*EXCLUSIVE* Interview with Sally Shapiro

One of Art-opology's favorites, Sally Shapiro, gave us an exclusive interview for all their fans. The Swedish italodisco duo composed by Shapiro and Johan Agebjörn has released two albums: “Disco Romance” (2006) and “My Guilty Pleasure” (2009) and several singles and collaborations with some great artists like CFCF, Anoraak, Wolfram, etc.
Even though they have stated that they won’t be performing live anymore as Sally Shapiro, they continue releasing music as collaborations, remixes, and lately with Agebjörn’s solo project “Casablanca Nights” that also features Sally’s vocals in some songs and keeps all the spirit and atmosphere of the Sally Shapiro’s releases.

1. Tell us about your inspirations. What was the process to conceive the Sally Shapiro project?

Sally and Johan: Both of us were fans of romantic italo disco from around 1984 - artists like Valerie Dore, Katy Gray and Savage. Our first track "I'll Be By Your Side" was meant to recreate that sound. It went so well so we decided to continue the project, and as time has gone by we have let ourselves be influenced from other kinds of music as well, like indie pop and nu disco.

2. Which artists do you have in mind when you compose music?

Sally and Johan: Those mentioned Italian artists are inspiration sources but also artists like Mylène Farmer and Annie.

3. Do you prefer software or hardware instruments when composing music?

Johan: Both. Another thing I like to do is to record waveforms to tapes at high pitches and then sampling them and transposing them a few octaves down. That can produce very warm sounding pad sounds.

4. It’s been quite a long time (maybe not for you, but for us your fans it is!) since the release of your last album ‘My Guilty Pleasure’ back in 2009. Are you planning on releasing more music as Sally Shapiro in the future?

Sally and Johan: We have no concrete plans for a new album. Sally has appeared on a few new tracks on Johan's new album and we hope you haven't missed that. :) We are also working on a new single.

5. You have stated that you won't be performing live as Sally Shapiro anymore. Do you have any other musical projects besides Johan Agebjörn's solo album? (that by the way is amazing!)

Sally: I have been spending some time by myself singing and playing acoustic guitar. So far I haven't recorded any of it though, but maybe one day. I also sang on a track by another artist that is not released yet.

6. Speaking of ‘Casablanca Nights’, Johan’s new solo album, please tell us a little bit about the process of composing your first solo album ‘Casablanca Nights’

Johan: Actually there was never a conscious decision to put together a solo album. I started to collaborate with some people (Le Prix, Ercola, Lovelock etc) on a bunch of tracks, but I didn't know if they were going to be released on singles/EPs, on other people's albums, or whatever. Then suddenly I realized I had a number of tracks that would fit very well together as an album. I asked the people involved and everyone was positive to releasing them as part of a Johan Agebjörn album. I think it's quite fantastic that you can put together an album recorded in 15-20 cities (Milan, Pittsburgh, Montreal, London etc) almost without travelling, I just travelled once to Stockholm and once to Helsinki. But for sure I'd like to meet the people I have worked with, many of them I have still only had Internet contact with.

7. Sally are you thinking about releasing any solo work?

No, that is not anything that I have in mind. Although - see answer to question 5.

8. We recently heard your spectacular collaboration with Wolfram in the song ‘Hold My Breath’. Tell us something about this work and also your collaboration with Anoraak.

Sally and Johan: Actually the "Hold My Breath" thing is a remix Johan made for Wolfram of a track he made with Holy Ghost, with some additional vocals by Sally which are not in the original version of the track. We've known Wolfram since 2006, when he released the first Sally Shapiro singles and album on his Diskokaine label. The collaboration with Anoraak (a track written by Anoraak and Johan, with vocals by Sally) came after he made a remix of our track "Anorak Christmas".

9. Would you like to collaborate with any other artists?

Sally and Johan: Not anyone in particular, but we like collaborations.

10. Is there any artist or song that you would love to make a remix for?

Johan: Not anyone in particular, but it would be special to remix some of the artists I listened to as a kid. Actually that happened very recently with Jam & Spoon (to be released). I'm thinking of artists like Pet Shop Boys, Kraftwerk, The KLF, Sandra, Savage, Valerie Dore etc.

11. What are your favorite artists and songs at the moment? And your favorite songs of all time?

Sally: At the moment I´m listening much to Regina Spektor, my favourite song just now is "Eet". Other artists I really like are Au Revoir Simone and Stina Nordenstam.

Johan: Difficult to say "of all time" since it changes. During the latest years a favourite disco producer of mine has been Bogdan Irkük. An ambient hero of mine is Biosphere. Maybe the biggest musical genius ever is Aphex Twin.

Songs - too difficult to choose!

It was a pleasure!

Also, Sally Shapiro has an exclusive gift for all their Art-opology fans: a completely unrelased remix of their song "Jackie Jackie" by the Greek duo Marsheaux, that you can listen here and also download for free!

And last but not least you must know that Johan and Sally have just released a new 12” with the song “Alice” (including two remixes) from Johan’s album “Casablanca Nights” released as Fred Ventura vs. Sally Shapiro on Disco Evolution, sublabel of Flashback Records

Angelo Svart

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