KASTRUP INTERVIEW



So, Kastrup - why name yourself after the Danish airport?

For us, the residents of Malmö, Kastrup is much more than just an airport. It is the train station that you’re passing by, drunk and hungry on your way home from a wet night in Copenhagen, saying "Why don’t we just do it? Let’s get off here and take the first cheapest plane away from here. We just do it! Run away from everything”. Kastrup is also the node that we need to take us to to get out in the the world. It represents so much more than just an airport. There's also something exciting about airports, it is always a very special atmosphere, it's a no man's land, the definitive border between something new and something old.

You’re both from Sweden - Malmö to be precise. What was it like when Eurovision came to town?

Timmie: That's right, Eurovision 2013 huh? I don’t remember actually. I recall that there were very many bewildered tourists, a lot of different music stages around the town. A good vibe!

Puppe: Remember seeing it on big screen in “Folkets park” with Timmie actually. A lot of people and a good vibe!


Now - you both met at the Malmö academy of music. Did you immediately hit it off?

Timmie: It is becoming more and more blurred to me, how it actually happened. I know that we did some school assignments together. I remember that I thought that Puppe had something special, and above all something I had not. I wanted to be near him, to learn more, but also to get the opportunity to work more together in the future. Then we became friends during the time outside of the school, so the step was not that far.

Puppe: Same thing here. I don’t remember the start of it. But I guess we had some school assignment, started talking about music and I could tell Timmie had a great sense of music and songwriting. I remember us going to his rehearsal room, (which I got in on later), brought beer and started jammin’ with two keyboards and microphones, and I thought it was great! Later we booked one of the schools' studios to just “record something”, and we ended up with a nice ballad, not so Kastrup-ish though, but nice! I guess that was a bit like a start for something but we didn't know it was the start of Kastrup. 



You are one of my favourite unsigned Swedish acts of 2015 thanks to Thieves. It is bloody immense. Where did the song come from?

Timmie: It's a very old song. I think I wrote it around 2008/2009 when I studied theatre in the middle of nowhere in Skåne. There were pianos everywhere in the school. I always used to sit down and play something. Thieves was that kind of song that just came to me. It’s hard to say how. It’s always like that. I think the class rehearsed a play and during the break I went away to be by myself for awhile, sat down at a piano and sang the song that years later would become “Thieves”. It has been sprouting for a long time, but I have refused to let it go. I have always known that it is a very good song. I just needed to figure out how to do it.

Despite its BIGNESS I could totally envisage an awesome naked acoustic version as a b-side/download….it is a brilliant song. Can that happen?

A few weeks ago we actually did an extremely naked version of Thieves, live on Swedish radio. Don’t know if it's possible to hear now, will check on it! But we have some plans to make an acoustic version, live video or something like that. Hold on!


Its a bit different to more rockier Lydia. Your first single. Can you tell me something about the genesis of Lydia and why its a different shade of pop to Thieves…

It's really not that much difference. It is all about the mix. There are at least as many synths in Lydia as in Thieves, but right there and then we gave the guitars a bigger role and decided to go in the indie-pop / rock direction.

The biggest difference is probably that in the genesis of Lydia we were a band. We were five musicians who jammed until the arrangement sounded good live, right the in the rehearsal room. That’s also why Lydia is an extremely good live song, the arrangement is written to sound good with loud drums and distorted guitars directly in the room.

Thieves contains some seriously sexy synths - please tell me we are gonna hear some more from them.

You will certainly hear more synths! That we can promise. But it's not that fun to head in to the studio and choose "The Epic Thieves preset" on every song we write. We are constantly trying to find new and interesting sounds.


You’re both rather nice looking chaps - so why aint you in the Thieves Video?! 

Haha, thank you! Actually, we had an idea about having us in the video. But Christopher (the man who came up with the idea and then did it all, director, photographer and producer) thought it would be "too messy" and that it would ruin the whole vibe. We trusted him. We will certainly appear in some video in the future :)

Are you thinking of performing soon and any time in London?

Of course! That is absolutely our plan. Maybe this fall, but more realistic is that you’ll see us in early 2016!

Will you be releasing new material soon? To consolidate on Thieves? Want more. 

We are working with about five to ten songs right now, two of them are candidates to be the next single. However, it is just a waste to release any of them during the summer, there is hardly no one who listens to what you say then. The plan is to be release the next Kastrup single in early September. Hold on!

If you could a covers EP of Swedish Hits - which 5 songs would you pick and why.

Wow, erhm. Tough question. Not that we think that we could do it better than the original, but...

  1. Duvchi - Turtleduvs
  2. Thomas Stenström - Fåglar
  3. Amason - Ålen
  4. Axwell^Ingrosso - On my way
  5. Me and my army - The only one

What acts from Sweden inspire you the most?

Seinabo Sey, Frida Sundemo, Silvana Imam, Jonathan Johansson, Kent, Vincent Pontare & Salem Al Fakir (mostly as songwriters and producers to Avicii, Seinabo, Veronica Maggio, Axwell & Ingrosso.) 

What are the biggest challenges being an unsigned act?

The time. To get the time to suffice. We do everything ourselves. We write, record, manage public relations and do the marketing activities. We’re booking our, we’re networking, e-mailing, update our social media, keep in touch with fans and audience and so on and so on. Then of course, channels. It takes time to build up such large channels and that kind of network that an established record company has.

So would you like to stay unsigned - or rather what I mean is, be somewhat like Robyn, Konichiwa Records and have arrangements with the majors)

That is something that we’re thinking about very much nowadays. The Robyn arrangement with Konichiwa is almost becoming a standard now among more established artists. If we will do the same, don’t really know yet, we'll see. Again, it is something we are discussing right now. One step at a time.

Do you think its still important to have that larger representation - would you like to get that support from a big label?

You're on to something that the entire industry discusses very much right now, what should one have a major label for? Really? Now that there are so many tools for the individual creator to do everything yourself. Being signed to a Major also means to compete with the world's greatest artists. You get a tiny little attention in a big, big bank with already very established artists. It's all about visions and approaches. If we find someone who thinks like us and the chemistry is there, then you never know what can happen :)

You’ve majored in pop production at MAM. What other Swedish producers would you love to work the most?

Timmie: Wow, hard question. So many! I’m a big fan of the Danish producer Jon "Joshua" Schumann (Kashmir, Mew, Kent, Carpark North), but yeah, he’s Danish, haha. Would be cool to do something with Magnus Lidehäll (Mapei, Seinabo Sey, Veronica Maggio) or Joel Humlén (Frida Sundemo).

Puppe: Magnus Lidhäll would have been fun maybe! But, yeah hard question!

Please say the follow-up is gonna be soon! Whats next for Kastrup - are there songs shortlisted as potential singles yet? Or do you guys wanna keep it an open field and see what happens?

There’s two potential singles right now. Their working titles are “Come and get me” and “You and I”, but you’ll never know. We’ll spend the summer in our new studio. Maybe the next single is not even written yet. Who knows. But the plan is to release it in September! Stay tuned.

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Buy the single here: Thieves
Kastrup: Facebook

LCMDF - Fooled


Wow. Its been two years since LCMDF gave us a lick tip of their attitude - in the form of their brilliant and iconic #haters which of course was the theme for that years Helsinki Pride. They're back and with an amazing thriller single - Fooled. It's been too long! Don't leave it that long Emma+Mia again! Pop missed you!!! Fooled is a chunky, bouncy, cocky synth 80's rebellious pop song. If you like Sophia Somajo and Rebecca & Fiona you'll love Fooled. LCMDF thank you so much for returning!


Michael Cragg at GuardianMusic hits the nail on the head when he describes LCMDF purveyors of excellent big pop music that 'could bring about a mild panic attack in a more unsuspecting listener.' Which is one of the reasons why I've always love them and Fooled refuses to let the ball drop - they spin their distinctive disruptive electro beats all over the place, decorate the chorus with trippy messy chaotic boom-claps that wrap around sonic explosive rhythms that recall the very best moments of J-pop. Every beat feels like a mini-fizzle explosion in the ears and I love love love every single moment of it!  Kiitos Paljon

KASTRUP - THIEVES


Speechless. My heart raced a million beats when first hearing Thieves. Rendered Speechless. Discovering Kastrup was like an electric bolt hitting water - absolutely terrifying but beautiful. Revitalising. Big shout out to you to Musikguiden i P3 for the heads-up. Tack, Tack, Tack. Thieves is their second single (check out the glorious Lydia on their soundcloud). Perhaps named after the Danish Airport - I don't know. Amazing. The band are my favourite act to come out of Sweden this year. Rarely do I throw out hyperbolic slogans - but I can't get enough of Thieves


The sexy synth throbs around the beloved, yet vulnerable, voice have me doing a locomotion of happy feels. There are Kleerup/Robyn aspects to this. Throw-in shades of Brandon Flowers, Cure, Oh Fibes, The Ark and Eric Hassle and you may steal a little idea of what Kastrup are about. And yet, there is something evocative and explosive about Thieves that has me right around their Kastrups fingers. They've sparkled into my heart. I can't get enough of them. Swedish duo of the year. I may be rejoicing their arrival quite a lot on this blog this year so apologises beforehand.

Awa - Obvious


Sweden's only ever X Factor winner Awa is back! And, with a supercool track. Co-written by Marlene & the Trinity team, Obvious is her follow up to Not Ready To Say Goodbye. With the ever fashionable 90's house pace, the single is remarkably on-trend though refuses to be gimmicky or try-too-hard. Awa has taken her time with material. Not rushing with her debut single was a remarkable move - Goodbye was a huge hit for her. Finding the right follow-up has taken her team over a year but the fact that this song is perhaps the best to come out of Sweden this side of 2015 shows the AnR team were wise to dig for that straw amongst a tremendous hay-stack. Sweden produces so many great songs and with this - Awa's got herself an amazing one. Cannot wait for the eventual album.

HARRIET RETURNS & CHATS (AND GOSSIPS) WITH DSTP (About Fly, the album & the next release!)



Just after the release of new single Fly, I met the singer Harriet in an lovely old arts cafe tucked behind Angel tube station in Islington, London. She wanted to discuss her new single, a follow-up from her Christmas EP "Maybe This Christmas" & her debut "What's Mine Is Yours" released in 2014. Fly signals the beginning of a vast volley of new material from Harriet. Fly is a rather plucky stomper of a song with a upbeat rhythm & delivers a stern declaration within its lyrics. I wanted to know more about its creation, whether there were more like it in her goodie bag of songs and what she was planning to do next. So armed with a brief set of questions I ordered the hot chocolate and we were set! Fly: (Itunes Order Link)


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Did London treat you well during the filming of Fly? 
Yes! We had a few surprised tourists who made a cameo or two but thats what I love about London which is why we did that video in that way. I love the city and the moment Fly came out of the oven, so to speak, I had the concept of the video there and then. I loved doing it. I used to live in the West End of London and I'd spend so much of my time wandering, and wondering, around and about. People-watching. Observing the city come alive with my headphones plugged-in channeling new songs I'd just written. Which is why I'm wearing headphones in the video.



Okay, I must ask why the handwriting theme in so much of your promo content? 
Hahahahha!!! When I was little I was obsessed letter writing and I guess it stems from that! I think your handwriting is an extension of your personality too. I think that’s cool!
You’ve just released Fly which isn’t about the nasty insect or the Jeff Goldblum film. Or, is it? 
No, but thats pretty awesome! Though I’d love it if it was picked to be the theme for the inevitable future Hollywood remake! Ok so Fly is about wanting to escape from a loveless relationship, and fall in love for “real”!
Its a bit uptempo from your last release like 'If (When You Go)' for example.
Yes. The last two releases were of a reflective, more melancholic vibe. The melody and tempo was representative this. Fly felt like the next natural progression. It was a challenge to keep my sound and identity in a more uptempo song. But Steve Anderson’s production and arrangement colours the song perfectly. It is important my album has texture and these uptempo numbers are really key to maintain energy levels in that body of work. Plus, when it comes to performing them live, its great to have a variety of ‘zones’ to go into when performing. 
Steve is producing all your stuff yes?
Yes! Steve and I have written the majority of the album together. I believe Steve is the best producer for my my record. We have a very special connection and something special happens when we go into the recording studio. However there have been other songwriters involved with the album along the way. Like Judie Tzuke, Cliff Masterson, Dave Munday and Charlie Dore to name but a few. When Steve and I first wrote and recorded together I knew (and felt) this relationship would form the foundation on which my sound would be built. I return to this identity with everything I do now, to try to keep everything relevant.
Whats’ next (after Fly)?
Well, follow-up single possibilities have been shortlisted. Its a little bit like a horse-race with an ever changing front-runner. Sometimes a torch ballad I wrote last winter comes out as favourite. Then it’s an upbeat song I wrote last week with Steve. So you never know. At the moment two particular songs have been underscored with a highlighter by myself and my team. We’re just doing the arithmetic on timelines and discussing what, where and why. But for now, we’re focusing on my audience. I want to give them more and I want to see them at shows. So releasing another EP is next up!
An EP!? Details please!
A covers EP. Tracks to be confirmed.
Sorry but i am gonna have to roast you on this - I need more details. 
Well. Its a little too early yet. We are still experimenting and throwing around ideas. So please get in touch via my twitter or FB to suggest song titles. No suggestion is too outrageous or out there! I wanna hear from you.
Why covers? 
After the overwhelming reaction to She’s Out of My Life, Home and A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes (From Disney’s Cinderella feature film) I really wanted to celebrate the songwriters I love and experiment with that before the next single. A covers EP is a wonderful opportunity to interpret songs in my way. And to raise a toast to those amazing songs!
Would do a cover of a Sex Pistols song?
Ha! Interesting curveball but ultimately yes, if the song is right, and I feel a connection with it. Its about the song, the lyric, the melody and the narrative. Sometimes the most obvious choice actually doesn’t work when you go into the studio. You never know. That’s why we are being open with it. Who knows - could be anything from Bananarama to The Clash! My followers on Facebook (link) and Twitter (link) have already been making immense suggestions. We’ve so far had ABBA, Take That, The Beatles but also the likes of Beth Orton, Prefab Sprout and Somewhere from West Side Story. I love learning about what my fans are into! They’ve given me a lot of homework to get on with but I love it and I am so energised to try it all out.
Harriet with her band Darren Williams, Dishan Abrahams & Cliff Masterson
What about a themed EP?
Good idea actually. Definitely. Exploring one particular act through a handful of their songs would be a real challenge and I would love to try this out.
Oooooooooooh what about A Disney EP? 
Steve and I talked about this a while ago. I love Disney. Adore them. Everything they do! As I am talking to you i am going through the potential track list in my head! 
Let It Go?! Would you go there?
Wow. You think I could do that? Thank you. What an amazing song. I love Idina Menzel. My gosh. Her range. Her voice. It is amazing. I don’t think I could do Let It Go justice. There are already so many excellent covers of Let It Go out there. However generally speaking, I’m a little unsure about covering songs released by iconic and legendary female artists. There is a certain magic that is created when an exceptional voice meets an exception song and I think when that it happens it should be respected and honoured. I always ask - what could I bring to a song? Could I do it justice? That’s always on my mind. Respect for the original performer and their audience is key for me. Having said that, I wouldn’t rule out anything without thinking about it probably first. For instance, I think, a male singer can bring something incredibly different to a song originally recorded by a female artist and vice versa.
So when is this covers EP coming out and will it be just a digital release? As I know you’ve been getting requests to do something, to quote Olivia Newton John, physical? 
Well. I love Olivia Newton John and getting physical! (Hahahahha). Seriously though, I love Olivia. I know I’ve just said I’d be unsure about covering songs by iconic legendary singers but I would simply love to cover one of Olivia’s songs. I love Hopelessly Devoted To You. I think its a masterpiece. In fact, everything she touches is pure gold. I’ve just seen on my facebook page the appearance of her gem - I Honestly Love You.  Which is such a beautiful song. Thank you Mr.Hurstrom, what an excellent idea. In fact, all the suggestions have been awesome and I’m tremendously grateful for all the ideas. Keep them coming. As for a physical release...My album will definitely be available in physical form. My heart hopes that, if possible, we can arrange something special before that too. The stars have to be aligned, but my team and I are working  hard to make this happen. We’ve got a few extra surprises down the line too. As for release date… it will be soon. Steve and I are heading into the studio in a few days so please get those suggestions in asap!
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HarrietsMusic Facebook Page (Where you can suggest a song & say hi) Link
Harriets Twitter Link
Harriet's Album Producer Steve Anderson Twitter Link

DANNII IS BACK! SO PRESS PLAY (UPDATED!)



Dannii announced today in an interview with Cameron Adams that she is not only returning to music but also the stage! The glorious Sydney Mardi Gra festivities this summer. So so so very soon! As she's a pop legend, DSTP has taken this opportunity to revel in all things DM by wandering through her delicious discography & celebrating some of my favourite hits, b-sides and rarities. It was hard to select ten songs from her huge discography but, for me, these are the ones that had me constantly hitting repeat and earned a very special place in my heart. 

UPDATE: Dannii has revealed the brand song #pressplay today which not only arrives in time for Mardi Gra but also celebrates her time in the music industry being 25th years since her very first single Love and Kisses came out. Check it out below: 



Everlasting Night 


Given the arena Dannii is returning on Everlasting Night seems the perfect song to begin proceedings. I think it was either 1995 Gay Pride at Galaxy when I first heard this gloriously euphoric song that was announced as the next single. My 11 year old heart raced as the uplifting synths pumped through the sound systems while Dannii's vocals boomed throughout. It was amazing. Everlasting Night became the anthem I'd hum in-between school breaks at my first year of my very dreary secondary school. The song worked as a rainbow blanket comforting those first few difficult months at big school when you're trying to find friends and forge alliances but also gain strength & mark out your identity. Everlasting Night was that song for me. It wouldn't be until 1998 when a hard copy was available thanks to Everlasting Night becoming entwined with the Mardi Gra festivities in Sydney which it was somewhat re-written & re-produced. A best-of compilation cannot exist without Everlasting Night. It is almighty awesome.

Who Do You Love Now?


Sounding like a disco call to arms, Who Do You Love Now was a trance-tastic club power ballad that takes no prisoners. It ravaged you entirely. When the beat kicked-in goosebumps soared through every fibre of the body. Soaring high into the charts at no.3 in the UK it really should've gone straight to no.1. Who Do You Love Now is a pumping athletic club song that snatches the hi-NRG baton that was Dannii's epic single All I Wanna Do and refuses to regress, paved the way for Dannii's Neon Night's album and emerged as an unrelenting mini-marathon of a club hit. Absolutely flawless.

All I Wanna Do


All I Wanna Do is a regal dance-pop song. Posture royally straight, beats decked out like diamonds and refrains addictive, All I Wanna Do is one of shiniest gems in Dannii's crown. All I Wanna Do became the highest charting UK single of her career, entering the UK Top 40 at no.4. Her success with the song ensured its writers and producers replicated the song into what emerged into Believe which as everyone knows became a huge hit for Cher. With its James Bond Theme-esque guitars underscoring Dannii's siren-like vocal, All I Wanna Do was a revelation when I first heard it 1997 and I still marvel at its decadent display of dance, almighty production and sweeping electronic nuances.

Nervous 


An addictive pop cherry of a song if there ever was one, Nervous found itself on constant replay when I first heard it. Not once did it ever feel the side-effects of overplay: burn out. Being a b-side to I Begin To Wonder in 2003, it's over ten years now and I don't think I'll ever tire hearing it. It is immense. Written by Ian Masterson and Terry Ronald, Nervous is a song I've always wondered why the hell it wasn't a) on the album and b) potentially a single! I L.O.V.E Nervous. Its delicious smooth dark electro synths slide over Dannii's sensual vocals and marry-up together to create an highly edgy pop song with raw slicks and addictive beats. Gorgeous.

I Begin To Wonder


I Begin To Wonder leaves me breathless. Just like Who Do You Love Now, I Begin To Wonder takes no prisoners and had me in a disco asthama attack. Written by Dannii Minogue, Jean-Claude Ades, Dacia Bridges and Olaf Kramolowsky for Minogue's 2003 album Neon Nights it incredibly well in the United Kingdom charting at no.2 and certified gold in Australia. I Begin To Wonder is, in many ways, the one song in Dannii's music box that feels very much like a supermodel strutting down the catwalk edging out all competitors, totally fierce and full of attitude. It simply struts.

Come & Get It


In many ways, this is I Begin To Wonders very naughty twin sister. Released a promo single in Germany and somewhat lost as a hidden track on Neon Nights I refuse to allow Come & Get It to be forgotten. For me, the composition written by JCA and Dannii is perhaps more favourable than its sister track. I don't know why exactly but there's something about the Donna Summer-esque vocals layered over the chorus and huge Blade Runner movie soundtrack atmosphere that has always drawn to Come & Get It. As such it is a must in any Dannii essential playlist. The vocal arrangements over the chorus is pure ecstasy and worth the entry price alone. Dreamy.

This Is It


Talking of Dannii's vocals, it was Dannii's ever happy cover of Melba Moore's This Is It which saw me really take notice of the amazing lungs, harmonies and vocal arrangement contained in Dannii's singles. This Is It was also the first single from her second album and it felt very much like a game-changer. For sure, I loved Success and Baby Love, but it was with this release I felt Dannii was putting the exclamation mark in her pop delivery. The message was very much "I have arrived - take notice!". It became one of Dannii's biggest singles repeating the top ten success of her debut single Love and Kisses when it went no.10 in summer months of 1993. Moreover, it is rare example in pop where the cover eclipsed the original and has become staple in Dannii's live shows. Pure pop bliss.

Feels Like I Do


Another JCA production, co-written by pop queen Hannah Robinson and Dannii Feels Like I Do is nothing else like she released during her time with AATW. In many ways you could almost imagine Lady Gaga plonk this on her future albums (you know, when she had her high pop-voltage moments and refrained from going into that weird arty-pop space Gaga loves to linger around for, sadly, too long). Feels Like I Do was decked out in sharp beats, euphoric rifts and uplifting toplines. It is irresistibly catchy and feels delicious next to So Under Pressure where the song was given b-side status. It was eventually given well-deserved higher prominence on Dannii's Club Disco album which is well worth tracking down if you can get a copy.

Goodbye Song

Dann

This was a b-side initially available on the release of Don't Wanna Lose This Feeling and the Masterson/Ronald track should've been a single. I won't hear any arguments exposing otherwise. The bitchy lyrics are tremendous as they wrap themselves around the whip-ass immense production. Goodbye Song is, in many ways, is unusual in that there is no other song like it in Dannii's huge discography and for that reason alone it deserves toasting. On so many levels this track works. Quirky, delicious, creative and funky I never tire of Goodbye Song. On the re-release of Dannii Minogue's excellent Neon Nights, Goodbye Song finally found itself on the album it long deserved be on.

It Won't Work Out


Dannii rarely does ballads. But when she does they're immense. Whether it be I Don't Wanna Take This Pain, The Winner Takes It All or Live For The One I Love Dannii's ballads reveal not only a softer side but also great power behind her voice. One of my favourites of these moments was the last track on her Neon Nights album It Won't Work Out. Written by Terry Ronald, Ian Masterson and Dannii, the song feels confessional, incredibly heart-breaking and revelatory. As such, this chillingly honest heartfelt narrative is not only a brilliant moment on Neon Nights but highlights stunning vocals from Dannii. It is a perfect closer to a excellent pop album and one I constantly go back to. Beautiful.

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Dannii has released a number of greatest hits packages and the recent This Is It: The Very Best Of Dannii Minogue features all her singles and the new song Cos You're Beautiful. Besides the studio albums all of which were re-released and re-mastered with unreleased material and are well-worth hunting down, a lot of the rarer songs featured above are also available on the following releases - The 1995 Sessions, The Early Years, The Hits & Beyond, Club Disco, Unleashed -  all of which you can all track down on places like Amazon.



2015 in Pop! (New acts & releases that I am pretty excited about)


ACT: Kylie Minogue & Giorgio Moroder

WHY: This is pretty much self-explanatory. Kylie. And Moroder. Says it all actually. The album includes a whole gang of exciting collaborations but for me I am gonna head straight towards to the union of Kylie and Giorgio. It's peculiar to think that the two haven't already worked together but its never too late and it seems right to do it now. So excited about this. My lips tremble at the thought of it all. Clutching my disco pearls. 
SOUND: 

ACT: Karen Harding
WHY: Putting my hands up here. Self-Confessin'. I've loved Karen Harding and "Say Something" since I first heard it in the cold months of 2014. Her powerful warm yet soulful vocals surround her debut single that immediately sounds sliced between a lost retro garage house gem of the 1990s and yet spiky dance anthem of 2015. Karen, I can't wait for the album! 
SOUND: 


ACT: Harriet
WHY: Buoyed after the success of her Christmas EP (buy here) and her debut EP "What's Mine Is Yours" (Buy here), Harriet has already planned the follow-up making good on the sparkling response received repeated airplay on BBC Radio 2 & performed live on Graham Norton's weekend show. New stuff is probably due February. She's been busy working with mighty song maestros Steve Anderson, Cliff Masterson, Judie Tzuke and has pencilled in some more very additional exciting sessions before a summertime release of her album.
SOUND: 

ACT: Nervo
WHY: Been waiting for their album Collateral (wip title) to come for a while now. But all good things and all that, right? The album contains their amazing first single with Au Revoir Simone "Rise Early Morning" which is everything I expected and had hoped would be. Big, dance and anthemic. All eyes and eyes will be on the Jake Shears & Kylie duet which is apparently very disco. Should be out around May via Astralworks. Very excited. 
SOUND: 

ACT: Billie Marten
WHY: Her voice is something else. I can never ever tire of Billie Marten. She is outer-wordly and her performances are always spellbinding. I am transfixed by her material and thankfully down to taking all the right steps in 2013 and 2014, it is this year when it looks like she's about to soar. Last year saw her release beautiful "Ribbon", perform at Reading over the summer and take part in Music Weeks Presenting series. Four days ago she signed to the glorious people at Chess Club Records (MØ & Oceaán). So very exciting times for Billie this year.  
SOUND: 

ACT: Bianca
WHY: Bianca is pure pop. So that's always a pretty good place to start. She's working with Steve Anderson and Richard Stannard on her debut album which promises to doff its hat to big hair, Whitney, leg-warmers, Stock/Aitken and everything pop. Also gotta take this moment to note Bianca's stunning voice which she showed off gloriously in her stunning cover of Robbers. Big voice+big things=big 2015. *Gets popcorn*
SOUND: soundcloud.com/biancamusicuk

ACT: Markus Feehily 
WHY: I've always wondered why there wasn't a really male popstar who'd somehow managed create the same delicious magic stardust which fuelled the comets of Robyn and Mary J Blige, combine the two and festoon himself with the glorious afterglow of such a dyadic collision. I thought perhaps for one moment Sam Smith may lead me down that rather interesting path. He sadly hasn't. I gather however Markus has taken on the challenge with immense gusto and as such I can't wait to hear and see him take to the stage in March when he finally unveils his hotly anticipated new sound. Gonna be a good'un. 
SOUND: Not yet. 

ACT: Aurora
WHY: It certainly helps that she shares the name of one of my favourite Disney princesses. It also helps that she hails from one of my favourite regions of pop: Norway. Bergen to be precise. Signed already to Petroleum/GlassNote Records (Decca), Aurora's deliciously synth trinkets of exuberance have ensured she is definitely one of my acts to watch out for this year. My favourite has to be "Awakening". Check it out here. But in fact, everything she touches turns to gold. 
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ACT: Levana 
WHY: I'm rather excited about Levana. I mean c'mon - what a pop name!? Levana! She's been a busy queen b working steadily on her new album with the brilliant pop producer Sarah de Courcy. Nay, Sarah is an immense talent so I'm keeping my eye on Levana. So far proceedings have been kept under wraps but last year she teamed up with the lovely people over at Freemasons (here). And, though I'm thinkin the dance collab is quite far removed from her general sound, the sumptuous voice  of Levana decorates the track like a sonic jewel in the crown. Cannot wait to hear more. 
SOUND: Not yet. 

ACT: Blänk
WHY: Ever since the Nordic trio uploaded their seminal beauty of a song "Tears Run Dry",  I've been fallen hard for the delicious music of Lina, Klas & Simon. "Tears Run Dry" was co-written by one of my favourite Swedish scribes of very good music Noonie Bao (who had a number 1 in the UK with "I Could Be The One" with Avicii). Clapping my hands with joy at the news that three-piece's forthcoming LP "Only Built For Northern Lights" is due out on 9 March via Grind Records.
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ACT: Vaults
WHY: The first of December saw Vaults release "Poison" & additional songs from their big buzz EP "Vultures". They've been bubbling for quite some time but it is 2015 that should see them have some fun. Elegant and sophisticated, their earthy dark electro music fronted by the organic vocals of lead singer Blithe provides a sublime tableau of stylish and critically substantial pop music. Ever since "Premonitions" and "Cry No More" in 2013, I've been hooked. Their debut album is going to be tres tres good. 
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ACT: Sonia Stein
WHY: I love St.Vincent. I also love Shannon Saunders. & Laurel. Love those three too? Sonia may be up your straße. I love her ghostly dark production that drapes itself around her sumptuous voice. Layer on a gorgeous guitar and Sonia makes strikingly atmospheric music which never fails to provide a firework of goosebumps. One of the best new arrivals of 2014 and one to watch this year. 
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ACT: Say Lou Lou
WHY: Been waiting for their debut album for some now despite. So very much buzzed about the news that, yes, the album is coming out! Their new single "Games For Girls" is a little like a pop remix of a Rebecca & Fiona song which is an immense compliment. As I love love love love Rebecca & Fiona. The album, Lucid Dreaming, is out next month. Getting out the streamers already. Oh yes! 
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ACT: Robyn
WHY: The return of Robyn. Don't need many reasons to fully explain why I am excited about new material from Robyn. Suffice to say after a few years of collaborating with very talented persons rumour has Robyn is releasing her big follow-up to Body Talk in the much adored latter end of 2015. So, there may be a bit of a wait but it'll be well-worth it. 
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ACT: Ina Wroldsen
WHY: Involved in some of the biggest pop songs of the last few years, Ina branched off with Swede Arnthor to create Ask Embla and thus released one of the finest pop albums of the decade. Now, Ina is going solo. Her first song "Aliens" has over 2 million streams on spotify alone. In her native Norway, it is gigantic thanks to immense - and well-deserved - radio support. I can't wait for her debut album. Counting the days, nay minutes, until its released. 
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THE HARRIET INTERVIEW



Harriet! Welcome to DSTP! It is such a pleasure to have you hear on our pop-sofa! Its well-overdue! Hope you're sitting comfortably?


I am indeed! And yes, well overdue :-)

Were heading into 2015 2014 was an interesting year for you! The appearance of Afterglow started proceedings 11 months ago! How does it feel looking back and your achievements.

It feels a little overwhelming. The journey this year has been very special. So much has happened in such a short space of time, and the response to the music weve put out there (including Afterglow) has been incredible.

You’re performing live on Graham Nortons show tomorrow! Are you excited?

I am. Very! Also a little nervous though. This is such a huge deal. I am so lucky to have had so much support from Graham Norton, Paul O’Grady and of course Malcolm Prince (their producer) at Radio 2 with my music so far. The endorsement has been a little overwhelming!

Youre working with Steve Anderson. Kylies Music Director. I wanna know more about the collaboration. How did it come to be and so far what has been the best song youve written....

I was introduced to Steve by a mutual friend, who worked with Steve when he started out in the music industry. Before we met, I had been collaborating with numerous brilliant songwriters and producers in an attempt to discover and develop a sound that would define me as an artist going forward. This experience was invaluable and has proven fundamental in my learning to write. However, when Steve and I had our first session together, something incredibly special happened - I can still remember the feeling I got, upon listening back to the track at the end of the day; I thought This is it. This is me and this is all I want to do. I was very excited (and Im a little embarrassed to say I felt rather emotional)! I feel very fortunate to have such a great partnership with Steve. He is one of the kindest, most talented people I have ever met. With regards to the best song”… I struggle to answer that; what defines, best?! Hmmmm I am fond of all the songs we have written for different reasons - each captures a bunch of memories and feelings from the time it was written I love performing Afterglow - every time I sing it, I go to a somewhat magical place. And there are some songs to be revealed in 2015 that I am proud to have been involved in writing, including the one from our first ever session together!

Youre also working with the maestro Cliff Masterson. What was that like?

Oh it was wonderful! Cliff has an immense gift for hearing the entire musical journey of a song before it has even been written! Hence, why everything he works on seems to emit fairy dust! I remember the first time we worked together, he played me a chord progression that he had been working on, that I connected with instantly. The session flowed from there. We had to dig deep for the lyrics of this song; the time it was written was surrounded by a profound event, which inspired the song enormously. I cant wait to go into the studio with Cliff and Steve together, again! The two of them could have been separated at birth! We will have a songwriting, magic-making ball!

He also worked with Steve most notably on Kylies immense Abbey Road Sessions and Susan Boyles winter albums. How does that music history of your fellow song-writers and collaborators contribute to the session?

I can only speak for myself of course, but the fact that I tend to love anything that either of them work on, really does say something about why we work well together. The Abbey Road Sessions is a dreamy whimsical masterpiece. People forget that behind a pop hit is most frequently, a truly beautiful song. The album exposed the quality of the writing behind Kylies amazing career. It is like they re-interpreted the colour of the original tracks and then repainted them with an entirely new palate. Wonderful. Both Susan and Kylie have such distinctive voices, and these are examples of where Cliff and Steve know exactly what they are doing when it comes to surrounding a vocal with the perfect arrangement to best enhance and support it.

Cliff and I just did an interview where he mentioned an intriguing song called Empty Shoes which is yet to be released. I wanna know more! 

Ah, Empty Shoes! The plan is to release it next year. It is special. I hope that it ends up on the album actually.

So would you say your album is pretty much wrapped-up? Or is there still a bit more fine-tuning left with you and Steve?

Id say that we probably have the main bulk of material for the album, yes. But its not done until its done (if you know what I mean)! We have some writing sessions planned in the new year, so who knows

 Harriet's First EP (iTunes

You released your first EP this year Whats Mine Is Yours (link here). What is the story behind the songs and why did you include those three from your growing songbook?

I wrote Whats Mine Is Yours with Steve and the wonderful Judie Tzuke. The song is about receiving a gift and sharing it with everyone you love.  It also deals with the subject of nostalgia and that often we hear or experience things that are able to take us to another time or place in our hearts. Afterglow was a definite choice for my debut EP, because I feel that the song captures everything about who I am as an artist - the lyric and melody, and Steves production best define my sound and identity as an artist. If (When You Go) is a cover of Judies original version of the song and it was written by her and Steve. Quite simply, I adore the song and love to sing it. We thought it would tie our collaboration on Whats Mine Is Yours together well too.


What is the heartbeat behind the lyric "some part of me has been here before...you'll hear it in my voice"   This always sends me into a harmony of goosebumps! 

People say that my music reminds them of artists that were around in the 60s/70s and interestingly, these are the eras that have most influenced me. That line in the song refers to this comparison. The song is about receiving a gift and sharing it with those that you love. If people connect with my voice and my songs because I remind them of a previous time or an artist that was close to their hearts, then that is very special.


After the release of the EP, you covered Michael Buble and 10CC. What made you pick those two specific songs?

Im Not In Love came about because Steve and I wanted to record a version of a song from the era of the music that I love (predominantly the 1970s), but without it being an obvious choice. I am a hugely influenced by acts from the 60s and 70s that used such elaborate arrangements and vocal harmonies - The Beach Boys, The BeeGees, Art Garfunkel, The Carpenters, and 10CCs original hit record felt like something we could be true to the spirit of it, whilst still injecting something fresh into our version.

Michael Bubles Home (listen here) came about through my adoration for his voice and work. I honestly believe he is one of the most exceptional singers and performers of this generation. He has mastered combining classic crooner-ism with contemporary pop, and Home is a perfect example of this. It is written so phonetically and his phrasing is magnetic - I couldnt help but connect with song as soon as I heard it. The song was written by Amy Foster and Alan Chang (Bubles MD). The words are so simple, yet incredibly effective, and the melody flies to every destination in the lyric and back - its beautiful to sing.

What Michael Buble song would most love to duet on together?

His entire Christmas album :-D Please.

And, while were on the subject of inspirations and duets what living male act would you most love to duet with?

Ok, so Michael Buble, you have probably already gathered. George Michael would be a dream come true. He is quite probably my favourite male vocalist of all time. I would love to hear our voices together, it would be a dream come true. Also, Steve has been working with a brilliant singer, Mark Feehily (of Westlife). I was treated to a taster of what theyd been working on and I think my mouth just hung open throughout the entire song! What an instrument. Hed be awesome to sing with.

What is it about GMs voice that draws you to him in particular?

Everything about his voice gets me. His inflections are so unaffected, yet incredibly distinctive. In fact, I believe they become the way the song is remembered - If you sing back a verse of one of his songs, you cannot help but copy all the little magical things he does - it is magnetic. I also love that you can hear every word he sings, unlike a lot of singers, where you catch the odd vowel sound and you have to kind of guess! You cant only hear his voice, you can smell, taste and feel it - somewhere between smoking wood, molten chocolate and wintery night air. I love it!

You recently picked his Christmas song as a b-side to Maybe This Christmas. The way you performed his song its as if you lived his lyrics. What drew you to December Song? (Soundcloud link here)

The song has always been a favourite Christmas song of mine. I love the way the melody sits over particular chord changes. It is close to my heart because I have memories where difficult times during the year, were put aside at Christmas time. In a way, it might seem wrong to pretend that everything is ok when it isnt, but I think we all need to do that sometimes, in order to remember what is important.

In many ways then it is a perfect song to follow your very own Christmas song Maybe This Christmas. What was the internal heart behind the song & its lyrics?

You have probably heard the phrase, Christmas is for children. Well, I believe this. But I also believe that we are all children inside; hence why it is for everyone. When we are little, the only things we have to worry about are being good (so Santa Claus will come) and that we know where the people are who love us most, so we are safe. When we become adults, life becomes so complicated, and we suddenly see the truth in everything, which of course makes people confused, unhappy and sometimes bitter. Maybe This Christmas is about wishing to return to being a child, when you didnt have all the answers and you were happy to believe without any need for proof or reason. If we capture that at Christmas, well be alright.

How was Christmas for you growing up as a child?

Growing up, Christmas was a very special time of year - the best in fact. I love Autumn/Winter weather. Bitterly cold - blue skies. I grew up in the countryside, so remember long walks on Boxing Day. Decorating the tree was always a scheduled event - carols playing, mince pies (and champagne as I got older)! Christmas was always spent with family, and we would all dress up and make an effort to wrap gifts beautifully. And most importantly, Christmas is probably the time of year that I got to know most of my extended family We saw each other throughout the year, but Christmas with tons of cousins and uncles, aunties and grandparents was just wonderful. I feel very fortunate to have had that closeness with my family at a young age.


You live your lyrics.

Very. In fact, I was in a writing session recently and we were writing a song on a topic that I was struggling so hard to relate to and we kept reaching brick walls What started off as a great idea for a song, ended up as something I felt incredibly disconnected to.

There is hope in Maybe This Christmas but also loss. What is the saddest song you ever wrote?

There is an element of sadness in quite a few songs Ive written, but if I had to choose one, I would say Empty Shoes that I co-wrote with Cliff Masterson. It was hard to get the words out when I was recording the vocal. There were some teary eyes that afternoon.

And I have to askwhat female artists would you most love to duet with?

There are so many female voices I love, but I really dont know who I could duet with (I think I would wait to be asked!!). This is mainly because I love distinctive voices, which more often than not, stand alone, and I dont think I compliment any of the singers I really love. However, saying thatJudie Tzuke sang backing vocals on our song, First And Last, which got me very excited about the prospect of doing a duet with her one day. I would love if the song could be one we have written together too. Of course, I wouldnt turn an opportunity to duet with an incredible voice if it came along! Kylie, Olivia Newton John Goldfrapp - Would be pretty incredible. 

Youve started to get a lot of early support from blogs like Pauls fabulous My Fizzy Pop music blog and ChartShaker. What has that been like? 

Its been amazing. Paul (My Fizzy Pop) is such a beautiful writer, and is always extremely generous with his choice of words in reviewing my work. And Nick (Chartshaker) was responsible for my first interview for a music blog. I enjoyed answering those questions so much. It is very special to have such brilliant musical critics saying great things about what you are doing.

Is it true you introduced the artist Tom Butler to Paul. An artist youve actually been working with recently?

Steve and I have recently been in the studio with a wonderful singer/songwriter, Tom Butler working on some new material. Tom writes on guitar and we thought it would be great to bring his writing style into the mix, and Steve and I usually write on the piano. The sessions were brilliant and we got two new songs out of them; each very different.

Ah so when do you think we will get to hear about Fall In Love Again? Will it be part of a release next year perhaps?

Perhaps ;-) The song was written on guitar and has a lovely melancholy feel to it - very simple, almost touching on the vibe of mine and Steves Can I Keep You. Im excited for people to hear, as its very different to a lot of my work so far.

When do you think youll embark on a tour?

As soon as it is possible to do so! I am so excited to spread the music across as many places and to as many people as possible.

And, what would you like to achieve in the early part of next year? 

We have a few exciting things planned for 2015. Including a physical release. Watch this space!

How is your debut album coming along?

Choosing songs for the album is going to be a tough one. We are fortunate enough to have a good sized collection to choose from, but are also planning more writing sessions in the new year. Its got to be just right. We have been working on some more uptempo songs,that should help balance the album well.

Its great to hear that your album is in works AND on the way to be completed. Exciting. Before that though are you planning anything perhaps in the early quarter of 2015 Perhaps an EP?

We are planning a release in the early part of next year. Cant say too much so maybe well have to do another interview in January or Feb if youll have me?!

Of course, Id love to to have you back. Can you share some hints to the next EP?

With my debut EP being an introduction to my music, and the Christmas EP being well, Christmas! I wanted to explore a romantic and uplifting theme for the new year. Im excited for everyone to hear the songs weve chosen for it!


Next year, a new James Bond Movie is being released! I can totally envisage you fronting the next James Bond feature. That has to happen! Lets make it happen! What is your favourite James Bond theme song annnnnnnnnnddd how many heartbeats would it take for you to say yes if they actually offered you the chance to sing the next James Bond theme?

I love the theme to Octopussy, Live And Let Die and The Spy Who Loved Me. And I would probably say yes before the question of would you like to…” could be finished!


Talking of film soundtracks, your Christmas EP also included a magical cover of A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes. A good idea to include a song on a Christmas EP that is yet both festive and not. Was that the intention?

In a way, yes. I think the lyric is perfect for that of a lullaby to a small child. And I guess that although we can have dreams all year round, Christmas is the time of year when there is a little more magic in the air and they are perhaps more likely to come true! The song also feels like a little reminder - its Christmas, so dont forget to make a wish!

Beyond A Dream, what are your favourite Disney songs?

God Help The Outcasts from The Hunchback of Notre Dame and When She Loved Me from Toy Story 2.

And if you would do a Disney Songbook EP what would be your 5 additional Disney songs youd cover in a heartbeat?

The two above, Hes A Tramp (Lady And The Tramp), Youve Got A Friend In Me (Toy Story) Some Day My Prince Will Come (Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs)

And into that what is it that makes Disney films - and their confluent soundtracks - that makes them ever so special?

The ability to touch every heart in a unique way, through catching an imagination or hitting a nerve Cynics underestimate the power of Disney films. And the best songs stand alone in those movies. Look at how much of a hit Let It Go (Frozen) was and still is! And I remember years ago, from when I used to sing in a jazz band, Some Day My Prince Will Come was in the Jazz Fake Book!

What is your favourite Disney Princess and would you ever consider a role in a future film?

Elsa & Anna (Frozen) And not just because its the most recent movie. And Rapunzel. And YES, of course!

Back to the music. Since introducing yourself and your music with the appearance of Afterglow this year, what have you learnt so far?

A good friend of mine has the perfect quote to answer this question. I was going through a tough time and was getting anxious and impatient, and said, All I want, is to move the world. He replied with, Be yourself and the world will move with you. It was so profound, I even wrote it in my note book there and then! I have learnt that in this industry, there is a lot of pressure to try and fit yourself into a box in which you dont belong. I am so happy doing what Im doing and am so grateful to have the opportunity to do it. If it makes other people happy too, then that is immensely special.

Although its early days what you say to other singer-songwriters starting out tracing the same path as your own?

Dont pay attention to what everyone says you should be doing, stick to what makes you happy. Dont be precious with your material or your technique - listen to criticism, take it in and then say yes or no. Take every opportunity presented to you (within reason). And only surround yourself with people who enrich your life. Learn something from everything and everyone.

Some quarters have begun to draw comparisons to Karen Carpenter (in relation to the voice) and Adele (in relation of being a young & exciting new female singer-songwriter). How does that feel?

Well, they are huge compliments as both are exceptional artists. There was no other like Karen and there never will be again. Karen is undoubtedly one of my favourite all time female singers. I adore her voice. If people say if I move them in a similar way to how Karen did then that is a great honour. And to be spoken about alongside Adele is amazing - she defies any trend or genre and has achieved an enormous amount of success in such a short space of time. I would love to meet her. 

I get the sense your most happiest both on stage but also in the studio too.  Right?

I love both. Creating (studio) and sharing (stage).

Who else would you love to bring into your writing and recording sessions?

I would love to work with David Foster - I think he is a wonderful producer and songwriter, with such a great ability to work with distinctive voices. Also, Diane Warren is such a great songwriter - I would love to hear what she would write for me, or even collaborate with her Burt Bacharach would be fantastic, as I grew up with so much of his music. And Barry Manilow - I think he is one of the most underrated songwriters and producers of our time. What a wonderful gift. I listen to his songs constantly; he is a big influence. Also, Jake Shears and Rufus Wainwright are two writers I would love to work with. Rufus Wainwright wrote Going To A Town on George Michaels Symphonica album and I adore it. And Jake Shears is a brilliant songwriter. And Richard Carpenter is just incredible. His songs and arrangement have always been a big inspiration to me and that music, very close to my heart.

Would you ever consider ever a collaboration that is outside your current sound/direction? Perhaps a dance/house release. Like what Judie Tzuke did with the Freemasons? I could hear a special dance hook-up with Freemasons working especially with your voice.

Definitely. I think this would be a great way to reach another audience, that might not otherwise discover my music. Also, this would be such a great experience.

And, would you ever commission a dance remix of one of your singles? And if so who would you most like to see take your song and bring it to the dancefloors……??
Mark Ronson. I think he is so brilliant at merging genres and would love to hear what hed do with my voice and one of my songs.

What song do you wish youd written?

A Song For You, written by Leon Russell.

I love A Song For You! Such beautiful song writing. Why do you wish youd written that song in particular?

For me, this song is flawless. I feel incredibly connected to the lyric. I love everything about where the melody takes the voice. The Carpenters version is my favourite, but I also love Donny Hathaways version. I cant really explain any more why this song in particular. Occasionally a song comes alone and it hits every spot it possibly could inside you. This does that to me. I love you in a place where theres no space, or time. I love you for in my life, you are a friend of mine. And when my life is over, remember when we were together. We were alone and I was singing this song to you. Perfection.


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Harriet's Christmas EP is available now on iTunes (Here)
Harriets Twitter (Here)
Harriets Soundcloud (Here)
Harriets Facebook (Here)
Harriets Official Website (Here