Category: Introducing (Page 1 of 25)

Introducing HANNA RUA

From Östersund in Sweden comes Hanna Rua, a dreamy new electronic pop artist based in Brighton who has just signed to Aztec Records whose past and present artists include BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT, NINA and BUNNY X.

With her bright and breezy vocal style, her uplifting debut single ‘Don’t Cut Your Angels’ came out at the end of 2021. Supreme synthetic Scandipop with a driving neo-Motorik beat, the Swedes do seem to be better at this kind of stuff than everyone else; ‘Don’t Cut Your Angels’ is a delicious YOLO anthem that sparkles with optimism like a danceable take on the love theme of ‘St Elmo’s Fire’ with its ringing overtones.

Asking “what happened to your lust for life?”, it reconnects to a child-like innocence when anything could be possible in life. What ‘Don’t Cut Your Angels’ certainly does not lack is a infectious drive. At various points, the electronic bassline even feels like it is about to morph into THE SEX PISTOLS but then again, that is as not as daft as it sounds as they borrowed ABBA’s ‘SOS’ for ‘Pretty Vacant’. And with our young heroine having covered their recent single ‘Don’t Shut Me Down’ and final UK No1 ‘Super Trouper’ on her YouTube channel, the circle is complete.

Hanna Rua’s collaborative partner is producer Sam Martin who served his studio and songwriting apprenticeship with XENOMANIA who worked with PET SHOP BOYS and GIRLS ALOUD. The lady herself said of her co-creation: “I want the song to feel like a sparkling ball of light that is growing and growing, and might eventually explode into a glow that could light up the darkest of corners. But to simplify it – I want it to just be a frickin’ nice tune for you to enjoy”.

Continuing the good work at a more cruising syncopated pace, her new single is ‘Tears On Your Pillow’, a song about unfulfilled dreams and disappointments. With the slight air of Aussie songstress Tina Arena is her collaboration with CLIENT LIAISON, this is the type of melodic synthpopwave that fellow Swedes Max Martin and Oscar Holter have been recently giving THE WEEKND a helping hand with and despite the tone of resignation, it rouses with a message to “get up again”.

Catchy, joyous and hitting all manner of scales, Hanna Rua is a potential new star in the making. Her bright demeanour and morning sun are much needed right now to overcome life’s various curveballs.

‘Don’t Cut Your Angels’ and ‘Tears On Your Pillow’ are released by Aztec Records, available as digital singles from

Text by Chi Ming Lai
5th March 2022


Valentina Moretti is an up-and-coming singer, songwriter and producer with a love of vintage synthesizers.

Using a wispy feminine vocal style, her synth laced dance tunes have utilised classics such as the Roland TR808, Roland TR707, Roland TB303, E-mu SP12, Roland Juno 106, Roland Juno60, Roland HS-60, Ensoniq SQ80, Oberheim OB8 and Korg MS20, as well as more recent technologies like the Korg Minilogue, Nord Lead 1 and the latest in the Roland TR series. A former pupil of Mauricio Rojas AKA DJ Klang from her time studying at the G Martell College of Music in Mexico City, her self-titled album collected most of her material since 2018.

Valentina Moretti’s full length debut is impressive with an astute understanding of electronic dance pop that hits that difficult middle ground of appealing to roly-poly synth heads and glowstick waving clubbers. Meaning “heaven” in Spanish, ‘Cielo’ is superb and enthralling, with its bleeps, pulses and squelches all having a melodic presence while providing euphoria for the dancefloor.

Making the most of a punchy uptempo synthwave template, the coy ‘Neon Lover’ imagines a club-friendly MARSHEAUX while the more strident chill of ‘Killed Love’ adopts the afflicted delivery of their Greek neighbour Sarah P.

Despite its lyrical limitations, ’Roller Derby Girls’ is charming nu disco although the wispy ‘Galactic Feelings’ is darker and spacier. The chunky backbone of ‘Disco Sex’ recalls Miss Kittin but with a Latin American vibe but ‘Stranger Kiss’ moves out of the discothèque into something artier and breathier with deep rumbling swirls thrown in for good measure. However with the engaging instrumental ‘Acid Galaxies’, it’s back to nu disco with subtle accents on the drum machine to achieve dynamic effect.

Valentina Moretti had the accolade of her music being sent to the moon courtesy of the SETI Institute working in association NASA and has been developing the use of Artificial Intelligence in music creation, as well as acting as an ambassador for Novation, Arturia, Native instruments and Ableton.

The music of Valentina Moretti is immediate, colourful and groovy, with uplifting moods to counterpoint the retro-futuristic melancholy. Her precocious talent is obvious and shines brightly amongst the newer generation of electronic pop artists.

‘Valentina Moretti’ is available as a pink vinyl LP and download from

Text by Chi Ming Lai with thanks to Mark Reeder
29th January 2022

Introducing O+HER

A pact which links two subjects together in one action, one body, one vision, O+HER is the new Swedish darkwave duo comprising of Tobias Bernstrup and Erica Li Lundqvist.

Tobias Bernstrup is best known for his brand of Italo Noir as exemplified by his most recent album ‘Petrichor’ while Erica Li Lundqvist is a member of enigmatic trio ABU NEIN whose single from last year ‘Black Light’ featured the talents of fellow Swede Henric de la Cour.

O+HER is much less Italo Noir, encaspulating a much more brooding and gothic presence.

Having shared a number of stages, “It started with humble request to collaborate” the pair said, “Rather than just using our typical sound, we decided to try create some completely new. A creative process with both our voices that led to several tracks instead of just one. O+HER (pronounced ‘other’) was born as a shared vision of a dark cinematic sound landscape, beat and sequencer driven songs with inspiration from the late 80s dark wave set in a contemporary context”.

The first single is ‘Brave Bodies Burn’ which presents a tense baritone versus contralto dialectic over a foreboding electronic backdrop; “It a masterpiece!” O+HER confirmed and it comes with a striking music video filmed by photographer and visual artists Bengt Rahm. “The video is a homage to the opening scene of the 80s cult movie ‘The Hunger’ that features Bauhaus, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon among others. Apart from our own performance, we casted some profiles from the Stockholm post-punk / darkwave club scene. It’s dark, it’s sexy and it tells a story – but it’s up to the beholder to analyse its content”

Describing their creative dynamic, they said “Being alone in your creative process or being a bunch of people in a band is quite different from being a duo. We complement each other in the best of ways and the process from thought to product is much faster. We share the same goal but we have different qualities to take us there. O+HER is truly a power duo.”

O+HER have confirmed they will release a series of singles during 2022 to be followed up by a full-length album on vinyl. But in the meantime, ‘Brave Bodies Burn’ is backed with a cover of ‘Virus Meadow’, a 1985 song by cult English post-punk band AND ALSO THE TREES whose first single ‘Shantell’ and self-titled debut album was produced by Lol Tolhurst, then of THE CURE.

O+HER have spoken.

‘Brave Bodies Burn’ is released by Tonight Records and available on the usual online platforms including

Text by Chi Ming Lai
14th January 2022

Introducing PEAKES

Almost an enforced product of lockdown, Leeds based trio PEAKES recently issued their debut album ‘Peripheral Figures’.

Formed in in 2017, vocalist Molly Puckering, synth-player Maxwell Shirley and drummer Pete Redshaw had been steadily building their musical reputation with a number of standalone singles and a 2020 EP ‘Pre Invented World’. The self-produced album takes more of a direct back-to-basics approach with songs that grow within the psyche.

Moving in separate ways, the best of the bunch on ‘Peripheral Figures’ is ‘An Infinite Divide’; an infectious slice of synth laden pop that puts its emphasis on seductive vocal melodies and catchy electronic hooks, it features an impressive driving build for a dramatic transcendental uplift.

Taking in more distorted keyboard tones, ‘Day & Age’ follows a not dissimilar path to ‘An Infinite Divide’ and takes care not to overdrive the drums, a fault that could be pointed at many of PEAKES contemporaries in those acts attempts to sound hip and contemporary.

With a fine turn of vocal and crystalline backing, ‘Lately’ is Motorik guitar styled NEW ORDER but constructed primarily with synths while ‘Clouds’ possesses a quasi-hymn-like presence and significantly gets its point across without the use of drums. More rhythmically swung and layered in six string, ‘Control’ recalls the gazing abstract moods of COCTEAU TWINS although the blippy nature of ‘Nameless Machines’ recalls the more recent overtures of LONELADY. But with occasional militaristic percussive passages, ‘Fascination’ takes on a distinctly progressive approach, as does the epic album closer ‘Circular State’.

While Molly Puckering naturally looks towards the likes of GOLDFRAPP, PORTISHEAD and MOLOKO as inspirations in her vocal delivery, the most immediate reference in her vulnerable contralto comes from the much missed CHEW LIPS. ‘Peripheral Figures’ is an impressive debut album with a promise of greater things to come.

PEAKES help their cause by avoiding pretentions towards clichéd alternative rock or R ‘n’ B. Appearing at this stage to be unafraid of being a band that uses synths in a period when many a hipster still sees guitars as the only badge of acceptance for making music, it will be very interesting to see how the trio artistically progress as they gain further acclaim with their more electronic direction.

‘Peripheral Figures’ is released by Practice Music as a nectarine vinyl LP and download, available direct from

Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photo by Nick Porter
14th December 2021

Introducing HATTIE COOKE

In these days of 40-something males in midlife crisis mode accumulating modulars and Moog Ones like some kind of penis extension, Hattie Cooke’s attitude is wonderfully fresh and fiercely independent.

Hattie Cooke is proudly working class and the “Brighton Synth Queen” is of the view that electronic music should not be an artform restricted by background. And with that, she writes, records and produces her music at home using just GarageBand.

Hattie Cooke’s eponymous 2016 cassette debut captured a traditional singer-songwriter with a Fender Telecaster who was partial to the occasional bit of synth assistance as on ‘Song 14’ and ‘Shut Your Mouth’. The 2019 instrumental follow-up ‘The Sleepers’ was an imaginary film soundtrack with the dystopian John Carpenter-inspired tension of ‘Evacuation’ being a particular highlight.

With echoes of folkie Laura Marling’s artier electronic duo LUMP with Mike Lindsay, Hattie Cooke’s recently issued third album ‘Bliss Land’ combines the approaches of its two predecessors and is more intentionally pop than she has ever been before.

The nostalgic ‘Youth’ captivates via an introspective but accessible vibe reflecting on the excitement and urgency of those formative years; it’s a remembrance that many may have felt in these pandemic times with their understandable anxiousness about the future.

An intimate gravitas comes with the expanded electronic texturing on ‘Bliss Land’ and this is undoubtedly stamped on its opening pair of songs. The hypnotic ‘I Get By’ is superb with ringing hooks, sweeping soundscapes and airy understated vocals that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Italians Do It Better ‘After Dark’ compilation. Continuing that oblique aural connection, the darker “echo chambers” of ‘Mistaken’ are reminiscent of IDIB family member Tess Roby via her more danceable side project DAWN TO DAWN.

Droning with an impending doom, ‘Invisible Lines’ exposes Hattie Cooke’s forlorn vulnerability while the delightful instrumental ‘Fantasies’ expands on the cinematic moods of ‘The Sleepers’ to reveal the origins of ‘Bliss Land’ as music for a label specialising in film soundtracks. However, guitars have not completely disappeared with ‘Cars’, not a cover of the Gary Numan No1 but Cooke’s own take on indie synth with elements of THE CURE creeping in.

Born out of hushed anticipation and anxiety, ‘Bliss Land’ is a largely beautiful set of personal songs that capture the confined surroundings of its creation with hope and trepidation, embracing the fear embroiled in a now-changed world…

‘Bliss Land’ is released by Castles In Space and available as a CD, red vinyl LP and digital download direct from

Hattie Cooke will be opening for Alice Hubble at London Hackney Folklore on Thursday 7th October 2021

Hattie Cooke’s Patreon is at

Text by Chi Ming Lai with thanks to Adam Cresswell
Photo by Chris Standley
25th September 2021

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