Steve Anderson is a legend. As one half of Brothers In Rhythm he produced some of the most memorable anthems of the dancefloor during the 90's. After reaching number one in the US dance charts with Such A Good Feeling, Anderson and Seaman remixed Kylie Minogues ballad Finer Feelings. It was a collaboration that would shape the last 15 years of Kylie's recent discography. Note! The interview took place before I saw the recent Kylie tour so it doesn't concentrate on that but rather the music released (and unreleased too!) throughout Minogues career. Dontstopthepop speaks to the producer of a large number of her songs and soundtrack to her tours. What follows is about the music: "little step back in time”: the feelings, the history and of course how the songs came to be!
During the period between Kylie Minogue 1994 and Impossible Princess there was a tremendous amount of debate and discussion. More than there is today. It was the time of KylieUSA, KylieUltra, Kylie’s Dreamworld and the beginning of Kylie’s online presence. She’d released Kylie Minogue 1994 and people were patiently waiting! A dedicated group of fans begun talking of a LP dubbed “Let It Go”. Can you bring any light on this project?
There was a song called 'Let It Go' which was one of many we recorded as demo's for "Impossible Princess" - I can only assume this is where that name came from. Its usual during an album to record and demo many songs, some of which end up on the record, some which don't even though they are really good but may not fit the overall feel and have a knack of sneaking out eventually and some which are frankly not good enough. "Let It Go' falls into the middle category but the version was not a finished production in the way that both 'You're The One" and "Love Takes Over Me" were - I remember it had great lyrics though.
Can you tell us the process behind the epic song Love Takes Over Me. It so deserved to be on Impossible Princess. How did it come about?
And speaking of which, this was one of the first songs we wrote for IP and came about from me wanting to basically do a James Bond theme - very influenced by David Arnold who I love. The effects really make it and the vocal performance is really on the edge and a little out of control which is great - kind of similar to where she went on stage in the middle of 'Free" and at the end of the "Where Is The Feeling" Soundtrack Mix.
I love the swooping marching beats layered with the strings! Its Kleerup, its Robyn, its Eric Serra, its Mirwais. Its epic. You can almost taste it!
Why thank you - we really liked it too.
I want to know something about the creation of Dreams. It’s a brilliantly constructed song. You can clearly hear the classical overtones and yet it refuses to be melodramatic. How was this done?
A lot of the songs for IP started as instrumental ideas which I would put together ready for when she came to the studio. On this particular one it was a very cinematic idea (which comes as no surprise for me) and she had been reading the poems of Billy Childish of which Impossible Princess was one. The two just matched immediately and the metaphor worked really well at the time as she could relate to the words. I loved that we included a new version of it in "Homecoming" as it had an even more poignant meaning and also in the beach sequence of "White Diamond" where the fit was perfect. I thought William did an incredible job on that film, really beautifully made and I am very proud of him.
Talking of another song which didn’t appear on the LP was the absolutely amazing song Take Me With You (see here). The song throws Kylie into worldly limbo. A place we’ve not heard her enter all that much. Where did this song come from?
This was part of the incredible creative place that is Peter Gabriel's Real World studio in Bath. We had mixed "Intimate and Live" there as it was a double album and we needed a residential studio - during that time we redecorated one of the rooms and turned it into a disco complete with mirrorball which was quite something for a respected world music studio! Peter's face was a real picture when he wandered in but I think he secretly loved it ! Anyway, I fell in love with the place and regularly used to book a few weeks down there in a small demo room to work on ideas. This was after Decon and just before Parlophone and in one of the weeks she called and asked if she could pop down and try some ideas out. This was the beginning of what we like to refer to as "Real World Moments" of which "Paper Dolls", "Harmony" and "Bittersweet Goodbye" also fit as well as "Butterfly", "So Now Goodbye", "Feels So Good" and was where much later on we did our research, preparation and recording for what became the "White Diamond" soundtrack but started as an album of classic songs by people such as Blossom Dearie, Julie London and Lena Horne (of which Lena's "Come On Strong" Kylie performed with Jools Hollands Orchestra on his Hootenanny show for the BBC in 2007). "Take Me With You' really encaptures the Real World spirit I think and I love the end section which was completely created by my engineer Alan Bremner and his host of delays when we returned to Real World to mix the album.
With the songs Confide In Me and Dangerous Game, we heard Kylie’s voice turn and evolve into something incredibly intimate yet rather large. Compare Love Is Waiting for example and the songs of beforehand and its like two different artists. In this period, Kylie emerges and we hear a side to her performance we haven't before. Would you agree with this summing up and what was that like as a song-writer yourself to see and watch?
I think going from SAW which has been well documented as vocals being done 'with the cab waiting' she was just so happy people were giving her time and advice on how she would sing songs as well as experimenting with her vocals. Of course she is an incredible singer in the first place which a lot of people discover when they try and cover songs like 'Better The Devil You Know" thinking they are easy when in fact they really aren't. Countless reality show contestants have fallen at that particular hurdle. "Confide In Me" and "Dangerous Game" were the original vocals from the demo's with maybe a few lines overdubbed at Sarm West. As for "Love Is Waiting" the credit for that one belongs to my dear friend Terry Ronald who did the vocal arrangement and really pushed her in the studio with the adlibs. After she had done that we just kept on pushing and pushing with incredible results and I am still doing so to this day. She never ceases to astonish and amaze me.
Love Is Waiting is amazing song by the way! I love the big note she sings at the end…
Written by the lovely Tracey Ackerman and a gift for me with it all being piano, strings and brass. The end vocals are some of the best Kylie has ever recorded for me and I had the opportunity to work with Terry again last year when he was Vocal Arranger for "Rent" and did an incredible job.
Kylie as an artist. Why is this such an unfathomable concept for some to accept? Coldplay’s Fix You is just as glorious as Stay This Way, Paper Dolls and Bittersweet Goodbye?
I think people see what they want to see and some can't take someone seriously if they are known for bubbly pop songs. The thing about Kylie is that she sounds incredible on anything which is rare for any singer, I think its great that people get to hear both sides even if they have to search a little harder to do so. Of course she is an artist , its ridiculous to think otherwise after all this time.
Will we ever get to hear a recorded/proper version of Free?
I think the version on "Intimate And Live" is the proper version. It has all the elements of the demo and I still love the song.
Just for clarification purposes what is the difference between Stay This Way and Stay With You?
"Stay With You" was another demo from IP that just wasn't up to scratch - "Stay This Way" is one of my favorite Kylie songs of all time. Her vocal is gorgeous.
Are there any songs from this period that are crying to be heard?
The old "You're The One' debate is always a good one. I really love that song. Most of the rest have come out one way or another, if they haven't there is probably a very good reason for it. "Floating" had a charm about it but again was only a demo.
I mean, with songs with titles Hush Hush, Miles and Let it Go sound so tantalizing!
"Miles" referred to Miles Davis as it had a really cool feel to it but the song had nothing to do with him , again a demo that was never really finished. "Hush Hush" was fairly 80's and Human League and "Let It Go" was kind of like "Hyperballad" by Bjork.
Could there be a box-set of some kind? Of all the unreleased Deconstruction sort of stuff that the hardcore fans could purchase?
That's a question for BMG surely, however I don't think its in anyones interest for anything that isn't up to scratch being released as it serves only an inquisitive purpose and not an artistic one.
What is your favourite Kylie song?
That changes most days especially when we are in the middle of a show especially one which is literally defined in every way by "No More Rain" which is without doubt my favorite at the moment. Also I can say I have never fallen out of love with "Harmony" and her vocal on "You Are There" still gets me every time especially after the way William used the song in the film. She is my favorite singer, which is why I love my job.
Stay this way, I Believe In You, White Diamond and so on. They could all appear next to the legendary “Dusty In Memphis” album. Will there ever be some kind of album where in which Kylie actually sits down with you, a piano and a massive orchestra and just let rip?
Yes please - would love to do something live like that too maybe as a one off special although I think Sarah deCourcy would play the piano - she is much better at it than me....
In part two we talk about X, The One, unreleased tracks like Flower, the new tour, new singers, and the future!
Steve's official site: Steve Anderson Productions
Dontstopthepops 2007 interview with Steve Anderson