A few words from the producer about the release of "Disco Romance"

When I was ten years old, a classmate recorded a tape for me with what he called "italio disco". I immediately fell in love with tracks such as "Love spy" (Mike Mareen), "USSR" (Eddy Huntington) and "Valentino mon amour" (Alan Ross). From then on, although having taken piano lessons for a few years, I realized that what I really wanted to create was electronic music - that the possibilities of a synth reach so much longer than the possibilities of an electric guitar. The mixtape had a big impact on my life.

For my classmate, italo disco was just a temporary interest, but not for me. I saved all the money I got from my mum for the Zyx "The Best of Italo Disco" compilations. At school parties I always played italo disco, but I was the only one who liked it, my classmates just got irritated, hit "stop" and put on New Kids on the Block instead. Also, the content on the Zyx compilations changed from italo disco to bad house music, so after a while I felt I was the only one in the world still liking the music.

This changed in 2003, when I found a search engine on the Internet that claimed it was searching on 400 italo disco web sites... I was shocked. I was not alone anymore.

Although I have been into a lot of other kinds of electronic music as well - ambient, electro, electronica, techno, house, synth pop... - italo disco has a special place in my heart, since it's the type of music that I have listened to for the longest time. I think it's quite fantastic that I still love tracks which I first heard in 1989 (Savage "Don't cry tonight", Valerie Dore "Get closer", Mr. Flagio "Take a chance"...). Therefore, it means a lot to me to - together with a fantastic singer with the right voice - be able to contribute a bit to the genre myself, even though it happens 20 years too late...

"Disco Romance" has its heart in italo disco, even though it also contains tracks which are more modern-sounding ("I know", "Hold me so tight") while still being inspired by the genre (the double octave bass!). "Sleep in my arms" and the two remixes aren't italo disco at all - in the end I didn't want it to be a narrow album where all tracks sound the same. Of course I think it's possible to achieve that while still keeping to the same genre, but I must admit that I'm not there yet, I still have many tricks to learn, synths to buy... Still, I'm quite happy with the end result.

I wonder what my classmates would say if they got to hear that I am releasing an album inspired by italo disco, that irritating type of music that I forced them to listen to. I think they would sigh, maybe laugh, think that I haven't evolved. But I'm quite happy to be lost in the 80s.

Johan Agebjörn

 

PS. A few words about some of the tracks:

- "Anorak Christmas" is a cover version of a song by Swedish indie artist Nixon. By a strange coincidence, when searching for the song-writer (and only member of Nixon) for the permission to release the track, we discovered that I had already been in contact with him and that he was subscribed to our newsletter!

- "Hold me so tight" is a remake of an older, instrumental track of mine called "Analogue France" (free download).

- The "Norwegian electrojazz mix" of "Find my soul" has its drums and overall sound taken from an older track of mine called "Digital Norway" (free download), including a sample from a Norwegian girl.

- "Sleep in my arms" is partly a cover version on a track by Erik van den Broek (a.k.a. Shiver) called "Ursa Major 7".

- The North American version of the album was released almost one year later and includes three bonus tracks: "Skating in the moonshine", "Jackie Jackie" and "He keeps me alive", the last-mentioned another Nixon cover.