Category: Interviews (Page 1 of 104)

FERAL FIVE Interview

Photo by Keira Anee Photography

FERAL FIVE released their debut album ‘Truth Is The New Gold’ at the start of 2023 and ahead of the game, the duo employed various AI-enhancements on a number of tracks with technology created by the German based company Birds on Mars.

Described by its members Kat and Drew Five as “A 360 degree music and art album project”, FERAL FIVE utilised electronic components with traditional guitars and live percussive elements to create their own “Feraltropolis” for a long playing commentary on AI, social media and today’s strangely dystopian post-truth world.

As the year concludes, the ‘Truth Is The New Gold’ titles song has been given a funky new remix by Martyn Ware; FERAL FIVE had performed at his ‘Picasso Portraits’ night in 2016 hosted by the National Portrait Gallery.

FERAL FIVE chatted to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about how ‘Truth Is The New Gold’, the title song’s Martyn Ware remix, the various AI developments which have been in the news recently and much more…

This first full length album ‘Truth Is The New Gold’ has been a long time coming as FERAL FIVE first released music in 2013? Why has it taken this amount of time?

We love making music and exploring ideas. Every track is a statement, and every statement we made we opted to push out as a single fairly quickly. We believe in all killer no filler, so it took us a while to stand still for long enough to craft an album that thematically and sonically we were proud of.

Also we’re producers as well as writers and musicians, so arranging, mixing and production is an in-house job where we put our own musicianship under the microscope. The pandemic meant we weren’t in the same room for some considerable time, so while we file swapped, that definitely slowed things down a bit too. Later when we finally got to be in the same room, we decided to shelve a number of songs originally slated for the album in favour of some new ideas and these really helped to crystallize the theme of the album. So the short answer is ‘Truth Is The New Gold’ didn’t have an overly long gestation, we were just a singles band before that we guess.

With your down-to-earth approach to electronically-assisted pop, do you feel any kinship with acts such as DUBSTAR or INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS OF POP?

Yes, we love what they do and feel a real kinship. We saw an amazing INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS OF POP set supporting Róisín Murphy, but we haven’t actually met in person. Maybe we should see your description as a genre that deserves its own festival! Although, we have to say that while electronics are pretty fundamental to our sound, anything that makes a positive contribution to our sonic palette is used. So on the new album, as well as electronic and beats, we use a range of live percussion, including some very delicate crystals. We’re also both very crafty guitarists and love the raw energy that brings. I guess you could say that we are looking for the human trait in everything we do even where we use electronics and other components, we are looking to bring out an organic feel that you can still groove to.

So what makes up the “Feraltropolis”?

It’s in two places really. It’s our own personal lives that we live outside of FERAL FIVE, our hopes, fears and beliefs, which for us as a team has a lot of conjunction on the Venn diagram, as you might say. Our data sets and values are the same. Then this becomes manifest and “real” within the landscape of FERAL FIVE’s art. If you wanted us to describe it, we’d say it’s a city in the not too distant future and the surrounding landscape. This was also the location for our album journey, exploring truth and trust. It can be bleak, it can be exciting, there’s always a lot going on. There’s always hope amid the dystopia.

Before all the recent debates, FERAL FIVE utilised AI on the album, how did the idea come about?

FERAL FIVE has always been at the bleeding edge of tech, unafraid to experiment and open to new ideas, and our first vinyl release was an EP with 3D printed art that we printed ourselves. On a later track, we worked with sonified algorithms, and visual ones for the video, courtesy of new materials designer Francis Bitonti.

We’d been thinking about AI for some time and wrote a song a while back about where it was heading – ‘Pet Show’ – about AI robo-companions, set in a bar with freaky creatures that can fulfill your wildest dreams.

With our album exploring truth and trust, AI was a natural part of exploring new realities, and using the technology in the form of an AI Kat Five opened up new sonic and thematic possibilities. We hear this voice – a character – uplifting us right from the beginning of the album, despite the dark undertones, reminding us “it’s not the end”.

The AI is not composing for us, that is very much us humans, but it’s playing a role, as a kind of narrator on the journey. It reminded us of first-person narrations you get in film-noir detective movies.

Tell us about the AI created by Birds on Mars? 

Birds on Mars are based in Berlin and are doing great work in AI so it was amazing to collaborate with them. They wanted to train their AI on Kat’s spoken voice, so she decided to read some of the album lyrics out. They sounded SO different when they weren’t being sung, it was a very disconcerting experience making that recording. BOM then gave us a selection of AI models and an interface, and then we had AI Kat Five to play with to sing, speak or make non-human sounds. We could make her say things we never said which was mind-blowing.

‘Golden Rule’ was described by yourselves as an ”AI-enhanced shimmering anthem of renewal and people coming together”, please discuss?

Our album explores darkness but is ultimately about light and hope. This final track was our overarching statement, that we must work together to build change. Though not forgetting that important statements are allowed to have a groove, so this track does have a strong dance vibe. Here we used the AI Kat, particularly in the opening and the end, as both an oracle, prescient of the dangers and wonders ahead, and also as a speaker of truth.

AI can help realise an imagined world or provide speedier assistance such as isolating John Lennon’s vocal for THE BEATLES ‘Now & Then’, how do you see its useful applications in music?

It can be a great creative tool, and we love the work of pioneering artists Holly Herndon, and Portrait XO. There are AIs to get your lyrical process going – not that we ever need that kind of help, and even AI mastering, though we’ve a favourite human in the form of our go-to sonic partner Katie Tavini for that.

The use to which Peter Jackson put AI in ‘Now & Then’ was a very interesting example of using AI not in a generative compositional sense, but to clean up the audio in ways that prior to that would, as you indicated, have taken way longer, and may not have had such amazing results. In the end it’s all about the choices, as McCartney once said: “the love you take is equal to the love you make”. Some artists may use AI to speed up the process in some technical areas, but when you use generative tools that go beyond their original parameters, the question of ownership and authenticity become important. There is an interesting point along that line where someone will ask, where is the artist? Who plucked the string? Did the string pluck itself? Or do we now owe all our royalties to an app developer?

But as the ‘Joan Is Awful’ episode of ‘Black Mirror’ showed, there are potentially more sinister implications with AI… your thoughts please?

For sure. AI serfdom, stripping musicians of their value, are all possibilities and more besides. It’s why we need ethical tech, and collaborative AI. Even tech giants are calling for regulation. The thing is, any tool, no matter how sharp or blunt, can be used for good or ill. There are endless positive ways it is being and will be used to solve some of humanity’s pressing issues. One of the key considerations is who makes the decisions about the use and deployment of AI. We risk talking about AI like it’s one thing. It’s a concept and whilst it has huge medical applications for good, it definitely has its darker side, from human profiling to smart weapons. To quote POP WILL EAT ITSELF, there are at least “16 different flavours of hell”.

Social media was the theme on the songs ‘Roll It With Me’ and ‘Camouflage’, are “doom scrolling” and attention seeking taking their toll?

We love a good doomscroll at times, but there’s so much digital anxiety around caused by the incessant demands of social media, and the increasingly tense and vicious behaviour online. People have to sell themselves and their lives to please algorithms, and you often see artists announcing they have to take a break.

‘Roll It With Me’ was heavily influenced by the pandemic and having to connect with people at a distance, often on screen. It’s about valuing the human everyday moments even if they’re fleeting and bittersweet.

‘Camouflage’ is about the tension between being on display everywhere, whether by choice, or on CCTV or other public cameras, and being anonymous. It’s a longing for a simple on off switch to camouflage yourself when you’re feeling overexposed, watched, socially anxious or simply shy. It could also be a spy thriller theme though.

How has it been having to use such social media platforms to get FERAL FIVE noticed in what has become a saturated music marketplace?

In person connections are always the best! We like to see social media as an extension of our art, whether that’s asking people to share their truths with us to be part of our new live audiovisual show, or exploring visual effects. So our work there is genuine and not a deliberate attempt to go viral. We guess that makes us hardcore.

It’s getting much harder to reach people though as tech giants squeeze creators, and change their functionality all the time, so it’s good to have our own website too. Maybe we should post more photos of us with our cats!

‘Silver Sky’ has a real good ol’ groove, how was it inspired musically and lyrically?

It was inspired by the changing night sky and some confused London birds. We wanted to explore light pollution in a city that never gets dark, and think about future mitigations people might use. It was also partly inspired by having our songs played to the trees at ‘The Dark Outside’ events in Galloway Forest dark sky park, and the need for protected areas.

We set out to conjure up a sparkling groove with bubbling synths, and also played long quartz crystals as an instrument (you can see them in the video). We had many conversations when we were producing it, about how to make things sound more silver.

‘The ‘Truth Is The New Gold’ title track acted as the trailer for the album at the start of the year and has now been remixed by Martyn Ware, how was the connection made and why was that particular one chosen?

We are so excited by his brilliant uptown remix, what a groove!

Martyn Ware is an all-time inspiration, and it was great to connect with him at Music Tech Fest a few years back, and get to share creative ideas. Kat has done some visuals for him including for his mighty Power Project exhibition launch. He also invited us to perform at his ‘Picasso Portraits’ night at the National Portrait Gallery along with legends like RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP, WHITE NOISE and SCANNER.

We were thrilled when he offered to remix a song for us, and he asked to hear the whole album ahead of release so he could decide on which track. We were curious to see what he’d pick, and were stoked that it was Truth Is The New Gold which is the statement song, and he brought in Charles Stooke as well. We’ve a glittering video for the remix on its way.

Which have been your favourite tracks on this album?

It’s hard to choose. The driving force conceptually and musically and our absolute favourite is ‘Truth Is The New Gold’.

‘Gravity’ is another favourite, the newest song we wrote. It’s about space and desire, and we love playing it live.

‘Golden Rule’ is also up there. Why, because love is that golden rule and this is an album of dystopian themes but it’s also a love letter to humanity: don’t give up. It’s a sentiment.

Photo by Keira Anee Photography

How do you intend to release music in the future, are disparate tracks released ad hoc to streaming services really the way to go or can the long playing format survive?

Both. Long formats give you more of a chance to express your vision and create exciting merch, performances, and collaborations. We worked with design legend Malcolm Garrett on the album, and it’s been amazing. He’s created the artwork, T-shirts, and a collaboration with jewellery designers Tatty Devine. Copies of everything are going into his collection at the Special Collections Museum at Manchester Metropolitan University.

What is next for FERAL FIVE?

We’re very much focusing on live and our interactive audiovisual shows, as we want to share the album in this multi-sensory way.

We’ve been working with artist / technologist Jonathan Hogg who has created algorithmic visuals that he plays live, and the first performance we did with him was incredible. Each show is unique, with the audience able to contribute to what’s on screen, and Kat singing their thoughts, as well as the album songs. Truth IS The New Gold.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its sincerest thanks to FERAL FIVE

The album ‘Truth Is The New Gold’ is released by Reckless Yes in vinyl LP, CD and digital formats, available from

The Martyn Ware remix of the title song is on the usual online platforms including at

Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
25 November 2023

A Short Conversation with BERENICE SCOTT

Berenice Scott is the musician and singer-songwriter who has played live with the likes of HEAVEN 17, BEF, JOHNNY HATES JAZZ, HOLY HOLY, P!NK and SIMPLE MINDS.

In her latest role as keyboardist for SIMPLE MINDS, she was part of the band which performed their classic 1982 album ‘New Gold Dream’ for a new concert recording ‘Live At Paisley Abbey’. In a connection with HEAVEN 17, the original album was produced and engineered by Peter Walsh who also worked on ‘Penthouse & Pavement’.

Together with HEAVEN 17’s Glenn Gregory, Berenice Scott is also an acclaimed composer for TV and film while also fronting their more pop-oriented duo AFTERHERE whose first album ‘Addict’ was released in 2018.

Berenice Scott independently released her debut solo album ‘Ten Takes’ in 2007 and followed it up with the excellent ‘Polarity’ in 2014. Now in ‘A Joni Kind Of Mood’, as the title suggests, her new album features intimate personal arrangements of Joni Mitchell songs plus her own compositions that encapsulate the spirit of the influential Canadian artist. She chatted about this musical journey to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK and much more…

People are likely to be familiar with you playing live with HEAVEN 17 but may not be aware you have been performing with SIMPLE MINDS for the past few years, how has that been?

Yeah, that’s been great, it was a good long process leading up to it, learning all the material and about their back catalogue which was the first thing I did when I got the call to meet Charlie Burchill and Jim Kerr. I put a playlist together of their immense catalogue and went through it like that. It’s been very informative, challenging and rewarding all at the same time.

As you did you HEAVEN 17, you have performed a classic album with SIMPLE MINDS, in this case ‘New Gold Dream’, have you had analysed musically why that record has meant so much to people for so long?

I think that’s a really good question because I definitely saw that correlation between that album in particular and that period of music which HEAVEN 17 were a part of. I heard a lot of stories from Glenn about how they would all bump into each other at The Townhouse, so there was a lot of history there that I wasn’t aware of at all because it was a little bit before my time.

I can hear it in the sounds and the synths… but SIMPLE MINDS moved away from that into more stadium rock. I think it’s all to do with the analogue synths and the way that they approached using them. I know Charlie is a massive fan of synths and does a lot of that himself. And it’s the same with HEAVEN 17, the both of them have that love affair with synths, the organic nature of those early instruments. You couldn’t always recreate those sounds that you discovered, you put it down on tape and then because you couldn’t always programme that into a memory like with the early Moogs, that’s just it there, printed, like a painting…

Did you have any particular tracks from ‘New Gold Dream’ that you particularly enjoyed playing in your keyboardist role?

I love playing them all for different reasons but ‘Hunter & The Hunted’, when I first heard that to learn the solo, I was like “ooooh”! I didn’t know about the history of it at first but then Charlie told me it was Herbie Hancock! Fantastic! It was an interesting solo to learn, I wanted to recreate it as close as possible. Roland helped me recreate the sound for that.

What have been the differences for you between performing with HEAVEN 17 and SIMPLE MINDS?

There’s a different vibe, how they are on stage is very different. It’s not so much that one is serious and one isn’t, but I’ve never really analysed that. But there’s a definite different feel on stage. The SIMPLE MINDS band is quite big and it’s more contained with HEAVEN 17 so the proximity is closer to Martyn and Glenn. It can be quite vast with SIMPLE MINDS with the arena venues and festival shows.

After doing the soundtrack to TV drama ‘Liar’ with Glenn, the commissions have been coming in with ‘Vigil’, ‘Vanity Fair’ and ‘The Suspect’ being recent examples, how have your approaches grown and changed as you’ve progressed?

It changes due to the subject and what the directors and production companies want, so you are accommodating and adapting to that. I wouldn’t say I was necessarily getting better but the workflow can become a bit more streamlined. I think the approach for me has always been the same since the beginning. But you are really just trying to fit the bill, that’s the most important thing and do that as efficiently and as good as possible.

I hadn’t realised you did the music for a 2017 off-Broadway production of ‘A Clockwork Orange’ which is obviously interesting because of the HEAVEN 17 connection?

That was great, obviously that is a favourite film of Glenn and Martyn so that was one side of it. I love Stanley Kubrick so it was strange and wonderful. When we went over for the opening night, it was a real New York affair.

Will there be any more song oriented work with Glenn as AFTERHERE following 2018’s ‘Addict’?

Definitely, it’s just finding the time to do it, obviously the past 4 years, it’s been pretty much impossible with touring and the pandemic. But yes, there will be another AFTERHERE album.

It’s been 9 years since ‘Polarity’, how do you look back on that record?

NO! It’s not been 9 years! It’s a different kind of world now, everything has been altered and is just different, so maybe there’s a feeling of that being longer because it was almost a different epoch! I’m still the same, I still do music for the same reasons but I’ve lived more of course…

I’d argue that you appear more confident now…

Oh really, that’s good, OK! We haven’t seen each other for years? *laughs*

It’s been a while, it was 2018 for the AFTERHERE album launch, the girl then compared with the girl who I met at the HEAVEN 17 aftershow party in 2012 who was actually quite shy… *laughs*

YEAH! I can see that, I definitely think dealing with a lot of work situations and being on the road, it’s not that it hardens you up but you do approach each day as “I’ve got to just get this done”. But at the same time, you’re right, I think it’s important to remember that soft side because you don’t want that hardening up, otherwise I’ll lose connection with creativity, it’s something that has happened to me too. Which is why there’s a neat segue into the ‘A Joni Kind Of Mood’ album, I spent time doing that because I felt I was losing that soft creativity core.

So what got you into ‘A Joni Kind Of Mood’?

I was going through periods of feeling pretty lost for various reasons and Joni Mitchell’s music saved me in a way. I found the way life changes on a personal level and also musically… just life, the same reasons that she wrote those songs, for herself.

The beauty of her music is that you relate it to yourself, you’re not necessarily thinking about the artist, you’re thinking about the art which is incredible… I wanted to sing them.

You make a good point about the importance of the art, because I think today with the music industry in this social media world with TikTok and this Instagram reel nonsense, it seems to be now about how much flesh you show or how loud you can shout, have you any thoughts about that?

Hmmm! There’s always been that quick sell nature and there will always be that with humanity, in every industry, there’s a quick sell. I do worry that people are not spending their formative years well, when you should be locking yourself away to get to grips with your art, because it’s not easy to do it, to express yourself. I think a lot of time is spent on the outside with social media… I mean, it’s good to use it to promote yourself but there’s pros and cons; I do think an element of “practice” time is needed, do you know what I mean?

Are all the songs on ‘A Joni Kind Of Mood’ covers?

There’s a couple which are original which weren’t necessarily based on Joni, but fitted the mood of how I feel when I am listening to Joni… I thought why not?

How did you choose the songs because ‘Both Sides Now’ and ‘A Case Of You’ are quite well known ones to take on which is quite brave?

There’s definitely a fear factor but you know what, you only live once don’t you… I think my favourite Joni Mitchell album at the moment (because I’m sure it will change, and it will change) is ‘Hejira’ the album. So I started with a couple of those, I think ‘Little Green’ is such a beautiful sentiment, the more I started listening to the lyrics, the more it resonated so that’s why I chose that one. Then I was thinking more, not necessarily her more mainstream ones, but they are just lovely tunes and I just wanted to try them.

Why did you choose the ‘Hejira’ title song as the first single as it’s not an obvious choice because it’s really long?

Yes, it’s a bit long and impossible to get radio play but that’s fine! *laughs*

This is very much a personal project but there are Joni fans out there and I hope it resonates with them; ‘Hejira’ is just an amazing piece of poetry music and you don’t hear many 9 minutes tracks! But it’s just poetry and poems are long and that’s that.

What about the other songs of your own that fitted in with the vibe of this record rather than say the next AFTERHERE record?

I think as I was working through them, and how that was panning out, I don’t really know, it all just fell into place really.

You’re a Roland Ambassador, is there anything new in tech and gear that has excited you?

I’ve just got my hands recently on the GAIA 2… oh my goodness, it’s absolutely incredible! Normally it takes a while to get to know keyboards but I just plugged and played the other day, I was there for 2 hours with my headphones! Absolutely amazing! From an instant play, it sounds incredible and everything is accessible, it’s got some amazing features on the interface, it’s everything in one. I’m kinda blown away by it at the moment and I can’t wait to have some more time with it. Roland have asked me to do a little video for it so that will be my first port of call. I’m excited about that!

I really enjoy working with them, they’re such a great company and have been so supportive over the years. I can’t really tell you how amazing to work closely with them. It’s been one of my favourite things about my music career so far.

How are you releasing ‘A Joni Kind Of Mood’?

I think potentially there may be some physical but at the moment it’s just digital because obviously that’s easy, it’s across all platforms and so accessible. If there’s a demand for some vinyl, I guess we’ll put that together, we’ll see how it goes really.

What is next for you?

I’ve got a gig on 12 January 2024 at PizzaExpressLive in Holborn, that’s the next big step which I’m really excited about.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to Berenice Scott

Additional thanks to Sacha Taylor-Cox at Hush PR

‘A Joni Kind Of Mood’ is available now via the usual online platforms

Berenice Scott performs songs from the album at PizzaExpressLive in Holborn on Friday 12 January 2024, tickets available from

Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
3 November 2023

SOFTWAVE: An interview about the things we’ve done…

SOFTWAVE, the Danish duo comprising of Catrine Christensen and Jerry Olsen who opened for OMD in 2020 have finally become sophomores.

With the worldwide pandemic along with outsiders keen to have an influence on the duo’s direction triggering something of an existential crisis, SOFTWAVE have come out the other side more determined than ever to determine and secure their own future, for better or for worse.

The end result is ‘things we’ve done’, an honest electronic pop album which while being reflective, is an uplifting and motivational experience much in the vein of their heroes ERASURE. Having remixed Andy Bell’s solo material for the ‘Club Torsten’ collection and more recently, the PET SHOP BOYS produced David Cicero, the pair have been able to analyse the work of the best and learn from them.

Catrine Christensen and Jerry Olsen spoke to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about the things they’ve done for album number two and more…

These are the ‘things we’ve done’, how does it feel to finally get your second album out?

Catrine: Thanks for asking! The first time I finally got time to reflect on that. I’ve never felt more tired. This one was tough. Felt like we were in a second-album-crisis, haha! Maybe because we’ve been told that the second album is the most difficult album to finish. Well, I agree! But hey! “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” 😉

Jerry: It feels like a relief because it was much harder this time around. The composition process was slower and more thorough.

You released 5 songs on the ‘Aspire’ EP in 2022 and these appear in some shape on ‘things we’ve done’, had that always been the intention?

Jerry: No it wasn’t. I have never really wanted it as I’m an old school album-kind-of-guy. It was mainly the idea of our former management to actually divide the whole thing into 3 EPs or waves. The intention was to get more content out in smaller portions so that fans were fed something the whole time instead of just an album and that was it… a bit unwillingly, I agreed to the 2 part split… we will never do this again though. It has been a complicated and cumbersome process merging the different tracks, both production and admin-wise.

Catrine: I agree with Jerry. If we should do this again, a label has to take over. The whole DIY admin and social media part is simply taking too much of my time – way too many people to communicate with. I mean, we only have 24 hours a day, and I need 48 or more sometimes. Haha! It’s not a bad thing, cos I feel like “things” come easier to us, a lot of great and bigger things are happening even before the release. It all feels totally different from previous release strategies we had. But at the same time – that’s what I like about the music industry. It’s constantly dynamic and unpredictable.

From a writing and production point of view, how did ‘things we’ve done’ differ from ‘Game On’?

Jerry: The reason why it was harder this time, is because we have been more quality conscious on this album. We know that the second album is the critical one so we wanted 10 tracks that really lived up to our own expectations. Personally we think we succeeded to bring about an album which is better sounding and a bit more mature than the debut one. And at the same time staying true to our genre, but that must be up to our fans to decide…

Catrine: I would like to add this… when Jerry says “quality”, he’s also talking about the sound layers. We’ve always been struggling not to add too much sounds and vocals into each song. This time we managed to add more space into the songs, so that it doesn’t feels like Jerry and my ideas are constantly competing with each other. I really do hope our listeners can hear how much we’ve done to improve ourselves. Or else we might have call the next album ‘things we’ve done better’… ha ha!

You go quite ABBA-esque’ on ‘Taking Life For Granted’, how did that song come together?

Jerry: I didn’t realise that ha ha! But now you mention it, I guess I can relate to that. Maybe It’s because of the main bass tone is on top of the kick instead of on the offbeat in the choruses, it gives it a different feel. Don’t know why I did that, I just felt it sounded good because it’s the most common thing to lay it on the offbeat.

Catrine: Well, I never thought of that either. But I can tell, from the very first draft of this song’s production we kind of knew, that it would be a strong one. Therefore we waited till the end to finish it. I believe we didn’t work on it for a year or so, simply to avoid messing it up. Ha ha!

‘Supernova’ pays tribute to Andy Bell, what inspired you to write a song about him?

Catrine: When I was about to write ‘Supernova’, we just did the Andy Bell remixes, therefore it came naturally to me, calling this song ‘Supernova’ as I was in the perfect mood of thanking my idol for being so inspiring “since the very beginning”. But to be honest, I don’t really want people to reflect too much on my story. The song seeks to inspire the listeners to look into themselves and think of any person in their lives who in any matter is or have been an idol to them – and THANK THEM while they are still here.

To my ears, ‘The Deepest Love’ reminds me of ERASURE’s ‘I Bet You’re Mad at Me’, was this intentional?

Jerry: Not at all. The thing is that ‘The Deepest Love’ was the last song we finished for the album and as the preceding tracks were more serious and somewhat darker in a pop kind of sense, like ‘Never Gonna Let You Down’ and ‘Through Open Eyes’, I wanted a track that felt synthpop in a more traditional and happier way. But I will say that you are right in the assumption that it’s heavily inspired by ERASURE. I guess I can’t help myself! Ha ha!

How is ‘This World’ for you now?

Jerry: Like a memory of a place we absolutely have no interest in revisiting…

Catrine: All the ‘things we’ve done’ during the years building up SOFTWAVE, our dream, our passion, our purpose, our baby, was suddenly taken away from us. So was hope. Glad we got it back! I’m not sure about ‘This World’ has turned into anything better, but at least I feel better so that I can continue during my thing – spreading positive vibes out to the people. “People – let’s stick together” – in my World, it’s all about love to one another that makes ‘This World’ a better place.

Much of this album was put together during the pandemic and lockdown, now we are out of it, how have things changed for SOFTWAVE in the music business since and has it affected your approach?

Jerry: We felt we were on the brink of success when we toured with OMD and then lockdowns came. The next 2 – 3 years passed and nothing really happened both in the music business and with us producing music. It was so strange, like time stood still. Now we feel the emergence of good energy and the desire to get out and perform again.

Catrine: Well, I’m just happy that I trusted my instincts telling me not to follow the steam. I decided not to focus much on social media and concerts to finish the album with Jerry. And I’m glad we did, cos now the eagerness to perform live has never been bigger. It feels fantastic and people have been so supportive and patience with us ❤️ We have never been stronger!

What are your favourite songs on ‘things we’ve done’?

Jerry: ‘Taking Life For Granted’ because I think it’s the most catchy song, it’s the banger of the album. And then I also very much like ‘Never Gonna Let You Down’ and ‘Through Open Eyes’ because they are more mature and sound a bit different from the typical SOFTWAVE tracks.

Catrine: I agree, but it’s always difficult selecting favourites. Some faves from my end would be ‘Don’t Bully Me Again’ due to the whole story behind it and the strong melodies. ‘This World’ because it’s something completely different, I love testing my darker skills as well and that happened well in this one I think. ‘I’ll Be Your Safe’ has a deeper message and I like to sing it live. ‘Through Open Eyes’ is my absolutely favourite, because it might have the best composition and was very easy to finish. Everything about the song was without struggling. Live-wise I think it will perform extremely well!

What is next for SOFTWAVE?

Catrine: Here’s the list 😉

Our remix of ‘Love is Everywhere’ by David Cicero is now released, but then there is the digital release of the ‘things we’ve done’ album first before the CD a week later. The ‘things we’ve done’ CD release party takes place at Last Orders in Germany, followed by a Halloween Party at Operaen Christiania in Denmark, support comes from OHNOTHING. Then we are playing ElectriXmas 2023 in Sweden before the ‘things we’ve done’ tour continues in 2024 with a vinyl release TBC.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its grateful thanks to SOFTWAVE

‘things we’ve done’ is available on digital platforms via

The CD is available

SOFTWAVE play the *Depeche Mode & More* Party at the Last Orders Pub in Neubrandenburg, Germany on 21 October 2023

SOFTWAVE also host their own Halloween Party at Operaen Christiania in København, Denmark with special guests OHNOTHING on 28 October 2023 – tickets available from

SOFTWAVE will perform at ElectriXmas 2023 in Malmö at Inkonst, Sweden on 9 December 2023 alongside SIERRA – tickets available from

Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Krestine Havemann
20 October 2023

FRAGRANCE. Interview

With his stylish dark and dreamy synthpop as typified by the breakthrough single ‘So Typical’, Matthieu Roche is the enigmatic Parisian behind FRAGRANCE.

Although there have been two full length albums ‘Now That I’m Real’ in 2019 and ‘Salt Walter’ in 2021, it was 2017 which saw the first FRAGRANCE. release in the ‘Dust & Disorders’ EP. Forward to 2023 and ‘Dust & Disorders’ has been reissued and expanded. Featuring an extra five new tracks, although his past work has been primarily in English, two songs ‘Hanté De Moi’ and ‘Mise En Garde’ see Matthieu Roche singing in his native language for the first time.

Having issued the ‘Salt Water Remixed’ cassette earlier in 2023, the first of the ‘Dust & Disorders (Complete Edition)’ reworks has just emerged in the shape of an excellent ‘Much More Like A Wave’ rework by London-based Italian producer M!R!M

FRAGRANCE. live appearances and interviews are quite rare, but Matthieu Roche happily chatted to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about his creative career to date.

In the wider scheme of electronic pop music, FRAGRANCE. is unusual in that it is dark yet dreamy and occasionally frantic rhythmically yet soft vocally. How did this template emerge?

Hi Chi! I haven’t started this project with a preconceived idea of a style I should work on, I was instinctively headed in that direction. I think it’s simply the result of different layers of inspirations and influences. I always thought that dancing rhythms can emphasise the melancholic vibes, I have the feeling it offers the best frame for my music and what I want to pass through it.

What prompted you to sing in English rather than French?

At the very beginning, singing in English was an easier constraint because it’s not my native language and I felt freer with my choice of words and sentences. But I always loved to incorporate some French here and there and I’m more and more writing in French these days. It took some time but there are two songs entirely in French on my latest record and I’m very proud of them. I hope I’ll be able to write some more!

Do you have a preference in the instruments or software that you use? Do you like hardware synths or does this not matter to you?

On my side, the easier the better, I’m not very patient when I’m composing a song, so I’m using software. But I’m working with S Diamah on the production now (she worked on my latest LP, ‘Salt Water’) and I’m taking benefit of her amazing hardware synths knowledge and curiosity and she embellishes my compositions with them.

On your debut album ‘Now That I’m Real’, as well as your own voice, you had Hélène de Thoury aka HANTE. from MINUIT MACHINE featuring on ‘Hazy Strobes’ and Maya Postepski from AUSTRA, TR/ST and PRINCESS CENTURY on ‘At Last’, how did these collaborations come about?

I love working on “featurings”. Hélène, first of all, I loved her music as HANTE. and I met her when she mastered my previous EP. She was like a mentor to me at that time, so it was quite natural to invite her on my first album. Maya is one of my favorite producer and someone sent her my first EP in 2017 and that’s how we got in touch: that was quite unexpected! We started to work on songs together every time she was passing through Paris. She wasn’t used to singing at that time and she has a lovely accent when she speaks French and I think that’s what drove me to ask her if she’d be interested to sing – in French – on one of my songs.

You later did a brilliant duet with Maya for a PRINCESS CENTURY song called ‘Stupid Things’ from her album ‘Surrender’ which had this underlying sweetness to it, was this a reaction to the intensity of the pandemic lockdown? Do you have any fun memories from the making of it?

I’m glad you mention this album from her, because I absolutely love it. I already known some tracks from it from when she was working on it, and one day, I received an email with the demo of ‘Stupid Things’, asking if I wanna try something on it. This one, we worked on it remotely, but we love to write romantic / melancholic songs together (we have a few of them that never got released) so it was a super easy collaboration. Writing music with Maya is always fun.

You recorded a cover of GALA ‘Freed From Desire’ in 2019, it’s interesting how this song has now become a women’s football album?

Yes, the song has become an anthem for several sports competitions, whether it football or rugby. When I recorded a cover of it, it was just to please the kid in me that grew up with her songs, such as ‘Let A Boy Cry’. Unfortunately, and that’s probably due to the new success of the original song, they are quite tough with the rights of the song and my cover is no longer available on streaming platforms.

Your second album ‘Salt Water’ provided FRAGRANCE. with a wider international breakthrough with a slightly harder but still accessible sound like on ‘Crisis’, how do you look back on the making of that record?

I co-produced this album with Sophia Hamadi, aka S Diamah, as I mentioned earlier. I wrote the whole album around the theme of salt waters: tears, sweat and the sea. That implies a cool range of moods, haha. I don’t really see this record as harder than the previous one, but I think the combination of dreamy / melancholic and dancing / dark moods goes deeper on it!

Starting off ambient before it locks into a disco tempo, ‘The Cure’ has this wonderfully cinematic feel. Does soundtrack work appeal to you and do you have any favourite film composers?

It’s funny you say that, because Lulannie, who sings with me on this song, is a photographer / director. She also directed the music video that we had to shoot remotely, her in New York, me in Paris and in Brittany. Cinema is definitely a source of inspiration for me, even though I don’t listen to a lot of movie soundtracks by itself. More than a source of inspiration, it’s really a source of creativity that encourages me to explore some things with my own medium, with my own vision. This summer, I re-watched the entire ‘Twin Peaks’ series + movies and that reminds me one more time how Angelo Badalamenti is one of the greatest genius of music composing.

Your debut 2017 EP ‘Dust & Disorders’ has been expanded, but with five new songs to start. Why did you go for this approach rather than release a new standalone EP or even a new album?

When I worked on my first songs, I started with nothing but my computer and, after some friends convinced me to, I released it on Bandcamp. This EP has a special place in my heart, because it gave me the opportunity to introduce my music and to meet new amazing people. I had very few listeners at that time, but I was already dreaming of being able to give it a vinyl release one day. I also really wanted to see the artwork on a real printed object. In the meantime, with my two albums, I also had collected a lot of drafts of unfinished songs. I used them to write those 5 new songs and I think combining the two projects was quite cohesive!

What is the story behind the song ‘Hanté De Moi’ and its video?

My lyrics are always quite blurred and opened for interpretations. If, as a listener, you want to hear a word rather than another so it can resonate with you, I’m totally fine with that. When I asked Jennifer Medina to shoot a music video for it, I only gave her the lyrics, so she could build her own vision of it. I loved the abstract result of this girl watching herself in dreams.

M!R!M has done a remix of ‘Much More Like a Wave’, are you happy with the results? How do you go about choosing remixers for the songs and how involved do you get, are you quite hands off?

I love his take on the song. I always felt that the chorus of this song could work as an anthem and he definitely achieved that with his remix. I only work with artists I love regardless of their music style, so I’m not getting involved at all in their process, unless they ask to, but I don’t know if that ever happened.

You remixed ‘A Tout Jamais’ for Mylène Farmer in 2022, when the ball is on the other foot and you are remixing another artist, what approach to do take?

The main thing I like when I’m remixing a song is to work with vocals that are not mine! It changes the way to work the sounds and I love that. I have to admit that I have a preference for female vocalists, it takes me to somewhere that I’m not used to. Mylène Farmer is the best example for that, she’s one of the (if not the) most iconic French singer, so it was quite challenging but also a huge pride.

Are there any upcoming live shows in the calendar, how do you find the challenges of performing as a solo electronic act, is it something you enjoy?

I don’t play a lot of shows, it asks for quite a lot of involvement and energy, so for the moment, I only accept cool one-shot opportunities. But despite the stress it can cause, it’s always great memories. I had the chance to open for TR/ST, LINEA ASPERA and Molly Nilsson and those memories will be forever dear to my heart. But I will definitely search for more occasions to play in the future, maybe for my next album.

What are your future FRAGRANCE. plans with regards recording and remixing?

My main plan right now is to work on my new album, my third LP. I have a more and more clear vision of what I want to do with it, but I have to get to work now! I’m taking a little break in making remixes so I can focus on the new songs, but I’ve got one unreleased one that will be released at the beginning of 2024 I think!

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to Matthieu Roche

Special thanks to Marcus Sugars at Sugarcane Recordings

‘Much More Like A Wave’ (M!R!M Remix) is released by Sugarcane Recordings, available via online outlets including

‘Dust & Disorders (Complete Edition)’ is released by Synth Religion, available as a Limited Edition 12″ half transparent / half cream vinyl LP, CD and download from

Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Jennifer Medina
17 October 2023

A Short Conversation with OLLIE WRIDE

Having lent his voice to FM-84, TIMECOP1983, FURY WEEKEND and SUNGLASSES KID, Ollie Wride is back to follow-up his 2019 debut album ‘Thanks In Advance’.

Evoking a Trans-Atlantic flavour in his retrowave pop, the music of Ollie Wride is almost tailor-made for the American market. New songs like ‘Juliette’, ‘A Matter Of Time’, ‘Victoria’ and ‘The Way I See It’ maintain the standard showcased on ‘Thanks In Advance’, fusing classic synthesized pop sensibilities with melodic FM rock.

He played his first US show at Troubadour in West Hollywood in the summer and has since supplemented this with a wider stateside Fall tour. But he will return to the UK to play a special show at London’s prestigious Scala with support from PARALLELS. After a long flight from the US, Ollie Wride caught up with ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK to talk about aspects of his past, present and future.

It’s been 4 years since ‘Thanks In Advance’, how do you look back on the making and reception for it?

Time certainly flies… but in a lot of ways it feels like a lifetime ago, so much has happened since then, both on the world stage and in my personal life. I feel it still stacks up, I listened through for the first time in a while the other day and it brought a smile. Diving back in, there were a few moments I forgot, I love it when you’re surprised by what your former self was thinking.

In hindsight the record feels like a concoction of my limitations breeding innovation? There’s a lot of hope and unbridled energy bottled there; I definitely had something to prove at the time venturing out alone – but it also doesn’t feel disconnected from FM-84 where people ultimately came to know me from. The reception was overall, overwhelmingly positive, snagging the top spot on the iTunes charts in several countries was a bonus – it’s something I never expected but it’s wonderful when your creative output is embraced.

The FM ATTACK remix of ‘I’m A Believer’ and its video was a nice way to round off the campaign?

The remixes came later than the original record release, the intention was to bridge the gap between the genre and community that gave me a platform and a slightly more electronic direction than the original release. What better way to cement the remix releases than to hand over the reins to my peers and producers who I was a fan of? FM Attack was among the first artists that I delved into when I was introduced to the genre. His approach stayed true to the original sentiment of the song but also took it far enough that it would resonate with perhaps the more avid synth listener. I was already planning the 3rd video in the trilogy and the track seemed to fit the flagship role to round off the campaign and drive the deluxe version of the record.

Since then you done one off singles with Michael Oakley, Jess Frye and a number of producers like FURY WEEKEND and SUNGLASSES KID, how have these collaborations helped keep your creative momentum going?

I’m always writing and producing, a lot of folks don’t make the connection but everything you’ve heard me on I’ve either written / produced or co-written and co-produced. Something that I have a huge interest and passion for. Rather than being “just the vocalist”, which always sounds like it’s devaluing the discipline of great vocalists and separately skillsets I’ve worked hard at.

I’m incredibly fortunate to do this as my full time job so creative momentum isn’t usually in short supply at my house. That said, occasionally circumstance affords the opportunity to step outside of my usual wheel house and work with friends and other artists in and outside of the genre. In those instances mentioned, Michael Oakley and I have racked up a lot of miles together now. I collaborated and top lined on his last 2 records and he co-produced and mixed ‘Thanks In Advance’, work aside, he’s a close friend and a joy to be around.

Ed Gamper (SUNGLASSES KID) is another example of a chance connection evolving into a close bond. ‘Stranger Love’ emerged out of the early days of the pandemic coming about very quickly from a spark of inspiration I had following one of his social media clips. The chord progression really resonated with me and so outcome the lyric and melody. It’s a mainstay in my show and a personal favourite from the first album cycle. In any instance, I approach collaboration with an open mind and whatever is best for the song attitude. It’s so easy to get in the way of yourself and overthink these things, so the advantages of collaboration practically speaking serve as a wonderful sounding board. Many hands make for light work, but don’t let too many spoil the broth!

You first became known as the voice of FM-84 and there was a new song with Col Bennett ‘Bend & Break’ which came out in 2019, what was the story behind this?

That’s right, we embarked on a pretty extensive tour of North America including a big date at Brixton Electric in London that was a real pinnacle for us at the time. As I recall Col and I wanted to create something that featured an audience participation chant – something that is always given a great deal of thought during the writing process. Essentially, the song is about the pursuit of your passions at all costs and enduring the hurdles and hardship in order to sustain them. It was the first song we had put out since 2017 so it acted as this proclamation that “Hey, we’re still here everybody!” – encapsulated in the line “No our music it ain’t done, coz I found our revelry… on the highways and in the dancehalls that filled our history” something I’m particularly proud of. Col’s synth work on that record is luscious, definitely a nod to Peter Gabriel which is always a good move in my book.

What did you think of Ed Sheeran’s popwave single ‘Overpass Graffiti’? You know, when I first heard that played on BBC Radio 2, I thought it was you!!

Any association with major artists putting out great music into the world is a wonderful complement in my book. Hopefully, it won’t be too long until it is actually an OW record that you hear!

You’ve signed a deal M3 Recordings, how do you hope this will help you in your wider breakthrough?

Yes, I signed earlier this year having being introduced to the label through my dear friend David Schuler (THE BAD DREAMERS). I was so immersed in the creation of album 2 that as I was approaching its completion playing excerpts to my trusted nearest and dearest – the general consensus was, the record deserved a bigger platform and a wider audience… and in order to do that, you need to find the right team to help elevate the machine. Not an easy task, especially being independent for a few years now.

I think there’s a common misconception that signing to a major totally changes your reality, I guess to some extent it informs it, however the work really begins and there’s a process and a consideration to everything. Ultimately, me as the artist has to lead the charge and have the vision but where the label comes into play is helping facilitate that… so I will only have a clearer picture when the campaign gets started and the new album is released! However, I’m cautiously optimistic that being under the Sony Music umbrella will help turn the dial towards 11!

Is it all ‘A Matter Of Time’?

Depends on your outlook really! I wrote that as a quasi self-help exercise or a mantra to live by. We all experience hardship and adversity, but I am someone who tries to retain vehement belief and positivity. Even if you don’t believe… believe, believe, believe! Through trial and error, I’ve slowly learned to only worry / take action on what’s in my control and not what is out of it.

A single ‘Juliette’ came out in 2020, who is she and is this song a pointer of how the new album will sound? Have you altered your approach much since ‘Thanks In Advance’?

Truth be told, the names I opt for are generally selected due to their syllabic nature. The stories and sentiment behind the songs are genuine however. I actually wrote that with my dear pal Josh Dally, who spawned a lot of the lyric on that one – it was somewhat of a role reversal and I helmed the arrangement and production. We’re 3 years on from that cut… so the new album is definitely a step up and away from the first record and collaborations. I wanted to go bigger and have a body of work that sounded like a heavy hitting body of work. So there’s been a huge amount of time and effort building the sonics, production, the entire album features live instrumentation leading the charge and the synthesizers and sequencers are working in service of the songs. Akin to ‘Tango In The Night’, ‘So’ etc…. That’s the biggest distinction.

There was a single recently entitled ‘Victoria’, are we getting a concept album about all the girls you’ve loved before?

I don’t kiss and tell!

On ‘Cherry Avenue’, you’ve let your inner Michael MacDonald come out?

Nice spot! I’m a huge fan of THE DOOBIE BROTHERS, those sketches you’re referring to that I’ve posted on my Instagram are ideas that I’m trying out away from the next official release. I’ve become a lot less precious about sharing works in progress in recent times, given album 2 is on the cusp of release – these additional concepts give a little insight into my process and experimenting with different palettes and feels. I’m a sucker for Yacht Rock and those timeless melodies of the late 70s early 80s, so here’s me picking up the baton.

‘Landslide’ is not a cover of the Olivia Newton-John song but it does feature a funky synthbass… what tools do you like writing and pre-production?

Everything I write starts at the piano, my beloved CP70, from there I build the rhythm track. I try to capture the nucleus of a song very quickly… and from there work on all the clever bits. I think the worst mistake you can make is to lead with the production before you have the song, for me at least, you’ve got to establish the message first and foremost otherwise it’s like building a castle upon sand. I work in Logic, I’m not a huge gear head but I have a few key toys; Dave Smith OB-6, Yamaha CP70 and I invested in a really great vocal chain – UAD 6176 with the optical compressor coupled with SE Electronics Rupert Neve RNT condenser microphone.

‘The Way I See It’ is the newest single, how would you describe it?

It’s the second single taken from my upcoming sophomore record, a nu-disco, funk doused, avant-garde production with all the hallmarks and hooks of sophistipop as a joyous musical recourse to the adverse times we have all experienced these past few years.

Essentially, it’s a song about mindset and how we see ourselves faring against adversity in the world. Initially emerging from the early days of the pandemic, with a new found abundance of time on my hands distanced from friends and family, set against the backdrop of a world that appears to be cracking – there was still a lot to be grateful and hope to cling to. I couldn’t help but take stock of where I am in life and why these relationships matter most; it felt only natural to explore a more contemplative lyric in an attempt to articulate how our lives hang in such a delicate balance between having and losing it all; and the challenges of maintaining positivity against the odds – a concept I feel we can all relate to.

You played your first US solo headline show at The Troubadour in Hollywood, how was that for you?

Humbling, exhilarating, awe-inspiring. As a British musician, venturing to America and selling out what is probably the most famous music venue in the world is the stuff of dreams. You enter the history books when you play there. Having sold it out once before with FM-84, stepping out on my own steam was a nerve wracking challenge, there’s a great amount of expectation and pressure to deliver. It also gave me a renewed confidence having been away for so long. It truly meant the world and I’m tremendously thankful to all those who came and supported.

Coming up is a London date at The Scala which was made famous by SPANDAU BALLET in their breakthrough TV appearance back in 1979 and which THE MIDNIGHT also played, what have you got lined-up in terms of format and band personnel?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have played the majority of venues around London in my time. From dive bars to the O2 Arena… the one that always stuck out that I haven’t played is Scala. This will be my biggest solo show to date following Lafayette back in 2021 – so I’m brimming with excitement! The band gets bigger, the production more heavyweight… I always try and better myself from the last show, the last tour. I care immensely about the show and all its facets to give the fans the most entertaining experience I can. Whilst I don’t want to give too much away, you are certainly in for a treat – my shows go hell for leather… “Deaf ‘em, blind ‘em, and leave ‘em wanting more!”

What are you hopes and fears as you approach the sophomore stage of your solo career?

I am a cautious optimist. I’ve been at this a hot minute and learned a lot. Signed, dropped. Majors, indies… having it all and losing it. I won’t pretend that it hasn’t had a bearing, you definitely develop a Teflon skin.. So the older I get, the less I concern myself with the things out of my control, and focus on what is… The world is in a state of immense change, it’s easy to succumb to the endless deluge of information and headlines; it’s all noise and the majority of it is not good for you (in my view) So the challenge is how does one navigate whilst being informed and not get sucked into the vacuum?

This album cycle feels very different, predominantly due to the huge impact the pandemic had on my trajectory and plans in 2019 – I literally had to begin again… but also, I’ve had a great deal of time to create without any external influence or pressure, it’s been on my terms and informed by my experience during that period of adversity, cemented onto record; the sum of which I consider to be my best work yet and the production an entirely different level from anything I’ve been involved with or outputted before. I hope the sophomore stage demonstrates a renewed energy and focus – as well as the continued increase in audience… after all, without them none of this is possible AND for them I am eternally grateful.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its sincerest thanks to Ollie Wride

Special thanks to Stuart McLaren at Outland

‘Juliette’, ‘A Matter Of Time’, ‘Victoria’ and ‘The Way I See It’ are available via online platforms at

The album ‘Thanks In Advance’ is still available via New Retro Wave

Ollie Wride plays London Scala with support from PARALLELS on Sunday 22 October 2023, tickets available from

Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
14 October 2023

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