux.com/

http://www.kidkasio.com

http://www.happyrobots.co.uk/

tec004-johnnewstead-013http://www.lesdisquesducrepuscule.com/

http://factorybenelux.com/

https://soundcloud.com/paul-boddy-emp-remixes

http://www.epic-tv.com/

http://www.johnnewstead.co.uk/

http://simonwatson-photography.co.uk/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
Photos by John Newstead and Simon Watson
12th November 2016

KID KASIO Full Moon Blue

KID KASIO Full Moon BlueFormerly of THE MODERN and later MATINEE CLUB, Nathan Cooper debuted as KID KASIO with the long player ‘Kasiotone’ in 2012. And with his latest single ‘Full Moon Blue’, he simply couldn’t get any Wilder…

Performing alongside MARSHEAUX and RODNEY CROMWELL at TEC004 on SATURDAY 5TH NOVEMBER 2016 in Norwich, Cooper is a man who is plainly honest about where his influences lie. His love of electronic acts such as HOWARD JONES and OMD permeates throughout his work.

His most recent album ‘Sit & Wait’ is a fine collection of playful synthpop that is unafraid to nails its colours to the mast in a totally unpretentious and uncontrived manner. Now imagine if DEPECHE MODE were fronted by Nik Kershaw instead of Dave Gahan?

With ‘Full Moon Blue’, this musical fantasy is fully realised with a clever interpolation of ‘Two Minute Warning’, one of the songwriting contributions from Alan Wilder on ‘Construction Time Again’. The recording had originally started life as a cover version, but mutated into its own entity.

‘Full Moon Blue’ comes accompanied with a promo video sourced from home movie footage; “It’s compiled from footage of an old VHS tape a friend found in a box in his mum’s attic. It’s a film we made on camcorder when we were 18. A kung fu film” said Cooper, “I’ve just kind of thrown it together, but it kind of works. It’s certainly not a video I would have planned for the song, but I think that’s better sometimes. I was keen not to spend 2 years making a video this time around, like I did with ‘The Kodo Song’ and this came with a ready-made back story, so I thought ‘why not?’”.

KID KASIO Shot Blue 1Having previously worked with the likes of Stephen Hague who produced ERASURE, NEW ORDER and PET SHOP BOYS, KID KASIO has a quality background.

He said to The Electricity Club in 2015: “Whether I release it in 2013 or 2016, it’s still going to sound like 1985!” – in the case of ‘Full Moon Blue’, KID KASIO parties like its 1983!

But as James Nice of Les Disques du Crépuscule, one of the DJs at TEC004, said recently to The Ransom Note: “I have no problem at all with something new being imitative as long as it’s good”. And TEC agrees…

‘Full Moon Blue’ will be featuring on ‘The Electricity Club’ 2CD compilation to be released on Amour Records / Minos EMI / Universal Muisc alongside recordings by ERASURE, OMD, MESH, SIN COS TAN, MARNIE, SECTION 25, MIRRORS, POLLY SCATTERGOOD, KEEP SHELLY IN ATHENS, VILE ELECTRODES, ANALOG ANGEL, NIGHT CLUB, METROLAND, RODNEY CROMWELL, MAISON VAGUE, DAYBEHAVIOR, QUEEN OF HEARTS, iEUROPEAN featuring WOLFGANG FLÜR and many more.


‘Full Moon Blue’ is released as a download single and also available on the album ‘Sit & Wait’

TEC004 Flyer - May 2016KID KASIO plays TEC004 on SATURDAY 5TH NOVEMBER 2016 at Epic Studios, 114 Magdalen Street, Norwich, Norfolk NR3 1JD – also appearing will be MARSHEAUX + RODNEY CROMWELL with DJs James Nice of Les Disques du Crépuscule and Paul Boddy of The Electricity Club

Doors open for the show at 6.45pm with the first band on stage at 7.30pm

Tickets are £16 in advance, £20 at the door – available direct from the box office on 01603 727727 or online at
https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/248712

The TEC004 Facebook event page can be found at:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1737916166452621/

http://www.kidkasio.com/

https://www.facebook.com/kidkasio/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
TEC004 Artwork by Mark Walker @ MNW Visual Communications
15th September 2016

A Short Conversation with STEPHEN ROPER

Stephen Roper & Gary NumanStephen Roper is best known for ‘Back Stage – A Book Of Reflections’, a comprehensive account of GARY NUMAN’s imperial years between 1979 – 1981.

The book featured contributions from GARY NUMAN himself and others who were there like band members Chris Payne, RRussell Bell and the late Cedric Sharpley, plus support acts OMD, SIMPLE MINDS and the sadly departed NASH THE SLASH.

‘Back Stage’ was a remarkable achievement for an independent publication. On seeing the hardback edition, GARY NUMAN said: “That’s why I enjoyed reading this book so much. It gives a voice to so many people that were vitally important to me, and to what happened to me, in those early days. I was grateful to them then, and I remain grateful to them now”.

More recently, Roper has ventured into gig promotion, hosting a successful live appearance by former KRAFTWERK member WOLFGANG FLÜR, supported by Glasgow combo ANALOG ANGEL at Norwich Epic Studios in June 2015.

And now, he has joined forces with The Electricity Club to present TEC004. Returning to Epic Studios, the event will take place on SATURDAY 5th NOVEMBER 2016 and feature MARSHEAUX, KID KASIO and RODNEY CROMWELL.

With a pre-show memorabilia celebrating the legacy of Synth Britannia, it promises to be an essential day out in the East Anglian cathedral city.

Stephen Roper chatted to The Electricity Club about his various endeavours in his love of Numan and electronic pop music…

Your book ‘Back Stage’ was a very well received artefact within the GARY NUMAN fan community?

Yes, it was mainly because it covers Gary’s rise to becoming one of the world’s biggest stars. And rather than me writing my take on it, it’s told by the people who were there. Part of it answers many questions which always had fans wondering what really happened.

Stephen Roper & Nash the SlashWho were your favourite interviews in the book?

That’s a hard one as they were all fantastic. There’s a great story of when Jim Kerr rang me at work and asked if we could do the interview now, and I had to say no.

He then rang me back later that night and asked if it was ok then. Yet again it wasn’t, but we did it later and he really is a fantastic guy.

My favourite has to be Chris Payne or was it NASH THE SLASH or Andy McCluskey? All had me falling off my chair laughing… but all joking aside, everyone was brilliant and I made some very good friends.

Of course, your book features the much-missed Ced Sharpley…

Cedric was believe it or not, the hardest person to get hold of and became a very good friend in the short time I knew him.

He remembered everything in great detail, the biggest problem we had was that we would tail-off in different directions and talk for hours about many things apart from the book. And I can honestly say he never had a bad word to say about anyone, a true gentleman.

And he would have loved to have worked with Gary again, even though some have said different… this was a question I asked him and as always, he didn’t have a bad word to say about Gary. Gary did ask me about this and was pleased to hear that Cedric had no hard feelings towards him.

GARY NUMAN actually contributed to the book, what did the man himself think of the finished product?

I did ask him his thoughts and he said he had really enjoyed it, it was a great shame I couldn’t have done a bigger interview with him but alas it never happened… I blame his them management! *laughs*

Funny quick story, I was showing Gary a rough copy of ‘Back Stage’ with some stage design plans and his eyes lit up and he started just talking about them, really remembering everything… so I said “see your memory isn’t that bad”, to which he gave me a strange look, then just laughed!

You’ve gone towards the e-Book route for the book’s second edition. How do you feel about this brave new world of digital with music, books and magazine?

It’s a strange one, but we have to keep up with the times and the good thing with the digital age is that it’s instant and you can add so much more at no cost.

With the e-Book version of ‘Back Stage’, I’ve been able to add hundreds more photos in colour which I couldn’t add to the hardback version because of the costs. Postage outside of the UK to say, the USA, was over £13 whereas the e-Book has no postage cost… so yep I’m all for it.

The rise of digital could almost be a subject for a Numan lyric?

“Download in the Park, where the Mac men meet…” *laughs*

Is a follow-up to ‘Back Stage’ covering Numan’s comeback ever likely? You spoke to Joe Hubbard and Andy Coughlan, both bassists in this era?

Yes, I did make a start and as you’ve said, interviewed Joe and Andy who are both excellent people and had some amazing stories to tell. The problem was that things started to go a little wrong around the ‘I Assassin’ Tour in ‘82 onwards and I think I would have had Gary’s lawyer onto me in days! *laughs*

But you never know I might just restart it…

Backstage with WolfgangYou ran your first live event in June 2015 when you hosted WOLFGANG FLÜR and ANALOG ANGEL at Epic Studios. How was it for you?

It was fantastic evening and nice to meet the legend that is WOLFGANG FLÜR.

And seeing ANALOG ANGEL play live was the highlight of the night.

There was a huge amount going on behind the scenes, which can only be put down to a comedy of errors… if Wolfgang’s UK people had bothered to read the contact, it would have never happened… but apart from that, it was a well turned-out event which I think everyone enjoyed, I know I did.

Stephen Roper & John FoxxThe music business is a funny old game… what do you think you’d learnt from your experience?

Be careful who you think your friends are!!! I’ve worked on about 4-5 Numan albums starting with ‘Living Ornaments 80’ (the 2005 remastered release) and helped out on ‘The Touring Principle’ and ‘Micromusic’ DVDs, plus NASH THE SLASH’s ‘Live in London’ 2008 CD, and then of course ‘Back Stage’. Some will bend over backwards to help and others feel that you owe them something. But all-in-all, I’ve learnt a lot and that there really are some nice decent people out there, more than happy to help.

There are quite a few people involved in writing about electronic music now, who seemingly can’t tell their tape recorders from their drum machines…

And if you can’t tell the difference there, then what chance is there of anything else being right? It’s a difficult one because if someone tells me there’s an electronic magazine or website, I’m thinking old-time stuff from the late 70s into the 80s, Moogs wall-to-wall synths etc… but if we are talking dance stuff, which OK has the synths on, then sorry I’ve no interest.

Marsheaux-Ath.Lon_Cover1500What will make TEC004 featuring MARSHEAUX, KID KASIO + RODNEY CROMWELL special?

MARSHEAUX’s new album ‘Ath.Lon’ is without doubt, the best album I’ve heard since Numan’s ‘Telekon’, in that I’m loving every track on it which is a rare thing these days.

Plus we have KID KASIO and RODNEY CROMWELL on the bill and not one, but two awesome DJ sets. So if all that doesn’t make for a special night of synthpop music, then I don’t know what would.

I’ll be bringing a selection of GARY NUMAN Fan Club items from my own personal collection for the memorabilia display during the afternoon of TEC004. I hope people will find this stuff of interest, because it captures a fabulous moment in time when the synth music ruled the world.


‘Back Stage – A Book Of Reflections’ is available as a download PDF compatible e-Book for all devices at £5.99 from http://www.thetouringprinciple.co.uk/

TEC004 Flyer - May 2016TEC004 featuring MARSHEAUX, ANALOG ANGEL + RODNEY CROMWELL takes place on SATURDAY 5TH NOVEMBER 2016 at Epic Studios, 114 Magdalen Street, Norwich, Norfolk NR3 1JD

Tickets are £16 in advance, £20 at the door – available direct from the box office on 01603 727727 or online at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/248712 or
https://ueatickets.ticketabc.com/events/tec004/

The TEC004 Facebook event page can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1737916166452621/

http://www.epic-tv.com/events/tec004-the-electricity-club-ft-marsheaux-kid-kasio-rodney-cromwell/

https://www.facebook.com/backstagenuman/


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos courtesy of Stephen Roper and Richard Price
TEC004 Artwork by Mark Walker @ MNW Visual Communications
4th August 2016

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