Tag: Neu-romancer


Making up for lost time and revenue since 2020, the music industry really went to town on their various income streams in 2023…

Albums were being released in multiple coloured vinyl editions with the same content, sometimes as many as eight versions… while this helped in inflating physical chart positions for marketing purposes, it also gave an incorrect perception of success. As Stephen Morris from NEW ORDER once remarked to Smash Hits back in 1983: “If you believe in the charts, then you may as well believe in fairies…”

With Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino declaring that concert ticket prices were generally too low and that artists could easily “charge a bit more”, this was exactly what quite a few did and there was a noticeable price hike observed across all levels over the year.

But what about the music? This year’s song listing was quite straightforward to compile, with a smaller shortlist compared to previous years with DURAN DURAN, KITE, PISTON DAMP, LEATHERS, DELERIUM and LADYTRON missing the final 30.

Just a note that ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK has never compiled an albums list, due to long form releases now having a much longer gestation period than in the past. Therefore, songs are a much better representation of the music from a calendar year. If you like the song, then check out the parent album or EP if applicable via your chosen music platform…

Selected from tracks available on the usual online retail platforms with a restriction of one song per artist moniker (so yes NINA, John Grant,  Finlay Shakespeare and Laura Bailey each appear twice but in different combinations), here are the ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s 30 SONGS OF 2023 listed in alphabetical order…


Hailing from Melbourne in Australia, Brigitte Bardini is the latest artist to embrace her dark side having begun as an acoustic singer songwriter. Moving away from the dreampop and shoegaze of her earlier material, ‘Start A Fire’ captured an alluring gothique on top of a gritty dance tempo while simultaneously haunting and melodic. This was sinister stuff but aurally absorbing.

Available on the BRIGITTE BARDINI single ‘Start A Fire’ via Ruby Valley Records


BEBORN BETON Dancer In The Dark

Not a rework of Bruce Springsteen, the brilliant ‘Dancer In The Dark’ saw BEBORN BETON managing to out Camouflage CAMOUFLAGE with an infectious pop sensibility that more than likely came from front man and lyric writer Stefan Netschio’s love of DURAN DURAN. As if The Berlin Wall never fell, ‘Dancer In The Dark’ was a message to remain positive in the face of adversity.

Available on the BEBORN BETON album ‘Darkness Falls Again’ via Dependent Records



BLACKCARBURNING is the solo vehicle of Mark Hockings, lead singer of MESH. taking on multiple roles including programming and production. The spikey throbbing energy of ‘The Mirror’ provided a dark disco highlight away from the parent band’s template. “I’m just generally a fan of arpeggiated bass lines” he said, “I don’t think you can go far wrong with a repetitive sequence and a Roland drum machine”.

Available on the BLACKCARBURNING album ‘Watching Sleepers’ via COP International



With Lloyd Cole “excited to still be finding new methods, new perspectives, new sounds”, the standout song ‘The Idiot’ from his Chris Hughes’ produced album ‘On Pain’ gave a touching synth-laden narrative on the relationship between David Bowie and Iggy Pop as they relocated to Berlin in 1976 in an imagined conversation as the pair escaped their narcotic dependency while cycling to the studio and discothèque.

Available on the LLOYD COLE album ‘On Pain’ via earMUSIC


CREEP SHOW The Bellows

A supergroup comprising of John Grant, Stephen Mallinder, Ben Benge Edwards and Phil Winter, CREEP SHOW released their acclaimed debut album ‘Mr Dynamite’ in 2018. Utilising a punchy backing track, ‘The Bellows’ was like a blippy PET SHOP BOYS with layers of treated and vocodered vocals before being countered by enticing Middle Eastern resonances in the synth solo.

Available on the CREEP SHOW album ‘Yawning Abyss’ via Bella Union


DAWN TO DAWN Seventh Floor

Their first new track from DAWN TO DAWN since their 2022 debut album ‘Postcards From The Sun To The Moon’, the Montreal trio of Tess Roby, Adam Ohr and Patrick Lee conjured images of headlights on night drives with the shimmering story of love and lust that was ‘Seventh Floor’ with dreamy synthscapes and hypnotic drum machine.

Available on the DAWN TO DAWN digital single ‘Seventh Floor’ via SSURROUNDSS



The palette of tools on ‘Truth Is The New Gold’ saw FERAL FIVE use traditional instruments, electronica and AI voicing in a quirky but accessible fashion. Exploring the theme of light pollution, the fine squelch laden ‘Silver Sky’ saw great vocals and backing reminiscent of INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS OF POP and DUBSTAR meeting GOLDFRAPP.

Available on the FERAL FIVE album ‘Truth Is The New Gold’ via Reckless Yes


FRAGRANCE. Much More Like A Wave – M!R!M Remix

Matthieu Roche is the enigmatic Parisian behind FRAGRANCE. whose debut ‘Dust & Disorders’ was expanded in 2023 with five new tracks. The first remix from it came in the shape of an excellent ‘Much More Like A Wave’ rework by Italian producer M!R!M. “I love his take on the song” said Roche, “I always felt that the chorus of this song could work as an anthem and he definitely achieved that with his remix”

Available on the FRAGRANCE. digital single ‘Much More Like A Wave – M!R!M Remix’ via Sugarcane Recordings


GLÜME Dangerous Blue

The second Glüme album ‘Main Character’ with high profile guests such as Sean Ono Lennon and Rufus Wainwright was set to elevate her to the next level but things did not quite work out that way with health and financial concerns by the end of the year. ‘Dangerous Blue’ was one of the sparkling highlights despite its cooing melancholy.

Available on the GLÜME album ‘Main Character’ via Italians Do It Better



Madeline Goldstein presented her best single yet in ‘Seed Of Doubt’ to launch her ‘Other World’ EP. With a wider narrative on “the restlessness of alienation and isolation, the longing to move, to feel power, and to flee”, ‘Seed Of Doubt’ was a brooding slice of gothwave in a manner tinged with some ghostly allure thanks to a haunting soprano delivery.

Available on the self-released MADELINE GOLDSTEIN EP ‘Other World’


JORI HULKKONEN featuring JOHN GRANT I’m Going To Hell

“For my 50th birthday I wanted to do something a bit special” said Jori Hulkkonen, “however, the list of realistic projects quickly narrowed down on yet another album. I did manage to invite some friends and heroes to be featured on it, though.” Displaying his love of PET SHOP BOYS, hearing John Grant with his rich baritone on a house-driven pop track like ‘I’m Going To Hell’ was pure joy.

Available on the JORI HULKKONEN album ‘There Is Light Hidden In These Shadows’ via Blanco & Tinto Recordings



ITALOCONNECTION’s long player ‘Nordisko’ came with a twist by paying tribute to pop from the Nordic region via a collection of cover versions. Written by Jay-Jay Johanson, his marvellous 2002 tune ‘On The Radio’ was given an airy feminine disco makeover featuring Jaia Sowden on vocals. With absorbent sequences and glistening keys, it was a fine shapeshift from the artpop original.

Available on the ITALOCONNECTION album ‘Nordisko’ via Mordisco / Blanco Y Negro



Jaakko Eino Kalevi sought to find beauty in the chaotic nature of the everyday on his new album ‘Chaos Magic’. One of its many highlights ‘The Chamber Of Love’ bore a resemblance to WHAM! “I wrote the song before I ever heard ‘Everything She Wants’ but the arrangement was different” the Finn said, “I love ‘Everything She Wants’ so I arranged this song sounding more like that. It is more electronic now…”

Available on the JAAKKO EINO KALEVI album ‘Chaos Magic’ via Weird World / Domino Recording Co



When artists are mutual fans, it can lead to collaborative possibilities and even ‘Lust’. KID MOXIE and NINA teamed up via Italians Do It Better to capture a seductive film-noir tension within a fantasy world. With a cool air of enigmatic mystery, the downtempo synthwave treatment exuded a sensual anticipation of consummation in their duet.

Available on the KID MOXIE & NINA EP ‘Lust’ via Italians Do It Better



KNIGHT$ What Planet Did You Come From?

The first new music from KNIGHT$ since 2021, the vibrant hook-laden Eurobeat of ‘What Planet Did You Come From? (Baby)’ threw in the kitchen sink with synth, sax and vocoder. With shades of Patrick Cowley’s work for Sylvester and Bobby Orlando’s Divine productions, it affirmed that James Knights’ Britalo was just the tonic in these difficult times.

Available on the KNIGHT$ EP ‘$auna Mu$ik’ via Specchio Uomo



‘I Will Never Learn’ summed up life’s trials and tribulations in a wonderful example of why NATION OF LANGUAGE appeal so much in their glorious mix of synths, live bass, sequencers and electronic percussion. A haunting girly falsetto howl provided a beautiful touch alongside their usual NEW ORDER, OMD and ULTRAVOX influences.

Available on the NATION OF LANGUAGE album ‘Strange Disciple’ via PIAS



Having impressed with her first NEU-ROMANCER EP ‘Neue Romantika’ earlier in 2023 while touring the world with ZANIAS, Berlin-based Australian Laura Bailey ended the year with the cowbell heavy Hi-NRG romp ‘Burning Eyes’. It made use of both her vocal and bass prowess which were less prominent on her largely instrumental debut release.

Available on the compilation album ‘Next Wave Acid Punx DEUX’ (V/A) via Eskimo Recordings


NNHMN Soldier of Beauty

As NNHMN, “non-humans” Lee Margot and Michal Laudarg have been encapsulating these unsettling times in music. Adapting their dark electronic body style with more varied dance elements on their appropriately titled ‘Circle of Doom’ album, courtesy of a particularly hypnotic bassline, the wonderful serene glory of ‘Soldier of Beauty’ gave the viewpoint that the only honest thing to fight for is peace.

Available on the NNHMN album ‘Circle of Doom’ via Young and Cold Records


OMD Look At You Now

Derived from a Paul Humphreys demo with the working title of ‘Zimmer Frame for Andy’, this came bursting with hooks and was perhaps only missing a Paul Humphreys lead vocal. Lyrics such as “When the energy is gone and the feeling is just wrong” and “The power in your hand is pouring out like sand” pointed towards the ‘Bauhaus Staircase’ album’s political themes on the stupidity of Brexit.

Available on the OMD album ‘Bauhaus Staircase’ via 100% Records


PAGE Det Här Är Mitt Sätt

Although the ‘En Ny Våg’ album title song took the PAGE “Numanisation” process to its zenith by featuring Chris Payne, outstripping it was the excellent jaunty robopop of ‘Det Här Är Mitt Sätt’. Within its four chord progression, there were catchy riffs and some fabulous vintage Moog soloing in what was originally conceived as a homage to ‘Fade To Grey’, song which Payne co-wrote.

Available on the PAGE album ‘En Ny Våg’ via Energy Rekords


THE REMAINDER Broken Manhole Cover

As well as Neil Arthur, THE REMAINDER also comprises Liam Hutton and Finlay Shakespeare, both members of the live BLANCMANGE family. The excellent dance friendly ‘Broken Manhole Cover’ recalled LCD SOUNDSYSTEM and it was all intentional as Neil Arthur told ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK “you’ll hear me singing via a gated tremolo FX the words ‘LCD SOUNDSYSTEM’ most of the way through the song.”

Available on THE REMAINDER album ‘Evensong’ via by Blanc Check Ltd




R. MISSING All Alone With Seas

Fronted by enigmatic Sharon Shy, having released enough singles this year to make up an album, R. MISSING are in danger of falling under the radar with the bubbly electronic pop noir of ‘All Alone With Seas’ almost passing by unnoticed despite being one of their best songs of late. A long playing release, while old fashioned, may provide the focal point the duo deserve.

Available on the R. MISSING single ‘All Alone With Seas’ via Terminal Echo



Covered by acts as diverse CARTER USM and Liza Minnelli, the latest interpretation of PET SHOP BOYS stark narrative of a kept woman came via this wispy account by Swedish duo SALLY SHAPIRO. Keeping the original theme of relationship dependency close to its heart but offering an icier Nordic vision from a female perspective, Neil Tennant said “We’ve heard it! The chorus in particular sounds good”.

Available on the SALLY SHAPIRO single ‘Rent’ via Italians Do It Better


DIE SEXUAL Bound, I Rise

DIE SEXUAL are the Los Angeles-based wife-and-husband duo of Rosselinni and Anton Floriano, the latter part of BLACK LIGHT ODYSSEY. Their dark electronic influences examine themes of domination and submission with the seductive ‘Bound, I Rise’ seeing the bottom switch to the top in a hypnotic EBM friendly stomper.

Available on DIE SEXUAL EP ‘Bound’ via A System Exclusive / Hush Ltd.



“It’s an absolute rip off of OMD’s ‘2nd Thought’!” admitted Finlay Shakespeare of his glorious ‘Illusion + Memory’ album highlight ‘Ready Ready’. Almost Motorik in presence with a wonderfully pulsing drive and gorgeous synth tones, our hero doesn’t refrain from thoughts about “feeling at home through just a voice on the shortwave, when in fact you don’t know where you are and you could be in the crosshairs at any time and place.”

Available on the FINLAY SHAKESPEARE album ‘Illusion + Memory’ via Alter


SIERRA Stronger

Parisian producer Annelise Morel has been quietly impressing audiences over the past few years as SIERRA with her brand of darkwave. After several EP releases, her debut album ‘A Story Of Anger’ was a major leap forward. Including collaborations with Carpenter Brut and HEALTH, the standout track was her autobiographical statement ‘Stronger’.

Available on the SIERRA album ‘A Story Of Anger’ via Universal Music


SOFT CELL The Day The World Turned Day-Glo

Always adept at doing covers, SOFT CELL presented a brilliant electro tribute to Poly Styrene with ‘The Day The World Turned Day-Glo’. Taking a musical leaf out of ‘Sex Dwarf’ with Dave Ball making his syndrums and synths sound so menacing yet accessible, while Marc Almond delivers a vocal recalling the anguish of ‘Martin’ with sleazy sax passages resonating with the dystopian lyrics.

Available on the SOFT CELL album ‘*Happiness now completed’ via BMG


SOFTWAVE Taking Life For Granted

Despite its positive pop sound, the lyrics on the second SOFTWAVE album highlighted the challenges of living in a modern world full of dualities. ‘Taking Life For Granted’ went all ABBA-esque with someone “lacking gratitude” under attack, although the rousing chorus and a particularly joyous instrumental break gave the infinite hope.

Available on the SOFTWAVE album ‘things we’ve done’ via Electro Shock Records



A fabulous cover of the Italo flavoured Kim Wilde B-side to ‘The Second Time’ from 1984, the throbbing ‘Lovers On A Beach’ is NINA sounding sexier than ever before. With sharp spikey edges boosting the trancey template, Ricky Wilde provides a superb extended end section that pays homage to Giorgio Moroder in the best way possible.

Available on the RICKY WILDE X NINA album ‘Scala Hearts’ via New Retro Wave



ZANIAS Lovelife

Following one of the most traumatic periods of her life, Alison Lewis returned as her solo alter-ego Zoe Zanias to present ‘Chrysalis’. With glorious arpeggios and lush synth strings, ‘Lovelife’ was bolstered with bass guitar by live bandmate Laura Bailey aka NEU-ROMANCER while an array of pitch-shifted voice samples acted as an abstract lead vocal before the actual one kicked in.

Available on the ZANIAS album ‘Chrysalis’ via Fleisch


A selection of ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s favourite music of 2023 featuring 230+ tracks has been compiled for its ‘Initial After Brilliance’ playlist

Text by Chi Ming Lai
7 December 2023

CURSES Presents: Next Wave Acid Punx DEUX

Berlin-based musician and DJ Luca Venezia, better known as CURSES, presents ‘Next Wave Acid Punx DEUX’, his second curated compilation exploring the darker side of club music though the decades. The first volume had been a lockdown inspired exploration of his own record collection.

Released by Eskimo Recordings and featuring 49 tracks, the music is split into three distinct chapters with more than half being previously unreleased; “Many of these songs come from friends close of mine, or artists I perform with and tour with a lot, whose music and craft I admire and champion.” Luca Venezia told ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about the set, “We are all making a very niche style of music, and everyone is approaching it in their own unique way, it is only natural we migrate to be friends and share the stage together… like a primal instinct.”

Conceived with his ideal night out in mind, compiling such an compilation was not without its headaches; “Fortunately with the help of Eskimo and N.E.W.S., the licensing team are an absolute powerhouse” recalled Venezia, “It wasn’t easy, especially the older material, like Malcolm McLaren’s ‘Madame Butterfly’… and yes, there was SO much music I wanted but couldn’t get the rights to. Not because the artists said no, but because it was impossible to find WHO owned the rights now. Members in bands split up, some pass away, some vanish… it’s a puzzle at times to license the 80s underground electronic gems”.

Chapter 1 contains the pioneering acts of the past that were occasionally signed to major labels and even flirted with the mainstream pop charts. The set opens with ‘Distant Dreams Pt 2’, a wonderful suitably obscure 1980 B-side from THROBBING GRISTLE, while another lesser known gem comes from BIG AUDIO DYNAMITE with ‘The Big V’, the instrumental variant of the 1986 single ‘V. Thirteen’.

The first name likely to be recalled when dark club music comes to mind, especially to Taylor Swift fans, are CABARET VOLTAIRE and they fit like a glove on this compendium with ‘Blue Heat’ from ‘Micro-Phonies’, as do Dutch band CLAN OF XYMOX with ‘Obsession’, an excellent example of classic electro-goth disco.

Of course, NITZER EBB are present and correct with ‘Hearts & Minds’ while DAF stand firm with their declaration as ‘Brothers’ in their appealing but less heralded English language disco phase.

Collecting superb tracks from various acclaimed cult acts, ‘The Murder Of Love’ by PROPAGANDA and the I Dream Of Jeanne Mix of ‘Modigliani (Lost In Your Eyes)’ by BOOK OF LOVE demonstrate how the developing digital technology enabled powerful sampled sounds effectively at the flick of a switch. However, best of all are former SOFT CELL backing singers VICIOUS PINK who really should have had a huge worldwide hit with the brilliant Tony Mansfield produced ‘Cccan’t You See’

Chapter 2 moves the night on starting with ‘Voloczny’, an unreleased song from back in day by BOYTRONIC towards the present with modern day electronic producers such as Jennifer Touch and Kris Baha. In a new 2023 version, THE KVB come over like THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN with synths on ‘Still Warm’ while YEARS OF DENIAL capture plenty of stark menace on ‘It Sucks.

Canadian wife-and-husband duo ESSAIE PAS provide enigmatic prose en Français over a cascade of pulsing synths on ‘Retox’ while Berlin-based trio DINA SUMMER update the gothic disco template on ‘Darkness’. Affirming the international cast of ‘Next Wave Acid Punx DEUX’, Spain’s DAME AREA go on a heavier industrial club excursion via ‘Buon Cittadino’ but on the opposite side of the coin and Atlantic, DESIRE offer enigmatic coyness on ‘Love Races On’ outside of their Italians Do It Better stable.

Chapter 3 is the part of the night you probably should go home but don’t… a wilder, harder and more aggressive energy is here if you so desire. There is naturally a Dark Remix of ‘Machina’ from BOY HARSHER with guest vocals by Mariana Saldaña. But utilising tense triplets and brassy melodramatic stabs, CURSES revamps J.W.B. HITS THE BEAT’s ‘Body On Body’. CURSES returns to remix NUOVO TESTAMENTO’s ‘Heartbeat’ and there is an enjoyable instrumental in ‘Non Fiction’ by SILENT SERVANT.

Two of the best tracks come via Australia; ‘Burning Eyes’ is a Hi-NRG romp with wispy voice ad-libs courtesy of NEU-ROMANCER and ZANIAS’ ‘Tryptamine Palace’ is a tremendous textural dance track. ANDI VS RANDOLPH & MORTIMER make their presence felt with big beats on ‘Formidable Truths’ while Michel Amato aka THE HACKER does not disappoint with the previously unreleased ‘Monopoly’. To end, Greek synth duo PARADOX OBSCUR make a beefy contribution in ‘Evo-Devo’ that recalls French art pop duo LES RITA MISOUKO.

On the spiritual and musical thread that helped make this cohesive collection, Luca Venezia surmised: “Every artist involved has their own personal and unique take on the timeless love affair between human and machine. All the music on ‘DEUX’ also embraces the punk and DIY raw energy of live music into electronic music; artists LIKE YEARS OF DENIAL, BOY HARSHER, NUOVO TESTAMENTO, NITZER EBB, BOYTRONIC and DINA SUMMER are all good examples of how the music is very personal, verse chorus verse song-based concert music, yet can also be DJ’d in a club at 4am in a dusty thriving warehouse rave.”

Music from the past and present can sit comfortably together in the same place and ‘Next Wave Acid Punx DEUX’ proves it.

With thanks to Luca Venezia and Mirren Thomson at Eclectica

‘Next Wave Acid Punx DEUX’ is released by Eskimo Recordings, available now as three separate chaptered double vinyl albums, a three chapter vinyl combo pack, a triple CD box set and high quality download direct from https://cursesforever.bandcamp.com/album/next-wave-acid-punx-deux-2








Text by Chi Ming Lai
7 November 2023

ZANIAS Chrysalis

Following one of the most traumatic periods of her life which also led to one of her most artistically prolific, Alison Lewis is back as her solo alter-ego Zoe Zanias to present ‘Chrysalis’.

As the title of the album suggests, ‘Chrysalis’ is a rebirth. Her emotional catharsis to music is ever present, but there is also an emergent avant-pop sensibility providing hope, despite the dark times that the world finds itself with a new Cold War and environmental catastrophe looming.

Alison Lewis made her name as a member of the acclaimed minimal synth duo LINEA ASPERA with Ryan Ambridge. While they delivered an excellent comeback album ‘LPII’ in 2020, her focus has since been as ZANIAS with the most recent album ‘Unearthed’ emerging in 2021.

‘Chrysalis’ was seeded by a number of unfortunate events in Lewis’ life but using her own music as therapy, she has weaved a cocoon of hope from the despair. Song topics include the human condition, burnout, disillusionment, bereavement and the toxicity of capitalism. Written and recorded between her adopted home of Berlin and the rainforest of Queensland in Australia, despite the various foods for thought, this is the possibly the most accessible ZANIAS album yet.

The excellent ‘Simulation’ opens and is a bittersweet ode to Berlin where “This city is a fable, nowhere else to go. This city has enabled us all and it’s breaking my soul”. Despite the introspection as expressed by a hauntingly contralto vocal, the backdrop glistens. Capturing “a broken reality” where “everything’s shattering”, a joyful escapist euphoria counters those feelings.

The swaying avant pop of ‘Metrics’ is beat-centric, ghostly yet danceable with a catchy buzz. Meanwhile if Madonna had more gothic tendencies around her ‘Bedroom Stories’ period, the dark and ethereal ‘Burial’ might have been the end result. Its lush synth strings and voiced-derived layers points towards the “Global Pop” of PRAISE but is much deeper.

With glorious arpeggios and lush synth strings, ‘Lovelife’ is wonderfully trance, bolstered with bass guitar by live bandmate Laura Bailey aka NEU-ROMANCER while an array of pitch-shifted voice samples act as an abstract lead vocal before the actual one kicks in. With ominous tones reminiscent of THE CURE’s ‘A Forest’, ‘Closing’ uses a number of interesting vocal treatments which provide intensity over the snappy rhythmics.

In a departure, ‘Teatree’ features virtual strums and could be considered an eerie ZANIAS folk ballad while also taking a more sedate approach, ‘Departure’ projects a more atmospheric tone with rung textures and a white noise backbone. To close, the ‘Chrysalis’ title song goes for a full acoustic intro before beats and electronics make their presence felt as our heroine emerges from her sheltered state into her next stage of growth.

Evocative and captivating, ‘Chrysalis’ is the best Zoe Zanias long player to date. Alison Lewis remains independent and true to her art while providing a new found immersive immediacy that will help her music reach a wider audience. That balance is no easy feat to achieve but with some new approaches, she has managed it.

‘Chrysalis’ is released by Fleisch as a limited edition black/blue or blue/green vinyl LP, CD + digital release, available direct from https://zanias.bandcamp.com/





Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Hidrico Rubens
1st May 2023


Hailing from Fremantle in Western Australia, NEU-ROMANCER is the latest in a lineage of electronic producers who have made Berlin their creative base and home.

The vehicle of Laura Bailey, the debut NEU-ROMANCER release ‘Neue Romantika’ is a largely Italo flavoured techno EP that pays tribute to the New Romantics while aurally illustrating a not-so-far-off digital dystopia.

As well as NEU-ROMANCER, Bailey is also plays bass in goth band VV & THE VOID, punk band CIERN and augments Alison Lewis in the live set-up of ZANIAS, the solo project of the charismatic LINEA ASPERA frontwoman. ‘Neue Romantika’ has been released on Lewis’ label Fleisch and also includes an ethereal remix of the title track by her.

As well as being a musician, Bailey is an artist with a talent for drawing and also a teacher. She kindly chatted to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about NEU-ROMANCER and how her relocation to Berlin has reinvigorated her creativity and outlook.

What prompted your relocation to Berlin?

It feels so long ago. To be completely honest, it was quite the prompt… I broke my toe while I was traveling through Greece. The moment it happened I was overwhelmed with happiness, hopeful it would be a good enough excuse to not go back to Australia. Broken toes can’t really be fixed and it was absolutely fine a few weeks later. I moved to Berlin shortly after.

Was Berlin exactly as you imagined or were there a few shocks? I think seeing someone smoke heroin on the platform of Neukölln U-Bahn station was mine!

Haha! It’s part of the parcel. You do get used to it. It’s definitely a choose-your-own adventure sort of place. Public transport here is a daily challenge to see how well you respond to such situations. In saying that, I still hate the smell of crack on the U-Bahn. It was a shock at first, yes absolutely.

Your first instrument is bass, so how did you become interested in making music by electronic means?

Well, I began on violin, and from there I really wanted to play drums, so my Dad’s compensation was the bass (which is also his instrument, so we now get to enjoy this together).

The interest in making electronic music had a slow start, initially Ableton was more of a songwriting tool. I remember my first dance party in Sydney… I tried to resist the whole thing. At the time I didn’t know anything about EBM or body music, it would have been so enlightening. After my move to Berlin, I really got into artists like CURSES and SKELESYS who are the perfect bridge between the two worlds.

Then, when Alison and I began playing together, our long drives were filled with showing each other our influences. It was after that I really got excited. It’s a special moment, finding your new favourite thing.

‘Neue Romantika’ captures the New Romantics and Berlin, how did the imagery for the title track take shape in your head?

Thank you! ‘Neue Romantika’ initially took many forms… actually, I can share the demo with you if you would like? It’s quite rough, but it gives an idea of how I write my music… often they start off as songs that I then remix. I guess you imagine at the end of the day how you would like to be received. What is the end goal? I hate singing live. I’m way too shy, I want to dance and be present… maybe one day I’ll be able to enjoy both. In terms of the name – ‘Neue Romantika’ translates to ‘New Romantics’ in German… playing with all these cross-references felt like something that encapsulated what I was going for as a first release.

‘Remnants’ moves away from the instrumental uptempo format of the EP and ventures into classic goth; it is a duet featuring Kris Baha and has this strong melodic resonance and romance about it, have any particular artists been an influence?

Absolutely, if you have seen Kris play live, he covers THE CURE’s ‘Burn’ so well. He has such incredible range and emotion. We worked on ‘Remnants’ together with this in mind. The idea also stemmed from listening to Dischi Autunno’s compilation ‘Intermezzo’, which includes a CURSES song he wrote with his beautiful wife Rachel called ‘Gina’ and Kendal’s track ‘Nostalgia’. It reminded me how diverse this release could be, so why not write something more melodic and romantic? Sonically, artists like CHROMATICS and BLACK MARBLE have also contributed to this direction.

Are you planning to sing more yourself in the future?

Yeah, for sure, it is more or less how these songs begin, I am slowly letting vocals trickle back in.

Photo by Larissa Schöfl

‘Superposition’ has echoes of ‘Enjoy The Silence’, now synth hooks seem to play a key role in your music which isn’t always the case in a lot of techno for example… so is this your love of Italo Disco creeping in?

Yes! Of course… and that is incredibly sweet re: the DEPECHE MODE reference – I absolutely love a good synth hook. I am really enjoying what is going on with this Italo revival. I was talking with a friend the other day about how I never thought I would be alive at the right time and place to enjoy a movement that actually resonates. Everything on Ritmo Fatale is just fantastic.

What are your favourite composition and recording tools / synths?

Ableton, for sure. Every track always has a bit of MS20 somewhere… my bass… all the little bits that I’m so comfortable with, self-extensions. I think I might be picking up my dream synth this year. So, fingers crossed.

‘Blindsight’ is speedier but is the title referring to the “not-so-far-off digital dystopia” you have mentioned on Bandcamp? How do you find having to use social media as an artist and the attention that is triggered as a result?

The consistent idea behind all these references is exploring consciousness and identity through technology. In our current “dystopia”, social media has become an extension of oneself. I am trying to look at social media through the lens of what I am creating as opposed to it being personal. It can be exhausting, but at the same time it’s like a canvas. I don’t use it as often as I should and fortunately, the attention I have received so far has been predominately kind.

How did meeting Alison Lewis and becoming part of the ZANIAS live set-up come about?

The first time I met Alison, she was staying at my place in Sydney after a show. I’ll never forget that night, it was a late one and she just cracked me up. Fast forward a few years – everyone was stuck in Berlin not being able to tour due to the pandemic, which was actually quite fortunate because we all got to know each other.

So, Alison and I had a very wholesome time going for walks through Treptower Park and catching up over tea. When summer came, ZANIAS was offered some covid-regulated shows, I was invited. It was incredibly surreal, I think our first show was at the Munich Olympic Stadium… it was after that we discovered how well we work together.

What certainly comes across in the shows is that you and Alison love performing and touring together, are there any plans to collaborate together in the studio?

Yes, we are having a great time, and absolutely… we are drowning in ideas, looking forward to having some time to arrange them all. There will definitely be some collaborations on the way.

Is there a favourite tour memory or a fun incident that you cherish?

Grauzone Festival was definitely a highlight for the year so far, ZANIAS performed on Friday then we both DJ’d Saturday. After I finished, a group of us ran through the streets of Den Haag to get from my set to hers. When we got there the energy was so special. It was pure magic.

With Alison Lewis, Jennifer Touch and Joon, you’ve manage to connect with a cool electronic sisterhood, there’s still a lot to change but how do you see the future for female music artists?

Yes, these humans are all wonderful, I love the connection with all of them, they are all so incredibly talented.

I see a more political future fuelled by activism, I think we can all feel it coming. Our societal changes will certainly influence music and parties. In terms of the future for women in music – I hope we won’t have to question it. After growing up in the pre #metoo music world back home, I know we are already moving towards a better reality… not everywhere (not yet) but the dream is to abolish this dated, patriarchal bullsh*t. Music has a history of powering things along.

What is next for you?

I’ve just sent off some tracks to two very lovely compilations I am honoured to be a part of. Also a bunch of remixes, which is super exciting. Alison and I are going B2B at Berghain for the ‘Bite Nite’ on April 21st… still can’t believe it. ZANIAS has a lot of touring planned, we have some very special adventures lined up as well… with writing in between.

My punk band CIERN has a bunch of shows booked too, very much looking forward to the ‘Castle Party’ in Poland. And yeah… it’s been such a wonderful year already.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its grateful thanks to Laura Bailey

‘Neue Romantika’ is released as a blue marble vinyl and digital EP by Fleisch Records, available direct from https://neu-romancer.bandcamp.com/album/neue-romantika





Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
14th April 2023