Tag: Ricky Wilde (Page 1 of 2)


Photo by Jori Hulkkonen

Just as it looked like it would be safe to come out to play, there was uncertainty within the music industry again.

What had become the artists’ favourite platform thanks to its low commission and 0% Fridays, Bandcamp was taken over by Epic Games in 2022 but then following a move by employees to unionise, was sold to Songtradr who immediately dismissed half of its staff… in hindsight, despite its proclamation that this platform cared about the music, it looked like this had been yet another start-up by tech venture capitalists. Just as many acts dropped their own websites in favour of Facebook over a decade ago but were then trapped into sponsored posts to reach the majority of their own fanbase, online shops had been dropped for Bandcamp. So, things are back to square one as many consider a rebuild of their web presence.

Meanwhile, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino made a controversial declaration that concert ticket prices were generally too low and that artists could easily “charge a bit more”. While THE CURE notably refused to do this and capped their face value tickets at $20 for their US tour, the Live Nation sister outlet Ticketmaster applied excessive booking extras of more than $20 per ticket for a “service fee”, “facility charge” and “order processing”! With dynamic pricing in place at a number of high profile events and so-called VIP tickets on the rise (which didn’t actually include a meet ‘n’ greet but only a nearby bar and a lanyard), fans had their “FOMO” anxieties triggered and simply paid up!

Photo by Chi Ming Lai

Another artist who kept ticket prices low was Midge Ure who embarked on the successful ‘Voices & Visions’ tour after a year’s delay due to uncertainties over the Covid situation in 2022. Complimented by a straightforward but very effective light show and material from his second and third long players with ULTRAVOX ‘Rage In Eden’ and ‘Quartet’, it was a triumph. He was rewarded with a 70th birthday show celebrating his career at The Royal Albert Hall, which despite its plush surroundings was also kept affordable.

Who says an artist has no control over retail pricing? But one band who were shamelessly happy to charge more for concert tickets, more for merchandise and more for physical releases were DEPECHE MODE. For their first album and tour since the passing of co-founder Andy Fletcher in 2022, the remaining members played the death card with ‘Momento Bori’ and managed to plonk an even more underwhelming arena show into the stadiums of the world… at least the ‘Global Spirit’ tour featured risers!

With renowned UK venues such as Printworks and Moles closing down, as had already been highlighted by Juls Garat of US goth band PILGRIMS OF YEARNING via social media in 2022: “If you’re spending a kidney on DEPECHE MODE tickets and not attending a local show this weekend, I don’t wanna see you complaining that there’s no scene, local venues or new music anymore”. However, one seemingly oblivious Devotee said about the inflated ticket prices: “Really don’t know what the issue is. Happily paid £108.00 for a DM ticket. Would have paid more!!”. And therein lays the problem… DEPECHE MODE played a date at Stadion Wankdorf in Bern and that said it all! As the man who Devotees call a genius once wrote: “Some great reward will be coming my way…”

Photo by Chi Ming Lai

As The Devotees wallowed in their collective misery during 2023, the Stockholm Syndrome was stronger than ever. On the Bratislava leg at the National Football Stadium, one of The Black Swarm commented to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK: “I was there… I must admit, a bit disappointed… but I still love them!!!”. It was business as usual for DEPECHE MODE, with “business” being the operative word. It was reported that so much money had been sucked out of the European alternative music market in particular that a number of acts had to schedule their planned tours to 2024, while others who had made good albums worthy of attention in 2023 got lost in the sea of DM propaganda on the web.

Despite increased ticket prices at all levels, gig etiquette declined to the worst possible standards with the constant chatter and bad manners among some attendees. Surely if you have paid upwards of £30 or more for a show, you might want to pay more attention and enjoy it? ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK has never seen it this bad in the 43 years it has been going to concerts, but this entitled arrogance to talk extremely loudly about total bollocks is a undoubted legacy of Brexit and Covid which in combination has normalised a lack of social graces in gathered environments… and when challenged, these total numbskulls become aggressive, pitifully unaware that they are ruining the evening of those around them.

Meanwhile, there was another undesirable element who only go to gigs to post selfies and badly distorted footage on their socials… these were often the sort of people who actually hated the band back in the day, but after 40+ years realised they like the song on the Vitality or Waitrose advert so are sudddenly giving it the big “I AM” about being a fan… but BECAUSE they are only there for one song, they then treat the rest of the gig like they were out with their mates in the pub! 🤬

Photo by Chi Ming Lai

The best live shows of the year came from PET SHOP BOYS and DURAN DURAN with their arena extravaganzas full of hits, classic fan favourites and great staging. Among the album celebrations, CHINA CRISIS ran through their second long player ‘Working With Fire & Steel – Possible Pop Songs Volume 2’ on tour to celebrate its 40th anniversary and founder bassist Peter Hook took the first NEW ORDER compilation ‘Substance’ out on the road to coincide with its expanded 4CD reissue.

“Sweden’s best kept pop secret” KITE impressed with an imitate headliner for their debut London gig and later at Cologne’s Amphi Festival to a much larger crowd, while the return of Ollie Wride to the London stage at The Scala illustrated why he has potential to be the next synthwave artist to crossover into the mainstream.

Photo by Ed Miles

‘Time’s Arrow’, LADYTRON’s second album since their return from hiatus proved to be something of a disappointment while fairing slightly better with its anti-Brexit sentiments, ‘Bauhaus Staircase’ was touted as the final album from OMD; now kissing the strict machine, having previously been supportive of new electronic pop via ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK championed acts MIRRORS, VILLA NAH, VILE ELECTRODES, METROLAND, TINY MAGNETIC PETS and SOFTWAVE, their choice of art glam hipsters WALT DISCO as opening act on the UK leg of the 2024 tour was symbolic of the general poor state of modern synthpop ie pop music using synths, particularly within the narrow-mindset of Brexit Britain.

Although the UK was continuing to party like it was 1933, the incendiary language that Cruella Braverman was using was so extreme that she was even dismissed from fronting the Conservative Party new wave covers band A FLOCK OF SIEG HEILS… as a trio of poets from South Yorkshire once said: “BROTHERS! SISTERS! WE DON’T NEED THIS FASCIST GROOVE THANG!”

Reflecting a wider issue, 2023 also saw ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK publish its fewest number of ‘Introducing…’ new artist articles since its inception in 2010 with only Brigitte Bardini and Madeleine Goldstein featured. There were a number of possible reasons…

Photo by Bella Salvatore

“The technology leads the art form and it always has” said veteran producer Steve Lillywhite on a recent Rockonteurs podcast, “if the technology allows you to reference other people’s records… you WILL do that!”. This was summed up by an Apple Mac advert featuring sample-based British pop singer PinkPantheress demonstrating how to have a hit by appropriating a topline from Kelly Rowland and plonking it into GarageBand before processing her voice through AutoTune and nabbing the intro of ‘Gold’ by SPANDAU BALLET… you said it yourself Miss Walker, IT SOUNDS LIKE GARBAGE!

While the accessibility, usability and sound quality of modern tech has totally democratised music making, as another veteran producer Stephen Hague put it to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK “it’s made it far too easy”, with the end result being familiarity and imitation rather than innovation. Now that an acceptable sound is able to be obtained fairly quickly on software such as GarageBand, the level of songwriting has generally declined in many genres. Artists abstain from putting in the hard work towards the actual songcraft because they think their track is already great, as it sounds like someone they’ve based it on!

However, the misuse of “synth” as a description reached a new nadir in 2023. There were those using “synth” or “synthwave” in their brand identity who proudly revealed via their Spotify Wrapped that their Top Genre was actually rock or made bizarre comments like “What I like most about synthwave is the guitar solos”. Meanwhile one artist declared they were synthpop because they had spent their youth “listening to too much Madonna”! But synth music as an enduring form is ultimately doomed when social media platforms using “Synthpop” in their idents think that guitar-based bands like BIG COUNTRY and COCTEAU TWINS are part of it, or compile acoustic playlists!! 🤦‍♂️

“Synth” has now somehow become is a general term for any retro-flavoured pop with an element of shiny artifice whether synthesizers have been used or not! These artists and “content creators” are now too young to understand what “synth” in music actually once meant and probably think the term is short for “synthetic” as in clothes and hair products, as opposed to “synthesizer”.

That said, 2023 was not all bad and there was a lot of excellent music. The song of the year was by the unlikely synth hero in glum rocker Lloyd Cole; while guitars made a more prominent but limited return on his album ‘On Pain’ following 2019’s electronically-dominated ‘Guesswork’, the standout song ‘The Idiot’ saw him provide a touching narrative on the relationship between David Bowie and Iggy Pop as they relocated to Berlin in 1976.

Swedish veterans PAGE took the Numanisation of their poptronica to its zenith by bringing in former imperial phase Numan band members Chris Payne and RRussell Bell on their new album ‘En Ny Våg’. Across the Öresund Bridge, Danish synthpop couple SOFTWAVE showed the world the ‘things we’ve done’.

Photo by George Tripodakis

Another music veteran Ricky Wilde teamed up with NINA to reveal their ‘Scala Hearts’; full of classic pop references and a modern sheen, this was the record Wilde had wanted to make for a few years but hadn’t been able to with his sister Kim. Its creative drive showed and this was also the best long player that NINA had been part of since she launched her solo career in 2011. In a busy year, NINA also found time to satisfy many a red blooded fantasy by collaborating with Kid Moxie on the ‘Lust’ EP released by Italians Do It Better.

The Finns were strong too, with Jaakko Eino Kalavi and Jori Hulkkonen producing two of the best albums of 2023. The former’s eclectic ‘Chaos Magic’ featured Alma Jodorowsky, Mr Silla and Jimi Tenor as special guests while the latter’s ‘There Is Light Hidden In These Shadows’ brought in John Grant, Ralf Dörper, Jake Shears, Jon Marsh, Juho Paalosmaa and Tiga.

While maintaining his front man role in MESH, Mark Hockings presented his solo project BLACKCARBURNING in long playing form and was ‘Watching Sleepers’. Also going it alone, Alison Goldfrapp squarely hit the dancefloor via ’The Love Invention’ with Kylie Minogue’s similarly glitzy ‘Tension’ as its companion. But with ACTORS still busy touring the world, the planned long playing debut from LEATHERS was yet to emerge but there were two new singles in the interim.

METROLAND and side project 808 DOT POP ambitiously released albums in five different formats with exclusive tracks on each between them simultaneously, in a move that had not been seen since 1978 when all four members of KISS released solo records on the same day. Much more discretely, ITALOCONNECTION came up with ‘Nordisko’ which comprised of Nordic pop disco covers. More ambient experiments were served by John Foxx, Vince Clarke, Patricia Wolf, Johan Agebjörn and the late Ryuichi Sakamoto, while putting those ethereal textures into song was Hinako Omori with her appropriately named second album ‘stillness, softness…’

Germany’s BEBORN BETON offered bleak commentary on the state of the planet with ‘Darkness Falls Again’ but encouraged everyone to be dancers in the dark while Chinese band STOLEN highlighted this ‘Eroded Creation’. Within their ‘Circle Of Doom’, NNHMN had pressing matters closer to home while ZANIAS emerged from her ‘Chrysalis’. FERAL FIVE confronted and worked with AI to declare ‘Truth Is The New Gold’ and Finlay Shakespeare tapped into his ‘Illusion + Memory’.

Photo by Tim Darin

Among the promising emergent acts with debut EPs were NEU-ROMANCER and DIE SEXUAL while German solo artists Jennifer Touch and Laura Dre added to their long playing portfolios, as did OHNOTHING and BUNNY X. Fronted by respectively by John Grant and Neil Arthur, CREEP SHOW and THE REMAINDER outlined the benefits of collaboration while CAUSEWAY joined forces with R. MISSING for the single ‘Wear The Night Out’.

Despite having plied their trade for over 50 years, SPARKS continued to be as eccentric as ever and even had Cate Blanchett appear in the video for ‘The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte’. With ‘*Happiness now completed’ and Dave Ball returning to the live fold after a period of serious illness, SOFT CELL effectively issued another new album featuring a significant number of previously unreleased tracks including covers of Giorgio Moroder and X-RAY SPEX to provide a much more satisfying listening experience than the parent ‘*Happiness not included’ record. Then there was the unexpected recorded return of CLASSIX NOUVEAUX with their ‘Battle Cry’.

Veteran acts who ceased active operations many years ago got worthy boxed set treatments; TELEX provided ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK with the funniest interview of the year in support of their self-titled retrospective on Mute while LANDSCAPE were comprehensively catalogued by Cooking Vinyl. Not to be left out, the trusty Cherry Red via their Lemon imprint showcased how underrated NEW MUSIK and their leader Tony Mansfield were, especially with the latter’s sound clearly audible in today’s pop acts such as THE WEEKND.

Despite the return of Q, the jury was still out on whether music magazines are still desirable aside from their CD and vinyl artefacts. Meanwhile, music-based social media dumbed down its engagement to cut ‘n’ paste Wikipedia snippets accompanying archive photos or artwork, pointless 26th anniversary posts and non-significant birthday celebrations to attract likes. Comments from the public such as “My favourite album… I wish I still had it!” and saying “Happy Birthday” when the platform wasn’t even connected to the artist concerned only highlighted further the continuing inane nature of online interaction. And this was without those irritating “POV” reels and reaction videos on TikTok and Instagram which were unfortunately prevalent!

The less said about the right wing gammon infested sh*t show that Twitter has become, the better but on the new Threads platform intended to take it on, PENDULUM’s El Hornet remarked “omg threads is full of music industry self help w*nkers making lists about things nobody asked abort! ABORT!” 🤣

With such platforms also seemingly centred around the exposure of flesh with photos “just for fun” be the subject a golfer, gamer, painter, baker, comedian, hairdresser, photographer, psychologist, racing driver, book reviewer, poet, dating coach or Lego enthusiast, is it any wonder that several music artists resorted to setting up OnlyFans accounts to sell nude photos!

With pun totally intended, in this challenging climate for exposure, some acts simply got a bit too big for their boots and were unbearably conceited on their socials with their bragging and frivolous chatter to appease a needy flock who hung onto their every word, desperate to be seen to be “friends” of wannabe stars while crowdfunding towards their spa weekenders and vet bills for their cat… it was therefore ironic that one of these acts declared “Music isn’t a competition!” when it appeared that another band might be taking away some of their limelight! Well, stop acting like it’s a 24 hour edition of ‘The Apprentice’ then!!! 🙄

On the other side of the coin, one too cool for school band took a strange attitude to promotion by refusing to accept questions about their influences while trying to come over like total originals. Despite their inspirations being blatant and obvious to hear, they had a misguided self-belief that they were somehow speaking a new language! But everybody knows they started out by purchasing the sheet music to ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ from a New York thrift store! 😆

A few years ago, a lone British artist was complained about the lack of press attention for their new admittedly good album, but then proceeded not to answer emails containing interview pitches. Artists need to engage, no matter how much they say they hate doing promotion, they can’t have it both ways. The days of RADIOHEAD not doing interviews to promote a new album and letting the music speak for itself are long gone…

With the world now making up for lost time since 2020, it would be fair to say that 2023 has been something of a strange year!

Text by Chi Ming Lai
18 December 2023


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. The stylised rage was sinister stuff but aurally and visually 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. With another Cold War looming 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



A product of lockdown, BLACKCARBURNING is the solo vehicle of Mark Hockings with the 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 and the trio WRANGLER comprising of 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 solo artist Tess Roby with THE BEAT ESCAPE’s 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, this was a wonderfully understated dance number.

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



Creating their own “Feraltropolis”, 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 for a commentary on today’s strangely dystopian post-truth world. 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 London-based 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

Following the acclaim for her debut ‘The Internet’ and her first liev appearences, 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. However, 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



Formally of synth-tinged Portland band FRINGE CLASS, 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.” The album assembled an impressive supporting cast; 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 disco friendly shapeshift from the artpop original.

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



Athens-based Finn Jaakko Eino Kalevi sought to find beauty in the chaotic nature of the everyday on his new double 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 the EP launched by a cover of ‘Waiting For The Night’, a song made famous by Jennifer Lopez. With a cool air of enigmatic mystery, the downtempo synthwave treatment on ‘Lust’ 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 despite highlighting existential issues closer to home.

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



From their third album ‘Strange Disciple’ themed around “toxic infatuation”, the fittingly titled ‘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’ on CURSES’ enjoyable album ‘Next Wave Acid Punx DEUX’ compilation. 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, wife and husband “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 the usual OMD 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 blind 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 and not playing the modern streaming algorithms, may provide the focal point that the New York-based duo deserve.

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



Covered by acts as diverse CARTER THE UNSTOBBALE SEX MACHINE 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

From out of the shadows to under the strobe lights, DIE SEXUAL are the Los Angeles-based wife-and-husband duo of Rosselinni and Anton Floriano, the latter part of BLACK LIGHT ODYSSEY who remixed the DEPECHE MODE bonus track ‘Oh Well’. 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 intriguing darkwave. After several EP releases, her debut album ‘A Story Of Anger’ was a major artistic 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 having had hits with ‘Tainted Love’ and ‘What’, 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 reflective lyrics on the second SOFTWAVE album ‘things we’ve done’ highlighted the challenges of living in a modern world full of dualities. ‘Taking Life For Granted’ saw the Danish duo of Catrine Christensen and Jerry Olsen go 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. Ricky Wilde said “I just thought there was a little bit more that it needed that I maybe wanted to add back in the day”. With sharp spikey edges boosting the trancey template, he provided a superb extended end section that paid 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’.  As the title suggests, it was a rebirth. 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


Ricky Wilde is the musical veteran who was first touted for boyhood stardom in 1972 but saw his future in the studio behind the scenes as a songwriter and producer, playing key role in his sister Kim’s international hits such as ‘Kids In America’, ‘Cambodia’ and ‘You Came’. Nina is “The Queen of Synthwave” whose single ‘My Mistake’ became part of a 2015 European Mercedes-Benz advertising campaign while she also has two solo albums ‘Sleepwalking’ and ‘Synthian’ to her name, along with a recent collaboration with Kid Moxie released on the prestigious Italians Do It Better label.

What originally started as a selection of songs intended for Nina’s third album became a joint artist collaboration with the pair standing centre stage together as Ricky Wilde x Nina. ‘Scala Hearts’ is the end result and is so named as the pair met first met at the same named former cinema in London when they independently went to see THE MIDNIGHT in 2019.

Despite the generational divide and both being natural introverts, they found common ground creatively and almost immediately collaborated on two tracks for Nina’s second album ‘Synthian’. With their collaboration ‘Runaway’ being a highlight from that long player, the prospect of further work between the two has always been eagerly anticipated.

Opening ‘Scala Hearts’, ‘Videotheque’ was the coolest of the quartet of Trevor Horn productions for DOLLAR in 1982 and whereas the original was cinematic disco lento, Ricky and Nina’s new version is toughened up for the 21st Century with the guitars adding bite without being obtrusive to the groove.

‘Causeway’ is so named after the Idaho-based dreamwave duo CAUSEWAY who inspired it; an emotive slice of dreamwave with Nina’s vocal taking centre stage with complimentary harmonies from Ricky, the contrast of pan pipes and shoegaze provides an unusual but effective soundscape. Meanwhile with a catchy rhythmic swing, the sun-kissed ‘LA Dreamers’ is like DOLLAR fronting TEARS FOR FEARS in a PENSOCOLA MIST with Ricky Wilde doing a fine impression of Ollie Wride.

Held down initially by an enticing arpeggio and soprano voices, as Nina erupts into an operatic sorrow on ‘Fade Me Out’ where the kitchen sink is thrown for with synth solos, gothic choirs and percussive breaks galore. Other aspects lodge into the psyche such as Ricky Wilde’s recurring “take me in, take me out” phrase and even the surprise of BEATLES vocal influences.

A very personal song about family conflicts, ‘Living In Sin’ sees Ricky Wilde take the lead on some growly anthemic artpop before declaring “I’M GLAD THAT IT’S OVER” while Nina interjects sternly like Suzanne Freytag of PROPAGANDA that it’s “business as usual”.

The previously released ‘Gold Heart’ was a Nina solo single configured as a dark widescreen ballad but the redux which was the sourced from the original demo is better; rousing pop in the manner of SIMPLE MINDS ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ from ‘The Breakfast Club’ soundtrack, there is even a sneaky TEARS FOR FEARS reference and yes, it does sound like Kim Wilde 😉

Airy and melodic, ‘Night & Day’ is not shy of its sprightly OMD synthfluence, while the confessional ballad ‘Fighter’ builds to a tribal climax as a song about bravery that wouldn’t be out of place in a theatre production.

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

With classic pop references and a modern sheen, Ricky Wilde’s production on ‘Scala Hearts’ has an epic presence and but then, this is the man who made ‘Kids In America’ at the age of 19 we are talking about here. An admirer of early Synth Britannia and a synthwave enthusiast, this is the type of record Ricky has wanted to make for a few years but hasn’t been able to with Kim, so Nina has been the muse to provide that creative drive.

A very good immediate electronic pop record with plenty of hooks and subtle artiness, ‘Scala Hearts’ is without doubt the best long player that Nina has been part of and is leagues above most of the synthwave labelled stuff that’s been around and getting traction. This is a musical meeting of minds has the potential to appeal to a lot of people with the credibility to match, so let’s hope they do another one 🙂

‘Scala Hearts’ is released by New Retro Wave on 29 September 2023 via the usual online platforms at https://ninanrickywilde.lnk.to/ScalaHearts

Coloured vinyl LP and cassette editions available from https://newretrowave.bandcamp.com/album/scala-hearts







Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Say Goodnight Films
27 September 2023, updated 29 September 2023


‘Scala Hearts’ sees the first long playing collaboration between Ricky Wilde X Nina.

The pair met when they independently went to see THE MIDNIGHT at the Scala in London, hence the album’s title. Introduced to each other by a mutual friend podcaster Lee Bennett, Ricky and Nina got on like a house on fire and found they had common ground creatively despite the generational divide. Straight away, they collaborated on two tracks ‘Runaway’ and ‘Gave Up On Us’ on Nina’s second album ‘Synthian’.

Ricky Wilde is the musical veteran who was first touted for boyhood stardom with his 1972 debut single ‘I Am An Astronaut’, drawing comparisons with Donny Osmond. But his future lay behind the scenes as a songwriter and producer. The son of Marty and the brother of Kim, he played a key role in his sister’s international hits ‘Kids In America’, ‘Cambodia’ and ‘You Came’. It could even be argued that Ricky’s ‘Reprise’ instrumental section of the ‘Select’ album version of ‘Cambodia’ was the forerunner of the filmic synthwave styles that since have been adopted and developed by the likes of artists such as WAVESHAPER. Today, he remains the musical director of her live popular shows and continues to work on her albums, the most recent being ‘Here Come The Aliens’ in 2018.

Nina has been called “The Queen of Synthwave” following her appearance in the 2019 documentary film ‘The Rise Of The Synths’ narrated by John Carpenter. She achieved her wider breakthrough when her single ‘My Mistake’ was part a 2015 Mercedes-Benz advertising campaign in Europe. Since then, she has issued two solo albums ‘Sleepwalking’ and ‘Synthian’ which both included tracks co-produced by Richard X and an EP ‘Control’ which utilised samples from Cliff Martinez’s ‘Drive’ film score. More recently, there has been the ‘Lust’ EP with Kid Moxie released on Italians Do It Better.

What originally started as a selection of songs intended for Nina’s third album became a joint artist collaboration with Nina and Ricky standing centre stage together. ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK was extremely pleased to be able to chat to Ricky and Nina about the making of ‘Scala Hearts’ in what is likely to be one of the most anticipated moments of 2023 in electronic pop.

Ricky Wilde X Nina, it’s like it is meant to be?

Nina: It definitely feels that way! After we met, we realised that we love the same bands and were going to all the same concerts without knowing one another yet. Ricky is very on the pulse and although we are from different generations, we create music together almost effortlessly! Our mutual friend Lee Bennet introduced us, knowing that we’d click.

You’ve worked with each other before, on ’Runaway’ and ‘Gave Up On Us’ from ‘Synthian’, were there any anxiety or nerves on either side when you sat in the studio together for the first time?

Ricky: There wasn’t on my side, I knew from meeting Nina at THE MIDNIGHT gig, I just had a really good vibe off her and I knew she has this lovely energy, she was very positive and I didn’t think there would be any problems in the studio. I knew it was going to be a lovely experience and I was right.

Sometimes, you just get a gut feeling Chi and you know when something is right, it felt right the moment I met her. When she said she was 2 tracks light on the album, I saw it as my opportunity to dive in and say “Let’s do some work!”. Thankfully she accepted my proposal and she came down and we spent a couple of days on it. Was it 2 days Nina?

Nina: Yes, you’re right! I was definitely nervous meeting Ricky in his studio for the first time. It was a huge deal for me! I grew up listening to his beautiful melodies and incredible songwriting. However, the nerves went away almost instantly, as he’s such a warm person and made me feel very at home. There is a mutual respect between the two of us, which was very comforting.

Ricky: Yes, we finishing writing it and then I programmed it up and then we had the recording process after that but it was pretty quick. I knew it would be a lovely experience and I’m just grateful that the two tracks that we wrote ended up on the album.

So with ‘Scala Hearts’, what was intended as a few collab songs has ended up as full-length album, was this partly as a result of lockdown?

Ricky: A lot of it was written during lockdown. I knew Nina was thinking about new songs for her third album and had just moved back to Berlin, so I sent her some demos with my vocals recorded as a guide. She quickly responded with “love this” and “love that” but to my surprise, she proposed the idea of us collaborating as an artist duo, rather than me just producing. I wasn’t expecting that and though it was a little crazy! *laughs*

Nina: It was totally obvious for me!

Ricky: It’s weird because for me, it wasn’t something that was in my peripheral and Nina suggested it, I thought “why not!”, why not work with this incredibly talented writer with a beautiful voice and wonderful person, why would I not do that. So it didn’t take long for me to jump in and say “let’s do it!” 🙂

It’s a wonderful bridge between generations…

Ricky: That was one of the other things that was mad! *laughs*

Are there any advantages to collaborating remotely?

Ricky: It’s a really strange one this, when Nina said she had to move to Berlin, I thought “How’s this going to affect our writing relationship?” and to be honest, it kind of helped it. I am very insular as a person and as a writer in my life, so to have people watching me while I’m programming is not particularly comfortable for me…

Nina: I’m the same!

Ricky: I like having my own autonomy and to be able to muck around, try chords, try sounds in my own time without feeling the pressure of someone going “come on!”.

Nina: I wouldn’t have done that! *laughs*

Ricky: No, but by the sheer fact that if there is anyone in the room, I know they’re there waiting while I’m doing something. Not that anyone would feel irritated or annoyed by it, but knowing they are waiting for you is a pressure in itself. So I liked the way I could work on synth sounds and THEN send it over and go “what do you think of this?”

Sometimes, Nina would say “I love this” and other times she was say “Oh, it’s a little bit low in key, maybe this, maybe that”, it was just a lovely way of working for me, it really worked.

Nina: I feel the same way. Sometimes being alone allows me to be less self-conscious and in my private, carefree mindset, I can get really emotional. As much as I enjoy vibing off other musicians in the studio, some recordings benefit from this type of intimacy and it can help me be more receptive to a magic moment.

Have you ever worked with that software where you are virtually working live remotely?

Ricky: I haven’t but it’s the same situation, if we had that, Nina would be sitting there waiting and that in my head would be distracting. I like that she’s off doing her own thing whether that’s with Kid Moxie flying to LA or whatever, it meant I could spend more time making our tracks better and know there’s no pressure of Nina waiting for me.

‘LA Dreamers’ is the first single, described in the press release as “STARSHIP meets TEARS FOR FEARS”… it’s a duet, this must be the first time Ricky has sung lead vocals for nearly 50 years since ‘I Wanna Go To A Disco’.

Ricky: Thankfully not! *laughs*

I did do a duet with Kim on ‘Here Come The Aliens’ called ‘Pop Don’t Stop’, it was a kind of autobiographical song about us growing up and loving pop music. So ‘Scala Hearts’ isn’t really the first thing but in my head, it was a little one-off thing. We obviously do lots of gigs with Kim, and have so many incredible experiences, working with many incredible people on stage, we absolutely love it. The nucleus of the live band has been with us for the last 20-25 years, we’re all mates and it’s like a little family when we go on tour. We just know each other backwards and Kim feels very comfortable with us all.

Nina: There’s so much banter, I loved the experience of seeing Kim Wilde and the band on stage, it was so much fun, everyone has to go and seeing the show, you can just feel their love for one another.

Ricky: So with ‘Pop Don’t Stop’, it made sense for me to do something other than just play guitar; so for the next Kim Wilde album that we’re working on, it might be that Scarlett, my daughter is featured on one track.

How did the “please sing Ricky” idea come about?

Nina: When I heard Ricky’s vocals on the demos, I was like “Bloody hell! His vocals are incredible! To not embrace him as a co-lead singer would be a mistake!”.

Ricky, you do sound like Ollie Wride on ‘LA Dreamers’, was this intentional or just your natural delivery?

Ricky: I’ve always sung like that but I’m a bit of a Rory Bremner of pop vocally, I morph into different styles for different songs, so if you listen to my vocal on ‘Living In Sin’ for instance, it’s a totally different sounding type of vocal than it is on ‘LA Dreamers’. So it’s what I feel for each different track, I probably DO sound like Ollie Wride on some tracks because I love Ollie and his voice!

Have you ever heard ‘Overpass Graffiti’ by Ed Sheeran? The first time I heard it on Radio 2, I thought it was the new one by Ollie Wride!!

Ricky: No, I’ll give that a listen Chi *laughs*

Look-In magazine called Ricky “The New Donny” and Nina has been compared to Kim Wilde, journalists like a reference (and I’m guilty of this), is this sort of thing damaging when launching a music career?

Nina: I don’t know, it depends on who you get compared to, I guess! *laughs*

I’m one of the lucky ones because I get to be compared to Kim. It’s an honour, I love it.

Ricky: I agree, I was compared to Donny Osmond back in those days, it was “WOW!”, little me being compared to one of the biggest stars in the world at the time, that was incredible for me, it was a real honour. It didn’t do me any harm, put it that way!

So OMD‘s ‘Messages’ was a key source of inspiration in the song ‘Night & Day’? Please elaborate…

Ricky: We’ve done quite a few gigs with OMD and they’ve become friends now which is an amazing honour for me because I adore them.

‘Messages’ was for me one of the first warm synthesizer pop records…

Ricky: ‘Messages’ was a massive track for me back in the 80s… along with Gary Numan and John Foxx, there were so many synth bands at that time like ULTRAVOX who were so inspiring for me. But when I heard ‘Messages’, there was something about it that struck a chord for me, that blippy intro… it finished up on ‘Kids In America’, that was all OMD! They were a massive influence me at the time. ‘Souvenir’ was another one, those beautiful swirling synths, I loved it. So maybe there were some influence from OMD on ‘Night & Day’…

On the same subject, you know when I first heard ‘Cambodia’, I thought it was a bit OMD sounding with the minimal rhythm and the melodies…

Ricky: Possibly, but at that time I was also listening to a lot of JAPAN as well, I used to love JAPAN…

You worked with the late Mick Karn from JAPAN didn’t you?

Ricky: Yeah, I did a couple of tracks on his first solo album, he became a great friend as well, sadly missed, 52 years of age he was when he passed away, so sad but what an incredible talent 😥

I was very much influenced by JAPAN, that minimalist vibe and DURAN DURAN, all those lovely synth sounds they had, there were so many incredible exciting bands in those days, DEPECHE MODE as well, there might have been a little bit of influence from them. It was almost like every week, something came out that was like “OH MY GOD! WHAT THE F**K IS THAT?” you know, it was such an inspiring time.

Nina, were you much of an OMD fan?

Nina: I love OMD! They were constantly on German radio as I was growing up. In general, the 80s were such an influential decade for me.

But were you more into ‘If You Leave’ from ‘Pretty In Pink’ or ‘Secret’ with regards OMD or the weirder earlier stuff?

Nina: I have a soft spot for ‘If You Leave’ because I’m a romantic at heart *chuckles*

Can I put an idea in your heads? I can imagine you both doing a popwave duet take on ‘Secret’…

Ricky: Maybe we’ll do that live 😉

Nina: That’s a good idea, I’m up for it!

On ‘Kids In America’ there is that pulsing synthbass, do you see any parallels between the music you made then and the synthwave pop of more recent years in terms of construction?

Ricky: That was a Minimoog… that’s a really good question, it’s an interesting one. Every now and then, I do hear songs and I think “oh, that reminds me of…” but whether I’ve influenced that, it’s so hard to know. I’d like to think that maybe there something they’re heard of mine that they might have done something with or thought about. And if they have, wonderful but there was so many incredible bands in those days with different sounds and there were different synths coming out every year! You can almost plot the year of a song by the synth… like ‘Smalltown Boy’ by BRONSKI BEAT, that beautiful pad sound, I remember hearing that sound on a Roland D550.

Were there any other artists that you mutually bonded during the conception and production of ‘Scala Hearts?

Ricky: There were quite a few bands we were listening to… we love CAUSEWAY don’t we?

Nina: Totally, I played their songs a lot around that time and felt so inspired… they’re so talented. I hope they’re going to play a show in Berlin one day. Also, Frida Sundemo because we really adore her…

Ricky: Yup, we love Frida! I love PENSACOLA MIST, I love their album ‘Lost In Love’, I thought it was sensational, that first track ‘The Dying Light’, the whole LA lyric was really inspiring for me on ‘LA Dreamers’. NATION OF LANGUAGE, I think you love them Nina?

Nina: Oh amazing! I love them…

Ricky: L’AVENUE…

Nina: Yes, we love L’AVENUE

Ricky: Yes, love you Jez, we got to know him really well, he was on my ‘Unsung Heroes’ podcast recently. Oh yes, BUNNY X, I did a remix for ‘Perfect Paradise’…

Nina: That’s a cool remix, it was a perfect summer tune…


Nina: You got me into FUTURE ISLANDS as well!

Ricky: And more recently CANNONS, I saw you liked one of their tracks on Insta Nina 😉

Was the title ‘Fade Me Out’ a consequence of a recording or mix instruction? 😉

Ricky: I just liked the “Take me in, fade me out” couplet, IN-OUT, I just thought “take me in” as in you’re taken in by someone because they are conning you and then they are not interested in you anymore, so they fade you out. I just liked that juxtaposition so that’s where that lyric came from. So it wasn’t anything to do with fading out by programming on Logic X Pro… it’s funny with writing and Nina will back me up on this one, sometimes you’ll just sing something and it’s the first thing that comes into you head because you know how it should sound… sometimes that finished up being the title or a main part of the lyric. You don’t know where it comes from or why, but it just sounds right at the time and it sticks for whatever reason. “Take me in, fade me out” was the first thing that came into my head.

Nina: I love how Ricky sometimes came up with lyrics that expressed exactly what I was going through at the time. It inspired me to continue the story and interpret it in a more personal way, like I did for ‘Fade Me Out’. For Ricky, it was the “push and pull” in a relationship, to me it became “the anxiety of letting someone go and starting over, truly”.

You are covering ‘Videotheque’, probably the coolest of those quartet of DOLLAR singles produced by Trevor Horn, have you given it a different spin or played it straight?

Nina: I actually had never heard the original before our friend Lee recommended it to us. The original is great! We rock out a bit more in our version. Ricky’s badass guitar solo gives it a whole other dynamic which I adore!

Ricky: Yeah, it’s a bit tougher… when Lee suggested it, it was a no brainer and I could really hear Nina’s vocal on it and that’s what Lee said. And sure enough, she killed the vocal on it, absolutely beautiful.

The 1984 Kim Wilde B-side ‘Lovers On A Beach’ from ‘The Second Time’ is another cover on ‘Scala Hearts’ and the original has this Italo disco vibe, is that a music form that you have both appreciated as it did get maligned back in the day?

Ricky: I’ve always been a fan of Giorgio Moroder since ‘Midnight Express’, the moment I heard that theme tune, I was hooked. And then there was ‘Together In Electric Dreams’ with Phil Oakey and of course, ‘I Feel Love’ with Donna Summer, that whole bassline, the moment you hear that, that’s it, you’re up dancing, you can’t not!

Nina: Ah, that’s SO good!

Ricky: When we came to do the remake of ‘Lovers On A Beach’, I just thought there was a little bit more that it needed that I maybe wanted to add back in the day. But we didn’t have enough time for whatever reason and ended up as a B-side as we were in a real rush to get one done; it was written, recorded and done, blah-blah-blah, then out! By the time it came out, I thought maybe we could have done more with it, which is why we’ve revisited it. Yeah, Nina smashed the vocal on it!

Nina: In general, Italo Disco is a big inspiration for me. ‘I Feel Love’ is still a huge favourite and I’m a big fan of Giorgio Moroder, “The Father of Disco”. Being asked to cover any of Ricky and Kim’s songs is a huge honour but ‘Lovers On A Beach’ tickled our Italo fancy 🙂

Ricky: I remember years ago being in the studio with Pete Bellotte who was Moroder’s writing partner, I learnt a lot from him so there was stuff he was doing that I was taking note of.

What are your hopes and fears for ‘Scala Hearts’? Favourite Track?

Ricky: I’m just actually thrilled that it’s coming out and done with such a great label (New Retro Wave), it’s been done in such a classy way, that’s exactly how I wanted it. It’s done its job for me by the fact it’s going to be out and people can see what we can do., I’m really pleased with that. Favourite track? I change from day-to-day, some days it’s ’Fade Me Out’, other days it’s ‘LA Dreamers’, it could be ‘Gold Heart’, it changes daily. Today? ‘LA Dreamers’ *laughs*

Nina: My hope is that listeners are as inspirited and motivated as I was while making it. It’s a positive record, created from a place of goodwill; a “feel good” album intended to elevate the heart. I’ve never thought about “fear” when it comes to this project. I feel too good about the positive energy in the music. It has protective wings!

My favourite track changes all the time. At the moment, it’s a tie between ‘Fade Me Out’ and ‘Fighter’. Creating both songs with Ricky was very therapeutic for me because I was going through one of the hardest times of my life. ‘Fade Me Out’ is about loss and I sing with an operatic sorrow at times, while the epic drums crash down like the lyrics. ‘Fighter’ contrasts this and rises with bravery and hope.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to Ricky Wilde X Nina

‘LA Dreamers’ is available now via New Retro Wave on the usual online platforms at https://ninanrickywilde.lnk.to/LADreamers

‘Scala Hearts’ will be released in Autumn 2023







Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Say Goodnight Films
11 August 2023

NINA Synthian

German born NINA took the synthpop world by storm, releasing her debut ‘Sleepwalking’ in 2018.

She lent one of her early songs ‘My Mistake’ to a Mercedes-Benz advert, alongside landing support slots with DE/VISION, ERASURE and others. Clubbing together with Canada’s PARALLELS, she toured America, creating a wild audience eager to hear more from the gifted Berliner.

And so comes ‘Synthian’, not only superbly titled but also delivering a more mature, darker tone to NINA’s repertoire. The songstress shares the achievement with her collaborator, Laura Fares aka LAU and producers of note such as Oscillian, Richard X, Till Wild and Ricky Wilde. As described by NINA, “‘Synthian’ is the bigger and bolder sister of ‘Sleepwalking’. It’s more mature and daring”.

Indeed the title track is very deep and brooding, with catchy poppy synth line, eloquently dispersed with acute guitar and a longing vocal, preparing the listener to be taken onto a retro journey with a difference. The following ‘Automatic Call’ picks up the tempo quite stunningly, arpeggiating away while carrying the wonderfully produced vocals, to achieve a perfect synth gem.

‘Runaway’ glides over the scales, entering the retro world with ease, showcasing that NINA at her best with some gentle help from Ricky Wilde. A big fan of Wilde’s sister, NINA loved collaborating with her talented brother: “Ricky comes up with the most beautiful melodies and harmonies. I loved working with him. He’s humble and patient”. ‘Unnoticed’ is a romantic cry for love from a lost soul, wrapped in a cosy electronic blanket of greatness, showcasing the German synthpop queen as the owner of the most incredible voice as well as one that can write mesmerising tunes.

‘The Calm Before The Storm’ continues the serene tempo, while ‘The Wire’ brings out those darker, harsher tones; it’s deliciously deep and expresses deeper thoughts. “It’s about feeling disconnected from the world” she said, “Losing a sense of being human and having a deep desire for the human touch”. One may say the track was written to describe the world of today, where that loss of connection has become more apparent than ever; the synthy pandemic anthem, you could say.

The cute ‘Love Is Blind’ meanders around the retro musicality and layered vocals, while ‘Never Enough’ ushers further nostalgia leading into ‘Gave Up On Us’, whose mesmerising arpeggios are deliciously uplifting; it’s like going back in time, roller-skating along the promenade with a Walkman and pink bubble gum.

The closing and very apt ‘The Distance’, delves into NINA’s personal life, describing her experiences with a long distance relationship. “‘The Distance’ is about a long distance relationship and how true love can span miles and beyond. It has a more cinematic approach; heavily inspired by the likes of M83 and WOODKID. It’s a very personal song. A lot of people are being apart from their loved ones right now and can probably relate”.

Indeed the later than anticipated release of the opus, couldn’t have landed at a better time. More placed than it ever would be, NINA wishes to bring some light and hope into the uncertainty of current situation, so difficult for many.

And if your wish was to “make people feel better through music and offer some kind of hope”, then you certainly did just that. A superb album.

‘Synthian’ is released by Aztec Records on 5th June 2020 in CD, magenta neon vinyl LP and digital formats, pre-order from https://ninasounduk.bandcamp.com/





Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
31st May 2020

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