ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK aims to feature the best in new and classic electronic pop music. It doesn't promote bands or support scenes, it just writes about the music it likes, and occasionally some music it doesn't like...
With informed opinion and trivia, it embraces synthpop, ie pop music that uses synthesizers, while aiming to avoid lazy terms such as analogue, 80s and contemporary. It's like acid house never happened... AND WE'RE PROUD OF IT!
Utilising samples from Cliff Martinez’s ‘Drive’ score, the ‘Control’ EP released at the end of 2020 was possibly Nina’s darkest work yet.
A couple of solo songs ‘Carnival Night’ and ‘Gold Heart’ have since followed but her new single ‘I’ll Wait’ is something altogether different. It is from the upcoming horror movie ‘There’s No Such Thing As Vampires’ directed by Logan Thomas.
The story sees two strangers, Joshua and Ariel, crash into each other’s cars in the dead of the night. They then find themselves pursued across the North American desert, the target of an unstoppable supernatural force!
Composed by Logan Thomas and produced by Oscillian with additional instrumentation by Greg Beaton and long-term collaborator Lau, ‘I’ll Wait’ begins with a sparse backdrop where Nina gives a wonderfully emotive performance over a heart murmur and sparkling understated arpeggios, before a Phil Collins style drum barrage takes hold; ‘I’ll Wait’ could be her very own ‘In The Air Tonight’ or ‘Mama’!
Nina and Logan Thomas spoke to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about both song and film…
‘I’ll Wait’ is something of a departure, was this prompted by it be specifically for the film or where you are heading musically now? Any particular inspirations?
Nina: The film’s director, Logan Thomas wrote the original song and then asked me to sing it. I naturally made it my own and brought on one of my collaborators Oscillian to produce the final recording. Dark romanticism has always been part of my musical DNA and I am definitely embracing it more with songs like ‘I’ll Wait’ and my previous single ‘Carnival Night’.
Was there a brief or a free reign?
Logan: I was composing the synth score for the new feature film ‘There’s No Such Thing as Vampires’ and was deeply influenced by the Synthwave movement while I was directing and cutting that movie. We eventually brought in songs by FM84, Jessie Frye, Marsheaux and Nina.
But I also wanted an original love song for the film. You gotta have an original song in a movie like this! Think Annie Lennox’s song for Coppola’s ‘Dracula’! It needed that kind of longing, and I knew Nina was the perfect voice for that! Now, I had only been focusing on directing and composing since I’d moved to Los Angeles, but before that I was heavily into song writing.
So I crawled back into my studio and worked out a melody and lyric that I hoped would build in layers. Almost a hypnotic roundabout until the song reached its climax. So I recorded a demo here and sent it to England for Nina to record it for the film. They finished and sent it back to us in LA. Greg Beaton and I went back in and I added some more synths. Then Greg did some remixing and added that big, wonderful ‘In the Air Tonight’ drum track! So it was definitely a cross continental collaboration with a lot of artists.
So “what” are you waiting for?
Logan: HA!… Well, I suppose you have to see the movie to know that..
Nina: For me, it’s all about music and love. I will wait forever for romance and the song I have not yet written. I hope I never lose that feeling of endless desire.
How did the video come together as a concept?
Logan: Ah, the video… Well. So originally we (the production company) had set up everything to shoot the video here in CA. We crewed up. Had the location, and even began building Nina’s wardrobe. Nina was set to fly here and we would shoot for 2 days. It was going to be a very ‘The Hunger’ inspired music video. Big 80s glam with smokey gothic interiors. Think early Tony Scott and Russell Mulcahy. The COVID restrictions were sure to finally lift in June 2021, allowing international travel to America… and then… they didn’t.
Now we had everything in place and couldn’t get Nina here. So, gotta think pretty fast!… we set up a short session in Berlin to have Nina filmed just singing at, or past the camera. Very simple. Then, for 2 days, we took the footage of Nina and projected it all over the location that we had set in Los Angeles for the original video. Ironically, this method of “projection” ties in very nicely with it being a song for a “movie”! I just love that video. So necessity was definitely the mother of innovation there.
You are living in Berlin again, have you settled back into the groove of the city yet? Has anyone said you are speaking German in an English accent?
Nina: It’s great to be back in my home city with family and friends. I try my best to enjoy life as normal as possible (COVID restrictions). I spend most of my time in my home studio writing/producing and playing with my adorable Snow Bengal ‘Kimba’. Berlin has a unique atmosphere that I find very inspiring, so my creative process is different in a very special way. Yes, some people do notice a little twist in my accent, and I like it!
How are the other new songs coming along, what’s next, anything you can tell people about?
Nina: The new songs are coming along very well, thank you. I am taking my time with Nina Vol 3 because I am trying new things. In the meantime, I am completing collaboration projects with Kid Moxie and Radio Wolf. 2022 is going to be a very fun year for releases!
ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to Nina and Logan Thomas
‘I’ll Wait’ is released as a digital single via Ascent Releasing
The film ‘There’s No Such Thing As Vampires’ is released on 12th December 2021 in North America and Great Britain on Video On Demand and BluRay
Samantha Newark is best known for her voice-over animation work for the cult classic cartoon series ‘Jem & The Holograms’. It told the story of a record company owner Jerrica Benton and her singing alter-ego Jem’s adventures in the music industry.
Although ‘Jem & The Holograms’ ended in 1988 after three seasons, the show became one of the main influences of Texan bionic bubblepunk duo HYPERBUBBLE. The married couple of Jess and Jeff DeCuir have over a series of albums and EPs since 2004 explored instrumental synth, electro country and western, pop, cover versions and soundtracks.
But for their remix of Samantha Newark’s ‘Hologram’, it is as if an artistic circle has been completed. While ‘Hologram’ originally came out as a rock ballad with piano and guitar in 2017, HYPERBUBBLE reworked the song using just the vocal stem in their own uptempo avant disco style while complimenting her superbly rousing vocal.
Although the magenta lit lyric video could be anything from the synthwave community over the past 10 years, the digital modelling is of a very high standard and suits HYPERBUBBLE’s take on ‘Hologram’ without selling its soul to Ryan Gosling.
Having moved to Nashville and released her self-titled debut album in 2008, Samantha Newark’s new album of remixes ‘Hologram 2.0’ presents a dance music version of the original ‘Hologram’ album which began as a concept album about Jem,
A love letter to the many Jem fans, Samantha Newark said “Get ready for a non-stop dance music party that reimagines the original ‘Hologram’ album into a truly outrageous dance floor of glitter and gold extravaganza”.
After JOON and BARK BARK DISCO from Malta along with DLINA VOLNY from Belarus, Italians Do It Better venture further east across Europe to Russia for its next long playing adventure.
Russian duo LOVE OBJECT first appeared on the 2020 compilation ‘After Dark 3’ with ‘Holodnoe Solnce’ while they also appeared on their label’s self-titled in-house collection of Madonna covers with a deadpan mechanical take on ‘Frozen’. Now as 2021 concludes, they have their debut album ‘New Flesh’. Comprising of singer / DJ Dasha Utochka and producer Danya Mu, LOVE OBJECT are about mind and control, producing electronic noir pop with a stark dancefloor friendly backbone.
An erotic overtone lingers over LOVE OBJECT, perhaps unsurprising when it is learnt that Utochka is a co-founder of a magazine entitled ‘Areola’ whose mission statement is “To help people become more liberated and freethinking!”. With an appealing allure, opening song ‘The Kill’ explores what a funkier ‘Music For The Masses’ era DEPECHE MODE might have sounded like fronted by an robotised Russian goth girl.
Appropriately, a song actually called ‘Robot’ is more KRAFTWERK-like with a vocodered presence and a colder machine mood but the catchy electroclash of ‘Abyss’ thumps wildly as its close cousin ‘Animals’ utilises octave shifts at the bottom end to recall LADYTRON.
The doomer hip-hop vibe of ‘Virus’ is rather on point and features a harsh rap of truths that comes over apocalyptic while without raising a smile, ‘Circus’ is supercharged industrial pop but still embroiled in mystery.
‘Object of Desire’ (which was the duo’s original name in Russian) deviates rhythmically into looser stuttering techno and a deep narration from Mu before Utochka takes over. Meanwhile, ‘No Smiling’ is allowed as a sombre bass sequence that could be DAF takes hold with the enigmatic vocal akin to Miss Kittin reading Cyrillic script.
Closing with the frantic ‘Transparent Woman’, this speedy slice of tech-pop burlesque is laced with an unsettling vocal presence in a contrast of ghostly and almost sweet treated deliveries. With percolating percussive metallics, overall it musically recalls Ferry Corsten in his full SYSTEM F pomp.
Like midnight undressing, ‘New Flesh’ is sinister dance music for after dark and embroiled a twisted detachment that will appeal to those who miss the gritty synthcore hedonism led by the likes of FISCHERSPOONER and TIGA just over two decades ago.
‘New Flesh’ is released by Italians Do It Better on 3rd December 2021 via the usual online platforms
The Spomenik were a series of memorial monuments commissioned by Marshal Tito during his rule of the Former Yugoslavia to honour its Partisan resistance against Nazi occupation and oppression during the Second World War.
Envisioning a diverse utopian society, Tito saw these brutalist monoliths as symbols of progressive optimism and unity. For their third album, Manchester duo UNE have been inspired by these concrete and steel relics from The Cold War, reflecting the tensions of the era when Eastern and Western Europe were divided by an Iron Curtain.
Comprising of BBC broadcaster Mark Radcliffe and producer Paul Langley, UNE have presented ‘Spomenik’ as a seamless listening experience, with each track is inspired by a specific location. But while the music celebrates the new hope that was signalled by these beacons of post-war modernism, the period’s chilling spectre of possible nuclear Armageddon is also very much is evident, with the knowledge that Tito’s vision would crumble after his death and lead to a horrific civil war.
UNE’s Mark Radcliffe kindly answered some questions from ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about the making of their ‘Spomenik’ opus plus some insight into its musical influences…
The pair of you first bonded over Factory Records and Manchester City?
Man City first as I recall. Then dogs. We got on to music after that.
Do you have any memories of that Denis Law back heel goal for City at Old Trafford in 1974 that effectively put United into Division 2? 😉
Well, which City fan doesn’t remember that? I do try and be grown-up about football and not get too bogged down by vicious rivalry, but there is no better news on a Saturday than City have won and United have lost. That, more or less, never used to happen, but rather marvellously it’s quite a regular occurrence now. Which clearly is a delightful state of affairs.
Coming from the Manchester music scene, there are probably too many names to mention, but which characters did you have the closest affinity to in this community? And were there any who you didn’t get on with, or found difficult?
Paul and I are ten years apart age-wise, so we come from different eras of Manc sound. I was there right at the beginning of Factory and so really forged a bond with Tony Wilson and the fabulously empowering mantra he spread of us being able to do it all ourselves in Manchester, without waiting for permission from someone in London. I’ve known Bernard, Stephen and Hooky quite well for a good number of years and in recent times have enjoyed convivial walks at country parks with Johnny Marr.
Paul was really close to the Hacienda mob – Mike Pickering and all those guys – as his brother Bobby was a DJ there. In fact the only Manc scene people I’ve ever found difficult have been the Langley brothers; who are right pains-in-the-arse.
Was electronic music a natural forte for you both as a means of expression?
Very much so. As an avid Bowie fan, his experiments with Eno were key for me. Also KRAFTWERK and TANGERINE DREAM, of course. Plus people like John Foxx and his ‘Metamatic’ album were a big influence. I loved the idea that pop music didn’t have to have drums and guitars in it. I guess THE HUMAN LEAGUE also alerted me to that possibility.
For Paul, it was the beats of people like Afrika Bambaataa and the influence of Gary Numan, especially. That was the first gig he saw, aged 11 (Paul – not Gary).
How would you describe the creative dynamic between you both in UNE?
We work separately most of the time. I will find a concept that will inform the aesthetic and sound of the whole album. Next I’ll think of some titles and start on the words. Then I’ll talk to Paul about the idea, send him some titles and maybe some pictures, and he’ll start on musical sketches.
He’ll then send them back to me and I’ll find lead vocal and instrumental lines over the top. We’ll probably finally get together to edit it into the shape of a song.
Of your music to date on your first two albums ‘Lost’ and ‘Deux’, some of it has been very club-influenced while other material has featured people as diverse as punk poet John Cooper-Clarke and Gary Kemp of SPANDAU BALLET…
I guess so, which would be down to Paul’s influences, but there are also ambient leaning tracks like ‘Boketto’, ‘Ubuntu’ and ‘Ultraglitch’ which are much more like tone poems or mood pieces. The guests and outside contributors just seemed to work for those tracks, but ‘Spomenik’ was just the two of us. We felt we’d done ‘lush’ and wanted to go ‘stark’.
‘Spomenik’ is mostly instrumental in concept, had you intended to use less vocals for this album or did the monument theme dictate that first?
There are eight main tracks on ‘Spomenik’, of which four have vocals. We did always intend this to be a more instrumental record, but clipped vocals in a telephone quality like vintage radio broadcasts were always going to be part of it. We wanted it to sound mysterious and crackly like an old radio programme from behind the Iron Curtain, or something.
The songs were basically written by me with my old Yamaha DJX which I got down from the loft during the second lockdown, and those compositions just came so quickly. I demoed them on my phone before sending them to Paul to embellish and polish. The instrumentals were more Paul’s doing, except for ‘Nis’, which was my attempt at Bowie’s ‘Subterraneans’. The brutalist concrete structures of the Spomeniks very much dictated the sound though.
How did you become fascinated by these ‘Spomenik’ in the Former Yugoslavia?
I just saw a picture of Podgarić and thought “what the hell is that”? Once you go down that rabbit hole, this strange world opens up. They present an amazing concept, carried out on such a huge scale across the Balkans. They are war memorials but also signposts to a bright and optimistic future in Yugoslavia that kind of never came. That designs like that could be approved and built by local committees in such great numbers is incredible.
Why do you think that whole Cold War era still holds a fascination for filmmakers, photographers, artists and musicians alike?
I think because it presents a moody, shadowy world of secrets, mysteries and enigmatic presences. It’s like a world we knew so little of that almost seemed to be a parallel universe to the one we, or our forebears, inhabited. No one was quite sure what was going on and who knew what about whom – and so that seems like fertile ground for imagination and creativity.
Where were the fanfares that start and end ‘Spomenik’ sourced from?
I wrote those on my DJX. They’re both the same actually and that was the first thing I wrote for the album. I always wanted it to be like a jingle or something from an obscure radio station on the other side of the Berlin Wall.
‘Podgarić’ sounds like it could be from OMD’s ‘Dazzle Ships’…
We love OMD, so thank you. I was actually trying to write my ‘Europe Endless’. I failed obviously as that is one of the greatest pieces of electronic music ever composed. What I love about classic KRAFTWERK is the simplicity and yet ear-worm nature of their melodies. They sound simultaneously retro and futuristic, even now, like someone has just composed them. But they also have the feeling that they could have been around for a hundred years.
‘Kadinjača’ really captures the paranoia of the era of Protect & Survive?
It is a very unsettling track and that’s because it has lots of wrong notes in it. We did the overdubs for that on my kitchen table and I played one of the keyboard parts with the backs of my hands so I wasn’t following the chords Paul had already laid down.
What inspired the spacier moods of ‘Ostra’, ‘Niš’ and ‘Barutana’?
Really just the starkness and mystery of the monuments themselves. Most of them are located in quite barren and isolated spots and so we wanted those tracks to have a sort of widescreen, windswept alien landscape feel to them. ‘Niš’ is the really brutal one, whereas the others have a slightly more reflective quality.
‘Kosmaj’ is much sparser with a gentle cacophony of electronics, perhaps the most KRAFTWERK sounding piece on ‘Spomenik’. What are your own favourite tracks by the Düsseldorf pioneers?
Yes. Well, all of it really. All of ‘Trans-Europe Express’ and ‘The Man Machine’ in particular, but probably sonically the biggest influence in our minds doing this was the pre-remix version of the ‘Radio-Activity’ album. The sinister starkness of that was very much front and centre in our thinking.
‘Tjentište’ is inherently gloomy too and syncs in with these strange times we are living in now. Had the lockdown resonated in your approach to the music of ‘Spomenik’?
That one sounds a bit DEPECHE MODE to me. It wasn’t intended to reflect lockdown really – it just happened that we had time on our hands like everyone else and so just got on with it. I couldn’t say that we intentionally tried to make it more widely relevant than the core subject matter. Although, looking at it now, there is the sense of an uncertain future pervading the record and of course, we’ve all had to get used to that idea: that the future we foresaw might not actually materialise in quite the same way.
You chose to release ‘Spomenik’ via the boutique label Spun Out Of Control, how did they become involved?
Gavin from Spun Out Of Control had sent me some records and I loved the look of them and the care he’d taken in every aspect of their presentation. When I listened, I found there was a lot of stuff I liked; ‘The Sunset City’ by TURQUOISE MOON in particular.
I played some of that on my radio show and our friendship grew from there and so when we had this new concept, Gavin seemed the obvious person to talk to. I love what he’s doing; his meticulous attention to detail and the fact that the albums are limited editions often collected by label completists. Which meant we were guaranteed to sell a few at least.
Have you had the opportunity to present the ‘Spomenik’ material live?
‘Podgarić’ is an ever-present in our set now, but we did play a venue in Manchester called Aatma where we played the whole 38 minutes of ‘Spomenik’ in one continuous chunk, which is how we intended it to be heard. In fact we had two ‘songs’ on the set list that day: the entirety of ‘Spomenik’, plus our thumping electro stomp version of THE RAMONES’ ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’. So the first ‘song’ was 38 minutes long – and the second was two!
What’s next for you, what shape will your next work take?
We’re in the very early stages of an album that may or may not end up being called ‘Whirl’. It’s about things that revolve and was inspired by watching the dance trances of the whirling dervishes. The idea’s spreading out into the orbits of celestial bodies, the astronomer Copernicus, windmills, whirlwinds – and cyclists going round and round a velodrome. Paul played me his first ‘sketch’ the other day and we’re just working out how we want the drums and rhythms to sound at the moment. I’ve written quite a lot of words for it, but I think the mix of instrumental and vocal will be similar to ‘Spomenik’, which will mean a lot of them will have to go eventually. Let’s see.
Oh, and we’re going to try and play a gig at the Saxa Vord Spaceport, right at the top of The Shetland Islands!!
ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives it sincerest thanks to Mark Radcliffe
Special thanks to Gavin Stoker at Spun Out Of Control
CATHERINE MOAN is the musical vehicle of Philadelphian songstress Angel Jefferson. Her rework of DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Fools’ launched her into the world of electronic pop.
Part of an emerging group of independent North American female synth artists that include DANZ CM, GLITBITER, CLASS ACTRESS and MECHA MAIKO, the debut CATHERINE MOAN album ‘Chain Reaction’ is a short but sweet collection of eight dreamily innocent synthpop songs with a consistent sound and feel running throughout.
The album’s lead single ‘Drop It!’ captured the mindset of many and craved the excitement of nightlife. Set over a classic four chord progression, its proclamation was to “keep this fire burning ‘til the record stops turning, ‘til the lights and the drugs stop working…”
Angel Jefferson talked to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about being CATHERINE MOAN and provided some insight into her ‘Chain Reaction’…
How did you become interested in making pop music with synthesizers?
I first became interested in making pop music on a whim when someone offered to gift me a cheap sampler and I realized how intuitive and easy it could be at its bare minimum. After years of obsessing over and listening to so many pop musicians and imagining if that could be me, I felt that spark and reached out for it to see if I could manifest that.
Had you tried making music in other styles or with other people before?
Great question! I have a few demos sitting on my laptop where I went for a more alternative indie vibe with just a guitar, drum machine, and vocals. In the end, it just didn’t feel very authentic to me and what I wanted to be making.
There’s also a few demos I worked on with a friend that was kinda witch housey and darker than what I usually make, but for similar reasons, I just felt like I couldn’t follow through because it didn’t feel like what I wanted to say was coming through.
The up-and-coming British singer-songwriter Hattie Cooke uses just GarageBand for her recordings; did you opt for a hardware set-up or take advantage of what modern software had to offer?
Just checked out Hattie Cooke and wow what a talent! I wish it wasn’t a debate that people even have, but I think if we have the means to use it. I will always favor modern software because it is so forgiving and intuitive. Not to deprecate myself but I am a very instant gratification brained person, and GarageBand gave me just what I needed as a jumping off point. All the songs on my first EP were made entirely in GarageBand, it makes the songwriting process so fool proof for a beginner. As someone who at the time had never made music before, it really gave me the tools I needed. And while I have nothing but respect for people who opt for fully analog, I enjoy the simplicity and comfort of a digital workspace.
Technologically, is there any particular synth that you don’t own but particularly covet?
The Prophet, I use the digital version a bit and it is just a powerhouse when it comes to the dreamy, melancholic, cinematic timbres I like to look for. Another synth I would love to have is the Moog Minitaur, I love using the virtual Moog Mini and when I found this compact bass centered synth they made, I immediately got starry eyed because the bass sounds it makes are so tasty. Unfortunately I don’t have it like that when it comes to money. so it will never be a justifiable purchase!
Were there any particular acts that you looked up for your more predominantly synthesized template?
The acts that I look up to the most are FEVER RAY, CHRISTINE & THE QUEENS, and CHVRCHES. I think all of those artists do a really great job of taking a diverse array of synthesized sounds and interpolating 80s and 90s “vibes” and making them sound really fresh and modern.
In North America, there are a number of emerging female synth artists like DANZ CM, GLITBITER, CLASS ACTRESS and MECHA MAIKO, do you feel any affinity or kinship with them?
I’ll have to sit and listen to all these artists, I’m definitely a huge fan of Danz. I listened to a lot of COMPUTER MAGIC when I was first getting into production, I was very inspired by the DIY bedroom synthpop vibes.
There was been a significant sonic leap from your self-titled debut EP to ‘Chain Reaction’ in terms of production values, although ‘Cut It’ indicated you were interested in more European music forms? How do you look back on your first work as “Catherine”?
The production quality leap absolutely came from entrusting someone else to do the mixing and mastering. The CM EP was kind of a crash course in songwriting and production for me, and once I knew I could do it, I didn’t feel adverse to the idea of letting someone else in to help get it to a more professional sonic quality. While I started off with a DIY mindset, I ended up favoring the idea of being more collaborative and passing the music around to other ears to get it the best it could be rather than leave it sounding raw.
I look back on those first tracks fondly, it was a very exciting moment for me. They are sloppy, weird and unconventionally structured songs from a brain with little to no musicality and I hope I can channel that in future work.
Why did you feel the need to create the CATHERINE MOAN persona to channel your creativity?
I think the persona originally came out of a desire to be discreet and not attached to my real self. It seems like it’s a bit easier to act with more bravado and confidence when you’re pretending to be someone else. But to be honest CATHERINE MOAN is 100% me, it’s just a cooler sounding name than my real one.
You came to wider attention with a really good cover version of DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Fools’, your choice was interesting not just because it was a B-side but because it was written by Alan Wilder, the man many fans cite as being the sonic soul of the band’s imperial era, what was your approach in your reinterpretation?
‘Construction Time Again’ is a VERY good album! Specifically the deluxe edition with all those B-Sides, the idea to cover one of them came from intensely listening to that record last winter. I almost covered the song ‘Get The Balance Right’, but ‘Fools’ has that whimsical fun energy that I really feel a connection to. When I was recording the cover, the first thing I wanted to do was make it unique to the original, I changed the key to be in a more comfortable vocal range and cut out the entire middle of the song and made up a riff inspired by the original’s composition.
The album’s title ‘Chain Reaction’ reflects some of your emotive impetuosity but has this enforced lockdown helped you become more patient or do you feel that life is short and you should “go for it”?
100% Life is short, go for it. While the album is melancholic at times, I don’t regret chasing the highs that lead to a lot of my disappointments and painful memories. Hindsight is 20/20 and regret lasts forever, but you never know unless you take chances. The past few years of my life have been a whirlwind of spontaneity and huge life altering decisions and I really wanted to channel the manic and introspective elements of that in my songwriting.
I think those moments of my life were the true catalyst for me to even start songwriting, that’s the real chain reaction huh haha.
So was ‘Drop It!’ composed before or during the lockdown, what was the song’s genesis?
‘Drop It!’ was composed in the middle of the pandemic! I had this fling with someone where we would just dance around my room to our favorite songs, and it made me long so much for the bright lights and booming bass of the clubs. I channeled that into the song, very intentionally writing a really basic pop song in a tongue-in-cheek generic method.
Creating in lockdown was a challenge for anyone, but you managed to produce a charming and optimistic video for ‘Drop It!’ too?
Thank you! It was honestly a happy accident, I was scrambling for ideas and the idea hit me like a bolt of lightning. The intensity of manically trying to make something deep or provocative in the confines of my bedroom sparked the idea to do something extremely constricted to just one color and scene. It ended up working very well as a metaphor for how I was feeling when I wrote the song.
‘Wasted’ is like a cousin of ‘Drop It!’, and substantiates a sonic continuity that runs through this album?
Yes! It was a very deliberate decision to have those songs in succession. I wrote them both with the same synthesizer, my Korg Minilogue. And they both somehow conveyed such opposite spectrums of an emotional scale and it felt like a good yin and yang of my 2020 mania.
The striking of an anvil is a recurring percussive texture on ‘Faces’, was this as a result of listening to DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Construction Time Again’?
YES! I wrote that song before the ‘Fools’ cover and I was so enthralled by the percussion of that album and was really trying to mimic some of the sounds. When I was writing the track, all I could think about was someone just banging on drums like a hammer.
‘Lucky Lobotomy’ has to be the song title of year and is quite funky, what is this actually about?
That’s my favorite song on the album right there! The idea from the song came from this emotional state that is close to hysteria when it comes to infatuation. Like sometimes you just want to just shut your brain off or at least just hit the brakes but it just isn’t possible. The chorus is just a mantra to myself to be low key and calm down, a cognitive behavioral therapy to subdue my erratic lovesick mind.
The sound of the album deviates slightly with some guitar on ‘Body Work’ and ‘The Ordinary’, where does this influence in your sound come from?
Specifically the guitar on ‘Body Work’ is influenced by post punk bands like JOY DIVISION and NEW ORDER, it’s certainly my most moody song and I really wanted a very emotional guitar tone to fit the energy of that track.
‘Skin Graft’ is quite sombre yet wonderfully dancey, which kind of sums up the sad/happy dichotomy of your music?
I’m glad someone is noticing this song! ‘Skin Graft’ was the last song I wrote and to me it was the cherry on top of the albums theme of converting heavy emotions into palatable danceable pop songs! My thesis when it comes to my music is even when I’m at my saddest, to make the tracks something you want to bob your head and sway too, because if you’re gonna be in your feelings, you might as well have some fun! And in truth I’m a very optimistic person, even when I’m at my lowest, I try to aspire myself into happier more light-hearted thinking.
As an album, ‘Chain Reaction’ is short and sweet and leaves the audience wanting more, where do anticipate you might take your music in the future?
Thank you! Right now I’m in creative limbo where I’m not 100% sure what to do, but I know I’m not calling it quits anytime soon. I want my next assortment of songs to be dancier, catchier and impossible to get out of your head. And I think what that entails is being more serious and tending to the music more. ‘Chain Reaction’ was very much me trying to prove a point to myself, that I as an amateur with no musical upbringing can make an album.
You played your first live gig as CATHERINE MOAN recently, how was it? Do you consider yourself a natural performer?
My first live shows have been electric! I had never performed before and I was really afraid but I really think I’m a natural performer. Once I’m on the stage, I just want to dance and influence the people watching to dance to, it’s just pure fun honestly.
What’s next for you?
For now it’s focusing on playing live and getting my sea legs, because I think it’s going to take a while to really get the chops to become a quality life performer. But I really want to get back into the studio writing, all in due time I guess 🙂
Thanks for the great questions, and of course thanks for sharing my music and being a supporter!
ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to Angel Jefferson