If you've followed my humble blog for a while, chances are you already know of Sally Shapiro and their brand of melancholy, bittersweet italo disco. Johan & Sally's debut, 'Disco Romance', was undoubtedly one of my favorite albums of 2007, and its follow-up, 'My Guilty Pleasure', was just released last month. Now there is little I could say that's not been said already, so I will just confirm that yes, it is indeed worth the wait. The new album's a progression from the previous output, but still maintains the catchiness and wistfulness that made me fall in love with them in the first place. Among my favorite tracks are 'Miracles', 'Love In July', 'Save Your Love', and 'Moonlight Dance'. In fact, I can't wait for winter to come, as this can be the default soundtrack for my walks of solitude in cold, cold weather!
When not quietly making wonderful crying-on-the-dancefloor disco-pop, or obscuring her face with a teacup, the notoriously shy Sally Shapiro does actually do interviews. She was kind enough to answer all my questions via email (thank you, Sally!), which you can now read below, with a complimentary mp3!
MP3: Sally Shapiro - Love In July
What, in your opinion, would be the ideal setting for 'My Guilty Pleasure'?
Maybe when you're in a melancholic mood all by yourself. Or when you're travelling.
One of the differences I noticed in the new album was that there were some more upbeat, dancier tracks, compared to 'Disco Romance'. Was this shift in mood a deliberate decision?
I wouldn't call them more upbeat but maybe more poppy. And yes this was intentional and also a result of Roger Gunnarsson being more involved as a songwriter.
I was quite surprised to find out that Cloetta Paris sang background vocals on 'Love In July'. I too am a big fan of her album 'Secret Eyes'. Could you tell me about how this came about?
Love In July was co-written by Roger Gunnarsson, who as you may know works with Cloetta. So it came natural to have her singing backing vocals on the track. I promised to sing backing vocals on some track of theirs in return.
What do you think about the idea of a duet between you & Cloetta? It has the potential to be one of the most tissue-ready collaborations ever!
Maybe it could be nice. Maybe it could be reality.
Sweden does make the best pop in the world. Could you, perhaps, try to explain what it is that make Swedes so great at melodies?
Thanks - I don't know, but many many people here do sing in choirs or play instruments, maybe one reason could be the state-subsidized music schools, it's pretty cheap to learn to play instruments and a lot of kids attend these music schools.
What is so unique about Sally Shapiro is that you & Johan revived a long-lost genre and made it fresh again. Do you feel like you will keep exploring italo disco further, or would you like to experiment with other genres as well in the future?
I think both Johan and I sometimes feel that we want to try other genres as well, but probably not together. I am more into non-electronic music (indiepop like Belle & Sebastian) and Johan is more into ambient and stuff. So our common project will probably always be very disco-sounding.
Lovely. This is actually the first interview I've ever done, and it deserves to be posted on a special day like today.
"My Guity Pleasure" is out now on Paper Bag Records.
Make sure to watch the animated video for 'Love In July', it's kawaii overload.