TF Archives

Pet Shop Boys Chris- Gangsta Rap, DJing & Saturday Night Fever

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Tuesday, May 3, 2005
Despite being usually portrayed as the quiet one from synth-pop legends the Pet Shop Boys, Chris Lowe is as outspoken as he's prolific as a producer and chatting to Skrufff this week about their new compilation for Back To Mine, he admits the project was an enlghtening new experience.

"It's the first compilation of other people's records we've ever done and the last, I think; I don't think we will be making a habit of it," he chuckles. "We'd never actually been asked to do one before, and when Back To Mine offered it to us we said we'd do it, as long as we could do one CD each, with no compromises being made. They'd never done that before but they agreed so for that reason we decided we'd do it. Also I didn't want to do a chill out compilation because I'm not really a chill out type of person. I think mine's probably the first one of the series that's not really a chill out."

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): The press release says the CD is about "love, friendship, sex, religion, hope and despair', sounds like quite a dramatic concept, how did you begin-

Chris Lowe: "It was actually quite a daunting prospect, initially, because there's no point doing a compilation of records that everybody already knows. So that wiped out most of the nineties I thought, because there's been compilations released almost every week of nineties stuff. I also wanted songs that I genuinely loved. I tend to like emotional songs and songs that move me. So I decided to go back to eighties electro but then I also didn't want to just preclude things that I like that are current such as Justice vs Simeon's Never Be Alone. I was hanging out in Kokon To Zai (trendy Soho clothes/ record shop) one day when I first heard that track and I just loved it so much. I happened to be DJing that night so I played that and it immediately entered into my canon of records that I love. I'm not a huge Queen fan at all, but I've always loved The Show Must Go On which is why that track is on there."

Skrufff: Your CD is radically different from Neil's. . .

Chris Lowe: "Yeah, there's two completely different moods."

Skrufff: Do you and Neil have dramatically different tastes-

Chris Lowe: "No, we have overlapping tastes, but these are probably the two extremes of mine and Neil's. I love some of the tracks on Neil's a lot, the Etienne Daho record I absolutely love. Some of the glitchy stuff I have to be in just the right mood to listen to."

Skrufff: His selection is quite classical . . .

Chris Lowe: "Actually Neil DJed a classical set in Berlin last year, at the Yellow Lounge. It was fantastic. Classical music in a nightclub is really good because you can hear it really loud. Do you ever go to classical orchestral concerts-"

Skrufff: No, never

Chris Lowe: "They're usually disappointing because it's never loud enough. We're used to amplified sound, and of course orchestras aren't amplified. When you hear classical music in a nightclub it's through a proper disco PA with visuals live video mixer and everything, it's all very trendy and happening."

Skrufff: Many of the songs on your CD sound a lot like the Pet Shop Boys . . . .

Chris Lowe: "Well I've been influenced by them and many were a part of the eighties electro scene. There were only two drum boxes around at the time, which is one of the reasons music from that era sounds like it does. The keyboards are the same, and the sequencers were at very early stages. We've always liked the handclaps, cowbells, the four on the floor, the clicky bass drum of that time. The record Passion, by the Flirts, is one of the reasons that the Pet Shop Boys even exist. I heard that record in a club and rushed out to buy the twelve inch, while at the same time, Neil was working for Smash Hits, and a lot of records were coming in by Bobby Orlando. So consequently, Neil got to meet Bobby O and we flew over to New York and made West End Girls. It's all because of Passion by<