East London’s Hannah Lucy aka GAPTOOTH, first emerged onto the indie / electro scene in 2013, releasing her debut album ‘Connections-Departures’.
The single heralding the production, ‘Ladykillers’, was full of girl attitude and feisty feminist power, and it received an ample airplay on BBC 6 Music, as well as being featured on numerous compilations.
2016 sees the return of the strong minded artist with ‘Pillow Fort’ EP, mixed by Oli Horton, who was previously involved on ‘Connections-Departures’, duetting with Ms Lucy on ‘Enduring Freedom’.
Horton was a core member of a great synth hope TRADEMARK, who not only supported Human League and Chicks On Speed, but also remixed various artists, such as THE MODERN (aka MATINEE CLUB featuring Nathan Cooper aka KID KASIO), GOLDRUSH, KISH MAUVE, BOY KILL BOY and CAS FOX.
Nowadays Horton is an artist and producer under the pseudonym Dreamtrak, being involved in various projects, including QUEEN OF HEARTS and further remixes such as ‘No Pressure’ for LITTLE BOOTS.
‘Pillow Fort’ minimalistically sees only four tracks, with Stay Away From Me’ as the opening gambit. It’s a song written to celebrate the “final unfriending of a toxic ex”, where GAPTOOTH feels that she “must erase you”. Rough vocals over a synth melody fortified with harsh guitar continue the feminist themes, and can be compared to those of Saffron of REPUBLICA. The video accompanying the title has been directed by Bristol based singer/songwriter Laura Kidd aka SHE MAKES WAR.
‘Good Guys’ sounds punky and rugged and describes dating mishaps, angrily wrapped up into a synthy piece, while ‘Such A Girl’ slows the tempo somewhat at first, describing the harshness of the modern world and the roles imposed on both men and women.
The closing track, ‘I Built A Fort’, with its minimalist sounds, depicts a child-like solution to the issues of the world of today. Every problem can be seemingly sorted, when one builds a fort made out of duvets and sings a grown up version of ‘If You’re Happy And You Know It’.
While the debut album bore heavier guitar and louder sounds, the EP, while still being angry, raw and in-your-face, deploys more electronic tones and is rather tongue-in-cheek.
The readiness of the sound of GAPTOOTH will probably appeal more to the younger electronica fans, or to those who enjoy the matters of importance being tackled using quirky sarcasm and light-heartedness, SUDDEN CREATION style.
In one of the most productive years ever for electronic pop music, it has been extremely difficult to whittle down the list to 30 songs.
The standard has been extremely high and songs which would have made the listing in previous years have been left off. This has meant the controversial omission of DEPECHE MODE.
Despite being as popular as ever, grossing over $99 million during the ‘Delta Machine’ tour, once a shortlist for 2013 was drawn, the competition was so stiff that nothing from the album even scraped in!
Yes, 2013 has been that good and wonderful songs by the likes of KELLI ALI, ELEVEN:ELEVEN, GAZELLE TWIN, GHOST CAPSULES, GOLDFRAPP, HANNAH PEEL, IAMX, KOVAK, MOBY, NIGHT ENGINE, NINE INCH NAILS, SAY LOU LOU, and SOFT METALS have just missed inclusion too!
So the songs on this alphabetical list have been released in physical formats, or digitally as purchasable or free downloads during the calendar year with a limit of one song per artist moniker.
ADULT. Idle (Second Thoughts)
The new ADULT. album ‘The Way Things Fall’ was fittingly described by one observer as “a snuff film version of Speak & Spell”. The fears of relationships and the outside world have very much fuelled the dystopian demeanour of ADULT. While still retaining their distinctive edge, their mutant love songs have a magnetic charm. This was particularly evident on the fabulous single ‘Idle (Second Thoughts)’, a vibrant electro hybrid of GINA X PERFORMANCE and SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES which showcased a strange blend of menace and melody.
Available on the album ‘The Way Things Fall’ via Ghostly International
Moving away from the industrial battleground in which they made their name, ANALOG ANGEL began the year with the enjoyably immediate ‘We Won’t Walk Away’, a laudable tribute to OMD’s classic ‘Organisation’ era. Complete with primary chord structures, one-fingered melodies and motorik rhythm programming, there was even a hint of the dulcet tones of Andy McCluskey in John Brown’s vocal. But just one thing though… Paul Humphreys wants his Prophet 5 back 😉
Available on the download EP ‘Pride’ via Carbon 12 Records
‘Without A Trace Of Emotion’ saw KARL BARTOS conversing with his showroom dummy Herr Karl and confronting his demons as an ex-member of the world’s most iconic electronic group. The most straightforward pop song on the ‘Off The Record’ album, its autobiographical resignation was not unlike ‘Life’ from ‘Communication’. But whereas his former colleague Wolfgang Flür vented his spleen in book form with ‘I Was A Robot’, Bartos took a more ironic musical approach with the line “I wish I could remix my life to another beat”, a wry reference to ‘The Mix’ project which drove him to madness and out of Kling Klang!
Available on the album ‘Off The Record’ via Bureau B
The concept of BEF’s ‘Music Of Quality & Distinction Vol3 – Dark’ is dark interpretations of perceivably upbeat songs using a variety of guest vocalists. One of the beauties of this type of project is how seemingly incongruous elements are fused together for a blissful whole. Here, melodramatic Sheffield singer/songwriter DAVID J ROCH tackles BILL WITHERS’ ‘Same Love’ via Martyn Ware’s wonderful arrangement blending a neo-acapella intro into a meaty electro-disco tune with spacey whistles and haunting invader games like GIORGIO MORODER producing SPACE’s ‘Magic Fly’.
Available on the album ‘Music of Quality & Distinction Vol3 – Dark’ via Wall Of Sound
Co-written by Swedish electro songstress KARIN PARK, Norway’s Eurovision Song Contest 2013 entry came fourth. ‘I Feed You My Love’ was like ROBYN and KELLY CLARKSON fronting ‘Songs Of Faith & Devotion’ era DEPECHE MODE. In fact, its performer MARGARET BERGER came second in the 2004 series of Norwegian Idol so the description was quite apt. The on-paper incongruous outcome was leftfield by Eurovision standards but perhaps not entirely shockingly, it got nul points from the United Kingdom; it summed up mainstream tastes in the UK and the country’s general Euro scepticism if nothing else!
The saviours of synthpop had an amazing year with sold out club shows and five dates supporting DEPECHE MODE in Europe. CHVRCHES‘ most accessible track ‘The Mother We Share’ was synthpop perfection with the concept of TAYLOR SWIFT gone electro having uprooted to Berlin. It deservedly scooped Popjustice’s Twenty Quid Music Prize for best UK single. Despite its wonderfully catchy chorus, it was not wholly bubblegum with its plethora of futuristic sounds and strange noises! Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty delivered on their promise with an impressive debut album ‘The Bones Of What You Believe’, save the two incongruous indie synth numbers sung by Doherty!
Available on the album ‘The Bones Of What You Believe’ via Virgin Records
ELECTRONIC CIRCUS are led by Chris Payne, the keyboard and viola virtuoso who was a member of GARY NUMAN’s band between 1979 to 89 and featured prominently on the Top10 single ‘Complex’. He notably co-wrote ‘Fade To Grey’ which became a huge international hit for VISAGE. With his adopted home surroundings very much the backbone of ‘Roundabout’, the track itself possessed a sexy and authentic Gallic charm, courtesy of Chris’ wife Dominique. The exquisite, almost naïve vocals over the most incessant synth riff either had listeners dancing with delight or irritated to the point of submission… the seemingly banal words were actually a very clever metaphor for midlife!
Available as a download single via Coverdrive Records
It had to happen and the world found its female DEPECHE MODE! Led by vocalist / songwriter / programmer Anastasia Dimou, the sound was probably more like post-apocalyptic BANGLES or BELINDA CARLISLE with gothic overtones in hindsight. The first single ‘Land Of The Innocent’ was a wondrous epic based around the arpeggio of ‘Ice Machine’ and driven by a hard incessant beat. Possessing an industrial gloom with an enlightening pop sensibility, it was what LADYTRON would have sounded like if they had formed in a Texan desert rather than spectre of Merseyside!!
Not content with producing MARSHEAUX and collaborating with OMD on ‘Helen Of Troy’, Greek production duo FOTONOVELA unveiled a new sophomore opus which was more song based using a number of prominent international vocalists. One of the numbers ‘Our Sorrow’ featured the majestic voice of James New from the missing-in-action MIRRORS. The string synth laden ditty was in the vein of classic OMD and with the South Coast combo calling it a day in 2013, this was a fitting way to depart The Hall Of Mirrors.
Available on the album ‘A Ton Of Love’ via Undo Records
JOHN FOXX and JORI HULKKONEN had worked together previously but never before on a body of work with a conceptual theme. Their latest collaboration took on a grainier downtempo template and the lead track ‘Evangeline’was all the more beautiful for it. Full of depth, coupled with an anthemic chorus and vibrant exchange of character throughout, this rousing yet soothingly futuristic number was quite otherworldly. The title of the parent EP said it all…
Available on the EP ‘European Splendour’ via Sugarcane Records
Nobody really knows for sure who are GIRL ONE & THE GREASE GUNS but names like Sissy Space Echo, Warren Betamax, Charles Bronson Burner and Bruce LeeFax are commensurate with their manifesto “to thrive on causing confusion with a mixture of pure synth pop and more experimental electronic sounds”. ‘Jessica 6’ is a tribute to the cult Sci-Fi favourite ‘Logan’s Run’. The eerie post-punk cacophony laced with icy Yamaha string machine makes it the perfect belated choice for the soundtrack. Add in a frantic reverbed backbeat and it all comes over like THE PIPETTES fronting collaboration between JOY DIVISION and OMD.
Available as a download single via Squirrel Records
From a long player with distinctly orchestrated and acoustic overtones, ‘Thea’ was the most overtly electronic song on ‘Tales Of Us’. Alison Goldfrapp’s vocal soared angelically, surrounded by very subtle synthetic dance textures and layers of percussive craft. While the beat was mechanical, it didn’t sound out of place on the very organic parent album.
Available on the album ‘Tales Of Us’ via Mute Records
KID MOXIE is the musical vehicle of Los Angeles based Elena Charbila. Her first full length album ‘Selector’ was bolstered by a MARSHEAUX remix of its best song ‘Medium Pleasure’. Always sounding her best when adopting a breathy continental vocal style, Elena Charbila recorded possibly her best song yet as KID MOXIE with ‘The Bailor’, a dreamy and sexy tunes that glistened in the Aegean Sea. The Wayfarer remix of the song was also issued later in the year in aid of The David Lynch Foundation .
LADYTRON’s Helen Marnie released her long awaited debut solo album ‘Crystal World’ in the summer. Recorded in Iceland, it suitably captured the island’s beautifully relaxed but volatile atmosphere. Its opening track ‘The Hunter’ was a tremendous calling card and the vibrant electropop single that LADYTRON never quite got round to releasing. Very pretty and delectably glacial, the tune was vocally and musically expansive like an Arctic escapist fantasy, melancholic but free of doom.
Available on the album ‘Crystal World’ via Les Disques Du Crespuscle
MARSHEAUX’s fourth album ‘Inhale’ had been a long time coming. And it appeared as though the Greek financial crisis had loomed heavy over its making, resulting in moodier, midtempo numbers taking centre stage. ‘August Day’ though was a grower, developing on the maturer outlook apparent on the album’s concept, with a hint of CHVRCHES’ steadier paced output. Less immediate but overwhelmingly dreamy, it captured the senses after multiple listens.
MESH’s founders Mark Hockings and Richard Silverthorn know their audience so the lattice of danceable electro-rock continued on their best album yet ‘Automation Baby’. But the beautiful ‘The Way I Feel’ showed a more sensitive side with hints of Ennio Morricone. Shaped by acoustic guitar and string machine washes, the atmospheric maturity that MESH were now showcasing was a welcome surprise.
Available on the album ‘Automation Baby’ via Dependent
MONARCHY’s ‘Disintegration’ featured the sexy burlesque queen DITA VON TEESE on vocals. With its vampish disco crashing into elements of GIORGIO MORODER, it sounded like the SCISSOR SISTERS gone right and even threw in a few VISAGE frequency warbles! ‘Disintegration’ was a rather excellent, stomping floor filler of the first degree with some hook laden energy and cooing feline appeal.
GIORGIO MORODER is now 73 years old but is as vital as ever having produced the dance track of the year! Commissioned by Google Chrome for their online game ‘Racer’, the piano line was like ULTRAVOX reworked for Studio 54 while the whirring synths and trancey elements made it come over like history of modern electronic dance music squashed into 4 minutes. But as these ideas were mostly borrowed from Da Maestro himself, it was now his time to grab it all back. Moroder easily rivalled any young hopeful with a set of double decks and a laptop.
ALISON MOYET made a return to the electronic experimentation that made her famous as one half of YAZOO on her new album ‘the minutes’. With contemporary synthesized backing over a powerful rhythm construction and stuttering guitar textures courtesy of new collaborator Guy Sigsworth, Moyet’s deep emotional vocal resonated on ‘Changeling’ with a confidence and energy that dispelled the public’s perception of her as just a jazz singer!
Available on the album ‘the minutes’ via Cooking Vinyl.
Positively feline but dysfunctionally dark like Britney gone emo, NIGHT CLUB‘s cutely subversive ‘Poisonous’ based itself, like STEFY’s lost 2007 single ‘Chelsea’, around the riff of ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’. This superb slice of catchy electronic pop from the LA combo of Emily Kavanaugh and Mark Brooks roused with a huge crossover potential while possessing a sinister edge.
Available on the download EP ‘Love Casualty’ via Gato Blanco
NOBLESSE OBLIGE are French theatrical performer Valerie Renay and German producer Sebastian Lee Philipp who specialise in a brand of abstract Weimer cabaret tinged with a dose of electro Chanson. NOBLESSE OBLIGE’s lengthy funereal deadpan cover of THE EAGLES’ ‘Hotel California’ highlights the chilling subtext of the lyrics to its macabre conclusion! The synthesizer interpretation of the original song’s iconic twin guitar solo will either be seen as total genius or sacrilege!
Available on the album ‘Affair Of The Heart’ via Repo Records
‘Who Are You?’ is one of those great uptempo anthemic songs in the vein of ‘Listen To My Voice’ from 2000’s ‘Pure’ that confirms when GARY NUMAN hits the target, he hits bulls-eye! Written for a film about a musician with schizophrenic personality, it fitted well with the parent album ‘Splinter’ and its ‘Songs From A Broken Mind’. The album wasn’t just one-dimensional riff monsters and the varied material was some of Numan’s best work for years.
Available on the album ‘Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind)’ via Mortal Records / Cooking Vinyl
The standard of ‘English Electric’ was so high that any one of its song based tracks could have made the list. But ‘Stay With Me’ just gets the nod as the album’s hidden gem. The first Paul Humphreys lead vocal for OMD since 1986’s ‘Forever Live & Die’, the song was originally demoed as ‘Idea 3’ and voiced by Andy McCluskey. Ever the master of melody and inspired by events around him, Humphreys reworked it into a more straightforward love song but added a beautiful cinematic resonance. Indeed, it comes over a bit like ‘Love Theme From St Elmo’s Fire’ meets ‘Souvenir’ with subtle lashings of white noise!
“Incandescent…”; yes the hypnotic ‘Fluorescent’ was basically a buzzy dancefloor makeover of ‘Fade To Grey’ with the chilling Polymoog string preset from VISAGE’s original remaining in the mix while waves of synth sirens attacked it like a Martian invasion. The parent album was ‘Electric’ by name and electric by nature, and easily the PET SHOP BOYS‘ best body of work since ‘Very’. It more than made up for 2012’s lame duck ‘Elysium’…
Available on the album ‘Electric’ via X2 / Kobalt Records
A stomping electro disco number produced by Mark Reeder who previously has remixed JOHN FOXX, DEPECHE MODE and PET SHOP BOYS, QUEEN OF HEARTS‘ cooing Bush-like howls and breathy euphoria are a total delight to the ears while the mighty cavernous sound provides the heat! Yet ‘United’ has ended up as the B-side of the less satisfactory ‘Secret’. However, if songs like this are being seen as outtakes, this is all a good sign for her debut album in 2014 which is eagerly awaited…
Available on the download EP ‘Secret’ via Night Moves
Originally, written by Saffron with noted producer Andy Gray, ‘Christiana Obey’ had been doing the airplay rounds in 2012 but finally secured a formal release to coincide with REPUBLICA’s touring comeback this year. With its suitably big chorus, Saffron was on good anthemic form while a meaty remix from TENEK enhanced the song even further and made it ready to go!
Available on the EP ‘Christiana Obey’ via Republica Music
POLLY SCATTERGOOD made her debut in 2009 with a self-titled album released on the iconic Mute Records. With key influences such as BJORK and KATE BUSH, it combined jubilant experimental pop with her innocent, affected vocals. From her second album ‘Arrows’, ‘Wanderlust’ realised her potential with a slice of deliciously wired avant pop in the GOLDFRAPP vein, although closer scrutiny revealed it to be more like electronic COCTEAU TWINS with that rousing air of fragility.
The Finnish duo of Juho Paalosmaa and Jori Hulkkonen swiftly followed up their acclaimed eponymous debut of 2012 with ‘Afterlife’. Hulkkonen told The Electricity Club back in 2011 that it was being a fan of PET SHOP BOYS that inspired him to make music. ‘Moonstruck’ is a fine melancholic beat ballad in the Tennant/Lowe tradition where Paalosmaa’s emotive lost boy demeanour blends wonderfully with the sweeping drifts and building swathes of synth strings. It is also possibly the best song of its type that Neil and Chris never recorded.
Available on the album ‘Afterlife’ via Solina Records
Like ‘Twin Peaks’ meets ORBITAL, ‘Damaged Software’ was an enticing piece of electro from Anais Neon and Martin Swan which affirmed their status as Britain’s premiere independent synth duo. With a tour supporting OMD in Germany where they encountered the likes of Karl Bartos and Wolfgang Flür backstage, their vile adventure of meeting former KRAFTWERK members continued when they shared the bill with Michael Rother at Elektrofest. Three years in the making, the parent album ‘The future through a lens’ was well worth the wait.
Techno DJ WESTBAM celebrated 30 years in the music business with an intriguing mature collection of songs under the title of ‘Götterstrasse’. While the theme of the album centred on the joy and euphoria of underground nightlife, the album’s magnificent launch single ‘You Need The Drugs’ was not actually a celebration of illicit substance use. Voiced brilliantly by THE PSYCHEDLIC FURS’ Richard Butler, WESTBAM himself said it was “the first explicit electronic appeal AGAINST the use of drugs with a clear message: drugs are a bore!”. From a brilliant album that also featured vocalists as diverse as Iggy Pop, Bernard Sumner, Brian Molko, Lil’ Wayne and Kanye West, ‘Götterstrasse’ was the surprise electronic release of the year.
Available on the album ‘Götterstrasse’ via Warner Music Germany
Since reforming with the original nucleus of Saffron, Tim Dorney and Jonny Glue back in 2009, REPUBLICA have been steadily rebuilding their profile with live shows and have been working on new material.
The first fruit of their labours ‘Christiana Obey’ has just been released as an EP and has recaptured the feisty techno-rock aesthetic that was first showcased worldwide with the massive hit ‘Ready To Go’. Certainly, Saffron was looking forward to being out on the road again said “If you don’t have fun being in a band, there’s no point doing it!”
As REPUBLICA took to The Garage stage, they got a rapturous welcome but just as ‘Bloke’ got started, there was a power failure. Saffron grinned thorough the commotion and bantered with the crowd but as soon as the sequences fired up, it was back to business with Saffron’s feisty persona.
‘From Rush Hour To Love’ followed and considering Saffron only had a knee operation a few months before, she was happily bouncing away and engaging the audience. Like two parts Toyah: one part Siouxsie at a warehouse party, Saffron provided the focus while Dorney and Glue acted as complimentary foil to recreate the punchy REPUBLICA sound.
Mention must be made of the band’s new young 20 year old drummer Conor Lawrence who did very well syncopating along to the trademark sequences and basslines.
While ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ obviously tore the house down, new songs such as ‘Suck Baby Suck’ and ‘Christiana Obey’ showed that REPUBLICA still have plenty of spark and vitality in them. Certainly Saffron’s friend, model and singer Samantha Fox and her pals thought so as they bopped away at the front with everyone else. The more sedate ‘Picture Me’ allowed Saffron to take a breather so that the show wasn’t entirely in-yer-face.
And ‘Ready To Go’ was saved until the penultimate number of the evening, still retaining the zest and power that took it to the sports stadia of the world.
But Saffron wasn’t done yet and returning for the encore ‘Pub Pusher’, she even strapped on a guitar to finish.
Full of fun and sounding good for the new ‘Millennium’, REPUBLICA are back with a vengeance.
‘Christina Obey’ EP is released as download on 22nd April 2013 but is available as a CD at the remaining dates of REPUBLICA’s 2013 UK tour which include:
Leeds Brudenell Social Club (Tuesday 19th March), Glasgow Classic Grand (Wednesday 20th March), Nottingham Bodega Social Club (Thursday 21st March), Bristol Thekla (Friday 22nd March), Winchester Railway Inn (Saturday 23rd March)
Trending on BBC Radio 2 no less is KOVAK’s brand new single ‘Radiate’…
KOVAK have only been the second unsigned band to be playlisted on BBC Radio 2 and this accolade is a clear indication of their crossover potential.
The Brighton-based foursome relaunched in 2012 with the brilliant ‘Killer Boots’ and have been touted in some quarters as the British answer to SCISSOR SISTERS. But they are far better than that and much less irritating.
The SAINT ETIENNE meets BLONDIE and GIORGIO MORODER fusion of ‘Radiate’ may party like it’s 1979 but its crisp production adds a modern discothèque sheen to the fun, catchy ditty. It is simply syncopated heaven.
Driven by a tingling metallic sequence and sweetened by Annelies Van de Velde’s angelic vocals, ‘Radiate’ does what it says on the tin and puts in the shade most of the competition whose idea of an electronic dance song is to cut a mindless, repetitive house excursion with no tune! Along with TEXAN duo ELEVEN: ELEVEN, KOVAK know how to make people dance while adding a great tune and NOT cranking the beat to 12! Yes, it’s a great time to be an electropop act right now.
‘Radiate’ is released digitally on 11th February 2013 by 74 Music
KOVAK will also be supporting REPUBLICA at Highbury’s The Garage in London on Thursday 14th March 2013.
Formed following the phenomenon of Acid House and Rave, REPBULICA were a refreshing slap in face during Britpop.
Their massive 1996 hit ‘Ready To Go’ was adopted as a rallying cry by the sports stadiums of the globe as a result, the parent album ‘Republica’ sold three million worldwide. Follow-up single ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ was also a big hit and used in the Wes Craven horror flick ‘Scream’.
Fronted by the vivacious Saffron, their rousing Techno punk rock were like TOYAH fronting NEW ORDER and sat well with the rise of female fronted indie bands like SLEEPER and ELASTICA alongside edgier dance acts such as UNDERWORLD and THE PRODIGY. Indeed, Saffron sang on the latter’s cover of L7’s ‘Fuel My Fire’ from the album ‘The Fat Of The Land’.
The second album, ‘Speed Ballads’ was released in 1998 but its promotion suffered when their label, Deconstruction Records folded shortly after its release. The band went on hiatus in 2001. In between, Saffron guested on JUNKIE XL’s 2003 album ‘Radio JXL – A Broadcast From The Computerhell Cabin’ which also featured DEPECHE MODE’s Dave Gahan and GARY NUMAN, while she also sang backing vocals on THE CURE’s ‘Just Say Yes’.
The original nucleus of Saffron, former FLOWERED UP keyboard player Tim Dorney and guitarist Jonny Glue reunited and in early 2010, REPUBLICA performed a string of European dates including a comeback gig at London’s Islington Academy. They also issued ‘Ready To Go 2010’, a new version of their best known song produced by Andy Gray and Alan Moulder.
Following a well-received set at GuilFest in July 2012, REPUBLICA will be airing brand new material such as the brilliant ‘Christiana Obey’ on an extensive nationwide tour in March with TEC favourites TENEK as support.
ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK caught up with Saffron for a natter out of the darkness…
REPUBLICA first became widely known with ‘Ready to Go’ in 1996. It was a big hit and being played in the sports stadiums of the world. It was quite a whirlwind, how was it for you looking back?
We embarked on a 65 date tour of America after touring UK for few years and ‘Ready To Go’ became a huge hit on radio and MTV. On one week, we received 29,000 plays and was the most played song that week across America. The NFL picked up on it and it became the New York Rangers ice hockey team’s anthem. It went No1 in quite a few countries and also became big football song in England. Sunderland played it before a game and we did a gig at the Stadium of Light in middle of the pitch! It was great feeling for us as a band. We continue to be amazed at its popularity. It has been used in over 300 films and adverts.
REBUPLICA stood out soundwise with a real mix of influences at the height of Britpop with that first album…
We originally started as a purely electronic band. We were heavily into acid house dance music from 1988 onwards as well as having early 80s electronic influences; Simple Minds, Japan, Human League, Numan, OMD, Depeche Mode. We were all into bands like The Cure, The Clash, The Jam, Gang Of Four and The Banshees. With my voice and mine and Jonny’s lyrics, we added guitars and strove to find a sound that married rock and electro. We arrived back from America and the whole Britpop thing was happening. They were great times to be in music in the UK!
It was also the time of Girl Power and you seemed to slot into that quite nicely. It turns out you were a bit of a role model for girls who had aspired to perhaps be more rock’n’roll?
It was especially great time for female fronted rock/indie bands around the time of Girl Power, empowering for young women definitely.
There were some great bands and artists like Garbage, No Doubt, Elastica, The Cardigans, Sleeper, Echobelly, Texas, Saint Etienne, Curve and PJ Harvey plus there was Hole, Veruca Salt and Luscious Jackson in the US.
Who were your own influences as a singer/performer?
My main influences as a singer and performer range from Toyah Wilcox, Siouxsie Sioux, Grace Jones to Stevie Nicks, Kate Bush and David Bowie.
‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ was another hit while songs like Bloke’ and ‘Bitch’ were also fan favourites. The latter pair compliment each other well, what inspired the lyrics to those.
‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ was used in the original ‘Scream’ film. Wes Craven phoned us in Nashville, Tennessee to say the lyrics went exactly with the storyline to his new movie “My ex-boyfriend lies, he does it every time, it’s his permanent disguise…Yeah! Yeah! Drop Dead Gorgeous”! We played at the premiere in LA. I’m proud that it also became a big gay anthem.
‘Bloke’ was actually one first songs and singles we released, it’s about everything we didn’t wanna be. ‘Bitch’ is about youth and being fearless.
The moment appeared to have waned by the time ‘Speed Ballads’? Why was that do you think in hindsight?
Our label in the UK Deconstruction Records went under the week of release of our second album ‘Speed Ballads’. We had sold couple million albums and just done a sold out UK tour, but fans couldn’t buy our record in shops! We were also told we couldn’t get out of contract. It was f*cked up.
Music kinda goes in 5 year cycles and it was at tail end of the Britpop era anyway. What a bloody great 5 years though!!!
What did you do in the intervening years?
Republica wrote the theme music for the Morwenna Banks TV show on Channel 5 and did a duet with Gary Numan on ‘Are Friends Electric’ for his ‘Random’ album. We sang it together live at Shepherds Bush Empire. We carried on touring other countries and then all decided we wanted to do other projects. I collaborated on a duet with The Cure on ‘Just Say Yes’ from their ‘Greatest Hits’ album. I also did a video, TV and sang live with them in Paris. There was also The Prodigy duet with Keith ‘Fuel My Fire’ on ‘The Fat Of The Land’ album.
There were three songs I wrote for Junkie XL; ‘Crusher’, ‘Spirits’ and ‘Beauty Never Fades’ which became a No1 Dance Single and was used in film ‘The Animatrix’ and ‘A Scanner Darkly’ with Keanu Reeves. I was his special guest when he headlined the Pinkpop Festival Holland. I also collaborated with US band Deepsky, I co-wrote and sang ‘Smile’ on the ‘In Silico’ album, co-wrote and sang ‘There’s No Pleasin Some People’ on Ace from Skunk Anansie’s ‘Still Hungry’ solo album.
I also worked with Jeff Beck, Tarantella and Redanka, Ed Case, Carl Cox and Maxim Reality from The Prodigy on a duet track called ‘Heart Sing’. I sang with The Blockheads at a Tribute to Ian Dury at Brixton Academy.
I also DJ-ed for Versace, Tommy Hilfiger, Natt Weller and the Sultan of Brunei as well as doing live shows in Greece, Denmark and Poland with my friend Samantha Fox.
Johnny Glue had another band Contra Mundum and a solo album. Tim Dorney DJ-ed and had a project Greedy Soul with ex-members of his band Flowered Up.
How did you decide to reform REPUBLICA and do it all again in 2009?
The boys approached me to do some gigs in 2009 and 2010. We had a great time so it went from there doing shows the UK, Dubai, Bahrain, Bucharest and Transylvania Romania, Silverstone and various festivals. Our label lost the original parts to ‘Ready To Go’ so we re-created/recorded it again with Andy Gray and Alan Moulder mixed it. We put it out with new mixes and it went straight No1 in the Dance charts.
Are there any new songs? What do they sound like?
We are currently working on new songs. I would say even more electronic…
You’re doing this extensive UK tour in March. What could people expect if they come along?
We’re very excited about the March tour and we hope have new EP out by then!
The perception was that REPUBLICA partied quite a bit back in the day. Will there be more of the same or will this forthcoming tour be slightly more sedate?
Republica came out of whole acid house party scene and carried on all round the bloody place. If you don’t have fun being in a band, there’s no point doing it! 🙂
Have you any favourite acts and bands at the moment?
I like Gary Numan, Chatelaine, Tenek, Jayce Lewis, Black Light Burns, IAMX, Jane Allison, Hurts, Archive, Passarella Death Squad, A-Star, Kovak, Girl In A Coma, Echo & The Bunnymen, Recoil, Alt-J, Foals, Wild Beasts, Tricks Of The Gods, Treasure House, I Am In Love, Mystic Underground, Patrick Wolf, Natt Weller, The Amazonica, Khufu, James Cook, The Black Watch, My Vitriol, Mesh, Ghost in Saturn, Analog Angel, Princess Superstar, Adam Sky and Martin Rossiter.
What are your future plans etc with regards REPUBLICA?
Future plans include new everything… songs, EP, tour, my first short film (acting) and more Wing Chun Kung Fu x
ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to Saffron
REPUBLICA 2013 tour dates include:
London The Garage (Thursday 14th March), York Fibbers (Friday 15th March), Manchester – venue TBC (Sunday 17th March), Newcastle O2 Academy 2 (Monday 18th March), Leeds Brudenell Social Club (Tuesday 19th March), Glasgow Classic Grand (Wednesday 20th March), Nottingham Bodega Social Club (Thursday 21st March), Bristol Thekla (Friday 22nd March), Winchester Railway Inn (Saturday 23rd March)