Sophie Ellis-Bextor is back. The girl who gave us Groovejet
almost 14 years ago is about to release her fifth album Wanderlust
, her first since 2011, and it's certainly a change of direction for the singer. Featuring her new single Young Blood
, the album slows the tempo after 2011's dance-centric Make A Scene
, ditching the synths in favour of 'proper instruments' and an unexpected exploration of Eastern European folklore. Fans of Sophie's bangers need not worry the album is boring, though: Wanderlust
may be a curveball but it's an utterly charming listen. The singer took time out of rehearsals for her imminent album launch gig to reminisce about ten of her biggest hits and share the stories behind some of her new songs.
Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)
is a funny one actually, because when I first heard it I was sent the instrumental on CD and stopped it halfway through and thought ‘Why have they sent me this? This is a dance record and I make indie music’. I took it out of the CD player and chucked it on my big pile of CDs. Two weeks later I was tidying up and I found it again and I thought ‘What is this?’, so I put it on again and I actually quite liked it. Spiller was looking for a vocalist and a topline melody and I thought there was something about it I quite liked, so I decided to do it."
Murder on the Dancefloor
"After the success of Groovejet
I started work on my solo album and Murder on the Dancefloor
became the biggest hit from the album, but I always think of it as the one all my girlfriends liked. When I played them all the demos it was the one they got most excited about. Whenever I played it they would jump up and down and ever since I always play my friends everything I do before it comes out. I hold their opinion in quite high regard; I think they’ve got quite good ears!"
Get Over You
"I think Get Over You
was a continuation of the pop/dance thing that became the sound of the first album, and I suppose the sound I’m most known for. Get Over You
was a bit tongue-in-cheek really; it's about a bloke who is really full of himself. I think I’ve written quite a few songs about men like that actually! In my live shows, I do a medley where I sing Get Over You
and go into a bit of Modjo Lady (Hear Me Tonight)
and Moloko Sing It Back
, which is really fun."
Music Gets the Best of Me
"It’s one of the favourites tracks I’ve done. I think it sounds really summery and I like the sentiment. It’s a playful love song, but it’s a love song to music really. I might have boyfriends but music was my first love and it will be there for the duration.I had this idea for the music video where I went from one world to another, which was quite ambitious. When we made it, it was all a bit weird so I ended up working with Sophie Muller (who has directed a lot of my other music videos) and we took ourselves and a very small crew over to Torremolinos. We had fun for three days and filmed a lot of it. It’s one of my favourite videos actually. I have a lot of fun doing music videos – they should be fun!"
Mixed Up World
"Mixed Up World
has a bit of a Pet Shop Boys sound, because I grew up listening to them and I love what they do. The second album still had the same feel as the first, but it was maybe a little bit darker. During that record I was going through a bit of a break-up so there are a few break-up songs on there. I wasn’t feeling quite as funny and breezy as I was on the first album, but I got it back on album three."
was the first single off my third album Trip The Light Fantastic
and it had another video by Sophie Muller. We went to Venice and it was inspired by the film Don’t Look Now
. I played this creepy person running around Venice in a red dress. The song was written by Cathy Dennis who is probably one of the best pop writers – she is wonderful."
If I Can’t Dance
"I think Trip The Light Fantastic
was a very important album for me as it was a pop record, but I was in a happier place. I wanted to write a predominantly happy album, which can be quite difficult but that album was full of them. If I Can’t Dance
was quite a bombastic, spirited song about how you have to dance to be part of the revolution and if the other person doesn’t want to join you, then they’re not part of your gang. I really like that song. I used to do it live all the time, but I’ve not performed it for a little while. I should put it back in because it was always really fun to do."
Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)
"It came about in quite a similar way to Groovejet actually. It was inspired by tracks like Last Night A DJ Saved My Life
. It was also inspired by the restorative powers of music. Whenever I hear songs they affect my mood hugely so Heartbreak
is really that euphoric moment of wanting to dance through the pain."
"The fourth album was unashamedly dance and electro and working with people like the Freemasons was great because they do that sound so well. I think they’re phenomenal. There was a lot of quite full-on electro moments on that album and it has been really fun to perform tracks like Under Your Touch
is lovely to sing live, especially at festivals - when you’re outside and the sun is setting, it's really special. If you're going to have a snog at one of my gigs, Starlight
would probably be a good moment. I’ve always been a big fan of that wistful, melancholy feel you get in pop music. It's something I keep coming back to."
And here's Sophie talking about three songs from her new album...
"After indulging my dance tendencies so much with Make A Scene
, I really wanted to make a very different album with Wanderlust
. It’s a very low-key album and it is quite live-sounding. It’s quite dramatic and influenced by Eastern Europe. I chose Young Blood
as the lead single as it set up my intentions for this album and it is quite different to what I’ve done on other records. I recorded it live in the room with other musicians and we chose the best take out of three, which is something you don’t do with dance music. I think it’s probably my most heartfelt single. It‘s quite tricky with this album as the songs are all quite diverse, but I think Young Blood
is a good indicator of what to expect from Wanderlust
Crying to the Beat of the Band
"There are a few songs on the album that tell a story and I think that's the Eastern European thing with the fairytale gothic aspect. You can't really do that with dance music as dance doesn’t really lend itself to the past tense. Crying to the Beat of the Band
is actually about a woman jilting her husband at the altar and seeing the congregation and just running away. I don’t know if I could do the song justice in a music video. I’d need to be in Siberia in a sledge drawn by huskies in my wedding dress, with the tears turning to icicles as I go through the snow."
Love Is a Camera
"Love Is a Camera
is another dark song from the album. It's about a spooky old woman who lives in a house on the hill and if she takes your photograph it traps your soul behind glass. It’s told from the point of view of the person it’s happened to already and they’re up on the wall looking down at all the unsuspecting people. It was inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poems and other folk stories and Russian fairytales. I always picture Emily Dickinson with that song."
Watch the music video for Sophie's new single Young Blood
[youtube height="HEIGHT" width="WIDTH"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se_QtwTo_iI