Category: Interviews (Page 2 of 87)

LAURA DRE Interview

With her debut album ‘Moving Spaces’, Laura Dre has presented an impressive musical statement that positions her between the sophistication of Nina and the gothier overtures of Kat Von D.

A musician, producer, graphic designer, model builder and gamer, the German-Filipino songstress has many talents. While she may be a new name in synth, Laura Dre offers a cooler take on electronic pop, the five decades old form having recently had a mainstream boost internationally  thanks to THE WEEKND with Max Martin-assisted tunes such as ‘Blinding Lights’ and ‘Save Your Tears’.

Previously the front-woman of feisty electro-rock combo VINYL BLACK STILETTOS whose second EP ‘Electrical’ was produced by PET SHOP BOYS programmer and engineer Pete Gleadall, Laura Dre has a fascination for yesterday’s tomorrow, with the rainy dystopian air of ‘Blade Runner’ lingering with a mysterious sexual tension.

Laura Dre spoke to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about her creative ethos and how artistic independence has empowered her to be ‘Moving Spaces’…

You have been making music for a number or years, particularly with a more alternative rock edge so what inspired you to focus on synths, had there been any artists from this ilk that turned you onto this instrumentation?

My love for alternative rock, grunge, punk and metal was quite strong up until I discovered electronic artists. I think it all started with German electronic artists in 2003 that had a cross-over between synths and indie sounds in their music: STEREO TOTAL, MIA; 2004: SPILLSBURY (Electro-punk); 2006: PEACHES, FISCHERSPOONER, GOLDFRAPP, YPPAH and in 2007: NEW YOUNG PONY CLUB.

I love the bold expression and simplicity of PEACHES, the synth melodies and alluring vocals of GOLDFRAPP, the rhythmic syncopation and ambience whenever I listen to a YPPAH record, and the mesmerising synergy of instruments from NYPC. Of course, there was also a lot of 80s and 90s EDM growing up – all this has influenced me what I do today.

In your writing process, are you quite “synaesthesic” in approach with your musical imagination?

Almost. If we are purely talking about sounds itself, then I most often have already a particular synth sound in my head whilst writing my song. The good thing is, I know exactly what I’m looking for and how it’s made of (ie saw, square, sine, triangle) and then I would modulate / manipulate / shape the sound to match the sound in my head, with LFOs / envelopes and additional effect plugins. It really helps being familiar with a synthesisers functions and controls, which I learned during my time at University studying music production.

I scored 10/10 when my tutor was testing us if we recognise wavetable sounds. So that already gave me a good indication of my ability to identify sounds and reconstruct them from scratch.

You apply a strong visual aesthetic to your artwork, photos and social media, how important do you think this is as an artist?

I think this goes hand-in-hand with music and visuals are very important these days to promote the music you’re doing, to grab people’s attention and to express music on a visual level. Since we live in a world full of advertisements, it’s even harder now to cut through the social media noise to stand out, so that’s why I think it’s really important to have images accompanying the music as well as portraying the artist itself.

From my own personal opinion, I found it even more important that this is carried out through ORIGINAL images / content, something that the artist creates themselves rather than using other people’s artwork like I see it often happening on Instagram. Aren’t you bored of seeing the same image shared over and over by multiple artists?

Yes, it may look aesthetically pleasing to someone who just wants to see specific kind of images, but on the other hand it’s unoriginal and basically it’s stealing other people’s artwork, causing potential copyright infringements. I’ve seen it often happening that other people’s artwork is not even credited, which is bad practice. I also don’t see the logic in doing these things because it’s not really contributing to the artists’ music or image itself. I’m sorry to be blunt, but it comes across as ‘visual portfolio of stolen images for lazy artists’. That’s my personal opinion and it’s something that people don’t have to agree with.

Did you ever consider hiding your face like some of the acts who featured in ‘The Rise Of The Synths’? Can it ever be “just about the music” as some claim in that film?

I have no shame in saying that I’ve not watched this film, just like I never heard about synthwave until last year. No, I have no reason to hide my face, personality nor sexuality. I think hiding is a personal choice – whatever makes you feel comfortable.

Do you have any guilty pleasures in terms of inspiration, unexpected loves like Country & Western or Schlagermusik?

I’m not a fan of German Schlagermusik, but I wouldn’t mind classic Country music (ie Johnny Cash), Hillbilly stuff, Psychobilly Rock N’ Roll, and some Benny Goodman and Bobby Hutcherson here and there. I love Oldies, Jazz, Classical Music, 90s Hip Hop – I can pretty much listen to any genre as long as the music is good.

Robert Harder, who you worked with in VINYL BLACK STILETTOS, mixed the ‘Moving Spaces’ album, how would you describe your creative dynamic?

It’s easier to work with someone when you know that person and what they are like. With Robert, he always worked with the cool bands that I admired (SOHODOLLS, WHITE ROSE MOVEMENT, WHITEY etc) So I had no doubt that he would be a good fit for my sound, which he has proven with my very first VBS EP from 2011.

In terms of dynamic, we both work remotely and super quick. He puts a lot of effort into mixing my music creatively and the vocal production, like he added this wonderful dreamy outro on ‘I Wanna Be Your Only One’ which I originally did not have. I absolutely love it!

What tools were you using on the album, was there any particular hardware or software that you turned to and enjoyed using?

I don’t own much analog hardware, mainly just a good pair of speakers (Focal Twin 6 BE), a good valve microphone (Telefunken AK-47 MkII) and a UA6176 – the rest is done in the box. To me it’s never been about the gear you own, to make music with. One could have the most expensive Studio equipment, but if you’re not a good songwriter you will still make crap music, no matter how expensive your gear is.

The same principle applies for recording – you could be recording at Abbey Road Studios with the world’s best sound engineer – I will repeat this again: it doesn’t matter if everything is top range, your songs will still be cr*p if you’ve never learned how to write and compose good songs.

Were you tempted to bring out your bass guitar or were you strictly adhering to the synth aesthetic?

I’m not afraid to use any kind of instrument at all, as long as it fits the track. In my case, the bass guitar doesn’t really suit my music, so I will only use my guitar here and there, where it complements the melodies and harmonies I create. At the end of the day, I’m not here to please people by strictly adhering to a limited range of instruments or musical style or aesthetics. I see my music as complete different entity not connected to anything, except the electronic genre (which is super broad) but with 80s infused sounds in a modern way.

So did ‘If Looks Could Kill’ begin life as one of your rockier tracks?

That was the third track I created out of the ‘Moving Spaces’ album, and initially I did a fast 4/4 beat with modulation on the synths, but due to an accident during transfer, Robert had to re-program my drums on this track and accidentally gave me back a 2/4 beat, which I totally loved because it was so 80s! Like Michael Sambello’s ‘Maniac’. I’m so glad this happened, because it just sounded better! I wouldn’t call it ‘rockier’ but in my head I visualised an image of an 80s pool party and this song playing in the background. I mainly create music to images in my head.

The ‘Moving Spaces’ title song launched you solo to the wider world, why did you pick that as the track to premiere your synth sound with?

I let Outland Recordings pick the track, I wasn’t really fussed which track went out first as I loved them all. Besides that, it’s better to let the average listener pick, because as a producer / artist, I often can’t see the forest as a whole, I can only see individual trees.

How did Outland Recordings become involved? Was the ‘Moving Spaces’ album already recorded? Was it important for you to have a label?

No, it wasn’t fully recorded. I had 8 songs at the time I started looking for a label. And yes, it was important to me to get a label because I made a deal with my Instagram crush. The deal was that she would have to go out with me on a date if I get a record deal. So 100% motivation right there! 😉

‘All Day, All Night’ has this lovely PET SHOP BOYS feel, right down to the instrumental break, are you a fan?

I’ve seen PET SHOP BOYS live on their ‘Nightlife’ tour in Bremen, it was my very first concert ever. My friend had a spare ticket, so that’s how I ended up there. I still love ‘For Your Own Good’, but I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan. They are okay. If I have to pick a 90s EDM act, I’d prefer ORBITAL, THE ORB, FAITHLESS, UNDERWORLD or THE FUTURE SOUND OF LONDON. If ‘All Day All Night’ sounds like PSB to some listeners, then that’s fine, but I had no intention of making it sound similar to them. What I had more in mind with this song was a modern version of 80s Citypop.

‘Superficial Cyberlove’ gets quite gothic and then goes all EBM, how was this track conceived?

Gothic? *laughs*

I never had this in mind when I composed it. I visualised something more 80s cyberpunk in my head, like ‘Blade Runner’ meets techno. Sci-fi and Neon Club vibes.

While unrequited love is the theme of the album, how much of the lyrical content is you playing a character and how much is autobiographical?

The lyrical content is a mixture of both. The feelings are from my real life experiences whilst the setting and vibe of the songs have different imaginative settings, for example ‘Superficial Cyberlove’: Whilst the lyrics are about having a crush on your ideal model that you shaped inside your head, this model has a set and certain type of partner in their mind, thus they’re all ‘superficial’ and you’ll never be good enough for that person.

Then, we’re also connected to our computers on a daily basis, so people cyber-stalk the one’s they like and possibly develop deeper feelings for them that are unrequited, to the point that they are letting go of them (‘I Turn Away From You’). To bring the lyrics together with the music I chose a ‘cyberpunk’ setting in this instance, that I try to convey with dark retro sounds, tempo and intensity of the song that gradually increases.

Are you actually an ‘Ice Maiden’ in real life?

Hahaha! I don’t know how other people observe me, but my ex-girlfriend was certainly an ‘ice maiden’, and so is the girl that I made a deal with.

‘I Wanna Be Your Only One’ mentions ‘Bonnie & Clyde’, but which couples, either real or fictional have most inspired you?

Catra and Adora from ‘She-Ra & The Princess of Power’ *laughs*

They are obviously fictional, but they have a very complex relationship that made the whole story of the show really good, I could watch this over and over! I’m not surprised there are many fans out there that want a Season 6 now!

You sing that ‘Loving You Is A Beautiful Sin’, but how do you see the world at the moment in its quest for equality, tolerance and being free from the threat of violence?

I think as humans in this current state of the world we have a lot of things to combat that unfortunately will not change overnight, such as Asian-hate-crime, homophobia, climate change, poverty, trans rights, domestic violence, wars, human trafficking and rape amongst many, many other things that are problematic.

It’s horrible when we think about these things and the fact that they all exist somewhere in the world. I think this is an ongoing quest that will not be resolved for the next centuries sadly. I still like to dream about a world where currency and poverty doesn’t exist, where all life forms whether alien or human are equal, which is Gene Roddenberry’s world – it’s the reason why I’m so fond of ‘Star Trek’. Who you love should not be an issue, but sadly in many countries, it still is.

Which are your own favourite songs from the album and why?

I don’t have any favourite songs, they are all my “babies” so I love them all. 🙂

Is playing live as a solo synth artist on the cards for you or is the recording of a second album first more likely?

The second album is nearly done! I will have it finished by end of September, then it will be mixed and mastered by Robert Harder again. Once that is done, I will perform live shows again, hopefully with the first stop being Tokyo, Japan.

What are your hopes and fears as the world begins to open up again?

My fear is that every damn venue will be booked up! Hahaha. I think most bands are getting ready now to start playing live shows soon, which might become a nightmare in terms of wanting to book a time slot. As for hopes, I’m hoping that Japan will open their borders soon so that we can start booking my first tour.


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to Laura Dre

Special thanks to Outland Recordings

‘Moving Spaces’ is released by Outland Recordings, available in CD, blue vinyl LP, cassette and digital formats from https://lauradre.bandcamp.com/

https://lauradre.com/

https://www.facebook.com/lauradreofficial

https://www.instagram.com/lauradre/

https://twitter.com/LauraDreMusic

https://www.twitch.tv/lauradreofficial

https://soundcloud.com/lauradre

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-i6CW5oGLsKIOOIHV9sEHA/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/1AdbxZ3LVADmRfwzJxZwrS


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Wiebke Kreinick, except studio selfie by Laura Dre
1st August 2021

TOBIAS BERNSTRUP Interview

Gothenburg-born Tobias Bernstrup is a performance and visual artist with five officially released albums to his name, as well as numerous video installations, collaborative exhibitions, interactive works and gaming projects.

Following up 2018’s ‘Technophobic’ long player, his sixth album ‘Petrichor’ refines his Italo Noir template with intelligent political and historical observations like “a Film Noir in cold blue and pink light that you can dance to”.

With his striking stage persona, Bernstrup is an intriguing androgynous figure who speaks for the outsider, raising questions about society’s representation of identity in his gender-crossing live performances and visual presentation.

With the imminent release of ‘Petrichor’, Tobias Bernstrup spoke to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about the making of the new album, collaborations, his artistic ethos and continuing motivations.

What was the genesis of your Italo Noir sound?

I grew up listening to Punk, Metal and Postpunk but always loved Italo Disco. When I started making electronic music after years of being a drummer, I knew that I wanted to make Italo inspired music with a darker more melancholic sound. I also wanted to create a darker image to this sound when designing performance costumes and sleeve art.

How would you describe the concept of your new album ‘Petrichor’ which means “a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather”?

The initial idea for the sleeve photo was to include raindrops or rain atmosphere. During the research, I came across reading about the Petrichor phenomenon.

I had several cinematic images in my head; the end scene of ‘Bladerunner’ or an episode of ‘Miami Vice’ when Sonny Crockett walks alone on a rainy street. I love how the rain enhances scents, colors and creates reflections.

The first single ‘Private Eye’ appears to be about the surveillance society?

The inspiration to the lyrics came from a Bitcoin Scam email that circulated. The emails say they hacked into your computer and recorded you visiting adult websites. They threaten to distribute the video to your friends and family within hours, unless you pay into their Bitcoin account.

Sweden has been at the forefront of cashless payment, but how do you feel that you can’t even buy bread or fruit without someone watching you? Does that make you ‘Technophobic’?

No, but I am aware. It is a new world order, if you don’t own a smartphone or have internet connection, you will be excluded from the society. It is so obvious when you see beggars asking for money and everyone replies I don’t have cash…

How do you look back on the ‘Technophobic’ album, the title song was particularly good?

The album had a quite coherent synthpop vibe throughout but a more cold, synthetic, metallic and modern sound than previous productions. On ‘Petrichor’, I wanted a warmer sound so I decided to mainly use old-school drum sounds like the Oberheim DMX, LinnDrum and typical 80s synthesizers.

Do you have any preferences for your electronic template, do you like hardware synths and drum machines or have you entered the world of software?

I work in between analog and digital tools. When it comes to playing and recording the physical touch of a hardware synth is superior. I often use Korg PolySix for basslines and Roland JX-8P for pads. When it comes to software instruments, mixing and plugins I always go for analog circuit emulation.

The music industry has changed a lot even since ‘Technophobic’, have you reconsidered your strategies as an artist about making albums and promotion?

I had a more open process when putting together the album. It started releasing a bunch of singles during the process to see where they landed.

That helped me writing and finalizing the remaining tracks.

In your opinion, is the album as a format still relevant in music consumption?

Yes I believe so, even though many people rather listen to single tracks and playlists. Listening to an album is like reading a book. If you have the patience to do this, it can be very rewarding. There has been a revival in making shorter albums again with 8-10 tracks. This is a good thing. it fits better with the pleasant vinyl LP format. And it’s difficult to make long albums with 14-18 and keep up the quality and interest. There are some exceptions. THE CURE’s double LP ‘Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me’ is still such a great album without a dull moment. It has variety without being eclectic.

Looking back, aspects of 2015’s ‘Romanticism’ album explored some different directions compared to your earlier albums and more recent singles, particularly with the ballad ‘Dorian Gray’, the Latin moods of ‘Laterna Magica’ and the classic Eurodance of ‘Revolution’?

The song writing and recording process was very different during ‘Romanticism’. I worked during a focused period of 2 months in a studio with a very open and experimental mind set. At that time, it was important for my development to try something new.

The recent compilation ‘Trannies At Night’ gathered your earlier work before 2012, how do you see your development as an artist and do you have any favourite songs or memories from that period?

In the beginning there was more simplicity, but less production. Sometimes there was a more powerful and directness to it.

As I got more production skills, I have to make more effort in order to find that simplicity which makes a great song. Limiting your toolbox and arsenal of instruments is a good way of doing this.

What was the inspiration behind your most recent single ‘Only One’?

It a typical Bernstrup track, It started with that Jan Hammer-like bassline and the lead sound melody and those marimba sounds that I just love. It reminds me of Ken Laszlo’s ‘Tonight’ – one of my all-time favourite songs. Lyrics came naturally when just playing with words and vocal melody.

You sing of a “stranger on the screen”, “disposable love” and a “devil in disguise” on ‘Stranger’, it’s strange that in this modern world, some people care more about influencers online who they’ve never met rather than those near them like family and friends?

Interesting thought. Well, the lyrics could describe someone being disconnected from reality. The initial idea was to write from the perspective of someone having an addiction to online dating in a dangerous self-destructive and abusive way.

Is ‘Challenger’ referring to the 1986 space shuttle tragedy?

Yes, I remembered that day as a teenager. During the production of the new album, I watched a couple of rocket launches. Technology and space exploration has always interested me. The Challenger disaster was a very tragic one as there had been warnings from engineers about the dangers of launching posed by the low temperatures of that January morning.

There is a more instrumental template on ‘Loderunner’ rather than using full lyrics?

The original idea for this track dates back to 2002 or 2004. I wrote an instrumental track for one of my art exhibitions that was an interactive video game piece. The musical theme itself was inspired by the musical score for the 1998 video game ‘Unreal’ composed by Alexander Brandon & Michiel van den Bos. The title refers to a C64 computer game.

You have quoted J Robert Oppenheimer on ‘I Am Become’?

Yes, the words are slightly rearranged but from a TV interview were Oppenheimer recalls the reactions after watching the Trinity nuclear bomb test. The dangers and dark sides of technological inventions is a theme that I often return to. With every new invention a new catastrophe is invented.

Which songs are your own highlights from ‘Petrichor’?

‘Only One’ has the perfect Bernstrup sound and has the perfect walking tempo when listing in headphones. ‘Petrichor’ delivers a very nice atmosphere and I love that Fairlight CMI flute sound. ‘Loderunner’ has that energetic drive and mood you can find in a great video game.

It’s interesting that as a performance artist, you haven’t produced many videos recently to accompany your own songs, is there any particular reason?

At the moment music videos are not that important to me anymore. But that can change of course.

How do you balance between your art exhibits and your music?

They often go hand in hand. During the work with exhibitions I often stick to a theme that leaks into my music writing process as ideas for song lyrics or visuals.

You have collaborated in the past with SARALUNDEN and TRANS-X while APOPTYGMA BERZERK, COVENANT and ITALOCONNECTION have done remixes, are there any more interesting partnerships happening?

I wrote lyrics and did vocals for a track on the new ITALOCONNECTION LP ‘Midnight Confessions Vol1’.

It’s a song called ‘Rainbow Warrior’ that brings up LGBT rights and environmental activism mentioning historical dates of events – the sinking of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in 1985 and the Stonewall riots in 1969.

In 2017 on ‘Utopia’, you asked “where are you now?”, so what are your hopes and fears for the future?

After the Covid outbreak, we have hopefully learned that nothing should be taken for granted, that “we are so fragile”.


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its sincerest thanks to Tobias Bernstrup

Special thanks to Marc Schaffer at Nadanna Records

‘Petrichor’ is released by Nadanna Records on 20th August 2021 in CD with 7 bonus tracks and 18 track digital editions, limited black or transparent magenta vinyl LP with lyric inner sleeve, A3 poster + numbered postcard available in October

The CD can be pre-ordered from https://www.poponaut.de/tobias-bernstrup-petrichor-limited-edition-p-20549.html

http://www.bernstrup.com/

https://www.facebook.com/TOBIASBERNSTRUPOfficial/

https://twitter.com/tobiasbernstrup

https://www.instagram.com/tobiasbernstrup/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/7qMxLMZgfIeZloY2EjWiPt


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
28th July 2021

STEVEN JONES & LOGAN SKY Interview

With their passion for Mittel Europa, Steven Jones and Logan Sky now have several EPs and four long players of their mannered pop noir to their name, the most recent of which was ‘European Lovers’.

Front man Steven Jones is often inspired by his passion for international travel and the inherent history it uncovers, while Logan Sky was involved in the rebooted VISAGE which delivered the ‘Hearts & Knives’ album in 2013.

The pair were introduced to each other by Steve Strange and the aura of the late Blitz Club figurehead’s neu romance looms strongly in their music. Conjuring up images of mysterious shadows and enigmatic romances, ‘European Lovers’ harks back to a Europe after the rain with an emphasis on monochromatic mood.

Steven Jones spoke to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK, with the occasional technical interjection from Logan Sky about their love for Europe…

How did you become fascinated by the nostalgic Eurocentric romanticism that colours your music?

Steven: As a child growing up in a kind of northern suburbia, I felt that I had a kind of fantasy for Scandinavia and European cities like Stockholm and places like Berlin, in my mind they represented a sort of bohemian artistic freedom and I assumed or kind of believed that everybody who lived in these amazing European cities was far more stylish, sexy, free minded, freewheeling than anybody that lived in the bleak northern suburbia that I grew up in.

So I crystallised a lot of my fantasies around the these locations and I imagined mysterious travel via ships and night trains and occasionally flights. It was a kind of world of romantic potential, freedom, style, glamour… it felt like a place to which I could escape. So I had a kind of dream of Europe and then when I was 16 I went on a German exchange scheme to Düsseldorf and it was a very beautiful experience.

It was the spring, very sunny and I felt in my naivety I had met all these stylish and sexy people that were living in this European life and somehow that experience confirmed that my fantasy was in fact reality. So, I really felt then that the dream of freedom in this kind of dazzling fashionable stylish and sexy Europe was a reachable dream and that you could escape from airstrip one, as I thought of the UK. So, yes, I’m drawn to that kind of chic melancholic vibe.

You were introduced to each other by Steve Strange?

Steven: Yes that’s true. I used to speak to Steve a lot on the phone and many times he would mention this person called Logan Sky and he would insist that I should connect with Logan Sky and have a conversation with Logan Sky, that was a thing for Steve. He was coming from the perspective of doing something which he had always done which was to connect people. The wheel of destiny turns and I did connect with Logan with the idea of doing a cover of ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ with Steve Strange and also another track, ‘Burning Desire’… but neither came to fruition, for various reasons.. but hey, it’s karma.

Finally I think where we really got going was that I had recorded a track called ‘Strange Magic’ with Donna Destri, a sort of moody 80s electronic thing and then I think that caught Logan’s eye and he said he wanted to remix it and away we go. So ‘Strange Magic’ was really the first Steven Jones & Logan Sky release. But yes you are right… Steve Strange… it was his idea all along and I think he’d be very happy about it now, because in his honour, we’ve done a load of stuff.

What were the first songs you wrote together that helped you realise there was definitely a creative chemistry?

Steven: After ‘Strange Magic’, Logan sent me some demos and I think one of them was ‘Desire Lines’ and I did a vocal for it with my lyric and another ‘Falcon of the Dunes’. So then I felt I could easily find a place for myself in in the soundscape of Logan Sky. These were pointing me in the right direction and why wouldn’t we because of course I’ve been recording electronic music for years prior we share a kind of aesthetic both sonically and visually and that would be just a question of you know finally recording something together. So I think you know that was always going to happen and certainly Steve was always going to make that happen, so you know it happened.

How would you describe your dynamic, do you have set roles?

Steven: The dynamic is intriguing and creative. We have a process and usually we will begin on some ideas or demos and there might be a sense of a theme. On ’European Lovers’ we had a conversation about doing some sort of European sounding pop album.

‘The Visitors’ by ABBA also came up in our conversation; I love that album and have always had a kind of yen for recording an album like it because I think it kind of encapsulates how I feel about life. Dark, cold, bleak… with a hook!

There are roles and there is also a space where we move outside the roles and certainly we’ve never said this is your role and this is my role but, y’know, it’s there in the subtext…

You’ve been quite prolific with three albums in four years as well as various EPs and collaborations including with Steve Strange, how do you look back on your work prior to ‘European Lovers’?

Steven: I think I’ve always had the sense that you have to move quite fast. I’m not the kind of person that wants to overcook anything and I’ve always operated from a perspective of being quite urgent in terms of putting stuff into the world because from my perspective the results of your creative process needs to be in the world soon as it can be and that’s the creative expression. I’m really interested in the creative process from the idea to the final recording and then when it lives in the world I don’t pay too much attention to it again… because by then I’m moving forward to the next thing and there’s always the next thing… something else to express.

I’m quite proud of all of our recordings and have the sense that we have created a catalogue of material and I do think that something is expressed through that… a kind of vision of the world and of life that stands in its own space, not a pastiche synthwave space where people recycle old ideas.

Which particular bodies of work stand up for each of you now?

The ‘Corrupt State’ collaboration with Steve Strange was a great sense of completion for me because I felt an affinity with Steve, his predicaments, his aesthetic, his view of the world and also because my family is Welsh and I’m also called Stephen. People used to call me Steve Strange when I was at school, so it was karmic in the echo chamber of my life… kismet.

‘European Lovers’ captures a monochromatic mood, had it been influenced by any particular films or cities or stories?

Steven: I was watching ‘Alphaville’ and that’s a kind of French dystopia and I liked that its futuristic but it’s really retro. But I’m more often influenced by books than films. ‘European Lovers’ arises out of where we’re at now, which is a sort of separation, dislocation… everything feeling off-kilter, unstable, uncertain. But I feel like that anyway so it’s entirely possible that even if we were living in the most stable of times, my mind would come up with something like ‘European Lovers’.

So cities… hmm… it’s a kind of chilly dystopian European city of our dreams, an amalgamation perhaps of Berlin, Paris, Stockholm and Düsseldorf! But you can decode it for yourself…

Musically, who were you inspired by on this album and had there been any new influences compared to your previous releases?

Steven: There’s always the sense of wanting to be fresh or to arrive at a new place but our influences are always going to be in the area of VISAGE or JAPAN or I’d like to be Bryan Ferry. My aspiration would be to mesh together the old influences and then find a spark of something which is vital now and I think that comes from what you’re seeking to express and I think it comes from peeling back the layers to find the thing that isn’t the pose.

Do I think that lyrically I have exposed aspects of myself in the lyrics of this album? Yes I do… unlike earlier albums that were less of me and more of the pose. We are using all of our influences to create a fresh alchemy.

The ‘European Lovers’ title song bookends the album in two distinct versions, had this been intended as part of the concept?

Steven: ‘European Lovers’ opens the album because it is the opening statement and it is an expression of fracturing and separation. It’s asking “what are we doing?” and “where is the meaning?”. The postscript might be the endpoint of that particular night train journey and it might be the starting point for a new exploration… It’s kind of bleak and I think it leaves the listener with a question I think it’s intended to feel uneasing…

‘Sons Of Hallucination’ with its female French voice recalls VISAGE, how did the track come together?

Steven: Logan sent me very atmospheric backing track and I was struck by its cinematic qualities and it felt to me like the theme tune to a grainy black and white European art house movie full of darkness and sex.

‘Fade to Grey’ is a genuine iconic classic and its beauty does lie in that combination of synths and French spoken bits and I always thought it would be great at some point to do something like that.

So it was just happenstance really that I happened to be about to teach yoga and a woman who was coming into my class on regular basis came into the reception where I was standing before teaching and she was speaking in a French accent and I just said right then off the top of my head would you like to record your voice and she said ‘yes’! Lyrically it all came together pretty quickly and with Charlotte Condemine’s vocals on the demo it all just felt right.

‘When The Night Falls’ is infectious electro that is comparatively abstract as well compared to the other material?

Steven: I think Logan’s demo might have been called ‘When The Night Falls In’ and I recorded the spoken lyric to that right off the top of my head just influenced by the mood of the track and I kind of liked it. It’s just a total subconscious moment. It feels a bit psychotic… it’s sinister… it has a kind of seductive element to it.. It seems to imply a seduction but it has a kind of very dark vibe to it.

It can be as abstract as the listener wants it to be. I love that it’s totally improvised there’s something naked about it. It hasn’t been overworked with loads of takes. Perhaps it implies some aspects of my shadow emerging… discuss…

In terms of production and instrumentation, is there much hardware used or is it very much in the box? Do you have any favourite vintage synths that you used on the record?

Logan: My long-term go to vintage synths are the Korg Polysix, Juno 106, Siel Cruise and the Yamaha CS20 which I under estimated for very many years until I discovered its real warmth. Sometimes I used the Polymoog and ARP Odyssey but they’ve been sold.

I also sometimes use the Korg Mono/Poly, the Crumar Trilogy and Yamaha SS30 vintage strings which I believe ULTRAVOX used on most of their classics. When I moved to Hamburg last summer, I only really had space in the car for a Korg MS-20 and R3, plus a newer Behringer Model D and a DeepMind 6 which I’ve used to embellish and fill in most of the gaps on the ‘European Lovers’ album. Of course there’s a couple of soft synths… the FM7 because it’s easier to use than the DX7 and the CS80 for its fantastic sounds.

So who is ‘The Girl On The 8:45’?

Steven: It’s a lyric written by Mr Kevin O’Dowd (Boy George’s brother) so he would know specifically who the girl is. I see this as a sort of description of what happens when you regularly see somebody who is a stranger and you never meet them and you imbue them with a load of qualities which they may or may not have.

So there’s a sort of projection taking place and I think it’s an interesting process so you can see somebody and because you don’t speak to them, you have no real insight into their character who they are and then you project onto them a fantasy personality. And then sometimes that narrative becomes more real than the person themself. The more you see the person but you never get to know them and they begin to inhabit that fantasy space and I think it’s useful to interrogate who the fantasy is… what qualities?

So ‘The Girl On The 8:45’ is the answer to all our questions. She’s the solution to all our problems. She’s the romantic, erotic focus, the Deus Ex-machina, the being that will rescue us from the mundane repetitions of our lives. She’s something like that and she may well be that but of course she might not be.

Photo by Marlie Centawer-Green

Guest musicians Gary Barnacle and Jan Linton feature on the album, when working with such accomplished musicians, do you just let them get on it and improvise or do you give a distinct brief?

Steven: I think that the whole Gary Barnacle thing was really amazing because he’s played on so many 80s and 90s records and so it’s fascinating that every time you hear a kind of amazing saxophone on something it might well be him.

I had this experience of synchronicity when Gary contacted me to say he had played on Sandie Shaw’s version of ’Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?’ (the Lloyd Cole thing) that I had been obsessed with for years and which I had recently posted on social media. I never knew! It’s an honour to have Gary on our tracks and he certainly brings a special magic to those songs. for sure… it’s transcendent. Jan Linton brings a kind of texture and darkness that has really evolved our sound.

No, we don’t give a distinct brief. My view is to let the players play and see what they do. I’m never particularly controlling about how things should be. I’m kind of disconnected from what happens to the music once it’s released and so for me, it’s all about the process and encouraging playfulness and dynamism.

You have covered ‘Café Europe’ by FATAL CHARM, a quite obscure act who opened for ULTRAVOX and OMD in 1980, how did you discover them and have they heard your reinterpretation?

Steven: Logan sent me that. I had never heard of FATAL CHARM although the lyrics to ‘Cafe Europe’ is absolutely right up my street and perfectly on the money now. It was a challenge because the original song and the girl singing has a very high voice and so I did actually start by singing it and I could sing it. But in my exploration of my own voice and my struggle to not sound like a choir boy or singing curate, I thought it would be better to do it as a spoken thing and I think that was the right decision. Lyrically and atmospherically, it encapsulates what we feel now in our European fantasy which darkens by the day.

Which are your own favourite tracks and remixes on the ‘European Lovers’ package?

Steven: Well, I love the title track and we could argue that ‘Lovers & Losers’ is the best song that we’ve written and recorded. I think it’s almost perfect actually. ‘Like A Ghost’ has a very personal resonance for me and that is maybe one of my most exposed lyrics. It describes direct experience and feels like it is an authentic expression lyrically and so I’m quite proud of that.

I’m really satisfied with the whole album. I think it crystallises all of the things that we have been endeavouring to achieve in our music and aesthetic in terms of its mood, and I also get the feeling that other people think that too. I experience it as one complete artistic statement. God forbid I should sound pretentious!

There’s a distinct visual aesthetic to ‘European Lovers’, how important is the presentation in terms of artwork and videos to you?

Steven: When I’m listening to music and buying records, I’ve always loved the art and I’ve always loved the visual interpretation of the sound. I’m really old school with the idea of a liking and wanting an album and the art reflecting the theme. So we do discuss it seriously.

Logan spends lots of time editing videos, which I see as more of an ephemeral thing although they live online forever. Whereas the album art is essential.

Also, it can be puzzling to be confronted with your own image a lot, so now I tend to disconnect and avoid that to an extent. So the ‘European Lovers’ artwork has a symbolic message and that’s up to you to decode.

It’s been 40 years since The Blitz Club closed, what did think of the Sky Arts ‘Blitzed’ documentary and the spate of programmes particularly on Channel5 that have been celebrating the era? Do you ever wish as Bryan Ferry suggested that you were in ‘Another Time, Another Place’?

Steven: Let’s see… I’d like to be Bryan Ferry… I’m channelling Bryan Ferry… *laughs*

Do I wish I was at the Blitz? No… I think nostalgia is dangerous and there something artificial in it. I think that we are always where we are and I don’t ever wish that I was in the past. If I feel good about what we’ve done, Logan and I creatively, and if I see that as a body of work. Then a body of work is of the now and could only have happened because of all of the forces that have constellated around it.

I don’t want to be kind of a person that is performing something that happened 40 years ago and while I do think it’s culturally resonant and really fascinating and it has left us with tremendous music, great songs and fantastic cultural memories, I’m here now baby and I won’t be preserved in aspic!

With everything going on, what are your hopes and fears for the future?

Steven: That’s quite a question. Hope that we can get out of this and I hope that the getting out of it to a good place and to something which is recognisably the ‘old normal’ you know. I’m really hoping that my fears won’t happen, of being stuck in sort of some kind of twilight zone for years to come, endlessly circulating these issues of virus restriction control.

This landscape to me is profoundly unhealthy pathologically, so my fear would be that we get culturally stuck. We all need to collectively work out a way of not getting stuck and stop buying into flagrant propaganda and to perhaps see that there are forces in operation which would probably not acting in our interests.

Some of my fatalism can be felt in our album. I think we should be stoical, autonomous beings, sovereign of our own minds. We could conceivably argue that going through a thing like this is a karmic gift because it’s had a huge impact on everybody and we have been fortunate to have ringside seats in something so crazy! We’ve got the ringside seats, let’s make the most of them!


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to Steven Jones and Logan Sky

‘European Lovers’ is released by Etrangers Musique, available as a CD and download direct from https://etrangersmusique.bandcamp.com/album/european-lovers

https://www.etrangersmusique.com

https://www.facebook.com/etrangersmusique/

https://www.instagram.com/etrangersmusique/

http://www.logansky.co.uk/

https://twitter.com/LoganSky

https://www.instagram.com/logan.sky/


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
2nd July 2021

KID KASIO: Interview From The Tollyoliver

‘Songs From The Tollyoliver’ is the recently issued third album from KID KASIO.

It comes after a period of uncertainty for mainman Nathan Cooper, once of THE MODERN. This experience has resulted in some of his most introspective work yet as KID KASIO but it hasn’t all been doom and gloom.

He married his long time sweetheart and despite the possibility of the impressive Fiction Studios complex he co-founded with his brother Dominic closing at one point, he has remained resilient and maintains his enthusiastic pop heart.

Nathan Cooper spoke to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about the long gestation period for ‘Songs From The Tollyoliver’ as well as what the future holds for KID KASIO and Fiction Studios…

From its title to its artwork, ‘Songs From The Tollyoliver’ indicates your third album is a mature work, so is this like your Howard Jones ‘One To One’?

I’m not sure it’s purposefully more mature, I certainly didn’t set out to do that. Like my other albums, the gestation period has been ridiculously drawn out. Most of the writing was done between 2016 and 2018, and I originally intended to release it in 2019 but then a load of stuff happened and so then I decided I’d release it in 2020, and we all know what happened then!

I had around 20 songs to choose between, and it seems the more introspective tracks stood the test of time better, while some of the poppier stuff fell by the wayside. There are a couple of more lightweight pop numbers on there still, but the moodier stuff has outnumbered the rest. I think we’ve all been living in fairly dark times over the past year or so, and maybe people gravitate towards that stuff, and can relate to darker music more at the moment. Around 5 of the songs were originally written for a film which was quite dark in its content, so I think that may have skewed the album in that direction too.

You’ve got the luxury of running your fully equipped Fiction Studios in London and being able to record during its downtown, but what’s the reality versus fantasy?

It’s nice you call it a luxury! The reality is, that while I now have my dream job, it’s definitely taken its toll on the time I have to do my own stuff. In fact I’d go so far as to say, had a worldwide pandemic not happened, I may never have found the time to finish this album at all!

The great thing about running Fiction Studios is it gives me the opportunity to work with some fantastic new up-and-coming artists, as well as getting the chance to meet some of my idols! Dave Ball from SOFT CELL was in last year, as was Gary Kemp of SPANDAU BALLET.

Working alongside such a variety of artists and producing such a wide range of genres has really opened my horizons, and I think that comes through a bit more on this album. My heart will always be with synthpop though of course! It’s a continuous mystery to me that I don’t get more synthpop and electronic artists to use the space, what with our incredible collection of analogue synths.

Of course, you’ve had the trauma and anxiety of having to uproot Fiction Studios to a new location and then the Covid crisis hitting?

We were told in October 2019 that the landlords wanted to kick us out of our original studio to make room for a gym (I’m sure that’s gone really well for them!) and I honestly thought about giving up. The task just seemed so daunting. The removal and re-building of the entire live area of the space, including a staircase and 6000 books, not to mention the costs involved with soundproofing a new venue and the hassle of rewiring and fitting out a state of the art recording studio. It just seemed like an insurmountable proposition. Thank god we eventually found an amazing new location in what I have to say is one of the most incredible streets in London. We moved in on 1st March 2020 and then about 3 days later a certain virus took hold!!

The one upside was that during the first lockdown, I had time to get the space soundproofed and built exactly how I wanted it, but nothing could have prepared me for the shock that came when we finally opened the doors in June… and no one came!! It was very tough indeed.

Luckily as the year went on things picked up and the kind of work began to change. We’ve had a massive upsurge in bands that haven’t been able to gig for a whole year, coming in and doing filmed live sessions so that’s been really fun. I even managed to get round to doing my own KID KASIO session the other week which was a great chance to showcase some of the new material.

The opening song ‘East Of Eden’ seems to capture a more introspective mood and it seems something was bothering you?

On first listen, the song appears to be written from the perspective of someone in a relationship that’s not working. The protagonist is being hounded by an ex who is showing up at his gigs and causing problems. I think however that it can also be taken less literally. The line “Your name’s not down for a reason, your name’s not down on the door” could be applied to mean a situation where someone is having to push someone away. A friend was in a destructive relationship at the time and the lyrics reflect that kind of situation where someone needs to cut ties with someone because the relationship has become toxic.

I’m happy to report it wasn’t specifically about me! Certainly not at the time I wrote it anyway! I don’t know where the line “you sold my heart East Of Eden” came from, but as soon as it popped into my head, it seemed apparent it was the most important line in the song. In many ways it dictated a direction for much of the rest of the album. I was listening to the ‘Songs from the Big Chair’ album by TEARS FOR FEARS a bit and wanted to recreate that grand expansive sound.

There is more uptempo pop in ‘The Everlasting Flame’ but the approach here is different from your earlier uptempo material, yes there’s the exotic electronically derived colours but there is live bass, sax, piano and more prominent guitar?

I have actually used live bass before. I’ve always loved the mix of live bass and synth bass. Nothing works better than some DX7 bass doubled up with the low end of the Roland SH101 and then some live bass slaps and tops thrown in for excitement. Piano definitely isn’t my normal go to sound for keyboards but I’d been listening to the Nile Rogers produced ‘Why’ by Carly Simon when I was writing that, and there’s some incredible use of piano in that song.

The sax line was originally performed on the DX7 Sitar patch (The same as used on Moroder and Limahl’s ‘Never Ending Story’) but weirdly when I began to mix it, it kind of sounded a bit like a sax line! So I stuck a sax over the top of it, playing the same part and it seemed to work better.

There’s a great guitar solo in the song performed by my friend Benjamin Todd. The inspiration for that actually came from the guitar solo in ‘Together In Electric Dreams’! Which I think may even be a synth guitar?? I’m not entirely sure. But I do love a good guitar solo!

Talking of sax, you have always loved an interpolation and on ‘Vagabonds Theme’, you’ve borrowed a section from DIRE STRAITS ‘Your Latest Trick’ off the ‘Brothers In Arms’ album and sing of “the sound of the saxophone”

I’ve always loved ‘Your Latest Trick’. It’s just such a great sax riff. There was an emergence of a new genre during 2017-18 called Tropical House, which used lots of great plucky synth sounds and was essentially music made for lying on a beach and sipping a cocktail! I wanted to do something in that style and I just thought that sax line would work so well.

Someone has since said to me the song sounds like the musical equivalent of an Edward Hopper painting, which I really like! It started as something that was supposed to be a summery Balearic type thing and ended up being the story of an alcoholic down and out!

My favourite line is “The band in the corner is counting in as a figure steps up to the stage”, which has strains of another Knopfler classic ‘The Sultans Of Swing’. Except in my song there’s definitely some dry ice on the stage that the saxophonist appears through, which I’m sure didn’t happen on that rainy night in 1978 when Knopfler walked into the White Swan in Deptford and heard “a band playing Dixie double four time“.

The weird thing about this song was that a few months after I wrote it, I was tidying up in the studio, and a book fell off the shelf and landed in front of me, and it was called ‘The Vagabonds Story’!! I swore I had never ever seen this book before! I must’ve somehow taken the title in on a subconscious level… Who knows!

With all those synths at Fiction Studios, were you not tempted to go even more electronic like OMD did on ‘The Punishment Of Luxury’. Which ones did you end up using in the end?

It is always my intention to write a completely electronic album but I get bored easily! I feel like I covered that ground during my time in THE MODERN. I’m actually much more interested now in replicating the period in music in the mid-to-late 80s and early 90s where music was being made entirely on synthesisers but didn’t specifically sound like it was. You had synthesizers like the DX7 and the Roland D-50 making what at the time people thought were great representations of real instruments but in retrospect sound nothing like the instruments they were trying to recreate. They’re certainly of the time and sound great now.

I have a Prophet 5 (rev. 2 for the purist geeks!), a Juno 60, Roland SH101, Crumar Performer, Prophet T8, Oberheim OBXa, Korg DS8 and Yamaha DX7 all are used extensively all over the album, and a Roland Boutique D-05 for those D50 sounds. I think the SH101 is there doing the bass in practically every song. Same for strings and the Crumar Performer. The SH101 is on loan from the very kind Chris Smith from MANHATTAN CLIQUE and the T8 and Oberheim from the lovely Ian Merrylees.

There’s a simple but effective synth solo on ‘Tell Me Why’?

It’s a sound on the Korg DS8 which is not a synth I use an awful lot. I recognised the sound from a James Ingram/Michael McDonald track, ‘Yah Mo Be There’ perhaps? The song was co-written with an artist called JUNO CRISIS who I co-wrote 3 songs on the album with. Like many collabs these days we’ve never actually met! He lives in France and contacted me with some MIDI files. I really understood his reference points and when I listened to his arrangements, I really got a spark of inspiration for songs.

Anyone who knows your previous work might be surprised by the ballad ‘Moved On’, it’s almost Moby-like and there are even some esoteric shades of Brian Eno?

Like a couple of songs on the album, this song started life as a pitch for a film that my brother was in called ‘Miss You Already’. The pitch was that we came up with something that sounded a bit like Moby. It’s kind of about growing up and moving on and losing touch with people.

It was absolutely not going to be on the album until the very last minute, I’d compiled about 20 songs and was asking a few friends what ones they thought should go on the album and my good friend William Robertson who plays keys for me suggested that one. I was gobsmacked at first, because no one had ever paid that song any attention. But weirdly, it seems this is the song that everyone hearing the album is mentioning. I feel like burying it at the end of side one was maybe not the best idea!

It definitely uses a few musical ideas I wouldn’t normally entertain. A very 90s almost breakbeat drum pattern that reminds me of both Moby and Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Streets of Philadelphia’. It also utilises a much heavier sampled type orchestral string pad sound than the thinner disco type string pads I normally use. The song’s greatest asset is the fluid fretless bass line by Glenn Bridges. That makes the song for me, and the baritone guitar part by Benjamin Todd.

‘Always’ is one of the more dancey numbers, a bit like SAINT ETIENNE ‘He’s On The Phone’?

I’m a huge fan of ‘He’s On The Phone’. It’s just a perfect record. I was massively into Euro dance in the mid-90s and living in the UK and particularly London, I felt really outcast from that scene. I felt like SAINT ETIENNE somehow created a really British take on that sound with that particular record. This song again definitely has a 90s feel. I wrote it for my wife and performed it for her for the first time on our wedding day so it means a lot to me that one.

‘Holla Holla’ is an interesting hybrid of styles but is still very you?

I’m glad you said that because I was nervous about putting this on the album. I was worried people would just say “what the f*ck is this?!” I mean it even has a rap on it! But I’m glad it still sounds like me. The lyrics are absolute gibberish. I was trying to capture the essence of a record called ‘Turn Me On’ by Kevin Lyttle which is an interesting record because it sits firmly in the genre of dancehall, but is covered in these completely insane little synth riffs played on what sound like really cheap home Casio keyboards. Yet it was a huge European hit.

I used a fairly crappy synth I’ve got called the Korg Poly 800 for these really cheap synth sounds. It was written when a friend Liam Hansell sent me a carnival drum pattern. It’s a drum part which I would never ever have programmed myself which is great because that will always send me off in a direction I never normally go in. And that is where the best songs usually come from.

What is the solemn closing number ‘Gunshot’ referring to?

A few years ago I suffered a night terrors panic attack type thing. It felt like I had someone pressing down on my chest. It was pretty horrific. I think some of the lyrics deal with that incident. I tried to go much more down a Le Bon type route with the lyrics of that one, where they are much more obscure and symbolic. I can sometimes tune in to that side of my psyche quite easily and other times when I try and do it, I end up with some embarrassing 6th form poetry garbage. I don’t know what the line about being in someone’s room is about. It’s actually quite sinister.

Which are your own favourite numbers on ‘Songs From The Tollyoliver’?

It’s virtually impossible for me to choose at this stage, having been so immersed in it for so long. I like the key changes in ‘Everlasting Flame’. ‘Seventeen’ I think is an important song to me, it’s kind of about growing up and being in a band as a teenager. ‘Sanctuary’ is probably the one I’m most proud of lyrically, and as a song it just sits together well and was written really easily.

How have the past 18 months changed your perspective on music and life in general?

I’ve been lucky in that I never stopped throughout the whole thing. I was driving into town throughout the first lockdown every day, building the studio and I’ve kept busy ever since. I think if I’d had to sit at home throughout the whole thing I would’ve gone completely insane!

I hope if it’s taught us anything, it’s that we can find a more workable solution to the daily rat race 9-to-5 thing, as people work from home and stuff. I think it’s also shown us that the UK government doesn’t seem to have much time for the music industry and the arts, who have really been the losers in all of this.


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to KID KASIO

‘Songs From The Tollyoliver’ is available as a CD or download from the usual digital outlets including https://kidkasio.bandcamp.com/album/songs-from-the-tollyoliver

http://www.kidkasio.com/

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

https://twitter.com/KidKasio

https://www.instagram.com/kidkasio/

http://www.fictionstudioslondon.com/

https://open.spotify.com/album/7c7ut1cH8SFW6YE0jxoJIX


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
28th June 2021, 9th July 2021

KNIGHT$ Boom Bang Boom!

KNIGHT$ is back with a new Britalo anthem and it comes with a ‘Boom Bang Boom!’

Written in lockdown and with his plans for live work put on hold, by his own admission, ‘Boom Bang Boom!’ was a song he could hold back any longer. With thunderous electronic drums, brassy synth, and a big chorus, it’s a number that does as the title suggests as a much needed blast of optimism.

As an extra treat to the lemon-coloured release bundle, prolific German producer Mirko Hirsch extends the title cut, while Italo disco legend Alexander Robotnick presents his treatment of the KNIGHT$ live favourite ‘Alligator’.

The video for ‘Boom Bang Boom!’ is a fun take on ‘Avenue Q’, the hilarious ‘Sesame Street’ inspired comedy show which featured the song ‘The Internet Is For Porn’ and sees our hero handling his shaded puppet alter-ego Little Jimmy.

James Knights chatted to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about keeping himself artistically motivated in these difficult times for all…

How did ‘Boom Bang Boom!’ come about? How challenging has it been creatively this past year?

I finished the track last summer, and it just came through on a day when I was more focused than usual with a clear idea of what I wanted to hear. I didn’t know a lot about it actually, just divine intervention smacking me round the chops!

How did you choose the release bundle’s remixes?

I’ve been an admirer of Mirko Hirsch’s stuff since I first heard his music on Will Reid’s ‘Club 80s’ show. I love his attention to detail and how his mixes ooze the best kind of romantic nostalgia. I wanted to try something with him for a long time, but we were always too busy with other projects! It’s great to finally be able to collaborate.

I worked with Also Playable Mono and Ant People on my ‘Dollars & Cents’ remix album last year, so it’s great to be back with them too. They both have a slightly more modern feel but bring something equally as dancefloor worthy to the mix.

And finally I was able to add Alexander Robotnick. I was DJing his songs about 15 years ago at parties in my hometown and he always brought the house down! It’s funny, but this remix of ‘Alligator’ narrowly missed being on my remix album, in fact, it’s 2 years old, but it was well worth the wait to press it to vinyl and complete the package. It’s such a great Italo house mix, exactly what I’d hoped for.

You’ve always had a good connection with your fan base and completed the video of ‘Boom Bang Boom!’ with one of them, are you happy with the result?

Absolutely! I had this initial idea which involved a lot of cutting, sticking and gluing to get it off the ground. Now I have a black belt in arts and crafts! You’ll see when we release it, but the concept is unique. With the help of a friend I managed to hand over my edit, and he added the necessary finishing touches. Just wait til you meet Little Jimmy…

You did some online streamed gigs, what were the challenges of the various platforms available to do this, the pros and cons? Will you do it again?

We did Easter and Christmas shows online last year – the first one went out via Facebook, and the second was more of a request show where we sent the videos to the fans. I liked the latter of the two as it was more personal and exclusive, but yeah… this is the longest break from live shows I’ve ever had. I miss seeing everybody!

What are you plans and hopes for the future, if you are able to make any? Have your priorities altered at all?

I’m busy putting together a new EP for release later in the year, which will hopefully be released alongside playing some live shows! Since the ‘Dollars & Cents’ album came out I’ve been invited to sing on several new productions with up and coming artists. I’ve loved doing that, and having the freedom of singing on another person’s track has been an eye opener. There will also be a new BOYTRONIC record in 2022. We’re working on that slowly because we can’t get together so easily with Holger in Berlin, but what we have so far sounds promising! No matter what’s happening, my plans are always to keep making music.


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

‘Boom Bang Boom!’ is released by Specchio Uomo as a yellow 12 inch vinyl EP and download, available from https://knights101.bandcamp.com/album/boom-bang-boom-12-sampler

http://knights101.com/

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

https://twitter.com/JPSKNIGHTS

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

http://knightstore.bigcartel.com


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
26th June 2021

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