Tag: Rachel Stevens

A Beginner’s Guide To RICHARD X

Photo by Miles Aldridge

Producer and remixer Richard Philips, better known as Richard X, began his musical career creating bootlegs or mash-ups.

This was an illegal creative practice of combining two existing and often incongruous records to make an entirely new track.

The fusion of disparate elements, where often the vocals of one recording from a particular genre were placed over the instrumental backing from another, became a fashionable practice in clubs; Belgium’s 2 Many DJs were among one of the more notable exponents alongside Richard X.

Influenced by THE HUMAN LEAGUE and KRAFTWERK in particular, Richard X’s first notable mash-up under the name GIRLS ON TOP was ‘I Wanna Dance With Numbers’ in 2001; it dropped Whitney Houston over KRAFTWERK and inspired by the apparent elitism of the electronica scene at the start of the 21st Century.

But it was when he placed ‘Freak Like Me’ by R ‘n’ B artist Adina Howard over TUBEWAY ARMY’s ‘Are Friends Electric?’ for a bootleg entitled ‘We Don’t Give A Damn About Our Friends’ that figures within the music business realised Richard X’s Frankenstein vision might have commercial potential.

Ironically, one person who didn’t was Adina Howard herself who refused permission for her vocal to be used on an officially sanctioned release.

Instead, the British female pop trio recorded a cover version of the mash-up produced by Richard X and the rest is history.

Since then, Richard X has been approached to work with many artists, but remains selective, declining most of what he is offered and often only working on individual tracks, thanks to his own artistic assertion that “I’ve always been about singles…”

Richard X created his own production umbrella Black Melody to oversee his work and even released a collection of demos by THE HUMAN LEAGUE as ‘The Golden Hour Of The Future’ which had been shelved by Virgin Records back in 1981. Meanwhile as well as ERASURE, NINE INCH NAILS, GOLDFRAPP, MIRRORS, SAY LOU LOU and NEW ORDER, his productions and remixes have encompassed artists such varied as Will Young, Roísín Murphy, Rachel Stevens, Sam Sparro, Tiga, Jarvis Cocker and Lana Del Rey.

As a result of often working on just singular tracks with artists, Richard X has a large and diverse portfolio; ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK lists eighteen of his most notable tracks, with a limit of one track per artist and presented in chronological and then alphabetical order…


SUGABABES Freak Like Me (2002)

Richard X dropped ‘Freak Like Me’ over ‘Are Friends Electric?’ as a GIRLS ON TOP bootleg, a crossover hit was just waiting to be unleashed… enter SUGABABES, modern pop’s equivalent of ‘Charlie’s Angels’. This was a period when Gary Numan was being sampled left, right and centre by the likes of BASEMENT JAXX and DJ Armand Van Helden, so this Diabolus In Musica urban hybrid no doubt helped bring him to a curious new young audience.

Available on the SUGABABES album ‘Overloaded: The Singles Collection’ via Universal Music

http://sugababesmusic.com


RICHARD X vs LIBERTY X Being Nobody (2003)

A huge fan of THE HUMAN LEAGUE, Richard X continued his mash-up magic, albeit in a more reproductive manner. When the appropriately monikered LIBERTY X came knocking, he took inspiration from the various versions of ‘Being Boiled’ and put RUFUS & CHAKA KHAN’s funk classic ‘Ain’t Nobody’ over the top, helped by the fact that both tunes ran at a very similar BPM of 103/104.

Available on the LIBERTY X album ‘Being Somebody’ via V2 Records

https://www.facebook.com/libertyxofficial/


RICHARD X in collaboration with DEBORAH STRICKLAND-EVANS Lemon / Lime (2003)

Deborah Evans-Strickland was best known for her deadpan vocal on THE FLYING LIZARDS’ very unusual cover of ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’. For his debut solo album, Richard X dragged her out of retirement for a bizarre reinterpretation of ‘Walk On By’ as well as the Trans-Commuter Express job spec art piece ‘Lemon / Lime’. Stern but strangely alluring in her posh Essex accent, Evans-Strickland came over like the scary Human Resources Manager who everyone is secretly attracted to.

Available on the RICHARD X album ‘Presents His X Factor Vol1’ via Virgin Records

http://blackmelody.com


RACHEL STEVENS Some Girls (2004)

Co-written with Hannah Robinson and based on some real-life music industry anecdotes, Richard X’s GOLDFRAPP-styled production on ‘Some Girls’ saw Rachel Stevens playing a wannabe who ends up on pop’s casting couch. Driven apparently by having his GOLDFRAPP remixes rejected, it was ‘Some Girls’ that first put the icy glam electro sound into the mainstream consciousness before GOLDFRAPP themselves.

Available on the RACHEL STEVENS album ‘Come & Get It’ via Polydor Records

http://www.rachelstevensofficial.com


NINE INCH NAILS Only – Richard X Remix (2005)

“There is no you, there is only ME!” exclaimed an angry and provocative Trent Reznor on ‘Only’, but Richard X smoothed things down, brought forward the chorus and took it down the discotheque, albeit a dark gothic one! With a frantic marimba line added and an increased dance tempo, this was one of Richard X’s best crossover reworkings that still retained the original’s heavy spirit of frustration expressed as part of Reznor’s battle with alcoholism and substance abuse.

Available on the NINE INCH NAILS EP ‘Everyday Is Exactly The Same’ via Nothing Records

http://www.nin.com


LUKE HAINES Off My Rocker At The Art School Bop – Richard X Mix (2006)

Once referred to as the Adolf Hitler of Britpop by the music press, Luke Haines’ memoir ‘Bad Vibes: Britpop & My Part In Its Downfall’ declared that BLUR’s Damon Alban deserved far more to be nominated for that title! An installation of danceable pop terrorism by THE AUTEURS and BLACK BOX RECORDER leader with a full fat octave driven electro mix by Richard X, this gleefully satirised the Shoreditch club scene with a bitter attack on its array of poseurs.

Available on the LUKE HAINES album ‘Off My Rocker At The Art School Bop’ via Fantastic Plastic

http://www.lukehaines.co.uk


PET SHOP BOYS Fugitive – Richard X Extended Mix (2006)

Although the ‘Fundamental’ album was produced by Trevor Horn, Richard X worked on and powerfully extended ‘Fugitive’ as a limited edition exclusive for the fittingly titled ‘Fundamentalism’ bonus album. PET SHOP BOYS’ own post-9/11 songNeil Tennant recently revealed in the extensive ‘Fundamental: Further Listening 2005–2007’ booklet notes:“It’s about a terrorist, a terrorist whose ideology is that he believes that by killing the enemy he’s going to go to heaven”.

Available on the PET SHOP BOYS album ‘Fundamental: Further Listening 2005 – 2007’ via EMI Records

http://petshopboys.co.uk


ANNIE Songs Remind Me Of You (2009)

Richard X has worked on-and off with Anne Lilia Berge Strand since 2004 including her breakthrough song ‘Chewing Gum’; ‘Songs Remind Me Of You’ was another fabulous tune from the X / Hannah Robinson songbook. Filled with high octane electronic dance flavours, “How does it feel…to hear your songs on the radio?” asked the Norwegian songstress wispily with an exquisite devenir a gris lilt over a classic chord structure inside a spiky synthesized mix.

Available on the ANNIE album ‘Don’t Stop’ via Smalltown Supersound

https://www.facebook.com/anniemelodymusic/


ANTHONIO Annie (2009)

As a jokey publicity stunt for the Italo disco flavoured ANNIE single ‘Anthonio’, Richard X used its backing track and a new lyric by Hannah Robinson to create a brilliant tongue-in-cheek response to her tale of broken holiday romance. As a modern exponent of Italo, HEARTBREAK’s charismatic vocalist Sebastian Muravchik amiably played the role of the disimpassioned Latin lover.

Available on the ANTHONIO single ‘Annie’ via Pleasure Masters

http://lexprojects.com/sebastian-is-anthonio/


SAINT ETIENNE Method Of Modern Love (2009)

With some slight structural similarities to Kylie Minogue’s ‘The One’ and recorded by SAINT ETIENNE for an updated singles compilation, ‘Method Of Modern Love’ was again written by Richard X with Hannah Robinson alongside Matt Prime. A long-time fan of the trio, it had only been intended for Richard X to remix the track ‘This Is Tomorrow’, but he ended up producing them as they opted for ‘Method Of Modern Love’ as a new single after hearing the demo.

Available on the SAINT ETIENNE album ‘London Conversations: The Best Of’ via Heavenly Records

http://www.saintetienne.com


ROÍSÍN MURPHY Parallel Lives (2009)

‘Overpowered’ was the second solo album from one-time MOLOKO frontwoman Roísín Murphy and a superb collection of soulful 21st century electronic disco. The Richard X helmed ‘Parallel Lives’ penetrated with some steady and deep sub-bass, providing a nice bonus to an album where Murphy had gloriously sounded not unlike Lisa Stansfield fronting PET SHOP BOYS on outstanding songs such as ‘Primitive’ and Cry Baby’.

Available on the ROÍSÍN MURPHY album ‘Overpowered’ via EMI Records

https://www.roisinmurphyofficial.com


DRAGONETTE Pick Up The Phone – Richard X Remix (2010)

While ‘Pick Up The Phone’ from Canadian popsters DRAGONETTE was a summery upbeat tune, their usual Euro-leaning sound took a breather with electric guitars subbing for the usual synths. But this made things perfect for a superior Richard X remix to stick back in all the electronic dance elements that the band were actually best known for.

Available on the DRAGONETTE album ‘Mixin To Thrill’ via Dragonette Inc

http://www.dragonetteonline.com


GOLDFRAPP Alive (2010)

From ‘Head First’, the poppiest album in the GOLDFRAPP catalogue, the Richard X assisted ‘Alive’ allowed Alison Goldfrapp to explore her Olivia Newton-John fixation with a tune that recalled ‘I’m Alive’, the latter’s collaboration with ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA for the film ‘Xanadu’. The synth solo was big and fat with power chords plus a great middle eight to boot. With references to Billy Joel as well, ‘Alive’ sounded slightly more Oberheim than Korg…

Available on the GOLDFRAPP album ‘Head First’ via Mute Records

https://www.goldfrapp.com


THE HUNDRED IN THE HANDS Young Aren’t Young (2010)

Hailing from Brooklyn, THE HUNDRED IN THE HANDS possessed a sultry new wave fusion with occasional gothic overtones. Despite the girl / boy duo having aspirations to be more like Warp Records label mates BROADCAST, Richard X produced a number of key songs from their self-titled debut album, adding a more accessible sheen. ‘Young Aren’t Young’ was a dreamy NEW ORDER influenced number layered with the sort of frenetic guitar playing that would have made Bernard Sumner proud.

Available on THE HUNDRED IN THE HANDS album ‘The Hundred In The Hands’ via Warp Records

https://www.facebook.com/thehundredinthehands/


SOPHIE ELLIS-BEXTOR Starlight (2011)

It’s strange to think now but before she became a pop princess, Sophie Ellis-Bextor once fronted an indie rock band called THEAUDIENCE. Yet another Richard X and Hannah Robinson co-composition, the glitterball sparkle of ‘Starlight’ utilised a Linn Drum led rhythm section and sweeping synth strings for a dreamy electronic pop concoction. Alluringly finding “heaven in the dark”, it was one of those catchy summer holiday disco anthems that Kylie Minogue wouldn’t have objected to recording herself.

Available on SOPHIE ELLIS-BEXTOR album ‘Make A Scene’ via EBGB’s

http://sophieellisbextor.net


MIRRORS Into The Heart – Richard X Radio Mix (2011)

With a determined art for art’s sake concept for their eventual ‘Lights & Offerings’ long player, the original sessions with Richard X were abandoned when MIRRORS chose to produce themselves, although he did contribute a Radio Mix for the reissued single ‘Into The Heart’; less intense and claustrophobic than the quartet’s album version, the majestic singalong proved that Synth Britannia influences were and still are nothing to be ashamed of.

Available on the MIRRORS single ‘Into the Heart’ via Skint Records

https://www.facebook.com/theworldofmirrors/


THE SOUND OF ARROWS Lost City (2011)

THE SOUND OF ARROWS are Stefan Storm and Oskar Gullstrand, a Swedish duo described by one observer as “Disney meets Brokeback Mountain”. Like PET SHOP BOYS fed with Fox’s Glacier Mints, the Richard X produced widescreen instrumental ‘Lost City’ was fittingly dramatic, although its main melodic theme may have been a bit too ‘Top Gun’ with synths for some listeners…

Available on THE SOUND OF ARROWS album ‘Voyage’ via Skies Above

http://www.thesoundofarrows.com


ERASURE Sacred (2014)

Produced by Richard X, ‘The Violet Flame’ saw ERASURE return to form with their fourteenth album after the disappointment of its predecessor ‘Tomorrow’s World’ and express an infectious zest for the future with songs seeded via Vince Clarke’s pre-recorded dance grooves. With ‘Sacred’, this was another classic ERASURE pop tune, although the bizarre phrasal spectre of ‘Sweet Child O Mine’ by GUNS N ROSES could be found in the verse of Andy Bell’s vocal topline!

Available on the ERASURE album ‘The Violet Flame’ via Mute Artists

http://www.erasureinfo.com


NEW ORDER Plastic (2015)

For the Mancunians’ first album of new material without estranged founder member and bassist Peter Hook, Bernard Sumner promised a return to electronic music. That was certainly delivered on with ‘Plastic’, a full-on throbbing seven minute electro number in the vein of Giorgio Moroder, solidly mixed by Richard X with blippy echoes of NEW ORDER’s own ‘Mr Disco’. Dealing with the issue of superficiality in relationships, it declared “you’re like plastic, you’re artificial…”

Available on the NEW ORDER album ‘Music Complete’ via Mute Artists

http://www.neworder.com


NINA Beyond Memory (2016)

Produced by Richard X and Sunglasses Kid, a nocturnal warmth exuded from the hypnotic drifts of ‘Beyond Memory’, demonstrating how German songstress NINA’s brand of pulsating electronic pop acted as a bridge between the sub-genres of synthwave and synthpop. With her vocals deliciously slicing the moonlit atmosphere with a superbly breathy chorus, ‘Beyond Memory’ reflected on the personal lifelong impact of past relationships.

Available on the NINA album ‘Sleepwalking’ via Aztec Records

http://www.ninamusic.co.uk/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
7th May 2018

PAUL STATHAM Interview

What do DEPECHE MODE, SOFT CELL, BLANCMANGE and THE THE have in common?

They all appeared on the ‘Some Bizzare Album’ which acted as a springboard for their fame and fortune.

But the silent success story of the ‘Some Bizzare Album’ has to be Paul Statham; while his band B-MOVIE with Steve Hovington, Rick Holliday and Graham Boffey were unable to achieve a foothold in the mainstream like The Big Four, the guitarist later found considerable success as a songwriter and producer.

Working with personalities as varied as Peter Murphy, Jim Kerr, Billy Mackenzie, Dido, Dot Allison, Sarah Nixey, Kylie Minogue, Lisa Scott-Lee, Tina Arena and Rachel Stevens, Statham’s credits also include groups such as THE SATURDAYS and RIGHT SAID FRED.

Statham was also a member of cult electropop trio PEACH with Pascal Gabriel and Lisa Lamb, whose song ‘On My Own’ from their only album ‘Audiopeach’ featured during a key scene in the Gwyneth Paltrow movie ‘Sliding Doors’.

Although B-MOVIE reformed in 2004, Statham has continued his songwriting and production career in parallel. More recently, there has also been his dark country project THE DARK FLOWERS, while he has also been releasing a series of ambient electronic albums, as well as establishing his own label Loki Records.

Paul Statham kindly took time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions about his career outside of B-MOVIE…

What has motivated you to start Loki Records in the current climate?

Well, exactly the words “current climate”! I did approach some leftfield labels, but the response time was tragic! Also as a long standing writer through Warner Chappell, there is always the thought that the song has to be commented on or is specifically ‘aimed’ at something , even going through an experimental label. So setting up my own label means I can go sit in the woods filming the moon all night, then decide that will be the video as it was for the track ‘Who Won’t Wait’! Of course who sees the video is then down to you endlessly trying to put links up!

After years of songwriting, how did this move towards more experimental music come about?

I have been involved in writing or creating pieces of instrumental music since 2002 through an art curator friend Victor De Circasia to run alongside writing more commercial music.

My project THE DARK FLOWERS put a small element of experimental into traditional song using backdrops of wind or recorded atmosphere behind tracks, but my favourite album is Brian Eno’s ‘Another Green World’ and also I love reading about his compositional practice.

Your third ambient release is ‘Asylum’, how does this differ in concept from your first two releases of this type ‘Ephemeral’ and ‘Installation Music 1’ which were given away on Bandcamp?

I did plan to do it this way. The first two are unaltered pieces that were actually used in two installations, ‘Installation Music 1’ is very specific to a sculpture ‘Diving Woman’ by Sottish artist David Mach. ‘Asylum’ took some installation music from the Asylum Chapel in Peckham and simply used it as the starting point to create an album that was added to and experimented on over time.

What do you get out of this more experimental direction that you wouldn’t get from writing pop songs?

Total Freedom. A real journey from going out and exploring sounds in the outside world to developing artwork / films and setting out and letting the unfolding music direct where it heads to with no thought of who may like this. That’s why sometimes I’ll give them away for free!

Any thoughts about trying to compose hour long pieces like Brian Eno has done?

I already have a 28 minute piece that was used in an installation. It involved 28 pieces of thirty seconds long, starting with one then adding to it the next piece every 30 seconds to create a collage of found sound, then after 28 minutes it reverses. I will locate it and put it out for free on Bandcamp now you have reminded me! It was accompanied by painter Daisy Cook’s series of 28 small paintings of the Australian landscape but taken from the air. We made a film but I’ve since lost it!

The B-side to B-MOVIE’s ‘Marilyn Dreams’ was ‘Film Music Part 1’, what ever happened to Part 2 and is composing film music a direction you would like to head in?

That was written by Rick and I really like it! I think it was Rick, although Steve wrote most things back then! Film music is something I would love to do and would offer the music for free to any budding or low budget film in need!

After B-MOVIE first ended, you started to work with Peter Murphy in 1988 and continue to do so today, how would describe your creative dynamic?

Slow development! No, it’s completely different than my usual co-writing and has been long distance, with us rarely or actually ever sitting down in the same room and writing anything together. ‘Love Hysteria’ was me sitting in his attic with a four track and a few instruments, then leaving it with him. ‘Deep’ was similar but in a studio room, with Peter adding stuff once I’d put any sort of sketch down. After his move to Turkey, I would visit Ankara but again go into his studio room alone and sketch ideas, whilst he would then go in after me later at night and really shape them up. Since the internet, we simply share files. Some people find this dynamic difficult but after such a long time, I find it easy to send him anything I feel will intrigue.

Photo by Pete Walsh

In 1996, you formed PEACH who you described as “ABBA Meets THE KLF”? What inspired this?

Hahahaha! That was meeting Pascal Gabriel who produced the Murphy album ‘Cascade’. After the ‘Holy Smoke’ album, Peter dropped THE 100 MEN (band) and I went back to co-writing the whole album via sketches and lots of different styles, but with a more electronic feel.

We all went to Spain to record, Peter, Pascal and myself and it was fairly high pressure. On returning to London, I began to hang out with Pascal and he suggested that we form a very up dayglo electronic trio… very different to my Murphy work and at the time, it was something I definitely needed to do.

How did getting signed to Mute come about? It appeared to happen quite quickly…

We signed to Daniel Miller’s Mute label after playing him two demos in his office with no singer and Pascal sorting of humming vocal ideas. I really respect Daniel Miller and how he got what we were trying to do immediately and offered us a deal on the spot!

I will always be grateful to Pascal as he gave me studio keys and access to all these incredible synths and recording gear and simply let me learn my way around it, whilst we simply began recording with no agenda, other than kicking electropop tunes!

While your first single ‘On My Own’ wasn’t a UK Top 40 hit, it attracted positive responses…

It was a hit in the States and reached No 11 on the radio charts and also was a pop Top 40 hit. It was No 1 in Canada, Israel and bizarrely Singapore where Lisa Lamb and myself headed out to play the city’s 33rd birthday celebrations…v v odd!

How did you feel when ‘On My Own’ featured in the film ‘Sliding Doors’?

I remember being very excited, especially meeting Gwyneth Paltrow at the aftershow of the London premiere. Also seeing your name come up at the end of the film credits was worth it!

‘From This Moment On’ is a timeless pop tune…

I wrote the majority of that alone, picturing a sort of ABBA / ACE OF BASS crossover with a different rhythmic feel than the rest of the more uptempo songs.

I started with the sequencer and then went back and wrote this long intro as I may have discovered a jazz chord or two from some book! Lyrically, I just liked the sound of the words / sentiment without it being particularly about anything! I don’t normally write lyrics, perhaps you can see why!

The eventual ‘Audiopeach’ album was one of the last recordings that the late Billy Mackenzie contributed to. His ad libs on ‘Deep Down Together’ are so unmistakable, how did you know him and what was he like to work with?

Billy Mackenzie was a friend of Pascal’s and I was a HUGE fan of ASSOCIATES. It was shortly before he committed suicide and he arrived very down to earth and humble with a few cans of beer. He simply opened his mouth and that voice exploded. I loved it so much, I owned a DAT tape of him simply singing his vocal line unaccompanied, it was so pure with such a range. He also sang on ’Give Me Tomorrow’, replacing the high sampled opera vocal. I have read ‘The Glamour Chase’ biography twice now and recently have started listening to him a lot.

Photo by Joe Dilworth

By the time ‘Audiopeach’ came out in 1998, the momentum appeared to have stalled, what happened?

Basically we didn’t all get on. Lisa proved difficult at the time, while Pascal and her were complete ‘Polar Opposites’ in just about everything. I think Lisa herself will admit she found it difficult and although we had success, our vision of what PEACH should sound like / appear like were pulling in two very different directions.

I was sad as had left a long running collaboration with Murphy, found success with this pop / electronic vibe, signed to Mute and then walked away from it all.

PEACH supported ERASURE in London but did not play live much, could this have been a contributory factor?

I loved playing live, especially after some amazing live shows around the world with Peter Murphy, who was and is a great frontman and thrived on chaos. Pascal wasn’t so much a live musician and Lisa just got more outrageous, so it wasn’t really a live show at all, just playing a few chords over a backing track. We played three shows with ERASURE in London and before that, two in Hamburg. The German shows were a real success and very enjoyable, but somehow we’d lost enthusiasm by the time we played London!

PEACH appeared to help kickstart your next phase as a pop writer with artists like Kylie Minogue, Rachel Stevens and Lisa Scott-Lee?

Yes, that was only due to the fact I signed via PEACH to Warner Chappell and became great friends with my A&R man Mike Sault who began getting us co-writes with other artists and also, the great work that Sandy Dworniak at TMT Management did as Pascal’s and my manager.

Some might say your best known song is ‘Here With Me’ which you did with Dido, how do you look back on it?

It was so good as Dido had no expectations on her and I loved her voice; as a person and collaborator, she was great fun and wrote quickly and strongly in terms of her lyrics / melodies. We wrote quite a lot of songs and I remember vividly writing ‘I’m No Angel’ with her in about two hours!

So how would you approach a song for a singer, as opposed to artists like Dido, Sarah Nixey or Dot Allison who are more involved in the composition side? Is there a brief from the label?

Yep, sort of. It’s always strange as they give you a reference video by another artist, then the artist plays you something different and the management tell you they want something off the wall and different, so I just try and write the most interesting music I can and see where it goes. It’s so hard to get these things right and you end up with literally hundreds of very very good songs, but then so does everyone else who co-writes with them. It’s frustrating going back and seeing a huge iTunes library with lots of songs that you feel could be hits if the artist / A&R / manager had chosen to go with the song you co-wrote!!

You also worked with Jim Kerr on ‘Return Of the King’, a tribute to Billy Mackenzie for his LOST BOY solo project and subsequently, ‘Kill Or Cure’ for SIMPLE MINDS, what was that like?

Fantastic! I saw SIMPLE MINDS four times in one year when I was a teenager and was a HUGE fan of the first four albums. Not so much ‘New Gold Dream’ onwards, but ‘Reel To Real Cacophony’ and ‘Empires & Dance’.

So writing with Jim Kerr in my small bedroom sized home studio was one of those moments you think if I could have told my 18 year old self that, he wouldn’t have believed me! Also we share a lot of great music references in Bowie, Bolan, Roxy and certain literary styles / books. Jim is a very optimistic and supportive friend, he encouraged THE DARK FLOWERS and we have written a lot of material that may or may not see the light of day!

So what’s happening with THE DARK FLOWERS, which has featured Jim Kerr, Peter Murphy and Dot Allison amongst others?

I have all the music… it’s like herding cats trying to get a song or two from each person as they are all involved constantly in their own work. However I’m getting excited about the second album as its shaping up well… darker in tone than the first (deliberately) and featuring David J as well. Lloyd Cole was interested and started a track, but as of yet???!!!!

In all, are you quite happy with how you music career has turned out in its various guises?

I’m very happy… more so than ever. I re-signed to Warner Chappell in January and balance my week with running a course at BIMM in London once a week and heading up the songwriting workshops at Solent University (sixth year now) once a week too. This leaves me plenty of time to work on my own stuff and collaborate with long standing friends / artists

What’s next for you in whatever guise?

– THE DARK FLOWERS 2
– The continued release of experimental music via Loki Records
– AFTER THE RAIN (my new sample / DJ Shadow style project)
– New B-MOVIE album
– New Peter Murphy collaborations
– A new KRAFTWERK / vaporwave project with film composer Magnus Fiennes out in LA
– And continued co-writing via Warner Chappell’s, particularly with electro R‘n’B singer Billie Black.


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its grateful thanks to Paul Statham

‘Asylum’ is released on CD by Loki Records, available from https://www.lokirecords.com/shop

http://paulstathammusic.com

https://www.facebook.com/paulstathammusic/

https://paulstatham.bandcamp.com/

http://www.inspiracy.com/peach/

https://www.lojinx.com/artists/the-dark-flowers

https://www.facebook.com/theflowersdark/


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
22nd February 2018

QUEEN OF HEARTS Neon

Following her Arrival in 2011, QUEEN OF HEARTS graces the music world with a glitzy slice of electro schaffel appropriately entitled ‘Neon’.

On first hearing this live, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gleefully pronounced that this managed to “out Goldfrapp GOLDFRAPP”. While this has the obvious hallmarks of Lady Alison’s glam stomp, Queenie adds her own cooing poptastic flavour, recalling RACHEL STEVENS’ under rated lost album ‘Come & Get It’.

The video for ‘Neon’ is directed by fashion gurus Between Man & Beast and comes with a healthy slice of gothic vampishness.

Meanwhile, the flipside is ‘Tears In The Rain’ produced by Stefan Storm of THE SOUND OF ARROWS who co-contributed the brilliant ‘Shoot The Bullet’ on her debut ‘The Arrival’ EP. ‘Tears In The Rain’ is a gorgeously atmospheric piece, crisply Nordic and simply spine tingling.

Also doing the rounds is the magnificently epic MARK REEDER Electrically Excited Remix plus its Electrically Charged Radio counterpart. His portfolio consists of PET SHOP BOYS, DEPECHE MODE, JOHN FOXX and MARSHEAUX courtesy of his ‘Five Point One’ collection and of his crafted restyle, QUEEN OF HEARTS herself says: “This one is just a little bit special…♥” And she’s right!

Other remixes are available by LIGHTWAVES and GOLD BEACH. All this and there’s the excellent Stuart Price produced ‘Feel’ still to come…


‘Neon’ b/w ‘Tears In The Rain’ is unleashed as a vinyl and download by All Things Go Records on 14th May 2012. The download features bonus tracks Forgive Me and No More while the 7″ is available to pre-order now at http://shop.atgrecords.com/product/neon-tears-in-the-rain-7

http://iamqueenofhearts.com/

https://www.facebook.com/QOHofficial

https://twitter.com/iamqueenofheart

http://soundcloud.com/queen-of-hearts/sets/queen-of-hearts-neon-tears-in


Text by Chi Ming Lai
9th May 2012

Lost Albums: RACHEL STEVENS Come & Get It

Released in October 2005 and boasting four Top 12 singles, the former SClubber’s vastly under rated electro-oriented album ‘Come & Get It’ peaked at No 28 in the UK which in manufactured pop terms, was deemed a total disaster.

Initially, Rachel Stevens’ success seemed to be guaranteed; she was regularly in the media spotlight and a popular lads mag pin-up. So her second album, assembled by a team of top writers and producers including Richard X, Hannah Robinson, Xenomania, Pascal Gabriel, Paul Statham and Rob Davis (who co-wrote Kylie Minogue’s ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’) seemed a surefire way of cementing it.

But one thing a pretty face never guarantees is sales. Lads mag readers generally don’t buy music unless it is of the Mancunian monobrow rock variety while the G-A-Y audience are suspicious of any prospective pop divas who maybe have just had life a little bit too easy… Stevens’ middle class drama school roots probably reinforced that!

And generally, young women prefer boy bands and just don’t buy the records of other females if the artist is aesthetically more pleasing than themselves! The writers and producers, all experienced hands, probably foresaw that Stevens’ pop career was likely to flop so used their contributions to the album as an excuse to experiment and have fun. The end result is a collection of pop songs bursting with inventive, fun and risqué ideas.

The album’s launch single ‘I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)’ is a Rob Davis penned glam stomper with a touch of ‘Antmusic’. The provocative lyrics certainly wouldn’t have been allowed on CBBC: “I feel such a traitor – oh, I let you in my back door… rough love’s so deceiving – I said never again but here we are!” All highly amusing if you appreciate the saucier pleasures in life! Rob Davis also pays tribute to his MUD roots with his other offering, reprising that schaffel beat on UK bonus track ‘Every Little Thing’.

Richard X’s GOLDFRAPP-lite production on ‘Some Girls’ has Stevens playing a wannabe who ends up on pop’s casting couch: “Some girls always get what they wanna – all I seem to get is the other – this won’t last for long not forever – the champagne makes it taste so much better!”…

Co-written by X with Hannah Robinson apparently in response to having one of his GOLDFRAPP remixes rejected and based on some real music industry anecdotes, it was ‘Some Girls’ that first put the icy glam electro sound into the mainstream consciousness, so much so that many thought ‘Ooh La La’ was actually the follow-up to ‘Some Girls’, much to fury of Alison Goldfrapp! “I AM NOT RACHEL STEVENS!” she exclaimed!

The Richard X led ‘Crazy Boys’ is another Frapper’s delight featuring timpani coloured 6/8 time signatures and atmospheric electronics that recall Jean Michel Jarre’s ‘Oxygene Part II’… it could be BLACK BOX RECORDER with a Gallic twist although on ‘Je M’Appelle’, Ms Stevens actually gives the French language a go with an ‘Allo ‘Allo accent! Despite this, it does recall the comedic charm of SPARKS’ ‘Je M’Appelle Russell’!

‘So Good’ is brilliantly bouncy and tastefully engaged electro produced by Pascal Gabriel; and yes, it does sound like LADYHAWKE without the guitars. Meanwhile with his erstwhile partner Paul Statham from B-MOVIE, their heavenly co-write ‘I Will Be There’ features the sort of pulsing sequencers that drove NEW ORDER’s dancefloor exploits.

Post-punk influences continue in abundance with a sample from THE CURE’s ‘Lullaby’ forming the basis of ‘It’s All About Me’. A slice of wispy electro-soul a la RUFUS & CHAKA KHAN’s Ain’t Nobody comes in the shape of ‘Secret Garden’ while ‘Negotiate With Love’ is squelchy Scandinavian synthpop with added Simmons drum sounds. These two have hints of both ANNIE and ROBYN. Xenomania chip in the lovely mid-paced ‘Nothing Good About This Goodbye’ but it is their main event closer ‘Funny How’ that shines brightest.

Apparently co-written by Stevens with the hit factory who later worked with PET SHOP BOYS, this is a perfect Princess Stephanie Eurodisco record in the vein of ‘I’m Not Scared’. The best track on the collection, ‘Funny How’ should have been covered by GIRLS ALOUD and turned into a massive hit.

The gorgeous synthpop gems ‘Love Is Pain’ and ‘Turn to Stone’ from Cole and co’s most recent album ‘Out of Control’ take their template from here.

‘Come And Get It’ is a superb album that can be appreciated on an intellectual level as well as a throwaway pop experience. Whether Miss Stevens is actually really singing is a moot point as each of the lead vocals on the album appear to be different; it could be any pretty poppet! Rachel Stevens is the girl you should fancy but actually don’t! Is her look too flawless? Is it because she always appears too pleased with herself?

It is rumoured THE STREETS’ ‘Fit But You Know It’ is actually about her! This aura may have actually hampered the potential of this album. Whatever, the craft and quality danceable electro on ‘Come & Get It’ delivered on the path paved by GOLDFRAPP and predicted what was to come with LADYHAWKE, LITTLE BOOTS and LA ROUX.

In its post-release reappraisal, All Music Guide said it was “a collection of thoroughly excellent electronic dance-pop songs” and “the definitive album of 2000s UK chart pop”.

The Guardian placed it in their ‘1000 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die’ list. And LITTLE BOOTS later acknowledged ‘Come & Get It’ as an influence on her hit album ‘Hands’. Like it or not, ‘Come & Get It’ really was forward thinking pop music!


‘Come & Get It’ is still available as a CD or download via Polydor Records

https://www.rachelstevens.com/

https://twitter.com/MsRachelStevens

https://www.instagram.com/msrachelstevens/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
24th February 2011, updated 8th January 2017