Pet Shop Boys released four track EP “Agenda”. The song are:
‘Give stupidity a chance’
Neil: “It’s a satirical song about the poor quality of political leadership in the modern world…. Obviously, it’s all meant ironically but I think it sums up quite a lot.”
‘On social media'
Neil: “It goes through all of the issues one might have about social media.”
‘What are we going to do about the rich?'
Neil: “This was written as a lyric as a sort of mock-protest song.” Chris: “We’re talking about very rich.” Neil: “We’re talking about extreme rich – oligarchs and that kind of thing. The super-rich.” Chris: “The ones that don’t pay any tax.”
‘The forgotten child'
Neil: “This is not satirical but it’s got a political theme. It’s sort of got two things going on. It’s kind of about a refugee who’s gone missing while fleeing for safety with her family. And there’s sort of a point being made that maybe we’ve all forgotten something about human values…That maybe there’s something being lost, and it’s summed up by the idea of the innocence of the child.”
The complete EP is available to purchase via digital services from Friday, February 8. A CD of “Agenda” will be awailable with Pet Shop Boys’ once-a-year publication “Annually" which will be published on April 12th. A 12'' vinyl EP of the four tracks will released on April 12th too.
Discussing the EP, Neil Tennant said: “It contains three satirical songs and one rather sad song. I think it’s because of the times we’re living through.” The four tracks were produced by Tim Powell and Pet Shop Boys and recorded towards the end of last year. They will not be included on Pet Shop Boys’ next album which is being produced by Stuart Price and is due for release in the autumn.
1 Give Stupidity A Chance
2 On Social Media
3 What Are We Going To Do About The Rich?
4 The Forgotten Child
The iconic duo's acclaimed production, first presented at the Royal Opera House in 2016 over four sold-out shows, was reprised at the venue for a further four nights in July 2018 as part of their 'Super' tour. Staged by long-term PSB designer Es Devlin and choreographer/director Lynne Page, the show was filmed by director David Barnard. Filmed on 27 and 28 July 2018, the full-length film on DVD and Blu-ray is accompanied by two CDs of the complete audio of the live show plus a bonus feature of PSB live at Rock in Rio, which was recorded on 17 September 2017 at the Brazilian festival.
The 'Inner Sanctum' production won rave reviews for a musical and visual extravaganza which brought lasers, dazzling choreography and immersive visuals and stage design to the ornate surroundings of the Royal Opera House for an electrifying show. The set-list featured contemporary PSB material from their last two albums 'Super' and 'Electric' mixed with many PSB's classic hits from their peerless back catalogue including 'Love comes quickly', 'West End girls', 'It's a sin', 'Go West' and 'Always on my mind'.
The Pop Kids
In The Night
Love Is a Bourgeois Construct
New York City Boy
Se A Vida É (That's the Way Life Is)
Love Comes Quickly
The Dictator Decides
Inside a Dream
West End Girls
Home and Dry
The Sodom and Gomorah Show
Its a Sin
Left to my Own Devices
Always on my Mind
The Pop Kids
Live at Rock in Rio
|inner sanctum at 3sat|
An edited TV version of Pet Shop Boys' brand new concert film “Inner Sanctum” received its first ever broadcast at German television 3Sat. ZDF’s programme "Pop Around The Clock", day of live concert broadcasts, aired concert on January 1st,2019 at 0:25 local time.
“Inner Sanctum” was filmed by director David Barnard at the Royal Opera House in London during PSB’s summer residency there. The film will be broadcast by TV stations around the world in 2019 with a full-length DVD release planned for the Spring.
Love Is a Bourgeois Construct
New York City Boy
Se A Vida É (That's the Way Life Is)
Love Comes Quickly
West End Girls
Home and Dry
It's a Sin
Left to my Own Devices
Always on my Mind
The Pop Kids
|asia leg of super tour|
The Super Tour will be heading to Asia in 2019. The tour has so far seen Neil and Chris perform 90 shows in 25 countries since 2016 and next year will visit Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Osaka before concluding in Bangkok.
26.03.2019 The Star Theatre, Singapore
28.03.2019 AsiaWorld-Expo, Hall 10, Hong Kong
01.04.2019 Budokan, Tokyo
02.04.2019 Festival Hall, Osaka
04.04.2019 Impact Exhibition Hall 5, Bangkok
|limited eddition letterpress print|
Limited eddition of letterpress prints were produced to celebrate the publication this month of Neil Tennant’s collection of lyrics One Hundred Lyrics and a Poem. Not only did Neil select the lyrics for the print but he also spent time at the letterpress printer himself. These exclusive letterpress prints are only available from selected bookshops with the hardback edition of One Hundred Lyrics and a Poem.
|new book by neil|
'One Hundred Lyrics and a Poem' by Neil Tennant will be published by Faber & Faber on November 1st. The book is Neil’s choice of one hundred of his song lyrics plus a short poem and also has an introduction written by Neil detailing his personal history as a songwriter and his creative processes. Neil was in conversation with Michael Bracewell at a special event to mark the publication of the book at EartH.
|classic pop special edition|
Classic pop presents Pet Shop Boys special edition. This issue will be on sale from 03/05/2018.
There will be two varying covers of the issue show The Pet Shop Boys from the beginning and the later stages of their careers, paired with four art cards featuring some of the most iconic shots of the duo. This selection of stunning images capture Tennant and Lowe in four different guises: on stage prior to the 2009 Brits at Earls Court, posing for Mike Prior in the studio at the start of their career, in psychedelic yellow and blue Go West helmets, and lastly a studio shot in support of single Was It Worth It?
Pet Shop Boys'Annually was published on April 2nd, 2018.
Content of 64-page hard-backed book:
-A guided tour with Neil and Chris around Pet Shop Boys' London, visiting locations and venues with a strong PSB connection.
-An in-depth interview with Pet Shop Boys' long-standing programmer Pete Gleadall.
-A report on Pet Shop Boys' relationship with fashion after their recent links with Dior Homme, Burberry and Top Shop.
-Plus exclusive news and photographs, your letters answered, and more.
Literally is now SOLD OUT!
|third batch of re-editions|
Third set of re-editions was released on March 2nd, 2018. "Please", "Actually" and "Introspective" albums, originally released back in 2001 as "Back Catalogue" went with the same tracklist to the 2001 releases. All tracks are new masters. For the first time there are original LPs remastered, available on 180g heavyweight vinyl.
|the catalogue interview - julian mendelsohn answers questions from psb community forum members|
If you scour the sleeve notes of Pet Shop Boys’ imperial releases, one musician's name appears more than any other, save for Neil and Chris themselves. The UK top 10 singles Suburbia, It’s a sin, Rent, Always on my mind and Where the streets have no name / I can’t take my eyes off you all feature Julian Mendelsohn on production duties, as do Actually album tracks One more chance, Shopping and Hit music.
When it comes to mixing, many more hits have come past his desk: What have I done to deserve this?, Heart, It’s alright and Yesterday, when I was mad – as well as numerous extended mixes, and the whole of Behaviour and associated b-sides Miserablism and Bet she’s not your girlfriend.
Add in the co-production of Liza’s Results and the Boys’ contribution to Dusty’s Reputation and it’s clear you’re looking at an absolute discography Goliath.
With much of this work due for reissue this year as part of the Catalogue series, Julian kindly took time out from his hectic retirement schedule to answer questions from Community forum members.
Julian on the early days
How did you first get to work with Pet Shop Boys? (Pod)I was managed by Jill Sinclair [late founder of ZTT records and Sarm studios, and wife of producer Trevor Horn] and she said: “Oh, the Pet Shop Boys want you to rework Suburbia.”
It was Jill who pushed me into it - I wasn’t too keen to start with, but it was really great fun and we made a really good record. They’re great to work with, Neil and Chris. It all went really well.
Please tell us about your first meeting; what was your impression of them? (dynamobjornen)I met them coming out of Jill’s office - I think I met Neil then, I don’t know if I met Chris at the same time. I definitely remember Neil - we had a bit of a yap. They were great guys.
What was your relationship like in the studio? Did you bounce ideas off each other? What was the work process? (MikeyC)They really had great ideas. Really, really nice to work with. No stress.
I always remember that it was mainly me and Neil running the whole thing, but Chris would come in with extra ideas that just turned it into the big thing that we needed, you know? He was sort of just slightly in the background. Neil and I would be looking for some synth line in the third chorus or something like that and we’d just go: “Chris! Chris! Quick - come on!” And he’d come up, he’d turn on the keyboard, he’d play this thing and that was that - fixed! It was fantastic.
There was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing of ideas. They always came with pretty good demos. The demo always already had a lot of the good stuff in it. A couple of the tracks we might have just started with the demo and gradually replaced stuff, and some other tracks we might have started from scratch but using the demo as a reference.
There’s a real ‘filmic’ quality to many of those early tracks, with the use of sound effects. Was that your idea? (Dog)They both asked for a lot of that sort of stuff. It was Neil’s idea to make it sort of like a bit of a film.
Did you see a song written, or were you always presented with demos? (Tom Angel)I don’t remember any writing in the studio.
I was wondering how working with Pet Shop Boys compared to working with, say, Level 42? (Tom Angel)With Neil and Chris there was never much stress. It was always pretty easy going. Some of the other bands could be a bit stressful.
Having said that Level 42 weren’t stressful. Level 42 were pretty easy going because they were amazing musicians. And really well organised - they knew exactly what they were doing.
Neil and Chris almost knew exactly what they were doing, most of the time, but there were moments when we had to search for stuff - musical ideas or sounds - but it was never a big deal.
Julian on Actually
What were the Actually sessions like? (Dog)When it came to doing Actually they asked me to produce five tracks.
It’s a sin was a little bit of a struggle, because Neil and Chris wanted it ‘epic’ - sort of a massive wall of sound. I remember me and the keyboard programmer Andy Richards spent a couple of nights without them, trying to get stuff going. Neil and Chris were happy to leave us doing stuff in the night - they’d go off out for dinner and they’d say: “We’ll see you in the morning - and we hope you’ll have something for us!” [laughs]
So they’d come in the morning with fresh ears, because it’s always really important to have fresh ears. When you’re working on something quite intensely you can lose your focus and go up the wrong tree. So they’d normally come in in the morning and say: “Yep, that’s great!” or “Change that!” or “No, you haven’t got it!” or something like that.
They didn’t want to get too intense with it but at the same time they wanted to be hearing it fresh, rather than listening to it over and over again.
What about What have I done to deserve this?? (Dog)Stephen Hague did the record so I only came in at the end [to mix the track]. What actually happened was that I’d done a mix of It’s a sin and then I went away on holiday - I think I went for a big holiday because I was really stuffed. But my mix wasn’t quite right, so they got Stephen to do the mix of It’s a sin, and he did a couple of really great little things in it, and then when I got back his mix of What have I done to deserve this? wasn’t quite right so I did the mix of his production of What have I done to deserve this? and we actually swapped the royalties on it. We came to an agreement - you take this and I’ll take that.
It was quite an easy mix, What have I done to deserve this? Not long-winded, it was pretty quick.
What did you bring to the mix that wasn’t in Stephen’s version? (Dog)I think it was to do with the vocal. More to do with the way the vocal sat in the track but I can’t remember for sure.
I know for sure on Relax [Frankie Goes To Hollywood uber-hit], Stephen Lipson had done lots of mixes of Relax but there was never quite one that was right for the single, because the vocal wasn’t sitting in the track properly. I did a mix of it with Trevor really early one morning, absolutely last minute. It only took three hours and that was the one that was the single played on the radio, because the vocals sat in the track properly.
So, I think Dusty was the same situation.
As the story goes, when mixing the album version of Heart you wiped out some tracks by accident. What happened exactly? (BlackPanther)Oh, I did - that’s right! [laughter] Of course, I did! Now, how did I get round that? I got round it somehow - nobody ever knew. Let me get it up on YouTube - I might just have a quick listen to the intro. I want the album version do I? [clicks] Isn’t it amazing, modern technology? Hang on - single version, album version… Here we go - it’s coming. We haven’t got broadband down here yet.
[Listens to intro] See - that’s so funny - I would never have guessed there was a c***-up on that. Something was erased - let me just listen to the single version. [Listens some more] Well, that’s interesting isn’t it? If that had happened with Trevor Horn I would have been sacked! But with Neil and Chris it was like, oh well, we’ll sort something out, it’ll make it different!
What was the process like to turn the demo of Always on my mind into a perfect pop song? (Actually)I think they did a demo of it and we just embellished the demo. Some of it was new; some of it was old. A lot of it was the original. Chris did his normal thing, when we needed an extra bit. I can’t remember if we redid the vocal.
It only took an afternoon, it was very quick. I remember the studio, we did it in studio three at Sarm in the afternoon. It was done by six or seven o’clock.<
Julian on remixing
The versions of It's alright mixed by you (and released on The Alternatives 10") contain elements of both the album version and Trevor Horn’s final single version. The single version could very well have been a remix of your version, but you're not credited on it. Can you elaborate on the story behind your mixes? (BlackPanther)That’ll be Trevor - the longest possible route to getting a result! [laughs] Let me just find it [clicks]. Hang on [single version begins playing]. Ah, yeah… It’s very Trevor.
[Clicks some more - plays his extended dance mix]. Is that the one? Crikey. It sounds like mine. I didn’t know Trevor got involved in my mix. He has a very convoluted way of working [huge laugh]. He’s a genius but oh my god you do do a lot of work to get to where you want to go, if you know what I mean?
I haven’t heard that for a long time. Some things I never listen to after I’ve done it, because I’ve had enough of it by the time I’ve finished with it [laughs]. Also, you can’t appreciate it. When you’ve worked on something, you can’t listen to it and think: “Wow, that’s really good.” You just go: “Shit, I wish I’d done this,” and “I wish I’d done that.” And funnily enough I notice that if I get to the end of a job and I think: “Wow, that’s really good,” it’s not really good. If I get to the end of a job and I say: “Crikey, it’s no good - I’ve got to do this, and I’ve got to do that,” normally it’s really good. It’s a very strange thing! [laughs]
Was doing extended mixes just part of the job of being a producer in the 80s for you? Were there aspects about it you missed going into the 90s when DJs took over that job? (fac23)Funnily enough a few years ago I did quite a few extended mixes for a girl called Catcall. She was on quite a big label here [Ivy League Records]. There was one called Swimming Pool - have a listen to it, it’s a traditional 80s extended mix. I really sweated that out because I’d never done one on Pro Tools before; I’d never done it on the computer. It was always on tape and chopping bits together. I reckon it’s pretty good - it was critically acclaimed.
Yes, I miss doing those mixes. They were hard work. You really had to think. But I do miss doing that sort of stuff. Once you get the hang of it on Pro Tools it’s really easy to do. You can do things on that that would just be a nightmare to do on tape.
There was one Go West [the band, rather than the Pet Shop Boys track] mix of the track Call Me. That was an epic 12 inch and we spent four or five days on it and one bit, we wanted to loop up just the verse part on the multitrack so that they could jam along and do extra stuff on top of it. We ended up with two inch tape running all the way round the control room, all looped, hanging on mic stands. It was ridiculous! [laughs]. Whereas if you wanted to do that on Pro Tools it would be done within 10 seconds. It’s amazing now. I love digital. All these youngsters that think analogue’s a fantastic thing, god… I’d never go back to analogue.
Did you get full autonomy when remixing Pet Shop Boys? (fac23)No, no, it was a group thing. Neil and Chris, or sometimes just Neil. And they always had ideas for the mixes.
Are there particular production techniques and musical elements that you employ when approaching remixing work? Is there a Julian Mendelsohn style and approach? (Paul J)It just depends on the track so much. It depends on the opportunities you’ve got on the multitrack tape. It depends what sort of ingredients you’ve got to muck around with.
It’s always important to get the groove right though. The rhythm is the most important thing.
Julian on working with Liza and Dusty
Do you consider Results to be, in a way, a proper Pet Shop Boys album sung by another artist? Do you think I want you now, If there was love or Don't drop bombs could have been hits for the Boys if they released them with Neil singing? (York Minster)Liza was a lovely lady. A really nice lady. She was in the studio most of the time we were making the album.
But I can’t help thinking that it would have been a better album if Neil had sung it. I know it would have been a hit album if it had been a Pet Shop Boys album because there were a couple of really great tracks. When I heard the demos with Neil singing I thought: “Wow!” There were some great tracks which in my opinion sounded better with Neil singing on them. I want you now is a great track.
I might have to have a quick listen [starts up I want you now]. There was a Fairlight programmer called Gary Maughan that worked on this. Andy Richards worked on the record as well.
That Twist in my sobriety [starts up track]. They left me and Gary to do the backing track on this. We just went completely mad and they came back in the morning and said: “Yep, that sounds pretty good.” They wanted it big and sort of crashing and aggressive. Yeah, that was good fun.
It was an interesting record to do.
You were credited as co-producer on the record. Was that different to just being the sole producer? Is it a different dynamic? (Dog)
Nah. All exactly the same.
What was working on the tracks for Dusty’s Reputation album like? (Pod)I didn’t do too much on the record [Julian is credited as co-producing five tracks of the album, alongside Pet Shop Boys]. There was a really, really great 12 inch of Daydreaming - I listen to it in the car quite often. That’s a really great 12 inch. One of my favourites. There was quite a lot of input from Neil on that one. Dusty did a rap in it, didn’t she? That was Neil’s idea. Yeah, that was really good. [Begins playing track] Yeah, yeah, one of my favourite 12 inches that I’ve done.
Hearing Dusty’s voice was amazing. I was thrilled to work with her. A very lovely lady but it could be quite hard work working with her. Quite painful at times. But you knew you’d get an amazing result at the end.
Dusty was very much the perfectionist. When we did the vocal for Nothing has been proved we’d run the track and she’d do one line and then she’d say: “No, no,” and me and Neil would go: “Oh my god." This went on for a couple of days. She’d get further each time. Because she had a plan as to how she was going to do all the nuances of her vocal and the plan was a story of nuances all the way through the song - so if she got an early one wrong she couldn’t go any further. We ended up with about 20 tracks of vocal that we had to sift through and turn into the main vocal. That’s quite a big job.
But I think she trusted us. Because she had a lack of confidence she tended to like somebody to sort it out for her and make the decisions.
But she’s one of my favourite female singers of all time. Her voice is amazing. You hear Dusty and it can only be her.
Julian on Behaviour and beyond
It's been mentioned that you didn't like the sound of Behaviour - can you tell us more about mixing the record? (jamie1978)That was an interesting one. I was concerned with the sound quality. It was a very strange recording. It wasn’t so much the keyboards or anything - I think it might have been the mixing desk they used. It was just a weird sound. And I never found out why - I was just too busy at the time. I would have been really interested to see what it was recorded on though. Maybe an old Soundcraft desk?
It was really difficult to mix. Not because of the music or the arrangements but because of the sound. It was really hollow and didn’t seem to have much presence. Very strange.
I’m just going to have a quick listen to refresh my memory. [Starts up Being boring] It doesn’t sound too bad on here. I remember it now. It was hard. Anyway, it was still a good record with lots of good songs.
I’d like to know more about the nine minute extended mix of This must be the place I waited years to leave. (fluffmoln)[Searches for the track] I won’t have heard this for a long time. Crikey. Only 28 years ago. [Listens] I remember it. I remember the song. I might get myself a copy - it’s good!
[Listens some more] Well, I probably haven’t listened to that since I did it. Unfortunately I don’t like downloading stuff. I’m not a big mp3 man. I wonder where I can get a copy of that from? Maybe I’ll just have to put up with an mp3. I like at least CD quality. And now I’m getting into FLACs which are lossless. My car has a fantastic sound system - the best I’ve ever had in a car. I’ll have to look for that because that sounded really good.
What was the last Pet Shop Boys song you worked on? (Tom Angel)I did Where the streets have no name. That was a medium hit [it reached number four in the UK chart]. It was funny because after it was released and played on the radio quite a bit we got an email from Bono saying: “What have I done to deserve this?”! [laughs] We just thought that was fantastic. [more laughter]
And then I did Yesterday, when I was mad with them. It wasn’t really that great. I didn’t really enjoy that. It wasn’t one of my favourites. It just didn’t do it for me for some reason. That wasn’t a big hit was it? [it reached number 13 in the UK chart]. Anyway, there you go.
Julian on his career with Pet Shop Boys
Which Pet Shop Boys sessions do you have the fondest memories of? (Pod)Definitely Always on my mind and Actually. They were very memorable. Always on my mind because it was so fast and it was a massive hit record. And doing Actually was just really good fun. Because I had done a lot of stuff with Trevor which could be hard work [laughs]. Working with Neil and Chris was a breath of fresh air. Because they weren’t stressed about anything. They just quietly had all the hooks, all the right songs. It was great.
Are there any Pet Shop Boys songs you worked on that stand out as being particularly hard going? (TallThinMan)It’s a sin was quite hard going. It was quite intense. And doing Behaviour was hard going because of the sound quality.
Are there any Pet Shop Boys tracks that you were part of that listening back to now you would want to tweak or change in some way? (y3potential)Not so many now. It would usually take me two or three years after I’d finished a track to be able to listen to it objectively. There are some Nik Kershaw tracks I listen to now and I think: “Jesus, the voice isn’t loud enough.” But not so many Pet Shop Boys tracks.
What more recent Pet Shop Boys songs would you like to have worked on? (y3potential)I would have loved to have worked on all of their records. Because they’re great to work with. No lack of ideas there. They’ve always got the good songs, and the good hooks. Chris is the man for the hooks.
Julian on life right now
Do you work more with plugins these days? What is your view on the convenience of software versus messing with hardware? Or are you as much drawn to using new tech as when you first started in studios? (Paul J)I’ve got an old system - my poor old Apple G5 can’t handle too much going on. It gets very upset. When I first got Pro Tools I’d have plugins in almost every channel and it would be well over-complicated - I’ve learnt now just to keep it dead simple. Dead simple. I mean I love my Pro Tools but some of the kids they just can’t stop putting four plugins on each channel and I think: “Oh, god.” But that’s the modern technology - I just keep it very simple. And even if I had a powerful computer I would still work the same way.
It’s all in the balance. The most important thing on a record is the balance. More than the individual sounds. In my opinion. I learnt that lesson a long, long time ago, before I worked with the Pet Shop Boys.
What was the last music project you worked on? (Tom Angel)I’m sort of semi-retired. In fact I’m more than semi-retired. There’s a New Zealand band that live in Melbourne called The Glorious. We’ve done four albums now. It keeps me going.
I was a bit busier a few years ago. I just like to do a little bit here and there on my own terms, if you know what I mean.
I’m a very busy man in my retirement [laughs]. You’d be amazed by how busy I am - it’s ridiculous! And all my friends have retired - Christ - there’s so much going on! What am I doing? I thought I was retired!
Are you still in touch with Neil and Chris? (Dog)I’m still in touch with Neil. Chris keeps to himself a lot.
Neil tells me that they might be coming out here [Australia] late this year. I’m just hoping we can go out for a feed or something. I know he loves his grub. There are plenty of good places to eat in Melbourne. It’d be great to catch up with him again. He’s a great guy.
Interview by Chris Payne, February 2018.
|psb return to the roh|
Pet Shop Boys will return to London's Royal Opera House for four special shows this July.
The 'Inner Sanctum' show will return to the iconic venue two years after its debut performances sold out in record time. The show has been produced specifically for the site by long-time PSB collaborators designer Es Devlin and choreographer/ director Lynne Page.
Pet Shop Boys said: “We were thrilled to bring electronic music into the grandest musical space in London for four memorable nights in 2016. Since then we’ve often been asked if we’re planning a return to the Royal Opera House and we’re excited to confirm that we’ll be back in July.”
Ticket are on sale from 1pm February 28th at www.roh.org.uk/psb.
Wednesday 25 July 2018, 8pm SOLD OUT
Thursday 26 July 2018, 8pm SOLD OUT
Friday 27 July 2018, 8pm - Filming SOLD OUT
Saturday 28 July 2018, 8pm - Filming SOLD OUT
|marriage: neil tennant and mark farrow|
Neil Tennant and Mark Farrow discussed the imagery of the Pet Shop Boys on Wed 31 January 2018, 18:30 – 20:30 GMT at Barbican Centre.
Mark Farrow and Pet Shop Boys: the perfect pop marriage?
Interviewed by the artist and designer Scott King on stage at the Barbican, the PSB’s Neil Tennant and designer Mark Farrow reviewed a 30-year relationship that has produced some of the greatest sleeve design in pop.
The very first sleeve that Mark Farrow designed for the Pet Shop Boys set the tone for what was to follow. It was 1985. West End Girls had been a smash hit and Farrow (after responding to a job ad in CR, no less) was working at XL Design in London.
He was asked to design the sleeve for a three-track remix 12-inch single version. The original sleeve featured a black and white shot of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe with the band name set vertically down the left-hand side and the single’s title on the right on a kind of metal mesh background.
The remix sleeve is a hugely confident exercise in graphic minimalism from a young designer who perhaps was intent on making a point! All type has been moved to the reverse; the photo of the band has gone completely. In their place is a series of flat shapes. “I just took all the bits I didn’t like off it,” said Farrow of his approach. Tennant and Lowe were duly impressed with both image and attitude.
Thirty years later and the Pet Shop Boys and Farrow have, according to the night’s host Scott King, been responsible for “the most sustained and brilliant visual campaign of any band has in the history of pop”.
From first work to last, things appear to have gone full circle. Farrow’s artwork for SUPER, the PSB’s 13th album, released in 2016 was another exercise in minimalism. This time, though, as Tennant explained, its simplicity was prompted more by the demands of download interfaces than the mischieviousness of a young designer.
In between has been a superlative run of imagery, from the early days of photographic-based positioning of a band with a unique, knowing, arch attitude to pop, fame and success, through the influence of working with brilliant stage designers such as David Fielding, to art references and ‘borrowings’ from the likes of Bruce Nauman, Dan Flavin, Gerhard Richter and Richard Prince via one, memorable, penis shot.
Their working Marriage (as the evening was titled) was recounted with laconic good humour by Tennant and Farrow, with gentle proddings (and the occasional good-natured dig) from host, artist and some-time PSB sleeve designer himself, Scott King. The latter’s involvement with the band came during a period of trial separation as the band turned to Greg Foley for the cover of Release in 2002 and King for the London and I Get Along singles, before going back to Farrow for Miracles.
The session was a reprise of a talk all three had given three years ago for Central St Martins. Here, it was being staged as part of Jeremy Deller’s Look of Music series in conjunction with the Paul Mellon Centre.
As with most discussions concerning design for music, there was the usual kvetching about record label interference. For the classic sleeve of Actually, Farrow recounted one executive “literally screaming at me ‘you cannot have someone yawning on a fucking album cover’.” Tennant remembered how every foreign press trip would begin with him and Lowe having a “massive row in the back of a car” with whichever hapless local product manager had just presented them with the often-butchered version of artwork had that been adapted for the local market without their knowledge.
Given Tennant’s background as a music journalist and Lowe’s architect’s training the Pet Shop Boys were always an act with an uncommonly deep interest in the workings of the music business and the visual presentation of artists. In Farrow they found the perfect ally to express what they wanted to say with each release.
Today, the band releasing under their own label (Kobalt) and the market for luxurious special editions has “opened up a path to do what we want,” as Farrow said. As with magazines and books, declining revenues from physical media in music have led to a corresponding uplift in the production quality of what still gets produced. The result has been a series of releases – for Yes, Electric and SUPER – that, King said, could sit quite happily as artist’s ‘editions’.
They are beautiful and covetable, but perhaps the most remarkable thing about the Farrow/PSB back catalogue is that it was produced, not for some tiny art rock indie band, but for the biggest-selling duo in UK pop music history. That’s pretty special, actually.
By Patrick Burgoyne 01/02/2018
|dior summer 2018 campaign|
From Boy George last summer, it’s over to fellow Eighties icons the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe for Dior Homme’s summer 2018 campaign, marking the 10th anniversary collection under artistic director Kris Van Assche. Reflecting a collection showcasing the craftsmanship of the house’s atelier fused with varsity elements meant to symbolize the frontier of youth and early manhood, Tennant sports a suit, while Lowe is captured in a bomber jacket and baseball cap. Completing the cast — captured through the lens of David Sims, with styling by Mauricio Nardi — are young American actor Charlie Plummer, and new faces Andreas Wolf, Henry Rausch and Anton Jaeger. Lending a romantic streak is an evolving floral motif of Dior roses popping against the black-and-white portraits. Plummer wears a grain de poudre bar-jacket suit paired with trainers, with the rest in silhouettes pairing wide pants, tailored shorts and sleeveless shirts, with prints based on the oil paintings by François Bard surfacing on garments and accessories throughout. The accompanying campaign video is set to the Pet Shop Boys’ 1988 hit “Heart.”
|the most incredible thing|
After receiving rave reviews in London, Javier de Frutos and the Pet Shop Boys’ The Most Incredible Thing makes its American debut in Charlotte. A fairytale pop ballet of Hans Christian Andersen’s fable about a King who holds a competition to determine who can make the “most incredible thing.”
Friday 09 March 2018, 07:30pm
Saturday 10 March 2018, 02:00pm
Saturday 10 March 2018, 07:00pm
Sunday 11 March 2018, 02:00pm
Thursday 15 March 2018, 07:30pm
Friday 16 March 2018, 07:30pm
Saturday 17 March 2018, 02:00pm
Saturday 17 March 2018, 07:00pm
Sunday 18 March 2018, 02:00pm
|second batch of re-editions|
The second pair of ‘Catalogue: 1985-2012’ reissues were released on October 20th. ('Yes/Further listening: 2008-2010' and 'Elysium/Further listening: 2011-2012').
|first batch of re-editions|
Pet Shop Boys are releasing ‘Catalogue: 1985-2012’, a series of reissues of their Parlophone studio albums. This definitive edition feature each album from the duo’s Parlophone discography, remastered and accompanied by ‘Further listening/FL’ albums of bonus tracks and demos created in the same time period as each album, as well as Pet Shop Boys own remixes of their tracks. The first three of the ‘Catalogue’ albums were released on July 28th, 2017 ('Nightlife/FL: 1996-2000', 'Release/FL: 2001-2004', 'Fundamental/FL: 2005-2007’). The remastered original single albums are also reissued on 180gm heavyweight vinyl and made available on streaming services.
|the teenage cancer trust|
Pet Shop Boys played a special concert in support of Teenage Cancer Trust. It took place at the Royal Albert Hall, London on April 2nd. They were joined by Johnny Marr and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. "This will be a very special night for us, performing with Johnny Marr and the Royal Philharmonic.” Neil and Chris revealed, “ We have often combined electronics with orchestrations on our records and now we’re going to do this in concert. Johnny has played on many of our albums and it will be a real thrill to have him on stage with us. The Teenage Cancer Trust is a wonderful organisation and we are delighted to be able to take part in this annual series of concerts which helps to fund their essential work.” Proceeds from all tickets sales went to Teenage Cancer Trust.
Left to My Own Devices (with Sally Bradshaw)
Tonight Is Forever
This Must Be the Place I Waited Years to Leave (with Johnny Marr)
New York City Boy
The Survivors (with Johnny Marr)
Leaving (with Johnny Marr)
Jealousy (with Johnny Marr)
It Couldn't Happen Here
For All of Us (with Johnny Marr)
Can You Forgive Her?
Breathing Space (with Johnny Marr)
He Dreamed of Machines
Requiem in Denim and Leopardskin (with Johnny Marr)
Indefinite Leave to Remain (with Johnny Marr)
West End Girls (with Johnny Marr)
It's Alright (with Sally Bradshaw)
It's a Sin (with Johnny Marr)
|undertow on vinyl|
On 21st April 12'' record of Undertow will be released, contained four remixes. Digital download will be available with same tracklist as CD released with Annually publication.
The 12'' track-listing:
|annually incl. undertow|
On April 1st, 2017, the Pet Shop Boys will release limited edition three-track single "Undertow" packaged with
new edition of Anually. Anually with new format will replace Literally fan club magazine. It will contain news,
exclusive photographs, a behind-the-scenes report on the ROH shows, answered letters and more.
The CD track-listing:
|nme awards 2017|
Pet Shop Boys were presented by Johnny Marr with the award for "Godlike Genius" at the NME Awards in London. Boys then performed following set:
The Sodom and Gomorrah Show
It's a sin
Left to my own devices
West End girls
Always on my mind.
|let's get lost|
The Pretenders are releasing a new single, “Let’s Get Lost”, featuring Chrissie Hynde and guest vocalist Neil Tennant duetting on one of the stand-out songs from The Pretenders latest album, “Alone”. The track is released as part of a double a-side single with "Gotta Wait". Chrissie Hynde invited Neil to perform on it after a conversation between the pair backstage at a Pretenders gig in Austin, Texas, during which Neil told Chrissie that the track should be her next single. Chrissie said she would release it on the condition that he sang vocals with her; subsequently, when both artists were back in London they went in to Sarm Studios where Neil added his vocals to the track. This collaboration continues a working relationship that started when Chrissie performed “Four Songs In A Minor” with the BBC Concert Orchestra at Pet Shop Boys’ Proms show at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 2015. Neil Tennant commented: “I love Chrissie’s voice and I love this song. It was a pleasure to sing and it’s a thrill to be part of a duet with Chrissie.”