Tag: Julian & Marina

JULIAN & MARINA For Beautiful People Only

’For Beautiful People Only’ is the second full-length album from JULIAN & MARINA, the follow-up to 2014’s ’Absence & Distance’.

Comprising of Julian Brandt and Marina Schiptjenko, the couple are both veterans of the Swedish pop scene. Brandt was a member of BOBBY and is the current bass incumbent in LUSTANS LAKEJER while Schiptjenko is best known for her instrumental roles in PAGE and BWO.

The concept of JULIAN & MARINA is what can only best be described as crooner electro. So imagine Matt Monro or Charles Aznavour over laid-back sophistipop backing utilising drum machines, synths and virtual orchestrations. Such are Julian Brandt’s loungey mannerisms, occasionally harmonised by Marina Schiptjenko’s larynx treatments, that the combination is strange and otherworldly yet ultimately romantic and classic.

It all begins with the ‘For Beautiful People Only’ title song, the song which is closest to being quite traditional sounding with its cinematic pomp and circumstance. ‘Someone To Cling To’ though recalls smooth PET SHOP BOYS ballads like ‘Liberation’ or even ‘Requiem in Denim & Leopardskin’ but with the orchestrated flavour of Percy Faith. Though ‘Vintage Wine’ follows a not entirely dissimilar feel, Brandt enunciates more like a Scandinavian Neil Hannon.

Heading to the South of France, ‘Destination Cannes’ is a great instrumental which captures exactly what it says on the tin while ‘Full Moon Over St Tropez’ conjures up that understated but catchy Gallic quality. The dashing ‘Hello Darling’ makes good use of synths and vocoders as well as adding a surprise rap from an alluring Schiptjenko.

But featuring a beautiful string line and a music box motif, ‘Girl In The Gallery’ could actually be about Schiptjenko herself, a playful celebration by Brandt of the enigmatic art curator with key changes to boot.

Brandt’s delivery recalls the late Liverpudlian crooner Michael Holliday on his hit ‘Starry Eyed’, a 1960 UK No1 co-written by Moog pioneer Mort Garson and later covered by CHINA CRISIS.

Despite its title, ‘Saddest Girl’ is enormously sunny and uplifting with hints of Hollywood Elvis, but ‘Love On A Summer Night’ offers a subtle disco duet which could be another PET SHOP BOYS collaboration with Patsy Kensit that also throws in a synthetic brass section for a more robotic style of ‘Domino Dancing’.

With a piano and soprano sax providing a twist in the electronic backdrop, ’Going To Nice’ closes the album with a happy optimistic vibe like all the good film romances should.

This is an enjoyable Eurocentric album with a sumptuous aural palette. If you can appreciate the guilty pleasures of classic easy listening, then on days like these , ‘For Beautiful People Only’ is the perfect escapist album for a trip along the Riviera.

Those wanting darkness, doom and edge though should turn away now…

‘For Beautiful People Only’ is available via the usual digital platforms





Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos  by Pierre Björk and Conny Fornbäck
15th February 2020

PAGE Hemma

The Swedish synthpop band PAGE have a long history in making music and have a cult following at home in Sweden.

In parts of Europe, they are known for a particularly impressive version of OMD’s ‘Electricity’ for the 1995 synth covers tribute album ‘To Cut A Long Story Short’ that also featured ELEGANT MACHINERY and ATTRITION.

The two band members Eddie Bengtsson and Marina Schiptjenko first started playing together in 1980 and released their self titled debut album in 1991. But they have also been involved in other musical constellations

Bengtsson was in S.P.O.C.K. and SISTA MANNEN PÅ JORDEN (Last Man On Earth) while Schiptjenko has been involved in BWO, VACUUM and more recently JULIAN & MARINA. They made a comeback with their last album ‘Nu'< (Now) in 2010 and are now back together again making new fresh tunes as PAGE. ‘Hemma’ contains of 11 songs and one remix. The sound is very much familiar and PAGE like but yet so fresh and up to date. There are also a lot of influences from schaffel to disco.

On ‘Hemma’ (At Home), they have worked with the producer Håkan Hultberg to enhance the sound. It is electrodisco, glam rock, synthpop and electronica all in a pleasant and genial mix! There are both songs with a darker side along with the happy sounding songs which that combine into a great mixture. Some of the songs have catchy tunes and choruses that really stick in a positive way. All the songs have been written by the singer Bengtsson and the first single ‘Som Ett Skal’ (Like a shell) is a naked and bare song with lots of emotions but yet simple in structure.

The songs are about reflections from daily life, thoughts about love, lust and how different things are these days compared from back when we were all young.

PAGE 2013

‘Lyssnade På Min Radio’ (Listened To My Radio) for example starts with a burst of THE SEX PISTOLS ‘Holidays In The Sun’ before it launches into something quite Vince Clarke! There’s also a song about a girl on a motorbike, ‘Motorcykel-Sussi’ (Motorcycle Susie) that features a lot of the traditional PAGE sound.

This is not a mainstream album at all and will not be played a lot on the radio but it is for sure, it is an album that their fans will keep on playing over and over again. A lot of the songs are destined to become classic live numbers. ‘Hemma’ will not disappoint old PAGE fans, that is a given success!

‘Hemma’ is released by Wonderland Records on CD and download

It can also be purchased as a download from http://whorehero.bandcamp.com/album/hemma

You can read more about PAGE and their earlier releases here: http://synthpop.se/page/


The blog Cold War Night Life recently interviewed PAGE

Text by Sophie Nilsson
22nd September 2013

Introducing JULIAN & MARINA

JULIAN & MARINA is a new Swedish pop collaboration between Marina Schiptjenko and Julian Brandt.

Marina – a famous Swedish art gallerist and style icon – is perhaps best known internationally as a member of the electropop band BODIES WITHOUT ORGANS (BWO), who had great success in both Swedish and European charts with hits such as ‘Sunshine In The Rain’ and ‘Lay Your Love On Me’. BWO once played in front of some quarter of a million people during a single event in the Ukraine.

However, Marina was also an electronic music pioneer in one of the first Swedish synthpop bands ever; PAGE. They formed in 1980 and are still active. She was also later part of electronic band VACUUM.

Meanwhile, Julian has been involved in several indie pop bands like BOBBY and was a member of the classic Swedish new wave / new romantic band LUSTANS LAKEJER who had their third album ‘En Plats I Solen’, produced by JAPAN’s Richard Barbieri.

It all started when Julian asked Marina if she would like to work on a song called ‘Moon & The Stars’. The end result was enjoyably dreamy and reminiscent of ALPHAVILLE’s ‘Summer Rain’. Soon realising that they shared the same views on music and complemented each other well, they quickly decided to form a band together.


‘Absence’ is JULIAN & MARINA’s debut EP, consisting of five tracks, with ‘The Knight’ as lead single. Inspired by classic French pop, great 20th century singers like Frank Sinatra and a love for electronic music, they have created their own sound – “electro crooner”. This tag suits the distinct sound of JULIAN & MARINA very well. The music is quite laid back, soft and very elegant with Julian’s very special soothing voice on top of it all.

Of the five songs on this EP, the more upbeat synthpop of ‘Blocking The Line’ and ’The Knight’ are the highlights. The EP also features an atmospheric electro lounge cover of a virtually unknown ELVIS PRESLEY ballad called ‘A House That Has Everything’ which featured in his film ‘Clambake’.

‘Absence’ is released by Pop On The Moon as a download EP and available now via Amazon and iTunes



Text by Johan Wejedal
Additional Material by Chi Ming Lai
16th October 2012