Tag: Bunny X (Page 1 of 2)


Photo by Jori Hulkkonen

Just as it looked like it would be safe to come out to play, there was uncertainty within the music industry again.

What had become the artists’ favourite platform thanks to its low commission and 0% Fridays, Bandcamp was taken over by Epic Games in 2022 but then following a move by employees to unionise, was sold to Songtradr who immediately dismissed half of its staff… in hindsight, despite its proclamation that this platform cared about the music, it looked like this had been yet another start-up by tech venture capitalists. Just as many acts dropped their own websites in favour of Facebook over a decade ago but were then trapped into sponsored posts to reach the majority of their own fanbase, online shops had been dropped for Bandcamp. So, things are back to square one as many consider a rebuild of their web presence.

Meanwhile, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino made a controversial declaration that concert ticket prices were generally too low and that artists could easily “charge a bit more”. While THE CURE notably refused to do this and capped their face value tickets at $20 for their US tour, the Live Nation sister outlet Ticketmaster applied excessive booking extras of more than $20 per ticket for a “service fee”, “facility charge” and “order processing”! With dynamic pricing in place at a number of high profile events and so-called VIP tickets on the rise (which didn’t actually include a meet ‘n’ greet but only a nearby bar and a lanyard), fans had their “FOMO” anxieties triggered and simply paid up!

Photo by Chi Ming Lai

Another artist who kept ticket prices low was Midge Ure who embarked on the successful ‘Voices & Visions’ tour after a year’s delay due to uncertainties over the Covid situation in 2022. Complimented by a straightforward but very effective light show and material from his second and third long players with ULTRAVOX ‘Rage In Eden’ and ‘Quartet’, it was a triumph. He was rewarded with a 70th birthday show celebrating his career at The Royal Albert Hall, which despite its plush surroundings was also kept affordable.

Who says an artist has no control over retail pricing? But one band who were shamelessly happy to charge more for concert tickets, more for merchandise and more for physical releases were DEPECHE MODE. For their first album and tour since the passing of co-founder Andy Fletcher in 2022, the remaining members played the death card with ‘Momento Bori’ and managed to plonk an even more underwhelming arena show into the stadiums of the world… at least the ‘Global Spirit’ tour featured risers!

With renowned UK venues such as Printworks and Moles closing down, as had already been highlighted by Juls Garat of US goth band PILGRIMS OF YEARNING via social media in 2022: “If you’re spending a kidney on DEPECHE MODE tickets and not attending a local show this weekend, I don’t wanna see you complaining that there’s no scene, local venues or new music anymore”. However, one seemingly oblivious Devotee said about the inflated ticket prices: “Really don’t know what the issue is. Happily paid £108.00 for a DM ticket. Would have paid more!!”. And therein lays the problem… DEPECHE MODE played a date at Stadion Wankdorf in Bern and that said it all! As the man who Devotees call a genius once wrote: “Some great reward will be coming my way…”

Photo by Chi Ming Lai

As The Devotees wallowed in their collective misery during 2023, the Stockholm Syndrome was stronger than ever. On the Bratislava leg at the National Football Stadium, one of The Black Swarm commented to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK: “I was there… I must admit, a bit disappointed… but I still love them!!!”. It was business as usual for DEPECHE MODE, with “business” being the operative word. It was reported that so much money had been sucked out of the European alternative music market in particular that a number of acts had to schedule their planned tours to 2024, while others who had made good albums worthy of attention in 2023 got lost in the sea of DM propaganda on the web.

Despite increased ticket prices at all levels, gig etiquette declined to the worst possible standards with the constant chatter and bad manners among some attendees. Surely if you have paid upwards of £30 or more for a show, you might want to pay more attention and enjoy it? ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK has never seen it this bad in the 43 years it has been going to concerts, but this entitled arrogance to talk extremely loudly about total bollocks is a undoubted legacy of Brexit and Covid which in combination has normalised a lack of social graces in gathered environments… and when challenged, these total numbskulls become aggressive, pitifully unaware that they are ruining the evening of those around them.

Meanwhile, there was another undesirable element who only go to gigs to post selfies and badly distorted footage on their socials… these were often the sort of people who actually hated the band back in the day, but after 40+ years realised they like the song on the Vitality or Waitrose advert so are sudddenly giving it the big “I AM” about being a fan… but BECAUSE they are only there for one song, they then treat the rest of the gig like they were out with their mates in the pub! 🤬

Photo by Chi Ming Lai

The best live shows of the year came from PET SHOP BOYS and DURAN DURAN with their arena extravaganzas full of hits, classic fan favourites and great staging. Among the album celebrations, CHINA CRISIS ran through their second long player ‘Working With Fire & Steel – Possible Pop Songs Volume 2’ on tour to celebrate its 40th anniversary and founder bassist Peter Hook took the first NEW ORDER compilation ‘Substance’ out on the road to coincide with its expanded 4CD reissue.

“Sweden’s best kept pop secret” KITE impressed with an imitate headliner for their debut London gig and later at Cologne’s Amphi Festival to a much larger crowd, while the return of Ollie Wride to the London stage at The Scala illustrated why he has potential to be the next synthwave artist to crossover into the mainstream.

Photo by Ed Miles

‘Time’s Arrow’, LADYTRON’s second album since their return from hiatus proved to be something of a disappointment while fairing slightly better with its anti-Brexit sentiments, ‘Bauhaus Staircase’ was touted as the final album from OMD; now kissing the strict machine, having previously been supportive of new electronic pop via ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK championed acts MIRRORS, VILLA NAH, VILE ELECTRODES, METROLAND, TINY MAGNETIC PETS and SOFTWAVE, their choice of art glam hipsters WALT DISCO as opening act on the UK leg of the 2024 tour was symbolic of the general poor state of modern synthpop ie pop music using synths, particularly within the narrow-mindset of Brexit Britain.

Although the UK was continuing to party like it was 1933, the incendiary language that Cruella Braverman was using was so extreme that she was even dismissed from fronting the Conservative Party new wave covers band A FLOCK OF SIEG HEILS… as a trio of poets from South Yorkshire once said: “BROTHERS! SISTERS! WE DON’T NEED THIS FASCIST GROOVE THANG!”

Reflecting a wider issue, 2023 also saw ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK publish its fewest number of ‘Introducing…’ new artist articles since its inception in 2010 with only Brigitte Bardini and Madeleine Goldstein featured. There were a number of possible reasons…

Photo by Bella Salvatore

“The technology leads the art form and it always has” said veteran producer Steve Lillywhite on a recent Rockonteurs podcast, “if the technology allows you to reference other people’s records… you WILL do that!”. This was summed up by an Apple Mac advert featuring sample-based British pop singer PinkPantheress demonstrating how to have a hit by appropriating a topline from Kelly Rowland and plonking it into GarageBand before processing her voice through AutoTune and nabbing the intro of ‘Gold’ by SPANDAU BALLET… you said it yourself Miss Walker, IT SOUNDS LIKE GARBAGE!

While the accessibility, usability and sound quality of modern tech has totally democratised music making, as another veteran producer Stephen Hague put it to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK “it’s made it far too easy”, with the end result being familiarity and imitation rather than innovation. Now that an acceptable sound is able to be obtained fairly quickly on software such as GarageBand, the level of songwriting has generally declined in many genres. Artists abstain from putting in the hard work towards the actual songcraft because they think their track is already great, as it sounds like someone they’ve based it on!

However, the misuse of “synth” as a description reached a new nadir in 2023. There were those using “synth” or “synthwave” in their brand identity who proudly revealed via their Spotify Wrapped that their Top Genre was actually rock or made bizarre comments like “What I like most about synthwave is the guitar solos”. Meanwhile one artist declared they were synthpop because they had spent their youth “listening to too much Madonna”! But synth music as an enduring form is ultimately doomed when social media platforms using “Synthpop” in their idents think that guitar-based bands like BIG COUNTRY and COCTEAU TWINS are part of it, or compile acoustic playlists!! 🤦‍♂️

“Synth” has now somehow become is a general term for any retro-flavoured pop with an element of shiny artifice whether synthesizers have been used or not! These artists and “content creators” are now too young to understand what “synth” in music actually once meant and probably think the term is short for “synthetic” as in clothes and hair products, as opposed to “synthesizer”.

That said, 2023 was not all bad and there was a lot of excellent music. The song of the year was by the unlikely synth hero in glum rocker Lloyd Cole; while guitars made a more prominent but limited return on his album ‘On Pain’ following 2019’s electronically-dominated ‘Guesswork’, the standout song ‘The Idiot’ saw him provide a touching narrative on the relationship between David Bowie and Iggy Pop as they relocated to Berlin in 1976.

Swedish veterans PAGE took the Numanisation of their poptronica to its zenith by bringing in former imperial phase Numan band members Chris Payne and RRussell Bell on their new album ‘En Ny Våg’. Across the Öresund Bridge, Danish synthpop couple SOFTWAVE showed the world the ‘things we’ve done’.

Photo by George Tripodakis

Another music veteran Ricky Wilde teamed up with NINA to reveal their ‘Scala Hearts’; full of classic pop references and a modern sheen, this was the record Wilde had wanted to make for a few years but hadn’t been able to with his sister Kim. Its creative drive showed and this was also the best long player that NINA had been part of since she launched her solo career in 2011. In a busy year, NINA also found time to satisfy many a red blooded fantasy by collaborating with Kid Moxie on the ‘Lust’ EP released by Italians Do It Better.

The Finns were strong too, with Jaakko Eino Kalavi and Jori Hulkkonen producing two of the best albums of 2023. The former’s eclectic ‘Chaos Magic’ featured Alma Jodorowsky, Mr Silla and Jimi Tenor as special guests while the latter’s ‘There Is Light Hidden In These Shadows’ brought in John Grant, Ralf Dörper, Jake Shears, Jon Marsh, Juho Paalosmaa and Tiga.

While maintaining his front man role in MESH, Mark Hockings presented his solo project BLACKCARBURNING in long playing form and was ‘Watching Sleepers’. Also going it alone, Alison Goldfrapp squarely hit the dancefloor via ’The Love Invention’ with Kylie Minogue’s similarly glitzy ‘Tension’ as its companion. But with ACTORS still busy touring the world, the planned long playing debut from LEATHERS was yet to emerge but there were two new singles in the interim.

METROLAND and side project 808 DOT POP ambitiously released albums in five different formats with exclusive tracks on each between them simultaneously, in a move that had not been seen since 1978 when all four members of KISS released solo records on the same day. Much more discretely, ITALOCONNECTION came up with ‘Nordisko’ which comprised of Nordic pop disco covers. More ambient experiments were served by John Foxx, Vince Clarke, Patricia Wolf, Johan Agebjörn and the late Ryuichi Sakamoto, while putting those ethereal textures into song was Hinako Omori with her appropriately named second album ‘stillness, softness…’

Germany’s BEBORN BETON offered bleak commentary on the state of the planet with ‘Darkness Falls Again’ but encouraged everyone to be dancers in the dark while Chinese band STOLEN highlighted this ‘Eroded Creation’. Within their ‘Circle Of Doom’, NNHMN had pressing matters closer to home while ZANIAS emerged from her ‘Chrysalis’. FERAL FIVE confronted and worked with AI to declare ‘Truth Is The New Gold’ and Finlay Shakespeare tapped into his ‘Illusion + Memory’.

Photo by Tim Darin

Among the promising emergent acts with debut EPs were NEU-ROMANCER and DIE SEXUAL while German solo artists Jennifer Touch and Laura Dre added to their long playing portfolios, as did OHNOTHING and BUNNY X. Fronted by respectively by John Grant and Neil Arthur, CREEP SHOW and THE REMAINDER outlined the benefits of collaboration while CAUSEWAY joined forces with R. MISSING for the single ‘Wear The Night Out’.

Despite having plied their trade for over 50 years, SPARKS continued to be as eccentric as ever and even had Cate Blanchett appear in the video for ‘The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte’. With ‘*Happiness now completed’ and Dave Ball returning to the live fold after a period of serious illness, SOFT CELL effectively issued another new album featuring a significant number of previously unreleased tracks including covers of Giorgio Moroder and X-RAY SPEX to provide a much more satisfying listening experience than the parent ‘*Happiness not included’ record. Then there was the unexpected recorded return of CLASSIX NOUVEAUX with their ‘Battle Cry’.

Veteran acts who ceased active operations many years ago got worthy boxed set treatments; TELEX provided ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK with the funniest interview of the year in support of their self-titled retrospective on Mute while LANDSCAPE were comprehensively catalogued by Cooking Vinyl. Not to be left out, the trusty Cherry Red via their Lemon imprint showcased how underrated NEW MUSIK and their leader Tony Mansfield were, especially with the latter’s sound clearly audible in today’s pop acts such as THE WEEKND.

Despite the return of Q, the jury was still out on whether music magazines are still desirable aside from their CD and vinyl artefacts. Meanwhile, music-based social media dumbed down its engagement to cut ‘n’ paste Wikipedia snippets accompanying archive photos or artwork, pointless 26th anniversary posts and non-significant birthday celebrations to attract likes. Comments from the public such as “My favourite album… I wish I still had it!” and saying “Happy Birthday” when the platform wasn’t even connected to the artist concerned only highlighted further the continuing inane nature of online interaction. And this was without those irritating “POV” reels and reaction videos on TikTok and Instagram which were unfortunately prevalent!

The less said about the right wing gammon infested sh*t show that Twitter has become, the better but on the new Threads platform intended to take it on, PENDULUM’s El Hornet remarked “omg threads is full of music industry self help w*nkers making lists about things nobody asked abort! ABORT!” 🤣

With such platforms also seemingly centred around the exposure of flesh with photos “just for fun” be the subject a golfer, gamer, painter, baker, comedian, hairdresser, photographer, psychologist, racing driver, book reviewer, poet, dating coach or Lego enthusiast, is it any wonder that several music artists resorted to setting up OnlyFans accounts to sell nude photos!

With pun totally intended, in this challenging climate for exposure, some acts simply got a bit too big for their boots and were unbearably conceited on their socials with their bragging and frivolous chatter to appease a needy flock who hung onto their every word, desperate to be seen to be “friends” of wannabe stars while crowdfunding towards their spa weekenders and vet bills for their cat… it was therefore ironic that one of these acts declared “Music isn’t a competition!” when it appeared that another band might be taking away some of their limelight! Well, stop acting like it’s a 24 hour edition of ‘The Apprentice’ then!!! 🙄

On the other side of the coin, one too cool for school band took a strange attitude to promotion by refusing to accept questions about their influences while trying to come over like total originals. Despite their inspirations being blatant and obvious to hear, they had a misguided self-belief that they were somehow speaking a new language! But everybody knows they started out by purchasing the sheet music to ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ from a New York thrift store! 😆

A few years ago, a lone British artist was complained about the lack of press attention for their new admittedly good album, but then proceeded not to answer emails containing interview pitches. Artists need to engage, no matter how much they say they hate doing promotion, they can’t have it both ways. The days of RADIOHEAD not doing interviews to promote a new album and letting the music speak for itself are long gone…

With the world now making up for lost time since 2020, it would be fair to say that 2023 has been something of a strange year!

Text by Chi Ming Lai
18 December 2023

BUNNY X Love Minus 80

Unashamedly embracing high school nostalgia and John Hughes movies, BUNNY X’s 2021 debut album ‘Young & In Love’ was a straightforward pop statement that wouldn’t have been out of place on classic MTV.

But the duo comprising of Abigail Gordon and Mary Hanley are now sophomores and for the follow-up ‘Love Minus 80’, their thoughts have become more dystopian as Sci-Fi novels, films, television shows and interstellar romances take over as inspiration. BUNNY X have been here before with the 2018 single ‘Unknown Places’, so the second album presented an opportunity to delve deeper within a whole body of work.

“We knew pretty much at the outset that we wanted our next release to be much darker and more introspective than the debut record” said Abigail Gordon about the genesis of the second BUNNY X album, “but we honestly didn’t realize until we had a few songs done that we wanted to take things in a Sci-Fi themed direction.”

While not quite ‘Star Wars’ related, opener ‘Love Is An Empire’ sees BUNNY X continue their alliance with Don Dellpiero; derived from ‘Lights in the Sky’ on his first album ‘Born 1981’, it appears to indicate that the popwave vibes that flavoured ‘Young & In Love’ mean it’s business as usual for BUNNY X. However, ‘The Forever War’ is more mysterious; inspired by the military science fiction novel of the same name by Joe Haldeman, its subject matter tracing a love story between two soldiers attempting to find each other again after being separated in battle could be applied to current world events, adding further poignancy and tension.

Inspired by cyberpunk godfather William Gibson’s ‘Bridge’ trilogy, the narrative of ‘Breaking Away’ is presented as a “Song for Chevette & Rydell”, two recurring characters who navigate a desolate post-earthquake California. Based on another previously issued instrumental, this one was originated by the oddly monikered SELLOREKT / LA DREAMS.

Taking its lead from the ‘San Junipero’ episode of ‘Black Mirror’, the uptempo ‘Daydreaming’ offers thrust and drive akin to Robyn ‘Dancing On My Own’, all while haunted by the reality of unrequited love. Continuing the escapist rhythmic thrust and taking BUNNY X into another system, ‘The Darkest Place’ could be considered as a metaphor for more personal matters despite being themed around ‘The Expanse’ book series by James SA Corey.

Definitely not sci-fi inspired, ‘Something To Rely On’ touches on toxic relationships and the cacophony of percussive noise shows how such a palette can be utilised without having to bow down to painful overblown distortion. Meanwhile the ‘Love Minus 80’ title song explores futuristic sounds and bass rumbles in a catchy duet with THOUGHT BEINGS.

Heartfelt and emotive in its acceptance of defeat, the contrast with its icier textures gives ‘Good Love Gone Bad’ an otherworldy resonance in its themes of love, loss, betrayal and regret.

Concluding with ‘Chiba City Blues’ based on a second previously released SELLOREKT / LA DREAMS work titled ‘Without You’, this is a sister song to ‘Breaking Away (Song for Chevette & Rydell)’ as it returns to the writings of William Gibson. And just as the neo-metal guitar solo takes hold, everything just fades into cyberspace…

In ‘Love Minus 80’, the underlying sentiment is coping with the emotions and anxieties caused by confronting the many paths that can be taken. With producer GOSTEFFECTS providing the sonic continuity as he did on ‘Young & In Love’, BUNNY X’s second album is a satisfying listen that despite the darkness, points to love still being the key to everything.

‘Love Minus 80’ is released by Aztec Records, available as a CD, magenta neon vinyl LP, cassette + download from https://bunnyx.bandcamp.com/album/





Text by Chi Ming Lai
25th May 2023

A Short Conversation with BUNNY X

New York’s BUNNY X mined high school nostalgia for their debut long player ‘Young & In Love’ released in 2021.

Partying like it was 1986, it was a straightforward pop statement that unashamedly recalled John Hughes movies and MTV. But the duo comprising of Abigail Gordon and Mary Hanley are now sophomores and their thoughts turn to ‘Love Minus 80’.

Joining the Sci-Fi club, they have become more dystopian in their outlook as novels, films, television shows and interstellar romances take over as inspiration. Abigail Gordon chatted to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK on behalf of BUNNY X on what many artists call that difficult second album and how despite the darkness, love is still the key…

What prompted BUNNY X to conceive a Sci-Fi themed album in ‘Love Minus 80’ after the high school nostalgia of ‘Young & In Love’?

At the very early stages of the writing process for this album, we realized that we wanted to do something in stark contrast to ‘Young & In Love’ and all that the record embodied such as themes of high school nostalgia and first crushes.

We knew pretty much at the outset that we wanted our next release to be much darker and more introspective than the debut record, but we honestly didn’t realize until we had a few songs done (or mostly done) that we wanted to take things in a Sci-Fi themed direction. In fact, the first song we wrote for the album was ‘Good Love Gone Bad’ which was inspired by a Don Dellpiero song called ‘Good Deal Gone Bad’. I think I may have actually sent the early demo over to David (Don Dellpiero) but we ended up creating completely new music for it as it ended up taking on a life of its own.

‘Something To Rely On’ was written shortly after that one and it became clear we were absolutely going in a darker direction but it wasn’t until the title track ‘Love Minus 80’ started to come together that we realized this was going to mostly end up being a Sci-Fi / Futuristic themed album.

Had the real life events of the world in the past 18 months had a bearing on your mindset for ‘Love Minus 80’?

Yes and no. In honesty, ‘Young & in Love’ was more inspired by those events and was truly healing to work on during an unbelievably stressful time for all of us. Some of those tracks (like ‘Perfect Paradise’ and ‘Can’t Wait’) were 100% inspired by feelings and emotions that were present during the height of the pandemic.

I had Mary in my mind for example when I wrote the lyrics for ‘Perfect Paradise’ as we weren’t able to spend as much time with each other in those days and it was a good reminder that the simple things in life (like staying up late talking with a dear friend over a glass of wine) are the most important and what bring about true joy and peace – or paradise as it were.

As for ‘Love Minus 80’, life was beginning to fully resume when the album started to take shape and things were becoming more and more hectic after a long period of quietude. I’m sure many of us had a similar experience and went through that feeling of being pulled in a million directions all of a sudden.

I’m not sure if this ended up shaping the overall mood of the record or not, but I was definitely in a stressful place when some of the earlier songs were crafted and it’s quite possible that those emotions creeped their way onto the album.

A case in point in relation to current events could be ‘The Forever War’ and its subject matter tracing a love story between two soldiers attempting to find each other again after being separated in battle?

For better or worse, this seems to be a longstanding and ongoing theme throughout many of our releases.

The searching-for-your-long-lost-loved-one-somewhere-in-deep-space was certainly the plot in ‘Unknown Places’ (2018) and appears again on the album in what is largely a sequel track to ‘Unknown Places’, ‘The Darkest Place’. Apparently we are obsessed with vague and mysterious places haha. But yes, this same theme is ever present in ‘The Forever War’, in ‘Breaking Away (Song for Chevette & Rydell)’ and to a slightly lesser extent in the title track ‘Love Minus 80’ as well. We love ourselves a romance saga set in deep space what can we say? Ha!

While the entire record is pretty personal, ‘The Forever War’ is especially so as my dad lent me the book which ended up inspiring the song in its entirety. It’s a fascinating read by the way, the author is Joe Haldeman and I highly recommend it to anyone that’s into military science fiction as it’s quite thought provoking and is actually an anti-war book according to the author.

In any event, when I told my dad about the song idea, he got pretty excited about it and then proceeded to rewrite the lyrics which is reason #98,674 why I love him and why anyone reading this would too if they met him. He also wrote some of the lyrics on ‘Unknown Places’ so if anyone needs help with song lyrics, particularly if the theme is Sci-Fi, my dad is your guy.

‘The Darkest Place’ could be considered as a metaphor for more personal matters despite the Sci-Fi inspiration?

Absolutely. It’s essentially a song about losing someone and wanting to get them back but also about feelings of regret and even shame for having lost them (or let them go) in the first place. These are widely universal emotions and we’re always trying to tap into that as I think it’s so important to be able to relate to and see yourself in the music you’re listening to. We are all flawed and we all make bad choices sometimes. Sometimes those choices can have a lifelong impact and sometimes we never fully recover and that’s okay. It’s part of life and it’s something we all experience at one time or another.

Having worked with producer GOSTEFFECTS on ‘Young & In Love’, how was the creative dynamic this time round with that experience behind you, as ‘Love Minus 80’ does come across as being more assured?

All I have to say is: I still thank the sun, moon, stars, planets and even the exoplanets that I happened upon GOSTEFFECTS’ profile one day in a random fit of frustration I was having with being unable to get my mixes to the next level. After working with GOSTEFFECTS on the first album, I knew there was no going back and, as you alluded to, this last go round was even easier than the first since he and I have become true collaborators at this point. He’s become a bit of a mind reader in that he usually knows what I’m hoping to accomplish without me having to go into any lengthy description and just kind of understands what the brief is from the jump. I’m eternally grateful to GOSTEFFECTS for helping us bring these projects to life.

You have worked with SELLOREKT / LA DREAMS again and adapted two of his previously released instrumentals on ‘Breaking Away (Song for Chevette & Rydell)’ and ‘Chiba City Blues’?

Kevin of SLA Dreams is an absolute diamond of a person and has there ever been a more prolific artist in the synthwave genre? I honestly don’t think so as he churns out the hits like an absolute wizard again and again. It’s been awesome working with Kevin off and on over the past few years and we’re extremely grateful that he keeps having us back and even more so that he trusts us with his incredible compositions and allows us to add onto them. Aside from our collaborations with him, I’m looking forward to hearing what he’s been cooking up with Roxi Drive and Mayah Camara. The boy doesn’t sleep!

‘Something To Rely On’ is the outlier on ‘Love Minus 80’ in that it’s not Sci-Fi related, so how did it creep onto the album?

This was the second track we worked on for the album and was created before we settled on our Sci-Fi theme.

Once the rest of the tracks started to take shape and I realized it didn’t really fit in with the overarching aesthetic, I was concerned that this one wouldn’t work on the record. However, we felt that the moodiness of and driving BPM on the track fits with the overall vibe we were going for and I’m glad we included it. The song has a bit of an end of the world feeling to me, perhaps because the characters in the song have become so toxic and destructive to one another such that there’s nothing much left for them to give. Fun!

The theme of unrequited love is explored again on ‘Daydreaming’ and you used ‘Dancing On My Own’ by Robyn as the rhythmic template?

Yep. We can’t seem to help ourselves when it comes to unrequited love and themes of lost love and longing. I think it’s because it’s just such a universal feeling that we’ve all had and I think even when you’re happy, and in a good partnership, and / or a good place in your life, we can’t help but think about the roads not taken and the paths not explored. I think it’s just part of the human condition to wonder or daydream as it were about other places, lives and people and how you may (or may not) have been happy and fulfilled living those other lives. I think a lot of sci-fi readers are also kind of obsessed with parallel universes and alternate timelines and ‘Daydreaming’ is somewhat inspired by that.

I definitely wanted us to do a more upbeat, danceable track on this album since most of the songs are pretty midtempo and so what better template to use than Robyn’s iconic ‘Dancing on My Own’ and ‘Call Your Girlfriend’ era bops to accomplish that?!

The ‘Love Minus 80’ title song presents a catchy duet with THOUGHT BEINGS and uses more futuristic sounds? 

How gorgeous are Orion’s vocals on this track though? Not gonna lie, when Mary and I first heard the mix he sent, we blushed like some dang schoolgirls! Phew! I had a feeling the duet would lend the song some serious depth and power but I had no idea just how great Mary and Orion’s voices would blend together. I must have first reached out to Orion about the duet idea in mid-2022 kind of around the time we were working on our recent freestyle collabs (ie ‘Cross The Line’ and ‘Promised’) and fortunately for us, he agreed to the project right away. It took me a second to get him the final demo of memory serves and then he sent us his mix not long after that and really breathed some new life into the song.

In terms of the futuristic sounds on the track, I have to give full credit to GOSTEFFECTS for that – that was his pure genius mind at work there. We decided to add in a little sample from my favorite sci-fi movie ‘Logan’s Run’ so there’s also a little Easter egg in there for any fans of the film (I see you Marc!).

‘Good Love Gone Bad’ is perhaps icier than we are used to with regards BUNNY X?

Totally. While ‘Young & in Love’ was earnest and sweet nostalgia, this album – particularly songs like ‘Good Love Gone Bad’ and ‘Something To Rely On’ – is teeming with some much darker and heavier elements like rage and resentment and fear and loneliness. I’m not entirely sure what inspired all this but I guess looking around at the state of things here at home and elsewhere, it’s perhaps not so surprising that some of these songs came out how they did.

‘Good Love Gone Bad’ is also a frustrating Catch 22 in that even when the relationship (or “war” in this case) is over, nothing really changes as so much can remain unresolved long after an ending. It’s possible that I’m completely overanalyzing it all now with the benefit / lens of time, but so much of what we’re seeing on our screens are the same problems over and over again with no real evidence that things will improve anytime soon. I think we experience this hopelessness in our own personal relationships that have failed but we also see it play out in the news every day.

Which songs from the album are your own favourites?

They are all really dear to me and some I’ve spent more time with than others but I personally love them all for different reasons as they bring up a range of emotions.

I find myself listening to ‘Breaking Away’ fairly often because I love the dreamy vibe of it. Similarly, ‘Love Is An Empire’ also has that gauzy, hazy quality that I enjoy so I’ve been listening to that one a bunch as well.

‘Love Is An Empire’ was actually a last minute addition to the record but now that it’s an integral part of it, I can’t imagine the track not being there. It was pure joy to work with Don Dellpiero on that and have him give us his blessing to add onto his work.

What’s next for BUNNY X, there were hints of a return to Italo Disco?

We do have a few more collabs in the works that we started on some time ago so we want to see those through now that this project has wrapped.

I’m also thinking it may be high time we put out a collection of all the Italo songs we’ve released over the years so everything is in one place. I also think it would be great to get some of the older tracks remastered and perhaps include some previously unreleased Italo tracks cuz we sure do have ’em!

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to BUNNY X

‘Love Minus 80’ is released by Aztec Records on 26th May 2023, available as a CD, vinyl LP, cassette and download from https://bunnyx.bandcamp.com/





Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
6th May 2023


As the world steadily emerged from a painful pandemic that put many lives on hold, nostalgia appeared to be the commodity most in demand as the music industry took steps to recover.

No matter which era, anything musically from the past was more desirable that anything that reminded the public of the past 20 or so months. The first escape destination in the summer for many restricted to staying on their own shores were the established retro festivals.

Meanwhile television provided an array of documentaries ranging from chart rundowns of past decades and informative classic song analysis on Channel 5 to Dylan Jones’ look at ‘Music’s Greatest Decade’ on BBC2 and Sky Arts’ ‘Blitzed’ with all the usual suspects such as Boy George, Philip Sallon, Marilyn, Gary Kemp and Rusty Egan.

SPARKS had their own comprehensive if slightly overlong film ‘The SPARKS Brothers’ directed by Edgar Wright, but the Maels’ musical ‘Annette’ starring Adam Driver was a step too far. Meanwhile the acclaimed ‘Sisters With Transistors’ presented the largely untold story of electronic music’s female pioneers.

It was big business for 40th anniversary live celebrations from the likes of HEAVEN 17, THE HUMAN LEAGUE, OMD and SOFT CELL, while other veterans such as NEW ORDER and ERASURE returned to the live circuit with the biggest indoor headlining shows of their career.

Meanwhile for 2022, Midge Ure announced an extensive ‘Voices & Visions’ tour to present material from the 1981-82 phase of ULTRAVOX.

Also next year and all being well, GOLDFRAPP will finally get their belated 20th Anniversary tour for their marvellous debut ‘Felt Mountain’ underway while there are rescheduled ‘Greatest Hits’ live presentations for PET SHOP BOYS and SIMPLE MINDS.

Always money for old rope, but also giving audiences who missed them at their pioneering height an opportunity to catch up, ‘best of’ collections were issued by YELLO and TELEX while JAPAN had their 1979 breakthrough album ‘Quiet Life’ given the lavish boxed set treatment. Meanwhile, while many labels were still doing their best to kill off CD, there was the puzzling wide scale return of the compact cassette, a poor quality carrier even at the zenith of its popularity.

“Reissue! Repackage! Repackage! Re-evaluate the songs! Double-pack with a photograph, extra track and a tacky badge!” a disgraced Northern English philosopher once bemoaned.

The boosted market for deluxe boxed sets and the repackaging of classic albums in coloured vinyl meant that the major corporations such as Universal, Sony and Warners hogged the pressing plants, leaving independent artists with lead times of nearly a year for delivery if they were lucky.

But there was new music in 2021. Having achieved the milestone of four decades as a recording act, DURAN DURAN worked with Giorgio Moroder on the appropriately titled ‘Future Past’ while not far behind, BLANCMANGE took a ‘Commercial Break’ and FIAT LUX explored ‘Twisted Culture’. David Cicero made his belated return to music with a mature second album that was about ‘Today’ as Steven Jones & Logan Sky focussed on the monochromatic mood of ‘European Lovers’. Continuing the European theme but towards the former Eastern Bloc, Mark Reeder gave a reminder that he was once declared ‘Subversiv-Dekadent’ and fellow Mancunians UNE became inspired by the ‘Spomenik’ monoliths commissioned by Marshal Tito in the former Yugoslavia.

For those who preferred to immerse themselves in the darker present, Gary Numan presented ‘Intruder’, a poignant concept album produced by Ade Fenton about Mother Earth creating a virus to teach mankind a lesson! Meanwhile ITALOCONNECTION, the project of Italo veterans Fred Ventura and Paolo Gozzetti teamed up with French superstar Etienne Daho to tell the story of ‘Virus X’! The video of the year came from UNIFY SEPARATE whose motivation message to ‘Embrace The Fear’ despite the uncertainty reflected the thoughts of many.

Despite the general appetite for nostalgia, there was some excellent new music released from less established artists with the album of the year coming from Jorja Chalmers and her ‘Midnight Train’ released on Italians Do It Better. The critical acclaim for the UK based Aussie’s second long playing solo offering made up for the disbandment of the label’s biggest act CHROMATICS, as it went into its most prolific release schedule in its history with albums by GLÜME, JOON, DLINA VOLNY and LOVE OBJECT as well as its own self-titled compilation of in-house Madonna covers.

As Kat Von D teamed up with Dan Haigh of GUNSHIP for her debut solo record ‘Love Made Me Do It’, acts like DANZ CM, CLASS ACTRESS, GLITBITER, PRIMO THE ALIEN, PARALLELS, KANGA, R.MISSING, I AM SNOW ANGEL, XENO & OAKLANDER, HELIX and DAWN TO DAWN showed that North America was still the creative hub as far as electronically derived pop songs went.

Attracting a lot of attention in 2021 were NATION OF LANGUAGE, who with their catchy blend of angst, melody and motorik beats welcomed synths as family in their evolving sound while also providing the song of the year in ‘This Fractured Mind’, reflecting the anxieties of these strange times. At the other end of the spectrum, DIAMOND FIELD went full pop with an optimistic multi-vocalist collection that captured the spirit of early MTV while BUNNY X looked back on their high school days with ‘Young & In Love’.

ACTORS delivered their most synthy album yet while as LEATHERS, they keyboardist Shannon Hamment went the full hog for her debut solo effort ‘Reckless’. FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY released a new album and some of that ‘Mechanical Soul’ was brought by their Rhys Fulber into his productions this year for AESTHETIC PERFECTION.

In Europe, long playing debuts came from PISTON DAMP and WE ARE REPLICA while NORTHERN LITE released their first album completely in German and FRAGRANCE. presented their second album ‘Salt Air’. There was also the welcome return of SIN COS TAN, KID KASIO, GUSGUS, MARVA VON THEO, TINY MAGNETIC PETS and MAN WITHOUT COUNTRY.

Featuring second generation members of NEW ORDER and SECTION 25, SEA FEVER released their eclectic debut ‘Folding Lines’ as fellow Mancunian LONELADY added sequencers and drum machines to her post-punk funk template. But Glasgow’s CHVRCHES disappointed with their fourth long player ‘Screen Violence’ by opting to sound like every other tired hipster band infesting the land.

The most promising artist to breakthrough in 2021 was Hattie Cooke whose application of traditional songwriting nous to self-production and arrangement techniques using comparatively basic tools such as GarageBand found a wider audience via her third album ‘Bliss Land’. In all, it was a strong year for female synth-friendly artists with impressive albums from Karin My, Laura Dre, Alina Valentina, Robin Hatch and Catherine Moan while comparative veterans like Fifi Rong, Alice Hubble, Brigitte Handley and Alison Lewis as ZANIAS maintained their cult popularity.

In 2021, sometimes words were very unnecessary and there were fine instrumental synth albums from BETAMAXX, WAVESHAPER, КЛЕТ and Richard Barbieri, with a Mercury nomination received by Hannah Peel for ‘Fir Wave’. But for those who preferred Italo Noir, popwave, post-punk techno and progressive pop, Tobias Bernstrup, Michael Oakley, Eric Random and Steven Wilson delivered the goods respectively.

With ‘The Never Ending’ being billed as the final FM ATTACK album and PERTURBATOR incorrectly paraphrased by Metal Hammer in a controversial “synthwave is dead” declaration, the community got itself in a pickle by simultaneously attacking THE WEEKND for “stealing from synthwave”, yet wanting to ride on the coat tails of Abel Tesfaye, misguidedly sensing an opportunity to snare new fans for their own music projects.

With THE WEEKND’s most recent single ‘Take My Breath’, there was the outcry over the use of a four note arpeggio allegedly sampled from MAKEUP & VANITY SET’s ‘The Last City’. But as one online observer put it, “Wow, an arpeggiated minor chord. Hate to break it to you but you might want to check out what Giorgio Moroder was doing 50 years ago. We’re ALL just rippin’ him off if that’s how you think creativity works”. Another added “If a four note minor key arpeggiated chord can go to court on the basis of copyright law, we are in for a hell of a few years my synthy friends”. It outlined once again that there are some who are still under the impression that music using synths was invented by Ryan Gosling in 2011 for ‘Drive’ soundtrack ??

There were also belated complaints that 2019’s A-HA inspired ‘Blinding Lights’ had a simple melody and needed five writers to realise it… but then, so did UTRAVOX’s ‘Slow Motion’ and DURAN DURAN’s ‘Rio’! Collaboration, whether in bands, with producers or even outsiders has always been a key aspect of the compositional process. If it is THAT simple, do it yourself! As Andy McCluskey of OMD said on ‘Synth Britannia’ in 2009 about the pioneering era when Ryan Gosling was still in nappies: “The number of people who thought that the equipment wrote the song for you: ‘well anybody can do it with the equipment you’ve got!’ “F*** OFF!!”

Over the last two years, THE WEEKND has become the biggest mainstream pop act on the planet, thanks to spectacles such as the impressive gothic theatre of the Super Bowl LV half time showcase while in a special performance on the BRITS, there was a charming presentation of the ERASURE-ish ‘Save Your Tears’ where he played air synth in a moment relatable to many. But everything is ultimately down to catchy songs, regardless of synth usage.

So ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK would like to present a hypothetical case to consider… if someone uses the arpeggio function with a sparkling patch from a Juno 6 synth in a recording, does Cyndi Lauper sue for infringing the copyright of ‘All Through The Night’ or the original songwriter Jules Shear or even the Roland Corporation themselves as they created it? More than one producer has suggested that THE WEEKND’s soundbite came from a hardware preset or more than likely, a software sample pack, of which there are now many.

However, sample culture had hit another new low when Tracklib marketed a package as “A real game-changer for sample based music. Now everyone can afford to clear samples” with rapper and producer Erick Sermon declaring “Yo, this is incredible. They’re trying to put creativity back into music again. By having samples you can actually pay for and afford”.

Err creativity? How about writing your own songs and playing or even programming YOUR OWN instrumentation??!? One sampling enthusiast even declared “I might go as far as to say you don’t really like dance music if you’ve got a problem with adding a beat to a huge (even instantly recognizable) sample”… well guess what? ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK LOATHES IT!!! ?

In 2021, music promotion became a bit strange with publicists at all levels keen more than ever to have their clients’ press releases just cut ‘n’ pasted onto online platforms, but very reluctant to allow albums to be reviewed in advance in the event of a potential negative prognosis.

While cut ‘n’ paste journalism has been a disease that has always afflicted online media, in a sad sign of the times, one long established international website moved to a “pay to get your press release featured” business model.

The emergence of reaction vloggers was another bizarre development while the “Mention your favourite artist and see if they respond to you” posts on social media only added more wood to the dumbing down bonfire already existing within audience engagement.

It was as if the wider public was no longer interested in more in-depth analysis while many artists turned their publicity into a reliance on others doing “big ups” via Twitter and Facebook. But then, if artists are being successfully crowdfunded with subscriptions via Patreon, Kickstarter, Bandcamp and the like, do they need a media intermediary any longer as they are dealing direct with their fanbases?

However, it wasn’t all bad in the media with ‘Electronically Yours With Martyn Ware’ providing insightful artist interviews and the largely entertaining ‘Beyond Synth’ podcast celebrating its 300th show. Due to their own music commitments, Steven Wilson and Tim Bowness were less prolific with their discussion show ‘The Album Years’ but it was still refreshing for commentators to be able to say that a record was sh*t when it actually was, rather than conform to the modern day adage that all music is good but not always to the listener’s taste!  And while various programmes came and went, other such as ‘Operating//Generating’, ‘KZL Live’ and ‘Absynth’ came to prominence.

Post-pandemic, interesting if uncertain times are ahead within the music industry. But as live performance returns, while the mainstream is likely to hit the crowd walking, will there be enough cost effective venues to host independent artists? Things have been tough but for some, but things might be about to get even tougher.

However, music was what got many through the last 18 months and as times are still uncertain, music in its live variant will help to get everyone through the next year and a half and beyond.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s year in music is gathered in its 2021 Playlist – Missing U at

Text by Chi Ming Lai
17th December 2021

BUNNY X Young & In Love

Forming in New York, BUNNY X released their first single ‘Berlin, In December’ in Spring 2013.

Since then Abigail Gordon and Mary Hanley have issued a number of danceable pop singles as well as an Italo disco flavoured EP ‘We Demand Fun’ with Fred Ventura. But the pair have yet to realise their vision over a full length long player until now.

Entitled ‘Young & In Love’, it moves away from the Italo blow-out of ‘We Demand Fun’ for a more poptastic journey if no less sun-kissed. Taking inspiration directly from John Hughes films such as ‘The Breakfast Club’, ‘Pretty In Pink’ and ‘Sixteen Candles’, it parties like it’s 1986!

Working on the opening song with Swedish producer Don Dellpiero, ‘Perfect Paradise’ offers the sort of funky optimistic popwave that PRIMO THE ALIEN did in collaboration with BETAMAXX augmented by big electronic drums. LA music producer Kevin Montgomery aka the oddly monikered SELLOREKT/LA DREAMS comes on board for ‘Can’t Wait’ which does the big STARSHIP heart thing to confirm that nothing is gonna stop BUNNY X.

Raising the tempo and sparkle, the ‘Young & In Love’ title song is a rousing slice of synthpop celebrating holiday romances and yes, she will “see you next summer”. Cut from a similar cloth but more sedately, ‘Go Back’ adds a touch of melancholy to proceedings in its emotional reflection with a sax solo to make the point.

With its metronomic background and gated synths, ‘Who Cares What They Say’ could actually be a trance anthem if it was speeded up to 160 BPM, but it works fine as a melodic midtempo stomp with a spoken word middle eight. A close cousin, ‘Back To You’ is another catchy midtempo synth number and one that could be imagined to be in a John Hughes movie.

Changing the mood slightly for the early evening drive to the next party, ‘Head Rush’ adopts a steadfast gallop that declares a potent emotion of desire while Don Dellpiero returns to helm ‘Lost Without You’ which deviates slightly with more prominent guitar and piano for a distinct AOR presence.

Back to synths, ‘Diamonds’ sings of “an electric shock through my heart” and certainly buzzes in an alluring fashion with gorgeous counter melodies to compliment the main vocal topline before another SELLOREKT/LA DREAMS collaboration ‘Still On My Mind’ closes ‘Young & In Love’ while making use of sax and brassier keyboard approximations alongside some airy staccato voice samples.

Featuring excellent vocals that are never overblown, well-written songs with appealing arrangements that don’t outstay their welcome and clean consistent production, BUNNY X have put together an enjoyable and immediate collection of songs. With its themes of first crushes, teen angst and youthful exuberance, Abigail Gordon and Mary Hanley have certainly achieved their aim of a “high school nostalgia” concept record that many who lived through the first MTV era will savour.

Welcome to Abbi and Mary’s High School Reunion.

‘Young & In Love’ is released by Aztec Records on 5th October 2021, available as a CD, vinyl LP, cassette and download from https://bunnyx.bandcamp.com/album/young-in-love




Text by Chi Ming Lai
24th September 2021

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