Sofa so good
There‘s a 705 revi 'al on the way. and it‘s all the fault of S-Express. James Haliburton slips on his lurex tank top and tells singer Sonique that she has a lot to answer for.
Almost three years ago the nation was gripped by the glamour and lunacy of S'Express. Theme From .S"E.rpre.s'.s‘ topped the charts. and for a couple of weeks at least Tiffany and Kylie were reduced to looking like the amateurs they undoubtedly were. Revolving around the DJing talents ofone Mark Moore. S'Express were like no other group that had gone before them. Seventies tack was transformed into late 80s chic. Like 'I'im Simenon and his Bomb The Bass. Moore was pioneer of the ‘DJ as pop star' scenario. Around him he gathered the trendiest of London‘s nightlife personalities. and in one effortless sweep. fake fur and eyelashes were hipper than any designer label. Even before the success ofSoul II Soul. S‘Express made ever-changing mUsical collectives the essential musical set-up. A further two equally wondrous releases. Super/7y Guy and I Iey Music Lover from the debut ()riginal .S‘ounillraek album saw them back in the Top Ten and looking increasingly at home.
Last year while Dee-lite were aping the music. clothes and attitude of Original .S'ounillraek, S'Express were re-inventing themselves. Moore met former athlete. Sonique. in clubland and she promptly became a permanent fixture and writing partner. Sonique‘s varied musical influences (from Nitzer Ebb to (iladys Knight) provided the perfect counterfoil to Moore's equally eclectic tastes. To celebrate their return to the pop arena they are embarking upon their first ever series of selected live dates. Rather than just the usual club I’A. they are proving as unique as one could expect.
“l’he Sofa Experience is a BIG experience!‘ enthuses Sonique. ‘In London you get to see a little bit more. actually. We‘ve got a few more dancers and stuff but travelling around with them is a bit dillicult. It's basically Mark sittingon the sofa watching me perform. |
"I always think most I’As are quite boring — you know the person‘s rnirning. there‘s nothing much to it — and when it‘s over you just think ‘()h well. another PA' and you forget about who you saw. So far the one's that we‘ve done no-one's forgotten them. they're still going on about them.‘
The new album. Inlereoiirse. promises to be just as memorable. 'l'he theme is one of communication or. as often as not. the lack of it.
l lyrically. it tackles ‘real' subjects while still having l time to tell us about an alien w ho descends to
64'l'he List 5 18 April 199]
Mark Moore of S'Expess
Earth to persuade Sonique to picket Embassies — a fine mixture of the realistic and the fantastic. Sonique sees it as a deliberate attempt to distance themselves from the blandness of their contempories. While she is delighted by the results. she is aware that the release of new S‘Express material is no longer greeted by the fanfare of old.
‘We definitely wanted to stand out from everything else. which is pretty much what S'Express is all about. It) be honest. I've had enough of most dance music at the moment. People maybe aren‘t ready for the S‘Express album. I'm not sure. At the gigs peole attitudes to the songs changed. They went ‘()h yeah. now I see how you dance to it .‘ 'l‘hey've been so used to the ‘bleep' that they really don‘t know how to dance to a four scale song anymore.
‘I think it was just a logical progression. it was
Chart stars S‘Express go underground, and release a Country and Western cover.
LISTINGS: GLASGOW 65 EDINBURGH 66
obvious it was going to go in a new direction. Yeah. it was to get away from all the Dee-l .ite kind ofstuff. It was people like Mark that made bands like l)ee-l.ite possible. He still gets on with them. so it‘s really cool.’
After the meteoric success of initial singles. the relative failure of recent releases rnttst have been a disappointment. Nor/ting ’l‘o Lose. last year’s taster for the album. seemed to get lost in the melee of faceless dance pop.
‘At first I suppose I was disappointed] Sonique accepts ‘but then there‘s so much rubbish in the charts and I just think ‘l)o I want my record alongside all that rubbish'.". What S'lixpress always wanted to do was be an underground band and stay there for about four years and then suddenly go overground. It just did’t happen that way. it's weird because S'Iixpress have almost turned into an underground band now. No other band has really done that. We never went out looking fora hit anywayotherwise we wouldn’t do cover versions of country and western songs.’
Which brings tts to Find lint. I’ool lint. Forge! lint. An unusual choice of song by anyone's standards.
‘lt was Mark’s whole idea to do the Bobby (ientrv song. to be honest. [wasn't too keen on it. When'he played it to me I said ‘l'm not doing that rubbish‘ and then it was a bit of a challenge for me. I looked at it that way. you know. [I worked out really well. I'm really pleased with the whole album because. when I think about it. we‘d been working for only a short while togehter and we managed to write a whole album that sounds so different to everybody else‘s stuff at the moment. I feel quite proud of myself.‘
(ate/i .S"I;'.t’press (Ulll Ilieir BIG sofa experience a! (lie ( hallon Studios. lirlinlilo'glz on l’riS. ‘l’iml eni. l‘oolent. Forge! eni'is our on Rlzyrlini King now.