Top of the Pops: Sneaky Sound System

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If I wanted to create a remake of a famous 80’s teen cult flick—think Pretty in Pink or Say Anything—reinterpreted into a new millennium classic, Sneaky Sound System would have the score. The poptronica trio from the real dirty south (Australia) is made up of dance producer Black Angus, hype man MC Double D and singer Miss Connie (pictured above). And with winter finally gone (on the North Western front), the ridiculously upbeat tracks with poppy, sometimes cheesy lyrics have forced me to squeeze into that American Apparel lime green mini-skirt, pop on some fuchsia lipstick; call in sick to work and carelessly ride out to Long Beach with a six pack and a boom box. Their self-titled album (not avail. in the states, wah) is part Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams,” part Blondie “Call Me” and all Aussie thrill for life.

They’re touring through Oz and New Zealand right now, but took some time out to answer a few of my questions (via e-mail) about winning the MTV Australia Independent Spirit Award, why Sydney is so much fun, why “Miami is fucking mental” and who’s next to come up from Down Under.

Parlour: Coming from different musical backgrounds, Sneaky Sound System, is pretty genre breaking. Do you consider yourselves a pop band? If yes, why? If no, how would you describe your sound?
Sneaky Sound System: I guess some people consider us a pop band, others call us a dance band and we’re probably somewhere in the middle. Our influences from the past are more pop but the modern music we’re into is much more club orientated.

P: Why do you think pop/electronic music is so popular right now?

I think pop music is so popular right now because that’s what it is by definition, it would be incredibly difficult, dare I say impossible, for pop to be unpopular. If it was we’d have to call it “unpop”. Electro has become the sound of our times, you just have to listen to what’s coming out of America right now and a lot of the mainstream acts and producers have made a big shift from R’n’B and Hip Hop to electro. I guess it’s what most people seem to like at the moment, but that will change, as it always does.

P: What is your musical philosophy?
Do what feels good. Trust your own judgment. Don’t blindly follow trends but don’t be arrogantly dismissive of them either. Have a really good kick drum and a memorable chorus – and a dumb bit.

P: Congratulations on your Independent Spirit Award at the MTV Australia Awards this year. What does independent spirit mean to you?
Thank you very much. To us I suppose it means what we’re doing really.  We’ve built ourselves up from nothing to where we are now. We write all our own stuff, produce our albums, put them out on our own label (in Oz) and tour extensively. I guess that suggests we have an independent spirit, which I think we do. We’re very honored to receive that level of recognition for our efforts.

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If anyone, whom would you like to be recognized by?

I think Connie would be pretty chuffed if Phil Collins took notice, she has a serious crush on him – seriously.

P: Who would you like to work with in the future?
We’ve actually got a few things in the pipeline for the reasonably near future but I can’t give too much away at this at the moment. But beyond that, if we were talking longer term, it would be pretty amazing to do something with Bowie, like just to get him to press a button or do some vocals or something, whatever, anything.

P: After this tour, what’s next for Sneaky Sound System? What’s next for
each of you individually?

Well I’d like to say we’re having a one month holiday on a very remote beach with no internet, no phones, no commitments, but that’s not happening anytime soon. Next stop is Ibiza where we have a residency at Pacha, then we’re doing a few dozen festivals the UK/Europe, then the US and the back to the Europe for more touring. We’ve got lots and lots of shows this year so not much time for thinking individually; this year we’re thinking collectively.

P: What are your favorite Aus/NZ cities to play in?

In Australia, it has to be Sydney. We have fun everywhere we go and it’s always a treat to travel and play to new audiences, meet new people, etc, but the hometown experience is always a good one. This is where it all started for us and that’s something we’ve never lost sight of, which I think is important. In NZ we really enjoyed Christchurch, it was very beautiful and peaceful.

What are the “must have” items for going on tour?
Can’t live without Bose noise canceling headphones, dozens of pairs of sock and jocks and our MacBook Pro’s.

P: How was Ultra Music Festival in Miami? What did you think of Miami’s club scene?
We had to be back in Australia for a show the following day, so we were on really early then on a plane as soon a we got off stage. It would have been nice to stick around, maybe next time. Around that time, Miami is totally fucking mental – and we don’t mind a good time but that place is nuts. We’ve played six other shows there and the clubs were amazing, although I suspect its not like that all year round. We’re back there in June, so we’ll see what it’s like then.

P: What is the Sydney music/club scene like?
Vibrant. There’s a lot happening, in a lot of different directions, it’s a pretty exciting thing to witness and even more so to be a part of. The overall appreciation of synth-pop and electro-house is through the roof, disco is big and there are so many young producers coming through. Its a real hotbed for breeding new talent at the moment.

P: If we came to Sydney where would you take us?
It would be a Sunday and I’d take you to Bondi for an afternoon swim then up to Icebergs Dining room for dinner and cocktails and then onto Sneaky Sundays at Hugos Lounge in Kings Cross, a night we’ve been hosting for 9 years. You’ll need a day of rest after that.

P: What other Australian stars should we be looking out for?
Donnie Sloan, Shazam, Bag Raiders, Beni and Ajax. They all have really good stuff due to come out in the near future – it’s the next generation and it’s a good one.

P: What are your 5 favorite songs of all time?
Impossible, impossible, impossible…but here’s 5 that spring to mind:

“This Guy’s In Love With You”– Herb Alpert
“Bizarre Love Triangle” – New Order
“Only Shooting Love” – Time Bandits
“Benny and the Jets” – Elton John
“Evil Woman” – ELO

Watch the video for our favorite SSS tune “Pictures”

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