You've recently released your debut album Paradise lost; How did you feel about the initial response from the community?
Well because I’m building my fan base on the back of this release, the response has been limited so far, but absolutely amazing. I honestly didn’t think anyone was going to like it, But the reviews and responses I’ve received have been incredible. It’s great to hear that my music is making people happy, and evoking a level of nostalgia and fondness for that era of music, for those who hear it. Whilst the album was certainly made for the New Retro/Synthwave community, I wanted to make a more vocal/pop oriented LP, as opposed to something on the more atmospheric or soundtrack style of production. Don’t get me wrong though, I love just about all of the music coming out of the scene, but I wanted to create something more similar to Duran Duran and The Human League, than Lazerhawk and Mitch Murder. But it’s great to be a part of such a supportive and diverse community as well… There’s some big things to come for us all, and it’s an exciting time to be involved!
What about playing with Primal Evidence helped prepare you for your solo project?
I think my time spent with the band, certainly helped me become a better vocalist as well as giving me a level of confidence in the way I delivered my lyrics which I just didn’t have before. Not only that, but when I was just the singer, I definitely put a lot more focus into creating melody lines and choruses that had more of that ‘anthemic’ quality. All I had to do was pull my share of the load, and when you’re only one quarter of the creative process, you figure out what works around the dynamic of a band you have no control over as well as really honing your musical responsibilities in the group. I could bullshit about how playing every dive bar in town and loading amplifiers out the back door at 1AM has made me the ‘artist’ I am today, but in all honesty it was just a pain… It made me want to become a more studio focused musician. I miss the free beers… and that’s about it.
Have you heard any music released after 1989? What about the 80s inspires you to create music that mimics the sounds of that era instead of following a more pop approach?
[laughs] I have, and I’m not very impressed! Although, there has been some amazing retro style stuff making its way into the mainstream recently. So I’ve been pretty keen on the recent Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars track… also Olly Murs has got an awesome disco sounding single in the charts at the moment, with string runs and all! But as far as taking a Top 40-friendly approach to my song writing, I couldn’t care less. There’s millions of musicians out there trying to find the ‘next’ sound and be as modern as possible… All I want to do is just have some fun making a style of music that I enjoy, and hopefully others see what I’m trying to do, and they’ll get some enjoyment out of it too! But I’m sure the masses of trend-chasers are going to do just fine without me.
What would you say your top five influences are for your particular style and do you plan of continuing with glam rock for your next album?
My biggest musical influences are pretty much Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, Billy Idol, Prince and especially early Madonna. It’s weird though, because I grew up listening to nothing but KISS, then a lot of Motley Crue and Van Halen later on. I think those influences kind of show in the heavier songs. But the next album will certainly move away from the Glam sound and more toward that polished mid-80s New Romantic & Dance vibe. I rocked the spandex pants for long enough. Time to move on. I ran out of lipstick, dude.
Much of your lyrical content seems like it came straight from the greatest decade known to man. Does the content relate to you personally with past girlfriends and love life or are you a born story writer?
Well it all just comes from life experience, right? I don’t think I’m capable of adapting a fake persona to push a cliché style of lyrical content. It just so happens that all my subject matter is similar to that of 80s pop lyrics. But I wouldn’t want to sing about anything other than dancing, sex, heartbreak and partying. I’m nineteen. I don’t really know much else. [laughs] But I hate writing lyrics. It’s as if you’re taking a personal diary, filled with all of your deepest thoughts and feelings and just putting it on show for the world to read. I know some people love doing that shit, but for me, I find it difficult sharing that kind of stuff. I nearly pulled ‘When You Cry’ off the album for that exact reason. In fact, the original version of that song was a complete piano ballad with breathy, whiny vocals and all! But that wasn’t going to fly over too smoothly on a synthwave record. So I had to beef it up with that Italo Disco magic.
I will say though, some of the lyrics on the record might make me come off as sounding rather promiscuous, which really isn’t the case. I’m a one woman guy, and sometimes you gotta add a touch of filth to keep the story interesting. But to answer your question, yes – the lyrics relate to me personally.
Are your friends and family familiar with your music? Do they understand your passion for the 80s?
They are all familiar with it, and I get mixed reactions from everyone. I’ve got a few friends who are complete retro buffs and they love it, which is cool! But the family is less inclined to like it… They’ve had to listen to me record every single vocal track from the next room (not exactly the most euphonious experience for them) but they’re supportive of what I’m trying to do.
But I don’t think even I understand my passion for the decade, let alone everyone else. I’m not one to do things by half measures, so when I cut the bleached mop off my head, and started listening to the Miami Vice soundtracks every day, I took on every facet of the style. I wear the suits, the pastel shirts, the wayfarers, the moccasins – pretty much the whole 9 fucking yards. The style appealed to me, and I made it my own. People associate the image with an era of decadence and hedonistic excess, and that’s an image and lifestyle I’ve always found to be very attractive. Champagne wishes and caviar dreams, right? [laughs]
Please tell us a bit about your signing to Sunlover Records and what you guys might have in store for us in the future.
So basically, in the lead up to the release of the album, I was sending out tracks to be featured on different compilations and whatnot and Sunlover Records was just one of the labels that came to mind. I had heard their ‘Italo Disco is Back’ compilation, and was absolutely in love with the visual content they were releasing in support of the album, as well as the roster of artists they had featured. I think they are one of the only labels that truly understand that 80s vibe and for me to be releasing music through them, I think is a match made in heaven. They’re a supportive bunch of guys, all with a lot of talent and they know how to run a tight ship. As far as the future is concerned, there are still a lot of cool things to come from the Paradise Lost release, like music videos and cassettes. But after that, I’ll begin recording the second album. A few of the songs have been written, the groundwork has been laid, and I’ll be heading over to the UK and France during 2015 to work on it with some of the finest musicians and producers the new retro scene has to offer. I am about as excited as anyone could be!