Well, it’s been a while (certainly longer than I ever anticipated). But like Soul II Soul, Popservations is back to life, back to reality. And in a strange and wonderful turn of events, the subject of my first post back is one of the last I’d featured before going dark — London synthpop maestros, STRANGERS.
When we last checked in with STRANGERS, David Maddox-Jones and Raife Hacking had released a new song, “Wolf At The Door.” A big supporter of the band since the start, Maddox-Jones reached out last week, sharing a cover they’d done of Shakespears Sister’s “Stay.” More on that in a second, but first…
So David, it’s been several months since we last connected, when you premiered a new single, “The Wolf At The Door.” What’s up in the world of STRANGERS, all these many months?
DAVID MADDOX-JONES: “All these months… Yes, this year has gone so quick hasn’t it? We’ve been writing and recording the album, mainly. We wanted a bit of a separation period between our free download series and the next stage. Can’t wait to show you the album. We’re really proud of it. We’ve also been doing some commercial work to bring home the bacon.”
Now what can you share about the album? I know you’re in the mixing stages. Still on the track for release this year?
“The album features 12 tracks. It includes some songs you will know but totally reworked. ‘Safe/Pain’ now has a totally different beat. I don’t think it will be this year now. We need more of a build-up to the album release really, but we’re thinking about premiering the first single on New Year’s Day.”
Thanks for the sneak listen at the new track that might be in pole position! Now tell me a little about covering “Stay.” That song, which Shakespears Sister took to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 back in September 1992, has such a great yin/yang tension. What drew you to cover “Stay” (another 90’s tune!), and what were you trying to bring to it?
“A fan of ours had the idea, so it was that simple, really. We just did it. We wanted it to have a more minor chord feel, change the beat up a bit, give it a dancey element.”
Well, you’ve done a wonderful job. The production harkens back to ’90s rave-pop — points for staying in the same decade — and even with what might seem a drastic change of element, your version of keeps “Stay” haunting over 20 years later. Now get back to mixing the album, because the calendar’s gonna turn to 2015 sooner than both of us think!
Free download of STRANGERS – “Stay” (Shakespears Sister cover) via SoundCloud.