Where we're going, we don't need roads; just a synthesizer, eyeliner, and a touch of androgyny. Welcome to Flashback Friday.
British new wave bands tend to dominate the conversation when we talk '80s with our local bands. Belgium-born Phoenix-dweller Youceff Kabal, A.K.A. Yus, is a fan, too, but he is also privy to some cool french fellas as well.
We chat with the local electronic experimenter about some of his favorite '80s acts for this week's installment of FF.
Up on the Sun: What are some of your favorite '80s groups?
Youceff Kabal: I have to say it took me a little while to dive into that decade. You always hear the popular jams like Michael Jackson or Cindy Lauper, but it's kind of endearing to actually dive in and find stuff that's still relevant. I'd say my favorite guy from the '80s has to be Brian Eno. My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts is the perfect record, you can listen to it and you'll be like, "oh, that kinda sounds like that band that I listen to today, but like 30 years ago." That band Surfer Blood actually kinda ripped one of his songs. If you listen to "Swim" by SB, and then to "Needles In The Camel's Eye" by Eno, it's like the same song. All his work for the Talking Heads is brilliant as well, of course. Before and After Science is close to my heart as well but that's from the '70s, and then whoever hasn't listened to "An Ending" needs to stop reading this, and put the song on while they read the rest of the interview. I like Depeche Mode a lot too, but Violator, my favorite, came out in 1990. Soft Cell's dope, Eurythmics; that band Orange Juice has a song called "Rip It Up" that I like a lot, the list goes on.
You mentioned some french bands before. I'm really excited to hear about them. Any difference from the British new wave pop that was so popular?
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Yeah, I should've mentioned that before. I grew up in Belgium and so bands from the '80s over there were still very active in the late '90s and early '00s. Indochine was probably the most popular one, Noir Desir was there too, and that lady, Lizzy Mercier Descloux also, she's cool. Indochine, which is inspired by Indochina and the whole French imperialism thing, had this song called, "J'ai Demandé A La Lune" which translates to "I Asked The Moon," that they released in 2002 and that struck me as one of the prettiest songs I'd ever heard. In the '80s they were more like new wave, but it's still good stuff.
Did you find any inspiration in any of the music? How would you say it resonates with you today?
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Yeah definitely. I mean a lot of it I discovered after I finished my first record so there isn't much '80s in that, or at least it wasn't a conscious effort, but some of Eno's programming still stands up as incredibly innovative to me today; same with Talking Heads harmonies. I hope I can do that too, like have someone listen to my stuff thirty years from now and they can still find cool or innovative things about it.