So here is part two of Dontstopthepop's chat with Steve Anderson. In the first installment (click here or scroll down), the focus was of Kylie's Deconstruction work. Today, attention lies on the present and future work with Kylie. Steve also brings some light on other pop projects including Holly Valance and Britney Spears. Enjoy!
You seem to bring out something very special when you work with Kylie. Something intimate. Stay This Way, Ocean Blue, The Good Life! You bring out something others often don’t even get close. Why do you think this is?
I think we've known each other for so long whenever we get together to write something which is supposed to be for the new album we usually end up writing what we feel like at the time which we know will never fit on the album but still needs to be got out. This happened last year when we got together with every good intention of writing for "X" knowing exactly what the brief was and completely went the other way. Saying that , "That's Why They Write Love Songs" is utterly glorious and "Flower" is one of of the most important songs we have ever written and I was honored to be chosen to write it with her.
Yes! Flower...is beautiful. Stunning! I would go so far to say one of my favourite Kylie songs of recent years. Is there anything way it will be released? Perhaps an Itunes b-side to The One?"
Thank you, I am so pleased it got such an incredible reaction on the tour not only from audiences but also critics who hadn't really heard her sing anything quite like it before. Outside of its inclusion in the filmed show I have no control over what gets released, that would be a question for Parlophone.
I also adore Thats Why They Write Love Songs. I only heard it through Youtube of her Paris show but its absolutely fabulous! Will the studio version ever come out?
We love it too, I'm sure one day it will find its way out in one medium or another. Its more of a film musical song than a pop record.
The last eight years have been quite amazing. Touring, no.1’s and the OBE and so forth. What are your thoughts on the last four Kylie albums?
I loved "Light Years" and still do - "Kookachoo", "Loveboat" , 'So Now Goodbye" - great feeling on that record. I thought the singles from "Fever" were all really good especially "Love At First Sight" but wasn't overkeen on some of the album songs like "Fragile" which seemed to me a little rushed in the production. From "Body Language" I thought "Slow" and "Still Standing" in particular really stood out as being exceptional. And from "X" I think "No More Rain" is one of the best songs she has recorded and written and in general love everything she did with Karen Poole and Greg Kurstin who is my favorite producer right now hence I also love 'Wow'.
There is a tremendous thirst for details regarding unreleased stuff by Kylie. Lose Control is an amazing unreleased song. I can see it as a double a-side single with the fourth single from X! Instead of remixes, perhaps a re-release/tour version of X could come with loads of unreleased stuff!
There were some great songs that didn't quite make the album, mainly the ones with Greg and Karen but "Magnetic Electric" is on the US version and hopefully some of the others may pop out on b-sides as indeed they have been already.
I love The One. So glad to see it become the fourth single.
I’m so pleased it is as not only is it great and everyone loves it but also one of my oldest friends is James Wiltshire from the Freemasons and their new mix of it rocks hard! Plus of course I was so proud of him getting a song on her album.
My personal thoughts on X is that its part-popdance and the rest of it is rather a return to Kylie’s intimacy of her earlier work. I am thinking here of No More Rain and Cosmic. Stars is deeply emotional.
I think its a perfect cross section of everything that she stands for as an artist at the present time. The fact that it is so diverse only goes to show how unique she is as a performer especially when it comes to selling it live. This is also helped by the incredible band we have on the show led by the supremely talented Sarah deCourcy whom it has been such a joy for me to collaborate with especially as the show is quite a departure from what we have done before.
I know some people reviewed X and were expecting Kylie to release something that Britney had with Blackout which includes lyrics that are up front and word-for-word about her life. However I feel X is a perfect answer to Kylies last two years. The showgirl tour and the cancer equals X. I’ve suffered from health set-backs and the last thing I want to do is recall that time the doctors sat down with a concerned expression on their face. I just wanted to play some pop, giggle with mates and, yeah, watch some DVDs. X to me sounded perfect for Kylie at that time in her life. I think she got it perfectly right! It’s a shame the reviewers didn’t see it that way.
I think Kylie has expressed her reasons for how she approached this record already and I both respect and agree with them. As an overall body of work if you include a few of the songs that didn't make it I agree with you that she got it perfectly right.
To be sure, my only complaint is the omission of Do It Again! It’s up there with Wow, Love At First Sight and Butterfly in sunshine pop! Are there any more tracks like that you know of that could make an appearance in the near future?
Again, its not for me to say as its not my song but there is an incredible mid tempo Karen and Greg collaboration which is pure bliss. I hope that gets finished one day as it literally melted me.
Will we ever hear the danced up studio original version of White Diamond?
That would be up to the Scissor Sisters , however I was thrilled that Jake and Babydaddy really loved what I did with it especially as it ended up as a movie theme! So much so I did it again for "I Believe In You' on the ITV show, great songs can always have many different interpretations, thats the mark of them.
It seems as if I have a bit of a shopping list when it comes Kylie tracks. Forgive me!
Its fine - I like Kylie fans, remember I am one, as is William.
Now I want to know how you and Kylie sit down and construct a song. Take us through, for example, the production of Butterfly which you two wrote together.
Again this was a Real World moment, I got there a few days early and prepared some ideas to work on. I think this one though was written pretty much just on piano - it started off as a ballad and then by the time it got the chorus the Brother In Rhythm in me leaped in and it all went hands in the air very quickly as she was singing. I love piano, as if you hadn't noticed, and still think it is the only instrument that when done correctly can lift the roof off a place. It was written fairly quickly as all the great ones are and luckily I only needed to do a rough demo as Mark Picchioti took it to another level with his superb production. the same can also be said for Jon Douglas on "So Now Goodbye" which was written in the same way.
Can we also talk about the song Bittersweet Goodbye? Its amazing and eight years on I still adore it. Will Kylie ever perform it live and what was it about?
Again I feel uneasy talking about songs I did not write lyrics for - I think it probably has different meanings for different people which I am really pleased about. As far as musically, I took a walk around the grounds of Real World on a sunny afternoon and it just popped into my head, went straight back to the studio and we wrote it from there. I'm touched that you like it so much, thank you. There is a video on YouTube of it put to scenes from Final Fantasy which oddly enough really works well and is very moving.
You did a lot of work on the second album by Holly Valance with the talented Lisa Greene. What are your thoughts on State of Mind and that entire project looking back at it now?
I really loved "Hypnotic" on that album - I thought she sounded so cool on it and it was a much tougher sound than people would ever think would come from either of us. Also I loved working with her - she was so much fun but lacked self confidence which she didn't need to at all. I think sometimes singers from other fields like acting get patronised by some not so great producers and one bad experience is enough to really affect them. If you have confidence in someone they will usually do something way above what you expected as Holly did on that record. She struck me as someone who would always be doing something she enjoyed rather than felt that she should be doing and will always land on her feet - great Aussie spirit and mad kick boxing skills!
Would you ever consider working with other female singers in the future? Can I suggest Kristina Harvey? She’s amazing!
Of course - if I felt I could add something and was asked. I love female singers especially people like Sia, Rosie Thomas, Delta Goodrem, Lisa Hannigan and Imogen Heap and of course if Barbra Streisand came knocking I would be there in a heartbeat! . At the moment I really like Kirsten Price, Maria Mena and the gorgeous tone Alison Goldfrapp is using on their new album, she is a much better singer than she gets credit for. I checked out Kristina's MySpace and thought "It's Over" was really good, showed off the soulfullness of her low range really well and that kind of song suits her stylistically - thanks for the recommendation. Actually there is something coming up once the tour is up and running which is very exciting, someone I have worked with before but never in the studio as well as some really exciting stuff with another Australian and a new male singer the likes of which hasn't been heard in years which both William, Terry and I are all working on.
Can we talk at all about the amazingly talented Lisa Greene. I can’t wait for her Cd to come out. What is the sound and its direction?
Of course - all I know is that she is in the States recording it, she is so talented and we wrote lots of songs for other people of which my favorite two, "State Of Grace" and "Grow" we recorded with Britney but alas did not make the album. Again , songs we wanted to do rather than songs the record company wanted but Britney sounds incredible on both of them and that's down to Lisa. I can't wait to hear her record, I think some of our songs are on there but she is so prolific I can't be sure. We wrote "Dentro Me" for the RyanDan album which I am very proud of and of course 'Breathe On Me" again with Britney.
As with all bad situations like Kylie's diagnosis it must have effected you as her mate and long-term collaborator. At this time, did you yourself turn to music and what where the results?
I think that time for all of us is something very personal and would rather not comment - all I will say is music can be a great healer in many ways.
How do you write your music then? It has always intrigued me as an observer and listener. Do you stand back and listen back to the songs composed perhaps during darker moments and worry somewhat?
To be honest as long as you get there I don't think it matters how or what caused it.
Well, Steve thank you so much.
Thanks for your support Bobby and also for asking some good questions. Also your review of the show was the best I have read and really gets the point of what we were trying to do with this show. I am so proud of the show and our incredible new band led by the ridiculously talented Sarah deCourcy and of course the girl at the front who is without doubt the finest live performer you will ever see.