Tag: Kid Kasio (Page 2 of 4)


Out of all the British bands to emerge from the post-punk era, Liverpool’s A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS made one of the most lasting impacts on modern popular culture.

Noted by lead singer and keyboardist Mike Score’s outlandish hairdo, his distinctive bonce was sent up on ‘The Wedding Singer’ and ‘Friends’. Meanwhile, Samuel L Jackson’s “YOU! FLOCK OF SEAGULLS!” line from ‘Pulp Fiction’ in reference to an assassination target’s hairstyle was appropriated by the music press to mock the band!

But A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS have a musical legacy too. In 1983, they won a ‘Best Rock Instrumental Performance’ Grammy Award for the track ‘DNA’, at a time when The Second British Invasion had still yet to fully take hold in an America still drunk on TOTO and JOURNEY!

Then in 2005, THE MODERN released a single entitled ‘Industry’ which bore more than a passing resemblance to ‘The More You Live, The More You Love’. According to band member Nathan Cooper, better known these days as KID KASIO, this was purely accidental: “We didn’t realise until halfway through the promotional tour for it. We were doing an interview for a little radio station in Sheffield and the presenter pointed it out and played both back to back!!!! We were speechless and a bit embarrassed… the verse for both songs is almost EXACTLY the same!!”

Then bizarrely, the poacher met the gamekeeper! “We actually supported them years later” remembered Cooper, “we were so embarrassed, we were going to drop ‘Industry’ from our set! But in the end, I just went up to Mike Score and explained it and said ‘I’m really sorry, it was unintentional’. He was really lovely about it”. THE MODERN weren’t the only ones mining the Seagull Songbook.

In 2007, MARSHEAUX borrowed the main riff from ‘Space Age Love Song’ for their ‘Dream Of A Disco’, often thought of as the Greek synth maidens’ signature song. Indeed, imitation can be the sincerest form of flattery…

Mike Score unsurprisingly trained as a hairdresser, but music was where his ambitions lay. Joining forces with his drummer brother Ali and bassist Frank Maudsley, they rehearsed as a three-piece and began writing songs along the way. But it was not until after the recruitment of guitarist Paul Reynolds that things began to gain momentum.

By late 1979, Merseyside had become a hot bed of emerging musical talent with acts such as ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN, THE TEARDROP EXPLODES, DEAD OR ALIVE, WAH! HEAT, CHINA CRISIS and OMD. But with their Sci-Fi songs and penchant for dressing up as spacemen, A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS never fitted in with their local contemporaries.

So one could imagine the reaction of Mac The Mouth and Droolian when Mike Score and Co were the the first of the gang to break America when their eponymous debut album reached No75 in the US charts on the back of ‘Telecommunication’, a Bill Nelson produced song from it, becoming a No1 US Dance hit!

A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS had got their original break when Bill Nelson produced and released their debut single ‘(It’s Not Me) Talking’ for his Cocteau label in 1981. But it was with their fourth single ‘I Ran’ that they first nestled just outside the UK Top40. With an echoing guitar kick, this was futuristic synthesized rock along the lines of ULTRAVOX that crucially became a US Top10 in the Billboard Hot 100.

The embracement from America came via MTV; Mike Score’s memorable back combed hair style and the band’s unusual appearance appealed to a college demographic which was tiring of permed long hair and blue denim. With a sound that combined enough conventional rawk guitar to have mainstream appeal while adding a spacey sheen with prominent synths, A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS were onto a winning formula.

Produced by Mike Howlett, who also steered OMD, BLANCMANGE and CHINA CRISIS to chart success, ‘A Flock Of Seagulls’ was a concept album of sorts about an alien invasion that featured ‘I Ran’, ‘Space Age Love Song’ and ‘Telecommunication’, plus other great tracks such as ‘Modern Love Is Automatic, ‘Messages’ and the Grammy Award winning ‘DNA’.

Also produced by Howlett except for the album’s closer ‘(It’s Not Me) Talking’, ‘Listen’ released in 1983 made an even bigger impact, thanks to the song many consider to be A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS’ crowning glory, ‘Wishing (I Had A Photograph Of You)’.

With a percussively clanky backbone and using just black keys for its infectious melody line, it was the big home hit that A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS has been waiting for. Further singles ‘Nightmares’ and ‘Transfer Affection’ were good but did not reach quite the same heights, although that mattered little as at this point, the quartet were one of the most heavily rotated acts on MTV.

Their third album ‘The Story Of A Young Heart’ in 1984 was the beginning of the artistic and sales decline, although the lead single’ ‘The More You Live, The More You Love’ was classic A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS in the vein of ‘Space Age Love Song’.

By the time of the fifth long player ‘Dream Come True’, Reynolds had left the band as the remaining threesome settled into their new base of Philadelphia, but A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS had lost that distinctly British edge that made them so appealing to the US in the first place.

‘Heartbeat Like A Drum’ was a passable watered down digital pop song of a period when British acts like OMD and THE HUMAN LEAGUE were chasing the American dollar, but the Hi-NRG paced ‘Who’s That Girl (She’s Got It)’ was poor and the beginning of the end. By 1986, the Score brothers had fallen out and A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS had disbanded.

The legacy of A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS has now been bolstered by a new compilation on Cherry Pop with the self-explanatory title of ‘Remixes & Rarities’. Featuring most of the band’s singles in radio edit and extended format, it also acts as a document to some of the more hidden experiments of the band, and how popular music was changing under the spectre of MTV and club culture.

There were rumours that while ‘Dream Come True’ was being recorded, A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS were turning into a Mike Score solo act. Two lengthy instrumentals ‘The Last Flight Of Yuri Gagarin’ and ‘Rosenmontag’ that featured on the flip of ‘Nightmares’ certainly give the impression that this was starting to be the case, even back then. Having not been included on Cherry Pop’s album reissues, this pair of collage curios certainly haven’t been missed… also not much cop is the rather badly put together ‘Single Medley’.

Much better though are the nine minute version of ‘Wishing (I Had A Photograph Of You)’, an edit of its B-side ‘Committed’ and the extended remix of ‘Never Again (The Dancer)’ which comes over like OMD but with more guitar. The ‘Full Moon Mix’ of ‘The More You Live, The More You Love’ fairs less well, being one of those horrid dub styled reworks that were prevalent from 1984 onwards and which featured very little of the actual song!

An assortment of live versions fill the remainder of this compendium and these recordings act as a reminder that despite the exposure on MTV, it was actually A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS’ ability as a live band and a willingness to tour as support to the likes of bigger acts such as GENESIS, THE POLICE and THE GO-GO’S in the US that cemented their success. A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS continue to play live today with Mike Score being the sole remaining original member.

While he might no longer have his hair or his Scouse accent, ‘Remixes & Rarities’ is evidence that despite how they were derided in their own country and have been sent up by popular culture, A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS have a significant number of great songs in their back catalogue that worldwide audiences still want to hear.

And not many bands actually get to achieve that…

‘Remixes & Rarities’ is released by Cherry Pop as a double CD set on 24th March 2017, pre-order from https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/remixes-rarities-deluxe-2cd-edition

The albums ‘A Flock Of Seagulls’, ‘Listen’, ‘The Story Of A Young Heart’ and ‘Dream Come True’ are all still available on CD via Cherry Pop https://www.cherryred.co.uk/artist/a-flock-of-seagulls/




Text by Chi Ming Lai
11th March 2017



Athens-based synth maidens MARSHEAUX returned to the UK by gracing the beautiful Norfolk city of Norwich at Epic Studios.

The day was kicked off by a marvellous memorabilia exhibition of items from the Synth Britannia era. Deb Danahay’s collection mainly depicted the early years of DEPECHE MODE circa 1981. Deb shared her very first DM fan club information sheets, photos, backstage passes and newspaper cuttings.

As well as that, there were YAZOO fan club photos, backstage passes and personal notes too while one of the UK’s most devoted fans of DEPECHE MODE, Michael Rose treated eager observers to some excellent pieces of rare memorabilia.


These included tour programmes from the ‘Some Great Reward’, ‘Music For The Masses’ and ‘Violator’ eras. There were the Bong fan club publications as well, plus letters and assorted promo photographs. And there was the famous jacket Dave Gahan wore on the iconic ‘The World We Live In and Live In Hamburg’ video of nearly from the 1984 ‘Some Great Reward’ Tour, and also the first ever live concert release by the Basildon band.

Stephen Roper provided his keepsakes relating to Gary Numan. He collated a book about the Numan’s imperial era entitled ‘Back Stage-A Book Of Reflections’, which featured contributions from the man himself. More recently, Roper has ventured into gig promotion, hosting a successful live appearance by former KRAFTWERK member Wolfgang Flur.


The happy crowd milling around the venue consisted of diehard fans of electronica, studded with the likes of Sarah Blackwood ex-CLIENT and DUBSTAR, Anais Neon and Martin Swan from VILE ELECTRODES and George Geranios of Undo Records. Also along for the fun were Keith Trigwell of SPEAK & SPELL and Simon Helm of Nordic friendly music blog Cold War Night Life.

The compère for the evening was the lovely Caroline Rose, who was probably the only person in the venue who could pronounce “Les Disques du Crépuscule” and managed to get the audience properly geared up for the evening’s festivities as well as provided interesting info on the night’s acts.

Guest DJ James Nice graced the gathering with a variety of new and vintage tunes. He recently resurrected the prestigious Belgian label Les Disques du Crépuscule and its sister Factory Benelux offshoot, as platforms to issue a plethora of archive and experimental material, as well as releasing new music by MARNIE, MARSHEAUX, DEUX FILLES and LES PANTIES.

Nice, who is a music publisher and writer, with an accomplished 2010 book ‘Shadowplayers: The Rise And Fall Of Factory Records’, now looks after both labels, curating its heritage as well as taking care of new acts. The sleeve notes for these releases are written by the man himself, but as he told ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK in his recent interview: “My notes tend to be honest rather than gushing or pseudo-academic, and that’s probably why I rarely get commissioned to write liner notes for other releases!”


In front of an audience that had gathered from as far as Switzerland, Holland, Ireland, Liverpool and London, RODNEY CROMWELL took to the stage first. Led by Adam Cresswell, his short but sweet set of tunes including ‘Baby Robot’ and ‘Black Dog’ from debut long player ‘Age Of Anxiety’, chronicled his own personal problems with depression. There was also the terrific bonus of his older ARTHUR & MARTHA track ‘Autovia’ featuring bandmate Alice Hubley on lead vocals.

He was pleased with the early crowd turnout as he had told ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK earlier this year: “I think it’s harder to get gigs now… maybe that’s because electronic music’s not as fashionable, because back in the mid-noughties, it was on the back of Electroclash and that hipster thing!”. Well, it was a very successful set too and he managed it without blowing up one of his Korgs, like he had done at the warm-up gig in London the day before!


The golden boy of 2016, Nathan Cooper aka KID KASIO showcased his talents next during a lively 40 minute set. Cooper has had a successful couple of years, releasing his stunning retro-inspired album ‘Sit and Wait’ with such gems as ‘Full Moon Blue’ and ‘The Kodo Song’, which were both performed to a rather appreciative audience.

Previously of THE MODERN and MATINEE CLUB, Cooper has been involved in electronic music for years and worked with all the big names like Stephen Hague. Most recently, he opened a fabulous recording studio Fiction Studios in London, together with his oh-so-famous actor brother Dominic. Cooper managed to pick up a parking fine during rehearsals, so he amusingly pleaded to the audience to buy at least six CDs to cover his losses! His set went down tremendously well; with massively upbeat and entertaining tracks like ‘The Story Of Kid Charlemagne’ and the über fast ‘The End’, the crowd did not want to let KID KASIO off stage.


KID KASIO certainly prepared the audience for Greek Goddesses MARSHEAUX, whose hour-long set was simply stunning. The duo are soon to play at the first African electronic music festival in Senegal and kicked off with tunes from their latest acclaimed album ‘Ath.Lon’, accompanied by arty background projections. But the big hits like ‘Breakthrough’ from ‘Lumineux Noir’ were also included and inevitably got the audience pumping.

Apart from being pleasing to the eye, Marianthi Melitsi and Sophie Sarigiannidou also know how to get the crowd going and a few certainly got involved in a very articulated manner. The audience were dancing and singing to the brilliant ‘Inhale’ and the mood continued with DEPECHE MODE’s ‘The Sun & The Rainfall’. With exquisite harmonies brought by the girls, a few people in the audience actually said they preferred MARSHEAUX’s cover album of ‘A Broken Frame’ to the original.


After the show, many rushed to purchase ‘Ath.Lon’ with its stunning sleeve, dutifully signed by the duo. The demand was such that certain items on the merchandise stand flew out so fast, that a few missed out on goodies such as the lush luminous sleeved ‘Ghost’ 7 inch vinyl.

The happy crowd was entertained and everybody was having a great time. Now, this is what happens when electronic music events are curated by electronic music enthusiasts.

The organisers give their warmest thanks to all the bands, DJs, venue crew, team, helpers and attendees who made the evening such a great success







Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
Photos by John Newstead and Simon Watson
12th November 2016

KID KASIO Full Moon Blue

Formerly of THE MODERN and later MATINEE CLUB, Nathan Cooper debuted as KID KASIO with the long player ‘Kasiotone’ in 2012. And with his latest single ‘Full Moon Blue’, he simply couldn’t get any Wilder…

Performing alongside MARSHEAUX and RODNEY CROMWELL on SATURDAY 5TH NOVEMBER 2016 in Norwich, Cooper is a man who is plainly honest about where his influences lie. His love of electronic acts such as HOWARD JONES and OMD permeates throughout his work. His most recent album ‘Sit & Wait’ is a fine collection of playful synthpop that is unafraid to nails its colours to the mast in a totally unpretentious manner.

Now imagine if DEPECHE MODE were fronted by Nik Kershaw instead of Dave Gahan? With ‘Full Moon Blue’, this musical fantasy is fully realised with a clever interpolation of ‘Two Minute Warning’, one of the songwriting contributions from Alan Wilder on ‘Construction Time Again’. The recording had originally started life as a cover version, but mutated into its own entity.

‘Full Moon Blue’ comes accompanied with a promo video sourced from home movie footage; “It’s compiled from footage of an old VHS tape a friend found in a box in his mum’s attic. It’s a film we made on camcorder when we were 18. A kung fu film” said Cooper, “I’ve just kind of thrown it together, but it kind of works. It’s certainly not a video I would have planned for the song, but I think that’s better sometimes. I was keen not to spend 2 years making a video this time around, like I did with ‘The Kodo Song’ and this came with a ready-made back story, so I thought ‘why not?’”.

Having previously worked with the likes of Stephen Hague who produced ERASURE, NEW ORDER and PET SHOP BOYS, KID KASIO has a quality background.

He said to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK in 2015: “Whether I release it in 2013 or 2016, it’s still going to sound like 1985!” – in the case of ‘Full Moon Blue’, KID KASIO parties like its 1983!

KID KASIO Full Moon Blue‘Full Moon Blue’ is released as a download single and also available on the album ‘Sit & Wait’

KID KASIO plays Epic Studios, 114 Magdalen Street, Norwich, Norfolk NR3 1JD on SATURDAY 5TH NOVEMBER 2016




Text by Chi Ming Lai
15th September 2016

A Short Conversation with KID KASIO

Nathan Cooper, the man behind KID KASIO has been extremely busy of late.

As well as basking in the critical acclaim for his impressive second album ‘Sit & Wait’, the former frontman of THE MODERN has opened a recording complex in Central London with his actor brother Dominic.

The air conditioned Fiction Studios includes a 36 track Soundtracs IL 3632 desk, an ambient room and a library area to provide a relaxing writing space. Among the classic synths available for use are a Sequential Circuits Prophet 5, a Korg Poly 800 and a Yamaha DX7.

Meanwhile, KID KASIO will be performing alongside MARSHEAUX and RODNEY CROMWELL on SATURDAY 5TH NOVEMBER at Norwich Epic Studios, with a supporting DJ line-up of James Nice from Les Disques du Crépuscule.

Unashamedly wearing his pop credentials on his sleeve as ever, Nathan Cooper chatted about attempting DEPECHE MODE covers, his sibling studio venture, the art of collaboration and his thoughts on the current music scene…

Now you’ve had some distance, how do you think the ‘Sit & Wait’ album has been received?

Everyone who’s heard it seems to like it. The problem is, I don’t think many people have heard it. That’s the issue I have. I know that the songs are catchy and could appeal to a wide audience, but the vast majority of the population won’t ever hear it. We seem to be drowning in this sea of music, the bulk of which is mediocre, and this is ruining it for the people who are actually creating something decent.

I can’t seem to get my head above the parapet in an ocean of people who think its ok to throw a beat down and then release it to the world on Soundcloud. When I started out making music in my teens in the late 80s and early 90s, you had to have a certain amount of stamina and steely ambition to succeed in music. I’d practice hard with my band five nights a week. We’d go round London pasting our own posters up in the middle of the night.

Then we’d be organising our own gigs and invite record companies until we finally got management. Then there’d be the huge costs involved with hiring a professional recording studio so we could make a decent sounding demo. We got to that stage because we were good. None of that would have happened if we’d been sh*t. We would have fallen at the first hurdle. Now it seems anyone can make music, literally anyone can turn on a laptop and make it sound half decent and professional and then load it onto Soundcloud. They can effectively skip all the hurdles.

None of the steps that used to sort the wheat from the chaff exist anymore, it’s just boom! And it’s out there for the world to hear. I despise Soundcloud more than anything else. Who ever thought it was a good idea to look at the waveform of a piece of music?? It’s completely counter intuitive to how we should enjoy music. It completely ruins the enjoyment of a song knowing where the drops and the builds are before they’ve happened. I just don’t get it.

Anyway, in answer to your question I’m pleased with the response for the album, but I’ve also got to be realistic. It’s not going to set the charts alight which is a shame, but I had fun making it and that’s what counts and that’s why I do it.

‘Sit & Wait’ seems more relaxed and benefits from that stance?

I guess when I made the first album I had more to prove. I’d just left THE MODERN and felt like I had to validate myself, to show I could do it alone. I’d spent so many years in bands never really being able to follow my musical vision 100 percent without certain levels of compromise.

It was like “Yeah here I am! And yes I like HOWARD JONES! So f***ing what! And yeah I think NIK KERSHAW has a ton of better songs than JOY DIVISION! And yeah I actually think Stock Aitken and Watermen were good producers and songwriters! Put that in your f***ing pipe and smoke it!”, that’s actually what my whole first album was screaming.

I think I was just very angry, and making the whole album was a kind of purgative experience that I had to do.
By the second album I’d calmed down a lot, I just took my time with it. There’s a lot more collaborations on ‘Sit & Wait’ which is maybe what gives it a more relaxed feel. I’m probably the least relaxed person in the world so I think the energy of another person can help take off some of my neurotic edge maybe!!

In hindsight, your debut album ‘Kasiotone’ almost feels like you may have been trying too hard?

I’ve not thought too much about this before but now you mention it, when I was making my first album between 2008-2011, I was quite keen to be involved in that wave of Synthpop that was emerging at the time with LA ROUX and FRANKMUSIK.

By the time I’d started making ‘Sit & Wait’ in 2013, I didn’t feel like there was a particular bandwagon existing for me to jump on, so I was just doing stuff more instinctively and from the heart. I guess that comes over as being more true to myself, and perhaps more relaxed with who I am. There was a ton of Autotune on my first album too, which I think in hindsight can make things sound a bit less natural and more forced sometimes.

‘Full Moon Blue’ is something of a triumph…

Why thank you! It came about in a kind of round about way that one. A friend of mine, Chris Smith (who’s part of THE MANHATTAN CLIQUE who’d done some remixes for, and managed THE MODERN), emailed me and said I should do a cover of the DEPECHE MODE song ‘Two Minute Warning’. I’ve really no idea why he suggested it, but I listened to the song and thought maybe if I did, that they’d remix my album for me or something! It really was just an experiment in self-promotion. I just did it in the hope I’d get something out of it!

I’m utterly ashamed to say I wasn’t that familiar with the song, but it instantly appealed to me because, although I thought the arrangement was fantastic, I kind of felt like it certainly wasn’t one of their best songs, and I only like to attempt a cover if I think I can improve on it in some way.

Anyway I started by copying it exactly, and then kind of started writing my own song over the top. A lot of my songs begin that way, where I’ll start by replicating something and then gradually manipulate it until it becomes my own. Unfortunately with that one it still retained a lot of the original DM flavour. To the point where I really ought to speak to Alan Wilder who penned that one! I’ll give him 50 percent when it goes straight in at number one!

I’m working on a track at the moment, which began by emulating ZARA LARSSON’s ‘Lush Life’ (which I love by the way!). The thing is, after I’ve had my way with it, its ended up sounding more like ‘Cruel Summer’ by BANANARAMA! That’s the hand of KID KASIO at work!

Another highlight from ‘Sit & Wait’ is ‘One Chance’, what’s the story behind that one?

That was written with a friend of mine Liam Hansell. We’d actually met up one afternoon to write the poppiest song we could. That was the intention.

We had some crazy notion we could sell it to a boy band or something, this thing was literally going to be our pension plan.

I wouldn’t normally recommend starting a session with such lofty ambitions. But it was working out ok and I think about halfway through recording, I felt like I wanted it for KID KASIO and it was too good to give to anyone else. The song was actually about Paul Potts and the whole X Factor/ Simon Cowell machine. It’s about someone auditioning and how they pin their whole life on this one moment.

The infuriating thing was, about six months after we wrote it, James Corden, who I’ve met several times on account of him being best friends with my brother, starred in a film playing the character of Paul Potts!!! And guess what the film was called? ‘One Chance’!! We were absolutely gutted! I’m absolutely positive if I’d told my brother about the song, he could’ve played it to James, whom he was flatmates with at the time, and we could’ve got it in the film. It would’ve been absolutely perfect for it.

Liam and I wrote another song together on the album which was called ‘Human Beings’. The original lyric I came up with in the studio was “We’re just European”, but we changed it to “We’re just Human Beings” although looking back now, I think with the original lyric, it could have been some kind of Anti-Brexit anthem!

You’ve continued your working relationship with Ricardo Autobahn and collaborated on the track ‘It’s Not Enough’ for SPRAY’s album ‘Enforced Fun’. Are there any other artists you would be interested in collaborating with in the future?

I can’t help but collaborate with Ricardo Autobahn. He’ll send me something and for some reason it will just immediately inspire me. He sent me ‘It’s Not Enough’ and wanted me to sing a bit of it. I tried but it was quite wordy, and I’m all lispy and can’t get my words out, so I kind of simplified it a bit. I felt a bit cheeky sending it back and saying “I’ve sung it but I kind of changed a few words, and the melody a little bit, oh and can you change the key as well”, but he was gracious as always.

I don’t really have a list of people I’d like to work with. I’m such an anxious person, the thought of working with someone famous and successful just fills me with such fear and dread I just couldn’t do it. I think I’d prefer to work with someone new and up and coming so I could be the nurturing one. The old sage in the corner, offering my tuppence worth.

There’s a few new artists I like, but in general I’m just more of a song addict. There’s not one album on my iPod. I just listen to singles from the Top 20 – 1978 to 2016. I have to absolutely adore a band to venture into their album tracks. That’s reserved for DURAN DURAN, JAPAN and a small handful of others. In terms of new music, I just tend to go online and scour the different countries in Europe for what’s coming up in the charts.

Having said that, there are certain producers I’d love to work with, Trevor Horn obviously, and I’m always intrigued to see how Max Martin worked. I’ve been such a fan of his ever since I spied his name on the back of a Eurodance CD I bought in France in about 1994.Even then, I knew there was something really special about his writing. I’d bore people to death about his band E-TYPE. Now he’s the biggest songwriter in the world!

You’ve opened a new recording facility Fiction Studios in Central London with your brother, what brought this about?

We’d both been keen to do it for ages. In fact he’d been bugging me about it for about two years, and I was really reluctant to give up my home studio.

There’d been an incident while I was producing a track for the film ‘Miss You Already’ when the star Toni Colette had to come into my studio to sing some vocals. The problem was, myself and my writing partner Benjamin Todd had kind of augmented our credentials, shall we say, with the intention of getting the gig. We’d delivered on it in terms of what we’d put forward, but we knew our cover would be blown if she’d walked into my little flat in SE London and seen my studio in the corner of my bedroom!! It just wasn’t very Hollywood. I guess that was the turning point for me.

I’ve been there everyday since the 1st of January, wiring up mixing desks, painting, laying carpet, It was really somewhere I could put my own stamp on. Carpet everywhere!! I’m obsessed with carpet! Don’t invite me into your home if you don’t have carpet. I’ll just walk out again, I love carpet. It must be something to do with acoustics. I’ve even got carpet in my kitchen and bathroom!

I also spent days attaching velvet drapes to the ceiling! I bought so much velvet from ‘Rolls & Rems’ in Lewisham, I’m sure they think I’m opening a harem or something. The thing about the space that really attracted me right from the start were the books. The owners of the space had built a kind of film set of an old library in the corner with fake brickwork on the walls, fake piping going into a fake boiler in the corner, there’s even a fake staircase going nowhere!

And lots of books, literally thousands of them. They had intended to film a ‘Jackanory’ type thing down there, but the project had stalled. I just took one look and said this would be perfect! So you had this incredible ‘Harry Potter’ style film set in one corner but the rest of the room was in bad shape, it was just a store room really, so that’s where I got into Laurence Llewelyn Bowen mode.

The interior design paid off though because we invited Roland to come and have a look and as soon as they walked in, they said they would give us whatever we wanted as long as they could film in there every now and again.

I’m hoping the studio can offer a creative space to musicians in the heart of London where there’s not really that much else around. It’s all very exciting.

You have a nice collection of synths of various vintages. What do you have and are there any interesting stories about any these?

Yeah I have a bit of a collection but there’s still plenty more I want! Obviously the collection won’t be complete without a Jupiter 8 and Oberheim OBX-a, but these things seem to be sky rocketing in price. I remember going to Thornton Heath to buy an SH101 for £80 from someone in Loot and thinking that was a bit expensive, so I bought some chips on the way and only gave him £79!!!

My Juno 60 is like an old friend. My original one was purchased, again through Loot, in 1989 for about £150. In 1992, we were recording in the same studio as JESUS JONES, this grotty place on Commercial Road which isn’t there any more called Ezee Studios with a producer called Nick Tauber who’d produced TOYAH and MARILLION. I left the Juno there, thinking we’d be back the following week to finish the recording, and we didn’t return for about a year.

On our return no-one knew where the Juno was! I still check the underside of every Juno I ever come across in the hope I’ll see my 14 year old etchings on the bottom: “Nathan Cooper, Belmont Hill Lewisham SE13”!! Anyway I gave up hope of ever finding it, and bought a new one in about 1994. It’s still with me to this day.It’s literally never gone wrong. It’s just the best synth ever.

You did well to find the Crumar Performer…

Myself and childhood friend Gabriel Prokofiev were in a band together, and were both massive fans of the first DURAN DURAN album. He bought his in about 1991 and a few years later, because I was renting a studio space from him in Hackney, I sneaked it off him and stashed it away in my studio for a long time until he wanted it back.

By the time I returned it to him, it was too late for me, I knew there was absolutely no way I could live without one. I was a Crumar addict!! It really is the most special sounding thing you’ve ever heard. It does a brass sound which is appalling, but those strings are to die for. I met Mark Ronson back stage at a Duran gig a couple of years ago and had a good chat with him about it. He’s even named a song on his first album after it!

The studio has plenty to offer to musicians of all persuasions… what facilities does Fiction Studios have to tackle that tricky issue of recording live drums for example?

We did our first session with live drums the other day, which I was dreading, but it turned out brilliantly. Fortunately we’ve got a massive collection of good mics and I was able to play around until I got a really good sound that the drummer and the client were really happy with. We ended up recording in an area of the studio which isn’t carpeted and has a little more of a live sound.

Obviously if I had my way, every drummer in the world would just use a DMX drum machine or play a Simmons kit (both of which we also offer!). But I realise to make this venture work, we have to cater for all styles of music. Actually I’ve got to say, the live drums sounded so good, I may be using some on my next album. With lots of gated reverb obviously!

You’re playing with MARSHEAUX and RODNEY CROMWELL at Norwich Epic Studios in November, are you planning anything particularly for that show?

I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about a gig. We were all on such a high after the iSynth Festival in Lille back in May that we literally can’t wait for this.

There’ll be lots of new songs from the ‘Sit & Wait’ album and definitely some serious keytar action. I’m thinking of resurrecting my ‘Brookside’ theme tune show opener! Last time I played it, none of the rest of my band knew what it was!! They thought it was a tune I’d composed.

It was only a few months later that my drummer called me up and said “they just played your tune on the telly, it was on a programme about 1982”, I said “were they talking about something called ‘Brookside’ by any chance?”.

Will the yellow Simmons drum kit be coming along with you?

Of course!! I retired the Simmons kick drum for the last gig in France because we were travelling in a tiny Ford Fiesta, but I’m hoping we’ll have something a bit more roomy for this gig so the whole kit can come along.

Synthpop is been going through a tricky period domestically at the moment, although CHRVCHES seem to be our saviours of synthpop. You’ve been in the music business a while, why do you think they succeeded while say, MIRRORS didn’t?

I think MIRRORS were fantastic and I think they befell a similar fate as THE MODERN. They didn’t have timing on their side and they suffered from a distinct lack of serendipity. The business is all about luck. It’s almost impossible to sustain a band at that semi-professional level. That point where things are teetering on the edge of full blown success. Every decision you make is so loaded. It becomes make or break at every juncture and it’s impossible to continue a creative relationship in that kind of environment, it’s too destructive, the band will eventually implode.

It’s fine at the other end of the scale, if you have no success. If you’re a few mates rehearsing in your garage living in a constant state of expectation and hope you can go on for years like that. I certainly have! It’s the same if you’re super successful, if everything’s going well that’s just fine. The problems come with that in-between stage; it’s that ‘almost ran’ situation that’s impossible to sustain.

CHRVCHES are great, I thought their Glasto set was excellent. I thought YEARS & YEARS were great too. While I don’t think it’s a particularly golden age for synthpop, I think there’s a general synth sheen to pop music at the moment, that isn’t a bad thing. It could be worse, it could be the bloody 90s!

What’s next for KID KASIO?

Fiction Studios has taken over everything for the last few months but now I’m back on track. I’m already planning the next video for the next single later in the year, possibly the last release from the album, we’ll see. I’m constantly writing, that’s the key. I’m mainly writing for other people, but I often come up with something and go “that’s a bit KID KASIO” and keep it for myself!

‘Sit & Wait’ is available as a download from the usual digital outlets




Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
11th July 2016

SPRAY Enforced Fun

SPRAY ENFORCED FUNartworkJenny McLaren and Ricardo Autobahn (aka John Matthews) jokingly describe themselves as “Synth folk straight outa Lancashire”.

Having been members of THE CUBAN BOYS, with whom they topped the singles charts in the UK, the twosome took on an off-shot project, SPRAY.

Autobahn has also been involved in a venture called BARNDANCE BOYS with Daz Simpson aka Darren Sampson, infamous for their exaggerated papier-mâché heads.

Two albums have been released since, followed by further EPs. And now, the good mates of Nathan Cooper aka TEC favourite KID KASIO, have returned with a lengthy production mischievously entitled ‘Enforced Fun’.

The hilarious ‘Prologue’ by Jane Badler introduces the light hearted approach of this record, which is a happy and bright amalgamation of cheerful dance tracks, such as ‘Hit The Applause Light’, ‘Overdramatic’ (with vocals sounding like Sarah Blackwood’s), ‘Rotating The Square’ and ‘The Magic 8 Ball Lies’ (loaded with Eurovision worthy qualities and varying vocals).

‘You Show Me The Way’ slows the tempo somewhat, resembling DUBSTAR or CLIENT, thanks to the clear, competent vocals and pleasant melody.

KID KASIO features on ‘It’s Not Enough’; an über electric come back to the synthier years. A refreshing approach to the old style electronica is what’s expected of Nathan Cooper and this track certainly provides that in bunches.

‘Diabolical Mastermind’ provides political connotations interwoven within an efficient synthravaganza, while ‘It’s The Night Of The Long Knives, Charlie Brown’ musically turns into a more folk and reggae inspired number, laced with clubland rhythms.

SPRAY-02‘Into A Tunnel’ drifts away from the discotheque into a dream land and ‘The 80s Never Died’ is ERASURE in a can, followed by ‘Fake Controversy Coincidentally Moves Product’ and ‘The Biggest Pool In LA’ (a sarcastic answer to any problem).

HYPERBUBBLE feature on ‘The Very Nerve Centre of Art Video Cliché’, a song laced with ABBA’s ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!’ synth line and scarce guitar elements. The production closes with ‘The Final Song’, a measured ballad, peacefully wrapping this eclectic collection of “perfect songs for every mood”.

SPRAY are well regarded and part of many collaborations, some of them including Autobahn’s co-writing and production of ‘Teenage Life’ with Daz Sampson, which was UK’s 2006 Eurovision entry; others have McLaren performing guest vocals on club records. KID KASIO, as well as many others, like LOLLY POP, POP INC and HELEN LOVE pride themselves with having worked alongside the duo.

‘Enforced Fun’ is a masterful dance gem, but without the sugary beats and need of overbearing vocal enhancement. What you hear is what you get, get it?!

‘Enforced Fun’ is released as a CD and download on 29th April 2016 via



Text by Monika Izabela Goss
7th April 2016

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