Tag: Theo Sayers


Ranging in style from hip-hop to electro, from crooner to rap, from grooves to dancey beats, Theo Sayers always applies witty humour and a playful sense of fun to his streetwise take on life.

‘My Nose Is A Little Runny’ from 2020 was his SLEAFORD MODS styled musical response to the worldwide pandemic, but he finally has new material and an album in the can. The first single released from it is ‘Tough Guys’ which also features the voice of former KNIGHT$ live band member Jasmine Brady.

His debut collaboration with Andy Carter who acts as co-producer, ‘Tough Guys’ takes inspiration musically from SOFT CELL and TEARS FOR FEARS while the amusing promo video has been directed by Tyrus.

Taking a break from finishing his upcoming full-length debut album ‘Ramen For Two’ and preparing for his next ‘Old Dreams For A New Age’ radio show on Resonance EXTRA, Theo Sayers kindly spoke to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about the lot of a tough guy…

What is ‘Tough Guys’ about, is the narrative autobiographical?

It’s not autobiographical and I wouldn’t really say there’s a strong narrative. With the song I suppose I wanted to poke fun at traditional ideas of masculinity and toughness, exploring the campiness of that imagery. There’s also subtle political undercurrents, “Fight back at the kingdom” has an air of resistance to it.

Your vocal delivery has been compared to Ian Dury, Jona Lewie, Kate Nash, Mike Skinner and Jason Williamson but who has it actually been most influenced by?

Those are all vocalists I admire and in the video you will, in fact, find me in the kitchen at a party… Haha! Some other vocalists that have strongly influenced me over the years are Terry Hall, Robert Smith and Damon Albarn.

Musically and technically, how was ‘Tough Guys’ seeded?

It actually began a long time ago (sometime in 2018) as a collaboration between me and my friend Andy Carter (who performs under the name COIN OP and appears in the video as the disapproving “tough guy”). We’d recently met and were bonding over a shared love of 80s music and cinema, we were also watching ‘Cobra Kai’ together so perhaps that had an influence.

We created the backing track together, I wrote my vocal part and then invited my friend Jasmine Brady (who previously performed with KNIGHT$) to sing on it. She came up with the lovely vocal hook you hear throughout and the song became the first of our many collaborations. Although it’s long been a staple of our live sets, I haven’t released it until now as admittedly I’m a bit of a perfectionist.

The video was filmed with a camera phone strapped to a waistband mount but you must have had some quite interesting and funny moments wearing it, particularly during the house party scene?

We used an actual camera, not a camera phone! There were many funny moments. Perhaps the unsung hero of the shoot is Rhys Votano (who directed my previous videos and also cameoed as the sleazy guy in ‘My Nose Is A Little Runny’), during the handlebar scenes he was actually underneath me, lifting me up. Later on at the party, he made a lot of fuss about being stuck with that role. Poor Rhys hahaha…

Are you sending up Vlogger/Influencer culture? Have people become too self-obsessed and narcissistic in their attempts to set up “a brand”?

You know, I hadn’t actually thought of that. I do think there’s a very toxic side to that culture though, especially the toxic male influencers like Andrew Tate. They deserve all the ridicule they can get!

How is your debut album ‘Ramen For Two’ coming along?

Very well! There’s just a few more tracks that require mastering so an actual release date will be set in stone soon. There will also be more videos!

‘Tough Guys’ b/w ‘Tell Me I’m A Super Lover’ is available via the usual digital platforms including Bandcamp at https://theosayers.bandcamp.com/






Text by Chi Ming Lai
4th April 2023

KNIGHT$ + THEO SAYERS Live at The Hope & Anchor

For KNIGHT$, his first London gig in nearly 3 years was a sort of homecoming.

The Britalo vehicle of James Knights, although now based near the South Coast of England, the capital was where he had spent his formative musical years in the more indie pop SCARLET SOHO.

Taking on a more optimistic and direct electro approach, KNIGHT$ began in 2016 and steadily gained a cult following in Sweden and Germany.

The worldwide pandemic affected all artists but for KNIGHT$ whose favourable reputation was gained from engaging live performances, this was especially difficult. He went down the home live stream route with varying degrees of success although it was not the same.

Come 2022 and things kicked back into action with a European tour supporting TRANS-X while a prestigious opening slot at Infest got things going again back home. KNIGHT$ appearance at The Hope & Anchor was his first London appearance since Halloween 2019; the venue is best known for hosting JOY DIVISION in December 1978, although only three people turned up! Despite a national train strike, KNIGHT$ had a very good turn out from those looking to forget the high energy crisis for a few hours.

Opening the evening just as he had done on Halloween 2019 was Theo Sayers. Little did he know at the time that his then-forthcoming single ‘My Nose Is A Little Runny’ would have such poignant resonance with lyrical quips like “sleazes cause diseases”.

The resulting video ended up being a scene or two short, something which the Cambridge lad dwelled on after his performance of the quirky but appealing SLEAFORD MODS-styled track.

Accompanied by KNIGHT$ family member Jasmine Jasmine on vocals, Sayers presented his playful humourous songs in a matter-of-fact manner like a blokey Kate Nash. New numbers such as ‘Ramen For Two’ and his streetwise cover of Prince’s ‘When Doves Cry’ outlined his brand of scampy English hip-hop; he releases his first full-length album also called ‘Ramen For Two’ in 2023.

Opening with ‘What We Leave Behind’, James Knights got quickly into his stride aided by a bottle of Benylin®. With some distance since the release of his debut album ‘Dollars & Cents’ in Spring 2019, what stood out tonight was how well his songs have lasted the distance, something that is not always the case with much of today’s independent British synthpop.

Produced by Italo disco legends Fred Ventura and Paolo Gozzetti in their ITALOCONNECTION guise as well as remixed by the notable Italo DJ Flemming Dalum, the wonderful ‘Gelato’ was given a sensual live boost by regular keys player Nina Casey on backing vocals. Her presence also allowed for the first live performance of the BOYTRONIC duet ‘Proving A Point’ with the diminutive German providing her own stamp on the feisty Holger Wobker part.

James Knights has been very open about the influence of BRONSKI BEAT on his sound and ‘Hijack My Heart’ was a fine example of him aping the Jimmy Somerville-led version of the band. But he paid tribute directly to the Mark 2 version of BRONSKI BEAT fronted by John Jøn Foster with a cover of the frantic ‘Hit That Perfect Beat’, aided by Julz J of CAPITAL X on guest saxophone.

‘What’s Your Poison?’ was a reminder of how it all started for KNIGHT$ while another ITALOCONNECTION produced track, the ‘Dollars & Cents’ title song doffed its shades to the disco-menergy of the late Patrick Cowley.

But it was time to celebrate the most recent KNIGHT$ single ‘Boom Bang Boom’ and while ‘Two Steps from Heartache’ was a look back to his SCARLET SOHO days, ‘Alligator’ prompted “Snap! Snap!” actions from the audience as it amusingly satirised the perils of modern dating.

A fine return to the London stage that entertained all present including an unsuspecting Arsenal fan who was curious as to the goings-on in the clearly marked “HOME FANS ONLY” venue, James Knights said afterwards: “Well, what can I say. The energy in the room was electric. So good to connect with the audience again and play some of the rarer songs we’ve not played live before. You couldn’t hand pick a better fanbase than the KNIGHT$ one! I’m currently working on a new EP / vinyl release for 2023, and I’m sure there will be more live shows to mark that. We also have the 40th anniversary gigs of BOYTRONIC’s ‘Working Model’ album to look forward to as well… It’s good to be back.”

KNIGHT$ is proof that pop is not a four letter word…

KNIGHT$ ‘Boom Bang Boom’ is released by Specchio Uomo in various formats, available from https://knights101.bandcamp.com/






‘My Nose Is A Little Runny’ by Theo Sayers is available as a digital single direct from https://theosayers.bandcamp.com/





Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Richard Price
4th October 2022

Introducing THEO SAYERS

Compared on occasion to an electro Ian Dury and an urban Jona Lewie, Cambridge-based vocalist, producer and songwriter Theo Sayers was first spotted by ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK opening for KNIGHT$ at his 2019 Halloween gig.

He released ‘My Nose Is A Little Runny’, a SLEAFORD MODS styled musical response to the worldwide lockdown crisis that concluded “sleazes cause diseases” back in March.

But his latest video goes back to a highlight from his debut ‘Ado Perma’ EP that came out back in July 2019.

‘Impatient’ charmingly comes over like Edwyn Collins fronting a lo-fi KRAFTWERK and in an enjoyable video directed by Rhys Votano, Sayers plays himself and a female alter-ego Dora. Inspired by an unfortunate cycling accident that he once had, he told ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK: “The music video is a fun and colourful representation of the song’s retro synthpop flavours.”

Sayer’s first showcased his music under the moniker of BLACK TIBET with the exotic pop of ‘Venezuela’ in 2017, before releasing a more distinctly electronic single ‘Goddess’ under his own name in 2018.

Ranging in style from hip-hop to electro, from crooner to rap, from chilled grooves to dancey beats, Sayers’ streetwise take on life exudes witty humour and a playful sense of fun. But despite this, there is also a heartfelt side as expressed on the lounge reggae of ‘Belly Slaps’ from ‘Ado Perma’ which attracted support from BBC Introducing.

Continuing his kinship with KNIGHT$, Theo Sayers recently contributed a new glitchy remix of ‘Dollars & Cents’ from the Britalo exponent’s debut album of the same name.

‘Impatient’ is from the ‘Ado Perma’ EP released by Procrastawerks via the usual digital platforms including Bandcamp at https://theosayers.bandcamp.com/album/ado-perma





Text by Chi Ming Lai
4th July 2020

KNIGHT$, ROXI DRIVE + THEO SAYERS at The Roadtrip & The Workshop

Halloween might be the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remember the dead, but KNIGHT$ kept things alive and kicking at The Roadtrip & The Workshop in London’s Hoxton.

For James Knights, it’s been a very busy year with albums released as KNIGHT$ and with BOYTRONIC, a UK tour opening for A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS plus assorted European gigs and notable music industry figures knocking on his door, taking an interest in his progress.

Getting through setbacks such as the collapse of Pledge Music, James Knights has shown resilience and strength of character, both much needed skill sets in music. He has also maintaned a down-to-earth demeanour free of ego and delusion, the latter two characteristics now being far too normal in modern society.

But to begin proceedings was Cambridge’s Theo Sayers who released his most recent EP ‘Ado Perma’ last July. Dressed in a similar skeleton costume to the one that his younger self adorned the cover of that said EP, he presented his unusual brand of English hip-hop, like an urban Jona Lewie. Exuding humour and a sense of fun, the set also included his streetwise take on PRINCE’s ‘When Doves Cry’.

Next came the up-and-coming synthwave starlet Roxy Drive, a girl with a self-confessed crush on Ryan Gosling and a voice not far off Pat Benatar. Her debut album ‘Strangers Of The Night’ released in 2018 showed promise and tonight, she aired a number of its highlights as well as premiering some new material.

Accompanied by an electronic percussionist, among the set highlights were the energetic neon drenched first single ‘Run All Night (Chase This Dream)’ and the more recent ‘Dangerous’ from the upcoming album ‘Electric Heart’. The latter showcased a refined development of her MTV friendly sound. She certainly looked the part and her live persona can only grow stronger as she gains more live experience.

For headliner KNIGHT$, it was to be an evening of celebration of ‘Dollars & Cents’, a contender for best electronic pop album of 2019 if ever there was one. Apart from the NEW ORDER derived electronic disco drive of ‘So Cool’, the set was largely drawn from the long player.

Accompanied by the alluring presence of Nina Casey and Jasmine Brady, both on keyboards, James Knights gave yet another of his charismatic performances bursting with energy and enthusiasm.

From the Eurobeat thrust of ‘What We Leave Behind’ and the heavenly pop ‘Playin It Cool’ to the amorous ‘Gelato’ and the snappy ‘Alligator’, Knights was hitting that perfect beat, entering the audience and somehow managing to avoid getting mic feedback. Engaging the audience masterfully, Knights asked everyone who had travelled the furthest to be at the gig. At first, it looked like it was Claudia and Tiffany, both from Berlin. But the undoubted winner was Ana who had ventured all the way from New York.

The brilliant ‘Hijack My Heart’ saw Knights tightening his trousers slightly, although the ceiling was so low at the intimate club venue, it did restrain his usual mic stand swinging antics. However, a pair of covers were thrown in. While PET SHOP BOYS ‘Heart has been a regular staple of the KNIGHT$ live set, there was a supervise inclusion of ‘The Never Ending Story’, a song that has come to prominence again thanks to its inclusion in ‘Stranger Things 3’.

By his own admission “unrehearsed”, with the assistance of a lyric sheet Knights embarked on a fun if slightly shambolic duet with Roxi Drive on the Giorgio Moroder produced classic, but no-one really minded as Roxi held her own and everyone else joined in.

Ending the evening with the album title song and new single, the catchy ‘Dollars & Cents’ captured the essence of the sparkly Britalo that Knights has well and truly mastered.

What a year it has been for the Winchester lad; after years treading the boards with SCARLET SOHO and knocking on the door several times, James Knights has finally found his sound and vocation as KNIGHT$.

With a European Union flag hung at the back of the stage in defiance, KNIGHT$ is just the escapist tonic in these bizarre times and a shining example how much better things are when people are united through music and more.

KNIGHT$ ‘Dollars & Cents’ released by Specchio Uomo is available in various formats as well as the new single including remixes by ITALOCONNECTION + THE HIDDEN MAN from https://knights101.bandcamp.com/album/





Roxi Drive ‘Strangers Of The Night’ is available as a download album direct from: https://roxidrive.bandcamp.com/album/strangers-of-the-night





Theo Sayers ‘Ado Perma’ EP is available as a download EP direct from https://theosayers.bandcamp.com/




Text and Photos by Chi Ming Lai
1st November 2019