Anything you’re going to read in the press in the next few months about the impending Stateside success of U.K. electro duo La Roux will no doubt make reference to their ’80s synth pop style influences and declare “The ’80s are back!” The only problem with that is that the ’80s never really went away, particularly in the indie dance scene.
“The underground dance scene has always been influenced by genres like synth pop, disco, breaks, or old school house and techno,” says singer Elly Jackson, who’s garnered as much attention for her glam style as for her wounded dance diva persona. “They fall in and out of favor in the mainstream though so it’s natural that the media will make statements like that. It was the same in the U.K. A similar thing happens with fashion all the time, Vogue will suddenly declare that ’70s flares are back, but there are people out there who only ever wear ’70s flares, regardless of whether it’s on trend or not.”
Whether it’s indie acts like Robyn or Sally Shapiro, or more mainstream explosions of synthy-kitsch ala Lady Gaga and Key$ha, the market for this type of exuberant pop still runs across demographics here.
“It’s all pop. We all like catchy hooks and are speaking to people about normal emotions and things we experience and people empathize with that. If my music was sung by someone with a more mainstream image then I think it would appeal to a more mainstream crowd, but because I dress like David Bowie and Annie Lennox’s androgynous love child it will probably appeal more to the indie scene,” says Jackson.
“What’s been amazing in the U.K. is that we had mainstream chart success and I’ve had so many letters and emails from girls saying ‘You’re really different, I love it! I’m not like all the blonde girls on TV and you make me feel like that’s OK.’”
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