DEFSynth Presents MEGANOKE, CULT WITH NO NAME, CYBERWASTE & JAN DOYLE BAND

Eclectic electronic delights await…

The DEFSynth team continue to present electronic music events with an eclectic and engaging line-up (as TEC have previously reported). Launched under the tagline of “The New Wave of Waveform”, you’re never quite sure what a DEFSynth night is going to bring, but the selection will always be intriguing (and certainly never dull).

This Friday sees London playing host to another DEFSynth night at Whitechapel’s Urban Bar that offers up a selection of enthralling live acts – including the UK debut of US artists Meganoke, bringing her sultry trip-hop-inspired sounds to London audiences for the first time.


MEGANOKE


Electronic artist Meganoke has an ability to craft mesmerising rhythms married with soulful vocals. The multi-talented Texan delivers genre-crossing tunes that are both unique and dynamic.

Working with some of the most talented underground musicians in Austin, Texas, Meganoke has created tunes that have seen her work summed up as “an invitation to feel, think, live, change  & wonder” and “a life song, a death song; a celebration, a mourning;  beauty, fierceness & rage”. Produced by the accomplished LA Underground legend Riddlore (Project Blowed, CVE), Meganoke delivers polished electronic goodness.

Meganoke also sees the opportunity for live shows to cultivate each performance as a unique experience. The modern day renaissance woman, Meganoke is a creative tour de force. She wields words, movement, sound & image with expert ability, evoking the ever-present sensual YES with each touch, step and whisper, inviting the audience on a midnight ride into the dark & wild unknown.

https://www.meganoke.com
https://meganoke.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/meganokemeganoke/


CULT WITH NO NAME


‘Post-punk electronic balladeers’ Cult With No Name, comprise the East London duo of Erik Stein and Jon Boux. Their first two studio albums Paper Wraps Rock and Careful What You Wish For were met with critical acclaim.

In 2014, inspired by their track ‘As Below’, German film-maker Peter Braatz commissioned the band to produce a soundtrack for his documentary Blue Velvet Revisited. 2017 saw Cult With No Name return to songwriting with the magnificent Heir Of The Dog. Featuring the supporting cast of Tuxedomoon members and the talents of Kelli Ali, it saw the band explore touches of Americana, from disco to gospel to blues. The album includes ‘No News’, one of their most remarkable piano ballads to date, as featured over the closing credits of Blue Velvet Revisited.

In addition to their studio albums, the band have appeared on several compilations and have frequently collaborated with minimal techno artist Doudou Malicious. Erik Stein has also acted in several short films made by electronic music pioneer John Foxx as well as the 2011 short film Sonus, produced by Ridley Scott Associates. The band collaborated with Kelli Ali, co-writing and performing on two songs for her 2013 solo album, Band Of Angels.

http://cultwithnoname.com/


CYBERWASTE

Drawing from a wide range of influences, including Aphex Twin, Nine Inch Nails, Massive Attack and Moby, Cyberwaste pull together electronic music across hip-hop, industrial, dance and all points in-between.

The female-fronted electronic act have found their home on the Syndicol label (home of Dicepeople and Moi Saint) and have cultivated a talent for immersive soundscapes and bass-heavy beats compositions.

From the glitch beats of ‘Atom Place’ to the subtle rhythms of ‘Metamorphosis’ and the spacey beats of ‘Client’, Cyberwaste manage to draw a stylish aesthetic on their future music compositions.

For live outings, Cyberwaste employ visually-striking projections, offering an hypnotic stage performance against their engaging electronica.

https://soundcloud.com/cyberwastemusic
https://www.cyberwastemusic.com


JAN DOYLE BAND

Nitrate Visions by Jan Doyle Band
Acting as the in-house band for DEFSynth events, Jan Doyle Band style themselves as self-proclaimed Insurrectionary Neo Futurists. Fronted by the flamboyant Derek Anthony Williams and backed by Michael Stokes on synths, Jan Doyle Band combine performance art with engaging electronic music.

Zipping through influences that include synthpop, industrial and goth, the electronic outfit offer up glamour and glitz in equal measure. Every live performance is guaranteed to be unique and unpredictable, or as Jan Doyle Band themselves put it: “We acknowledge that fundamentally the concept of flamboyant performance is a ridiculous one and utterly embrace many of the most ludicrous elements of it, but then at the same time we are dedicated to producing a memorable, engaging, exciting live show”.

“Having Williams as your frontman helps. Looking like a wasted teenager who barely gets out in the daylight, possibly on account of reading way too many 2000AD comics in a dingy and grim bedroom.” – Rob Dyer of http://dsoaudio.com

http://jandoyleband.bandcamp.com/


DEFSynth presents Meganoke takes place on Friday 4th May 2018 at The Urban Bar, W176 Whitechapel Road, E1 1BJ London. 8pm to 2pm.

Also featuring DJ sets from Derek Anthony Williams (DEFSynth, Jan Doyle Band) and PaulB (The Electricity Club).

https://www.facebook.com/events/2173549989546143/
http://defsynth.com/


DICEPEOPLE (Feat The Brooklyn Foundation) – Control

Pointed political commentary with a darkwave style…

Recent years have seen the world navigating some choppy political waters. The advent of the Trump administration in the US as well as the UK’s issues with Brexit being two major impacts on the global political landscape. As ever, music offers up both reflections and commentary on modern culture which can take a variety of forms. Diverse acts such as Austra, Erasure and Depeche Mode have all offered up recent albums which provide their own perspective on the current climate.

Dicepeople, who are rapidly becoming one of the busiest electronic acts in the UK, have recently collaborated with Manchester-based collective The Brooklyn Foundation to produce a new arrangement of ‘Control’. Originally a track on Dicepeople’s 2011 album It Gets Darker, the new Trump 45 arrangement has given the composition a more political focus, in this case a timely critique of the US presidency.

The reworked version opts for a more punchy dancefloor vibe with some frenetic percussion, coupled with an hypnotic visual aspect care of the semi-abstract video. A new vocal element from The Brooklyn Foundation lends the new arrangement some pointed lyrical commentary (“inside your golden tower/you stop this world from turning”).

This collaboration with The Brooklyn Foundation follows hot on the heels of Dicepeople’s excellent team-up with Moi Saint on ‘Shallow Under Skin’ (see previous TEC review). Dicepeople have been on a roll recently, with the thumping cover of Depeche Mode’s ‘Strangelove’ (for Vol II of the UnMute tribute album) and the cyberpunk aesthetic of 2017’s ‘Synthetic‘.

As a tune, ‘Control’ perhaps sums up the mood of many: “Come in 45 your time is up”.


http://dicepeople.com
https://dicepeople.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/dicepeople
http://twitter.com/dicepeople

https://www.facebook.com/The-Brooklyn-Foundation-53704923752/


SYNTHETIC CITY 2018 LINEUP

March promises a stellar billing for the annual Synth City Festival…

The Synthetic City Electronic Music Festival remains one of the most vital events of the year. Its combination of global acts lends the all-day event an intriguing and broad perspective on the many colours of the synth pop palette.

Hosted by Johnny Normal, an electronic music artist in his own right and also a well-known radio host, Synthetic City is an outing that manages to combine established artists alongside emerging acts. Once again, Synthetic City will be taking place at Water Rats in London on Saturday 24th March.

The 2018 line-up offers a strong list of contenders suggesting a packed day of electropop goodness. DJ duties for the event will be handled by Rob Harvey. Currently presenting a show for Phoenix 98FM, Rob presents the weekly Synth City show Tuesdays from 8pm.


Dicepeople

Dicepeople have been putting out their own brand of dark electronic pop since 2013. Consisting of Matt Brock (musician, songwriter and producer) and Rafael Filomeno (visual artist), the outfit have recently taken on board new vocalist Zmora and continue to dazzle audiences with their compelling live performances.

Their 2017 EP Synthetic was a stand-out moment, while the outfit also delivered a stunning cover version of Depeche Mode classic ‘Strangelove’. More recently, their team-up with Moi Saint produced the stunning ‘Shallow Under Skin’.

http://dicepeople.com
https://dicepeople.bandcamp.com/track/synthetic
http://www.facebook.com/dicepeople
http://twitter.com/dicepeople


Berlyn Trilogy


Staying themselves as “retro-futurist romantics”, Berlyn Trilogy offer up a darker approach to synthpop with some gothic elements weaved throughout their material.

Consisting of James Beswick, Simon Rowe and Faye Williams, Berlyn Trilogy showed their electropop chops on 2014 album A Perfect Stranger which delivered the percussive pop of ‘Synthetic Love’, the rolling moodiness of ‘Departed’ and the epic tones of ‘The Drone’.

Berlyn Trilogy proved one of the highlights at the 2017 Silicon Dreams event in Liverpool and their appearance at Synthetic City is a perfect opportunity to catch the darkpop trio in action.

https://berlyntrilogy.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/BerlynTrilogy
https://twitter.com/berlyntrilogy


LegPuppy

There’s such a diverse number of ideas and influences in the music of LegPuppy that they’re difficult to pin down to any one niche. Combining dark electronic beats with a raw energy and a punk attitude, the outfit also add in a cheeky element to their lyrics referencing pop culture and social commentary.

The 4-piece outfit, which consists of Darren Laurence, Claire Jones, Pups and Hugo Bamboo, originally came together by accident when someone at a house party asked Darren and Claire if they were in a band.

Since then, the electro punk quartet have kept busy via songs such as the brooding cynical commentary piece ‘Selfie Stick’ and the diversity of the material on new album You Should Be Paranoid (including the hypnotic dancepop of ‘Running Through A Field Of Wheat’).

ttps://www.soundcloud.com/legpuppy
https://www.facebook.com/LegPuppy
https://www.twitter.com/Legpuppymusic
http://legpuppy.net/


Cult With No Name

‘Post-punk electronic balladeers’ Cult With No Name, comprise the East London duo of Erik Stein and Jon Boux. Their first two studio albums Paper Wraps Rock and Careful What You Wish For were met with critical acclaim. Blaine L. Reininger of genre-transcending legends Tuxedomoon collaborated on their second album (on the stunning ‘You Know Me Better Than I Know Myself’).

In 2014, inspired by their track ‘As Below’, German filmmaker Peter Braatz commissioned the band to produce a soundtrack for his documentary Blue Velvet Revisited (Filmed entirely in 1985 on set during the making of David Lynch’s masterpiece). 2017 saw Cult With No Name return to songwriting with the magnificent Heir Of The Dog. Featuring the supporting cast of Tuxedomoon members and the talents of Kelli Ali, it saw the band explore touches of Americana, from disco to gospel to blues. The album includes ‘No News’, one of their most remarkable piano ballads to date, as featured over the closing credits of Blue Velvet Revisited.

In addition to their studio albums, the band have appeared on several compilations and have frequently collaborated with minimal techno artist Doudou Malicious. Erik Stein has also acted in several short films made by electronic music pioneer John Foxx as well as the 2011 short film Sonus, produced by Ridley Scott Associates, and Gustav (2012) which is on permanent display at Bletchley Park. The band collaborated with Kelli Ali, co-writing and performing on two songs for her 2013 solo album, Band Of Angels.

https://www.facebook.com/cwnnofficial/
https://twitter.com/cultwithnoname
https://www.cultwithnoname.com/


Perpacity

Straddling between the UK and Denmark, Ian Harling and Martin Nyrup form the nucleus of electronic outfit Perpacity. Each has over 20+ years of musical experience, ranging from writing music and live performance to studio work and music production. Their debut album The Sinner Inclination arrived in 2015 and the band have since issued some well-received singles. Their 2016 album Arise also received critical acclaim.

Perpacity released new single ’Rule The Day’ this March ahead of their forthcoming new album release The Order Of Now, due out later in 2018.

http://www.perpacity.com/
https://www.facebook.com/perpacity
https://twitter.com/PerpacityREAL


Palais Ideal


Consisting of John Edwards and Richard van Kruysdijk, Palais Ideal draw inspiration from the likes of The Cure, New Order, Joy Division and Sisters Of Mercy. The result is a mix that the outfit suggest offers “fragments of post-punk, new wave and goth”.

Their new album No Signal offers a showcase of their blend of romanticism and stark modernism, including the driving tones of ‘Crossfade/Dissolve’ and a raw cover of classic Iggy Pop number ‘Funtime’.

http://www.palaisideal.net/
https://www.facebook.com/Palais-Ideal-1587769398199336/
https://open.spotify.com/artist/0HCpJRSn14kT2CgvwKMjr6?si=enfCedxWSXOAvLBhBlFiDQ


La Lune Noire

Taking inspiration from the likes of Gary Numan, Front 242, Killing Joke, Depeche Mode and early Simple Minds, La Lune Noire offer up their own unique music style.

Weaving in catchy synth lines, Gregorian choirs and punky guitars, the duo deliver thumping darkwave moments such as ‘Nothing To Fear’.

http://www.la-lune-noire.com/
https://twitter.com/LaLuneNoire_NL


Mr Strange

Mr. Strange is the titular singer/songwriter of a four-piece electro-rock outfit from the Isle Of Wight. From the goth/drum n bass stylings of first album Sounds From The Asylum through to 2015’s uncompromising The Bible Of Electric Pornography, Mr Strange has carved out an intriguing musical path.

Inspired by such eclectic influences as Gary Numan, IAMX, David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Tom Waits and Insane Clown Posse, Mr Strange offers up a truly unique live show.

https://soundcloud.com/mr-strange-official
http://www.mrstrangemedia.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Official.Mr.Strange/


The Circuit Symphony

Oliver Davis and Samantha Adams form The Circuit Symphony, an outfit that draws from a wealth of influences from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. They teamed up with blues guitarist legend Bernie Marsden for the single ‘Christmas 1974’.

The Circuit Symphony have produced/remixed and programmed for artists such as OMD, Howard Jones and Take That and have received credits for work with The Human League, Steve Wilson, Ultravox, Howard Jones and more.

https://www.facebook.com/thecircuitsymphony/
https://twitter.com/CIRCUITSYMPHONY


Tenedle


Dimitri Niccolai is a songwriter, producer, performer and writer who operates under the name Tenedle.

Formerly a member of new wave outfit Laughing Silence, Tenedle has since pursued a solo career, clocking up 6 album releases. Although he originally hails from Italy, Tenedle now bases himself in Holland.

More recently, Tenedle has focused on new studio album Traumsender.

Tenedle’s performance at Synthetic City 2018 will also feature the vocal talents of Bridget Gray who will be appearing as a special guest.

http://www.tenedle.com/


Johnny Normal

Host and performer for Synthetic City 2018, Johnny Normal gravitates between presenting his weekly radio show for Radio Warwickshire (where he’s interviewed the likes of Gary Numan, Martyn Ware and Adam Ant) as well as writing and performing as an electronic musician in his own right.

In the past, Johnny has performed alongside the likes of Adam Ant, Edward Tudor-Pole, Blancmange, Altered Images, Deviant UK, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Nash The Slash and Wolfgang Flür among others.

His 2017 effort ‘Let Nothing Take Your Pride’ (penned under the banner of The Rude Awakening and featuring Brooke Calder) offered a rallying call for those that have been beaten down.

www.johnnynormal.net
www.facebook.com/johnnynormalmusic
www.facebook.com/johnnynormalofficial


Synthetic City 2018 takes place on Saturday 24th March 20018 at Water Rats, Kings Cross, London. 2pm-1am.

Tickets from: https://www.abnormalproductions.rocks/synthetic-city-london-2018

http://www.johnnynormal.net/SYNTHETIC-CITY.html
www.facebook.com/pg/SyntheticCityLondon/events/
www.abnormalproductions.rocks/synthetic-city-london-2018


LADYTRON announce new album details

The wheel is turning the machine…

After a lengthy hiatus, electropop outfit Ladytron have announced details of a new album due to be released later this year.

Formed in Liverpool, Ladytron initially began life as a project between producers/DJs Daniel Hunt and Reuben Wu (which led to the release of debut single ‘He Took Her To A Movie’ in 1999). Scottish student Helen Marnie and Bulgarian student Mira Aroyo joined the fledgling group soon after on vocals and synths.

Ladytron’s 2001 debut album 604 was met with critical acclaim, which was particularly surprising as it arrived during a period when synthpop was on a downturn. Their ability to put out polished, evocative electronic tunes via such singles as ‘Seventeen’, ‘Destroy Everything You Touch’ and ‘Ace Of Hz’ has helped to establish the outfit as one of the most accomplished modern synthpop outfits in recent years.

Following in the footsteps of other artists, the 4-piece band are looking at PledgeMusic to fund their new album venture. The new as-yet-untitled release will be Ladytron’s sixth studio album following on from 2011’s Gravity The Seducer.

The campaign will open with a new single release titled ‘The Animals’, which will also include a remix by iconic electronic musician Vince Clarke. “‘The Animals’ was the first new song we had, and with it we went almost immediately into the studio with Jim Abbiss, who has worked with us previously on Destroy… and the Witching Hour album,” says vocalist Helen Marnie. “He’s the producer who has really understood us the most”.

Ladytron’s members have been pursuing their own projects in recent years, notably Helen Marnie who has been busy crafting her own solo music. Her 2017 album Strange Words And Weird Wars (see TEC review here) was summed up by The Electricity Club as “a solid album of contemporary electropop that listeners will find intelligent, engaging and yet also fun”.

Meanwhile, Daniel Hunt has kept busy composing for screen and also co-produced Lush’s 2016 EP Blind Spot (see review on our sister website Wavegirl here). Mira Aroyo has been working in TV and film while Reuben Wu has flourished as an accomplished photographer.

The new PledgeMusic campaign offers up a wealth of rewards for pledgers, including signed copies of ‘The Animals’ single release, signed copies of the new album, handwritten lyric sheets, a History of Ladytron photo book and new T-shirts and hoodies.


‘The Animals’ is scheduled for release this April. The as-yet-untitled album is scheduled for a release this autumn.

https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/ladytron


http://www.ladytron.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ladytron/
https://twitter.com/LadytronMusic

Jóhann Jóhannsson 1969 – 2018


With the sad news that Icelandic musician and composer Jóhann Jóhannsson has recently passed away comes the realisation that the work of this exceptional musician has been silenced forever. The shock of this revelation is also given greater impact by the young age at which he passed.

Born in Reykjavik, Jóhannsson developed an eclectic series of musical influences, including Suicide, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Kraftwerk, Neu! And Tangerine Dream. His interest in combining different genres and approaches saw him later explore the combination of classical arrangments with electronic music.

In the case of Jóhannsson’s first album Englabörn, he employed the use of string instruments processed through digital filters. But it was his 2006 album IBM 1401, A User’s Manual (inspired by his father’s work as an IBM technician) that put the Icelandic composer’s name on the map. Featuring haunting elements of vocal samples, as well as the melodic compositions that his father had produced using the IBM so many years previously, the album is bolstered by some striking string segments.

Jóhannsson subsequently went on to establish himself as film composer, scoring the likes of The Theory Of Everything, Sicario and Arrival. He had also been the orginal choice to score Blade Runner 2049.


Our sister site Wavegirl features an obituary that pays tribute to the passing of Jóhann Jóhannsson – and the loss of future music for many generations: Jóhann Jóhannsson Obituary.


CHVRCHES – Get Out

Electropop trio bounce back with synth-fuelled goodness…

Chvrches have unveiled a new tune in the form of ‘Get Out’, which paves the way for the release of their forthcoming new album.

Formed in Glasgow in 2011 by Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty, Chvrches have established an impressive musical career founded on polished pop tunes. Their debut 2012 release ’The Mother We Share’ demonstrated that electronic pop had a place in modern music without relying on a retro approach or being a pastiche of older bands.

Their new outing appears to have all the elements of their classic kinetic electropop in place. There’s a buzzy rhythm track augmented with some clean percussive fills and Mayberry’s clear vocals front and centre.

Chvrches’ new release also marks a collaboration with Grammy award-winning producer Greg Kurstin. In the past, Kurstin has chalked up work with an impressive resume of artists that includes the likes of Lana Del Rey, Sia, Adele, Little Boots, Marina And The Diamonds and Lykke Li. “Working with Greg was so different to what we’d done before” suggests Lauren Mayberry, “but it also felt so comfortable and like he’d been in our band forever.”

‘Get Out’ marks the first release from the Scottish trio’s forthcoming third album Love Is Dead. Work on the album, which was also produced by Greg Kurstin, kicked off in February last year and follows on from their 2015 album Every Open Eye.

With Chvrches back in action, 2018 is shaping up to be a particularly good year for electronic music.


http://chvrch.es/

https://www.facebook.com/CHVRCHES/

https://twitter.com/CHVRCHES


Tears From A Stone – Exploring Paul Waaktaar-Savoy’s New Biography

‘Silence’ is golden

‘If you’ve got more to say, why wouldn’t you say it?’

Paul Waaktaar-Savoy, Berlin, 26 March 2015 (Press Conference to formally announce a-ha’s comeback and the release of a new album, Cast In Steel)

Traditionally, when ‘the quiet one’ from a-ha has had something to say, it has invariably been through his song lyrics.

While the other two members of the Norwegian band have been far more loquacious over the years, Paul Waaktaar-Savoy has done most of his talking through the pages of numerous well-thumbed notebooks.

While some musicians get worn down by playing the media game over time, for Waaktaar-Savoy there was barely a honeymoon period at all during which he was comfortable in that environment.

Take, for example, an interview on UK ‘Breakfast’ show Good Morning Britain in 1986, when interrogator Nick Owen asked ‘Are you OK’ because he ‘Hadn’t heard enough from [Paul]!’

A pattern had been set whereby singer Morten Harket and keyboardist Magne (then going by ‘Mags’) Furuholmen would spar with one another – and the interviewer(s) – while Paul shuffled uncomfortably alongside them.

Then again, when you have a back catalogue of songwriting credits like Waaktaar-Savoy does, do you need to give the public more?

Little appeared to have changed from that interview 31 years ago when a-ha visited Berlin again in September 2017 to promote the release of their MTV Unplugged Acoustic album (Summer Solstice) and subsequent extensive touring schedule.

Author and compatriot Jo Nesbo hosted the press conference and began proceedings by asking Paul: ‘How do you feel about being in the room on a scale from 1 to 10?’.

Paul, unsurprisingly, responded ‘1’, while Morten added, ‘It’s off the scale (for Paul)’.

For anyone still in any doubt, Waaktaar-Savoy doesn’t like doing interviews.

Which makes the publication of a biography – that involved writer Ørjan Nilsson undertaking several lengthy discussions with the musician – even more unlikely.

Yet here, in all its glory, comes Tårer fra en stein (Tears from a stone), published on 6 October, charting Waaktaar-Savoy’s rise to fame and exalted success not just with a-ha but Savoy and other side-projects.

The Electricity Club spoke to Nilsson about his role in what some may consider more like getting ‘blood from a stone’ in persuading Waaktaar-Savoy to open up for this long-awaited tome.


Firstly, is the book ghost-written – in the first person – or more biographical in the third-person?

Nilsson: The book is more biographical. It is based upon long interviews in four different cities (New York, Berlin, Hamburg and Oslo) over two years.

Many people have tried to persuade Paul Waaktaar-Savoy to put his thoughts into print (beyond song lyrics) but few have succeeded. Certainly, nobody has managed to get him to open up at such length – what is your secret?!

We (my publisher and I) contacted him in the fall of 2014 and told him what kind of book I wanted to write. Then we didn’t hear anything for half a year. Then, suddenly, he sent me an e-mail and asked if I could send him my first book, about Kings of Convenience’s iconic debut album (Quiet is the New Loud), and he liked it. Then we met one hot summer’s day in Oslo two years’ ago and discussed how we could try to dig deeper into his mindset around songs and songwriting.

It always helps to be passionate about the subject one writes about: how far does your interest in Paul’s music go, historically?

a-ha’s and Paul’s music played a significant role in my life since I was four years old. When the book was finished my editor wrote to me: ‘Congratulations. This is one of the most important things you’ve done in your life’. And it actually feels like that too. Paul, and a-ha as a trio, are among the few Norwegians that have reached far, far out of this country. Everybody knows the story behind their breakthrough, but I wanted to go into where the songs came from. What literature did Paul read in 1979? What films blow him away? Could his parents’ background say anything about the way he writes songs? What about the Norwegian landscape? I wanted to find out about that, for myself, and write about it so that it hopefully will be read as a cultural-historical document about a man that never spoke much but wrote songs that touched so many people in so many parts of the world.

Is this book something you have wanted to do for a long time?

I’ve had the idea somewhere inside me for 5-6 years, but it became more realistic three years ago.

Many people warn against meeting one’s heroes. Are you glad you did on this occasion?

I thought a little bit about that, of course. But five minutes into our first talk I knew that this was the right thing to do. This IS one of the most important things I have ever done – and will ever do.

Did you go into the interviews with any preconceptions about what Paul would be like? Was he as you expected or were there some surprises?

One surprise; he’s a very funny guy.

It is probably true to say that Paul was hit the hardest when a-ha split in 2010 – the other two were keen to embark on new careers whereas Paul believed there was still more to come from a-ha. Does this come across in the book?

Yes, it does. Paul says in the book that he didn’t want to quit at all back in 2010, and that he wanted more a-ha.

Is it also fair to say that Paul is the most enthusiastic with what is going on now – the ‘MTV Unplugged’ concert and the many live concerts ahead, both acoustic and ‘plugged’?

We haven’t talked about that specifically, we ended our two years of interviews just in the start of the ‘Unplugged’ project.

You have also written about Kings of Convenience, so do you see the struggles that a-ha has had internally over the years as just something that happens in every/most bands?

I don’t want to have an opinion about a-ha’s struggles. Paul talks about it in the book but he also says that Morten and Magne are two of his closest friends.

Initially the book will only be available in Norwegian. Are there plans to translate it into other languages, including English?

There is some interest in other countries, and there will be news out on that in the not too distant future, but I’m afraid not English right now. But I really hope it will happen.

As a-ha lived in and enjoyed great success in England in the ‘80s/early ‘90s (and retain a strong fan-base there to this day), why do you think the English translation is not near the top of the list?

Hmm, do you mean from my perspective or from English publishers? I guess many potential publishers haven’t heard about the book yet but hopefully they will and the book will have a long life.

Is Paul excited about the book?

Yes, that’s my impression. But probably also a little bit worried. This book goes into details about big parts of his life, and goes into the core of what he does – writing songs. I know I would have been kind of nervous (in his position).

And you have recorded a Savoy song (‘Whalebone’) especially for the release of the book with your own band (Willow) – how exciting was that to do and what does Paul think of it?

I have confidence in my writing and wasn’t too afraid about what Paul would think when I sent him the first chapters [of the book] last summer, since he liked the Kings of Convenience book. But the singing – and the Willow cover-version: I was super nervous. But then we got really nice feedback from him; he told me that he loved it and the version almost gave him a Placebo-vibe. Willow is, by the way, a band that broke up 12 years ago, but we thought this was a great opportunity to get back together and do something, because I like the concept of a book-single (a limited edition 7″ vinyl featuring ‘Whalebone’ by Willow and ‘Manhattan Skyline’ by Kings of Convenience was included for those who pre-ordered through bidra.no).


And what more from Waaktaar-Savoy?

When a celebrity has a book out it is common to tour the media circuit hammering home the point.

Will this be the case on this occasion?

Let publisher Christer Falck clear that matter up: ‘Pål will not promote the book,” Falck clarified.

‘As he said: “I have said what is to be said. From now on, I will keep silent.”’

One suspects Paul’s notebooks will continue to vocalise his thoughts for many years to come.


Tårer fra en stein is available now, published by Falck Forlag (http://www.falckforlag.no/)

http://waaktaar.com/
https://www.facebook.com/waaktaarpal
https://soundcloud.com/waaktaarpal
https://twitter.com/WaaktaarZoe

a-ha.com
https://www.facebook.com/officialaha/

Greg Lansdowne is a freelance writer, who wrote a book on a-ha in 2016 called ‘Living A Fan’s Adventure Tale – a-ha in the eyes of the beholders’.

The Electricity Club extends its thanks to Ørjan Nilsson. Photo by Ivar Kvaal.


AUTUMN NEW RELEASES

A look at some of autumn’s forthcoming electronic music releases…

2017 has already shaped up to be a good year for record releases with a combination of classic artists and contemporary bands putting out some sterling new albums. As a revised version of our earlier feature, here’s a rundown of some of the autumn releases that might be of interest for the electronic music enthusiast…


BLANCMANGE – Unfurnished Rooms

The reformation of Blancmange, and the subsequent release of 2011 album Blanc Burn, came as a surprise (particularly to those fans of traditional English desserts). The synthpop outfit had recorded one of the most highly regarded electronic music albums of the 1980s with the release of their debut album Happy Families (That album was subsequently reissued this year as part of the retrospective Blanc Tapes).

Neil Arthur has since continued to both tour and release new material under the Blancmange banner, with the last release being the 2016 album Commuter 23. Unfurnished Rooms, which was written and recorded by Neil Arthur and co-produced by Benge (Wrangler/John Foxx & The Maths), sees an album of songs written by Arthur, while Benge added percussion and layers of synths. One of the new tracks, ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’, also features John Grant (who also contributed to Susanne Sundfør’s latest album) on piano and backing vocals.

Unfurnished Rooms is due for release on 22nd September, 2017.

More info:
http://www.blancmange.co.uk/


HANNAH PEEL – Mary Casio: Journey To Cassiopeia Hannah Peel

‘Mary Casio’ is a side project that composer and musician Hannah Peel has been cultivating for some time. When a brass band commissioned Peel for a new musical project, she felt that her Mary Casio alter ego was the best face to put on it.

Drawing from her influences of electronic pioneers Daphne Oram and Delia Derbyshire, Peel’s back story for Mary Casio is as an elderly stargazing electronic musician. Her lifelong dream is to leave her South Yorkshire home and journey into space. The resulting musical adventures, which combine brass and analogue synths, is surprisingly atmospheric and shows a whole new side of Peel’s talents.

Mary Casio: Journey To Cassiopeia is released 22nd September.

More info:
http://smarturl.it/syjioe
http://www.hannahpeel.com
https://www.facebook.com/pg/HannahPeelMusic


EMPATHY TEST – Losing Touch/Safe From Harm

The atmospheric synthpop produced by combo Empathy Test offers a refreshing and original change from many of their contemporaries. Latest release ‘By My Side’ showed a smooth slice of warm synthpop with a polished production that offered up a cinematic panorama of electronic goodness (as our review explained).

A series of releases, including 2016 double A-side single ‘Demons’/’Seeing Stars’ was followed this year by ‘By My Side’. A third single release, ‘Bare My Soul’, was released in April, followed by a PledgeMusic campaign to fund the release of their long-awaited debut album. But discovering they had a wealth of material, Empathy Test have now opted to release 2 albums, titled Safe From Harm and Losing Touch.

Losing Touch/Safe From Harm are scheduled for release 17th November.

More info:
https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/empathy-test-album
Soundcloud.com/EmpathyTest
Facebook.com/EmpathyTest
EmpathyTest.com


A-HA – MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice

Norwegian synthpop outfit a-ha can’t decide whether to retire or not (as 2015’s Cast In Steel album demonstrated). But now they’re releasing an album culled from live acoustic concerts that took place in June.

Earlier this year, Morten Harket commented, “The band is finally coming together for live acoustic recordings of a wide selection of our songs! As we speak, there is palpable growing excitement about this in the group. We had wonderful moments with the fans during our last tour, and as a fourth member of the band you certainly have had an influence on our commitment to this. I really look forward to it all!”

Filmed and recorded in Norway, the album draws from two shows and features not only two new songs in the form of ‘This Is Our Home’ and ‘A Break In The Clouds’, but also an old song taken from the pre-a-ha outfit Bridges. Guests on the album include Alison Moyet, Ian McCulloch and Lissie.

In early 2018, a-ha will take this special acoustic set on the road. Magne, Morten and Paul will be joined by a handpicked ensemble of musicians to embellish and reinvent the classics, as well as present new material in acoustic arrangements.

MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice, which will debut as as album, DVD and broadcast, are scheduled for release on 6th October.

More info:
https://lnk.to/aha-unplugged
http://a-ha.com/news/articles/acoustic-evening/


THE SOUND OF ARROWS – Stay Free

The release of their debut album Voyage in 2012 established Swedish electronic duo The Sound Of Arrows as purveyors of smooth dreampop synth.

Their second album Stay Free has been eagerly awaited and was heralded by the unveiling of new song ‘Beautiful Life’ back in March. The song continues the electronic outfit’s talent for cinematic pop, but there’s also a more organic element with big string arrangements prominent in the mix. It suggests that Oskar Gullstrand and Stefan Storm (aka The Sound Of Arrows) haven’t lost their touch for stylish synthpop.

Stay Free is due for release on 27th October.

More info:
http://www.thesoundofarrows.com


NULL + VOID – Cryosleep


Depeche Mode and Dave Gahan collaborator, Kurt Uenala, will be releasing a full length album under his Null + Void alias soon called Cryosleep.

The album is said to be inspired by retro sci-fi, electronic innovators, and classic new wave. Lead single ‘Asphalt World’ is apparently “built on Detroit electro’s mechanical bounce and has a sinister glint in its eyes”.

The album will see guest vocals from Dave Gahan as well as guest vocals from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Big Pink, and Light Asylum.
More info:
http://kurtuenala.com
https://www.facebook.com/nullandvoidmusik/

Cryosleep release date TBC


FREEZEPOP

US synthpop outfit Freezepop have embarked on the crowdfunding route to launch their 5th studio album. Raising over $88,000 via Kickstarter, the Boston-based group have also added on goodies such as bonus albums, vinyl releases, cover version requests, comic strip and even a sandwich (overseas customers will unfortunately have to make do with a picture of a sandwich…).

The new album follows on from 2007’s Future Future Future Perfect, which featured the crunchy dynamics of ‘Less Talk More Rokk’ and the wistful ‘Thought Balloon’. Details of the new release have yet to be confirmed, although on the topic of the potential songs, the band suggests they’re “deeply awesome”.

More info:
http://www.freezepop.net
http://www.kickstartfreezepop.com/

Album details and release date TBC


U96 – Reboot


German electronic act U96 are best remembered for ‘Das Boot’ (a techno styling of Klaus Doldinger’s 1981 film theme) and Eurodance hits such as ‘Love Sees No Colour’ and ‘Love Religion.’

U96 will shortly release their seventh album, Reboot, the follow-up to 2015’s The Dark Matter EP. Tracks include the excellent ‘Monkeys’, which was previewed last year, and a collaboration with former Kraftwerk percussionist Wolfgang Flür.

Release date TBC.

More info:
https://www.facebook.com/U96reboot/


DAYBEHAVIOUR – Based On A True Story

3-piece synthpop outfit Daybehaviour caught our attention with the 2003 release ‘The Sweetness of My Pain’ and TEC also reviewed their third album release Follow That Car! in 2012. Their talent for melody and classy, sophisticated dreampop was front and centre on the tracks featured on that album.

The Stockholm-based outfit have been working on their fourth album titled Based On A True Story for a while. The first song to be taken from the album was the stylish pop appeal of ‘Change’, which appeared in 2015. The group have provided updates on the album’s development recently and they appear to be getting close to a release date.

Release date TBC.

More info:
https://www.facebook.com/DayBehavior/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx1KaWdnouVOq2TmLEfbaZw
http://www.daybehavior.com/


Outside of the albove, there’s also new releases mooted by TR/ST, Princess Century (aka Austra’s Maya Postepski) and Electric Youth.


WIN Tickets to SYNTHETIC CITY LONDON!

WIN 2 tickets to the SYNTHETIC CITY LONDON event this September!

SYNTHETIC CITY features an all-star lineup of electronic music artists and bands, including PARRALOX, HOT PINK ABUSE, THE LUNCHBOX SURRENDER, TRAIN TO SPAIN, DEVIANT UK, MR VAST, AMONG THE ECHOES, PAUL HUMPHRIES, MILAN, JOHNNY NORMAL and EDEN. The event will also feature DJ setlists between bands.

A fantastically inspiring grassroots electronic music event you simply can’t miss.

Synthetic City takes place between 2pm and 1am on 9th September 2017 at The Water Rats, 328 Gray’s Inn Road, King’s Cross, London WC1X 8BZ

To be in with a chance to win 2 tickets, visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/clubelectricity/ for all the details (Terms & Conditions apply).

Winner will be drawn at random at 12pm (GMT) on Friday 1st September 2017 (Terms & Conditions: http://www.electricity-club.co.uk/competition-rules/ )


http://www.johnnynormal.net/SYNTHETIC-CITY.html
https://www.facebook.com/pg/SyntheticCityLondon/events/
https://www.abnormalproductions.rocks/synthetic-city-london-2017


Johnny Normal in conversation with GARY NUMAN

Ahead of the forthcoming release of Gary Numan’s new album Savage: Songs From A Broken World, the Johnny Normal Radio Show will be hosting an interview with the synthpop pioneer this Wednesday.

Savage: Songs From A Broken World is the 21st studio album by Gary Numan, funded by a PledgeMusic Campaign and scheduled for release this September. The hard-edged ‘My Name Is Ruin’ was recently unveiled ahead of the album, complete with a video that depicted a bleak wasteland that illustrated some of the ideas and concepts that influenced the new material.

Johnny Normal managed to speak to the veteran musician backstage at the recent Leamington Assembly show to discuss Gary’s career, his family, the new Savage album and the current tour.

Johnny will also be playing some favourite Numan tracks on the show.

Don’t miss this special Johnny Normal Radio Show on Wednesday evening 2nd August 2017 from 8pm-10.30pm GMT (2100hrs CET). Listen at www.radiowarwickshire.com and click on the media player or on mobiles and laptops via TuneIn App at http://tunein.com/radio/Radio-Warwickshire-s202885/


Savage: Songs From A Broken World is due out on September 15th 2017.
Limited formats available from: https://GaryNuman.lnk.to/storeID
Stream, download or order here: https://GaryNuman.lnk.to/SavageID

www.radiowarwickshire.com
http://www.garynuman.co.uk/
http://www.johnnynormal.net/
https://www.abnormalproductions.rocks/