We love it when one of our favourite pop stars releases a comeback single. Everything about them is fresh again; they’ve got a new look, a new sound, a new video. Well Therese has been away for a while, and so has made up for lost time by coming back with three singles! Yes – three comeback singles! All three see Therese cementing her status as living legend of the UK house music scene. So we met with her over the weekend to discuss said scene, her experiences and stories of it, of record label politics, radio station lunacy, and famous clubland tracks. We also made sure that we asked her plenty of questions about the other side of Therese – her poppier music career over in her native Sweden, and both of her participations in Melodifestivalen.
And here’s what she said!
scandipop: So Therese…..welcome back to the release schedule! Cos you’ve been away for so long haven’t you?
Therese: Yeah I have. But it still feels like time has really flown by since then.
scandipop: Is that because you’ve been working the whole time?
Therese: I think so, yes. Working on new material, definitely. I also went through a phase where I was finding out what I wanted to do.
scandipop: And now you’ve got THREE songs coming out in the next few months. So which one is coming out first, and how have the rest of them been scheduled?
Therese: Well the first one that’s gonna come out is ‘Neon Lights’, and that’s coming out on Fierce Angel Records. A guy called Mark Doyle is behind that, so the story is kind of repeating itself a little, because he signed ‘Put Em High’ all those years ago. So here we are again, with his new label Fierce Angel! ‘Neon Lights’ was actually supposed to come out two years ago on Positiva Records, as the follow up single to ‘Feelin Me’. But that didn’t happen at the time because there were a lot of political issues going on between Positiva and EMI, and we were worried that the record was just gonna drown. So when Mark found out that the record was still, just ‘there’, he wanted to sign it. We didn’t have a massive budget, but I love the record and I love Fierce Angel, so I thought we should just do it with the measures that we have and see what happens. So we did! And we’ve filmed the video with a handy cam in Ibiza. A typical kind of Ibiza video, with the whole kind of classic theme that people love. And the video’s going to be released sometime within the next three weeks. It’s just gone in for editing this week. So that’s that with ‘Neon Light’s. It’s a Therese record, but we’re doing it with Electro Junkies as a collaboration because they did the production. Also, we’ve now labelled it as a ”featuring” record because otherwise there’s gonna be too much ‘Therese’ going on in the next few months with all these releases! And then we have ‘Bodyswerve’, coming out on 3Beat Records in the UK, and Ministry of Sound in the US. ‘Bodyswerve’ is an old record, it was originally done by Mica Paris. And we kind of felt a bit risque doing it, because it’s still such a classic, you know! But the reason why we did is not because we think we can do a better vocal than Mica Paris, it’s because Max and Steve (Max Sanna and Steve Pitron – the producers) wanted to do a different production of it. More 2009. But at the same time, it suited it more to re-do the vocals as well. We don’t know the release date for that but it’ll probably be coming out parrallel with the other two. And then we have ‘Shed My Skin’, which is an old record by D Note that we dusted off and made a new production of and re-sang the vocals to. It’s just a nice, floaty record that makes you just want to lie on a beach or sip a cocktail in Ibiza or something! So it’s very Ibiza orientated, this release package. The original video to ‘Shed My Skin’ is this guy dancing on the beach, who has had a really wild night but just didn’t want to go to sleep yet. I love that, I love the video. But I definitely think that we’re gonna re-do the video.
scandipop: Perhaps for the new video for ‘Shed My Skin’, they should send you out on a night out in Ibiza until 5am, and then film you dancing on a beach
Therese: Yeah, that could be a sight! I sometimes almost have to tell people that it’s not me in the original video – after 3 days non-stop! So yeah, my new version of ‘Shed My Skin’ has had quite a nice response in Ibiza this year, so we’re bringing it over here. It’s coming out on Lifted Records, a label under Warner. So that’s another thing, and that’ll probably be promoted in about three to four weeks. Around August, September.
scandipop: So there’s lots going on.
Therese: It’s funny because I haven’t released anything for so long and now all of a sudden there are three!
scandipop: A Therese track is like they say a bus is; you wait ages for one to come along and then three come along at once.
Therese: (giggles) I know, it’s funny. And so we’ll probably do more dates and performances soon too. I performed at El Divino in Ibiza in June, and I’ll be performing there again next month.
scandipop: Yeah, Fierce Angel have a club night there don’t they?
Therese: Exactly, so that’s been good promo for ‘Neon Lights’. And with ‘Bodyswerve’….well I’ll see what promo 3Beat have lined up for that. This is my first time with them so I’m not sure what they have planned yet.
scandipop: Well they struck gold earlier in the year with Agnes didn’t they?! So they seem to have a good formula for picking Swedish dance divas.
Therese: Yes! ‘Bodyswerve’ will be coming out as Steve Pitron & Max Sanna featuring Therese. Me and Steve have known each other since 2004, when I first moved to London. We have an established, really nice friendship and chemistry working together. But it’s not until about 2 years ago that Steve started to go into production, apart from being a DJ and working for Island Records as the head of radio and promo, where he was very successful, he’s the best radio plugger ever! So it’s good to release a record with Steve, because then you know you’re gonna get lots of club and radio plays (laughs)! And also, Max Sanna and me started working together and we’ll probably do more work in the future as well. We’ll definitely do a follow up. And then Mark wants a follow up for ‘Neon Lights’ on Fierce Angel too, and Lifted Records want a follow up for ‘Shed My Skin’! So I don’t know if all my releases are gonna come in three’s now!
scandipop: It’s exciting times now isn’t it?!
Therese: It’s really exciting! Cos you know that the music industry has changed so much, so you just don’t know what the next step is gonna be for artists. Artists just release stuff left and right, there are no rules anymore. And all the categories are just melting together. I’ll stick to dance though. But it’s all very interesting.
scandipop: It is indeed! ‘Neon Light’s has been around for a few years now. You put it up on your myspace a while back, it’s been played at clubs, I’ve played it at the scandipop club nights. It’s about time it’s getting released and we’re all happy about that. But do you worry about the fact that it’s been around for so long might effect its release – it’s two or three years old now.
Therese: Yeah it is. Well, we wanted to release this record three years ago. The story behind it was that actually it was supposed to be released with Steve Angello and Eric Prydz, under ‘Woz Not Woz’. Do you know that record?
(Therese begins to sing the melody of the instrumental, which we’re mortified to admit that we still don’t recognise!!!)
Therese: So they wanted a vocal for ‘Woz Not Woz’.
scandipop: And you wrote ‘Neon Lights’ as the top line?
Therese: Yes. I wrote ‘Neon Lights’ for ‘Woz Not Woz’, and it was going to be Steve Angello and Eric Prydz featuring Therese. But that didn’t happen because there was some political issue AGAIN!
scandipop: Politics ruins everything doesn’t it?!
Therese: Exactly. Labels: Urgh! Managers: Urgh! But we ended up with a great vocal and we thought, ”this is just too good to waste, so let’s do something with it”. So then Digital Dog did a production for it and it was gonna be a single on Positiva. Positiva went with ‘Feelin Me’ first, although Mark Doyle has since told me that he would have gone with ‘Neon Lights’ as the first single….
scandipop: And which one would you have gone for?
Therese: You know what, I was really quite happy with both of them, but in different ways. So I was just like, ”I don’t really mind, I don’t know which one would work better, I’ll leave it with you guys”, and there was a little kind of misjudgement somewhere. But it’s so difficult, you’re never gonna know. It could have been the same with ‘Neon Lights’, you know. And it’s hard, because the climate of Radio 1 changes all the time, and you can’t really A&R depending on how Radio 1 is feeling, because they’re like; ”now it’s this and now it’s that”. So it’s just one of those things. It didn’t get Radio 1 plays unfortunately, so it didn’t happen. Cos you need that in this country.
scandipop: You do, yeah.
Therese: Funnily enough, saying that, ‘Put Em High’ (Therese’s breakthrough UK hit with Stonebridge) didn’t receive any Radio 1 support. They only came on board afterwards. They supported ‘Take Me Away’, but never ‘Put Em High’. Which is quite funny. So you never know.
scandipop: If they’re not on board with something and then it becomes a hit, they’ll always come on board straight after.
Therese: Yeah exactly. Then they’ll be like; ”It’s wicked, yeah”!
scandipop: And so back to ‘Neon Lights’, the video’s being finished this week, yes? When will we be able to see it?
Therese: I think it’s gonna be out quite soon. I’m a little bit worried and a little bit curious (laughs), because I would never normally let anyone film me with a handy cam. I’ve done at least 17 music videos by now, and so I was like ”You wanna film me with a handy cam? You can’t film me with a handy cam, forget about it! It needs to be at least 60mm or whatever it is”! But Katie and Mark at the label are quite special. So if anyone was gonna persuade me to do it, it would be them.
scandipop: Are you looking forward to seeing the final edit?
Therese: Yeah, cos they were like; ”Look, T, you know….this is the measures we’ve got”. So I just thought, fuck it, let’s do it. Let’s do a road trip to Ibiza, and it’ll be fine. I had a make up artist and I had my hair done! But I’m really nervous about it!
scandipop: You’ll have to let me know when it’s done so that I can put it on the website.
Therese: (giggles and squeals nervously!)
scandipop: And if I don’t hear from you I’ll know that it’s because you don’t like how you look!
Therese: Yeah, I’ll be like, ”sssshhh”. I’ll have to take a holiday for two months!
scandipop: Before I go on to the next question, I have to ask you about something you just said, that I picked up on……….you said you’ve done about 17 videos. So which has been your favourite?!
Therese: I think it’s actually more like 19, 20. My favourite was ‘Feelin Me’, because that was the biggest production.
scandipop: It was so glamorous wasn’t it?!
Therese: Yeah. We had a really big budget….well, not like Michael Jackson big, but….
scandipop: But certainly big for Positiva!!!
Therese: Yeah! And we worked with some really amazing and cool people. So I had a lot of fun on that. I liked that there was such a big set.
scandipop: And is ‘Bodyswerve’ gonna get a video too?
Therese: I just don’t know. It all depends on the response. If it’s worth doing a video, then we’ll definitely do it.
scandipop: And after these three singles, what’s gonna happen album wise. Are we gonna get a Therese album?
Therese: I am working on an album at the moment. But I think that the next step will be a follow up to one of these records. I work on music all the time, I’m always in the studio. I think I know though which record we’re gonna release next. It’s a vocal that we did for Paul Van Dyke’s re-release of ‘For An Angel’. Unfortunately Paul didn’t want it, he wanted to keep it as an instrumental version with no vocals. Even though Radio 1 said that they wouldn’t play it without a vocal. But he still didn’t wanna do it.
scandipop: So you’re gonna take that top line and put a new track behind it?
Therese: I think we’re gonna do that yeah. But it was so lovely, and so great with his backing track. So it was a shame, a real shame.
scandipop: Do you have a version of it that you can listen to at home yourself?!
Therese: I do! My friends all love it. But it’s a shame they didn’t go with it.
scandipop: Have you been tempted just to upload it onto youtube anyway, anonymously?!
Therese: I actually think someone put it up there already! I’m not sure it’s still up there though.
scandipop: Ok. Well this is a part of the interview I’ve been looking forward to most…….Melodifestivalen! Will you be entering again any time soon?!
Therese: Oh my gosh…you know what, never say never. Melodifestivalen is fabulous, so much fun. When I did it the first time, I said; ”no, no, I would never do it again”.
scandipop: But you came 2nd!
Therese: I know, but you have to be careful as well. Because if you do Melodifestivalen all of the time, you kind of get categorised into Melodifestivalen, and I don’t really want to do too much of that. Doing a lot of house music is one thing. But if I do Melodifestivalen every year, then I’m gonna be ”Eurovision Therese”, and I don’t really wanna be that. Some people might though, that’s just me.
scandipop: There are a lot of artists who enter Melodifestivalen just to launch their new album or to have another hit single in Sweden. But then of course if they end up winning, they then have to go to Eurovision. So how would you feel about actually having to go to the Eurovision Song Contest?
Therese: I was always petrified, PETRIFIED that I was gonna win Melodifestivalen and then end up having to go to Eurovision, because that’s it then! There’s no going back! So I was always a bit worried about that. So when I came 2nd in 1999, I was quite relieved. Because I was doing my own thing, I had my own plans, and I knew what I wanted to do, I knew what music I wanted to do…..so it wasn’t on my agenda at all. I was happy that Charlotte won. It was great for my career in Sweden though, the record sales and everything.
scandipop: Then of course you entered again in 2007 with The Attic, when Melodifestivalen was by then almost a completely different show. So how have your experiences of both shows been?
Therese: When I did it in 1999, that was just when they’d decided that Eurovision was going to be cool…obviously I wouldn’t have entered otherwise. They’d changed the whole climate of it, they were like ”we want to have loads of younger, more commercial artists this time around la la la la…”, so they chose me and a few other acts that had already had top 10 hits in Sweden. The record company said that it would be great, good exposure, it has so many viewers and everything, and so we did it. And it was great. It was a very successful year in 1999 and from then on it’s been like that. Most of the years have been really good. It’s got cooler and cooler, and more and more established artists in Sweden are taking part. So it’s not a naff thing to do in Sweden anymore. I guess in some circles it is, in more progressive, minimal, circles. But on the whole it’s encouraging. And commercially it’s really good.
scandipop: Ok. So in 1999 you came 2nd and that was great, but in 2007 you didn’t progress from your heat. What was it like sitting on stage after the results have been read out, knowing that you haven’t qualified into the final?
Therese: I think you have to know what it is that you’re in for. For me, it’s always like this; even though I’m really competitive, I like winning, I really do…..I also have this thing, that I’m not, I don’t feel, erm……we were in there because ‘The Arrival’, they’d sent in that song without me even knowing. And I got a call saying ”congratulations”, and I was like, ”what!!!” Hey what’s going on here, we recorded that song three years earlier and they sent it in without me even knowing. So when they did, it was almost like I couldn’t say no. So this is what it’s been with me, it’s never been a case where I have to be in Melodifestivalen, I have to win Melodifestivalen, major major major. It’s always just been so much fun, ”yeah we’ll do it, here we are, la la la”. I would never enter unless I had a really good song though. And I knew that we had a really really great song. But it’s like, if you win it, then great, but if you don’t win it, it doesn’t matter. Melodifestivalen is Melodifestivalen; sometimes they vote very traditionally, sometimes they don’t. You just don’t know.
scandipop: Dance music has always suffered at Melodifestivalen anyway, hasn’t it?
Therese: Exactly. Even though ‘The Arrival’ is a very poppy tune, even that was a little too un-Swedish or untraditional. But that was the whole point – we wanted to have a different element at Melodifestivalen, the whole international theme that we were all about at that time.
scandipop: Ok. So when you’re in your fifties and sixties, do you reckon we’ll end up seeing Therese as one of these old schlager dames that enters Melodifestivalen with Thomas G:Son songs?!
Therese: Oh definitely, when I’m 60 I won’t have any shame, I’ll do whatever I like. I won’t give a shit about what’s wrong and what’s right, I’ll just do it all! Yeah of course! And I’ll come in and have my hair really nice….it’ll still be blonde…..and I’ll definitely wear pink…everything should be pink….and I’d be there drinking champagne with my ladies in the green room! Oh FIERCE! (Therese, clearly loving the idea, cracks up laughing!!!) ha ha yeah!
scandipop: And you’ll be thrown around the stage by lots of twenty something guys…..
Therese: Oh yes. I’ll be classy though, I’ll have a cleavage but I’ll be a classy old lady!
scandipop: Good! So as well as The Attic and Dromhus, you’ve collaborated with many dance producers such as Stonebridge, The Mac Project, Sunblock, Pitron & Sanna…….
Therese: Roger Sanchez, Armand Van Helden……
scandipop: Digital Dog……so who’s been your favourite? Apart from who you’re working with currently, because you can’t choose your current singles, that’s not fair!
Therese: (laughs) erm…I think my favourite collaboration was obviously Stonebridge. It was so exciting because he was already such a big established name and I was really looking up to him.
scandipop: And of course, he’s Swedish as well. Would you ever work with him again?
Therese: I’d love to work with Stonebridge again, sure.
scandipop: And how about Dromhus? If that project ever came up again.
Therese: No. No. Dromhus is over. That was my teenager years, you know obviously it’s still my past and it’s still a part of me, and I love the old Swedish catalogue….which will be available soon on my website, we’re building a little Dromhus section that people can go into and download the music and buy it. Because I know that there are a lot of people who want it. It’s not like I don’t want to acknowledge that part of my career. I think for any artist it’s like that, you’re moving forward all the time, and that’s the music you’ve done. And also because it’s in a different language, it’s kind of difficult for me to get the music together for a show, you know what I mean?
scandipop: Well thank you very much for your time Therese, and for continuing to make said music!
Lovely lady. So happy she’s back.
We’ll also be revealing some very exciting news involving Therese very very soon…………