Sally Shapiro‘s music is heavily influenced by 80s italo disco. The project also includes the composer and producer Johan Agebjörn, both live in Lund, Sweden. Their debut maxi-single « I’ll Be By Your Side » was released on the Austrian Diskokaine label in the summer of 2006, and was later followed up by the album « Disco Romance » and the maxi-single « Anorak Christmas ».
In 2007, « Disco Romance » was released in North America by Paper Bag Records. The album was nominated as « electronic/dance album of the year » on U.S. Plug Awards, while Sally herself was nominated as « female artist of the year ». The tracks were later remixed by Junior Boys, Lindstrøm, Juan MacLean, Tensnake to mention a few.
In 2009, the follow-up album « My Guilty Pleasure » was released on Permanent Vacation/Paper Bag and was called « one of 2009s best » by Popjustice.
Sally Shapiro is back with a new single « What Can I Do » and a new album on Feb 26th 2013!
Hello Sally, how are you? You are back with a new single but mostly with a new album. At last. How long did it take you to record it?
Yes finally 🙂 We worked on it about a year, between summer 2011 and summer 2012. Then there’s been mastering, artwork, remixing etc during the autumn.
Is the album once again totally produced by Johan? How did you two meet by the way?
It’s mostly produced by Johan but there are more co-producers than earlier. Especially Le Prix who is involved on several tracks. I and Johan met in a youth environmental organization many years ago. We became friends but we didn’t start to make music together until five years later.
You’ve always wanted to be a singer? or were you meant to do something else?
Well actually being a singer is just a hobby. I have a normal job too. I was lucky to be asked by Johan to sing on this project. But I don’t perform live, standing on stage is not for me.
Let’s get back to Somewhere Else, can you tell us a bit more about it? Will the album be a logical follow-up to My Guilty Pleasure?
It’s more varied than both Disco Romance and My Guilty Pleasure, I’d say. There are more real instruments like flute, guitars, saxophone. Johan also released a solo album called Casablanca Nights in 2011 where he experimented with different collaborators (like Le Prix) and new ideas, so in one way, it takes on from there. But the style of songwriting is pretty much the same.
How many titles have you recorded for the new album? And in the end how do you pick what will be kept for the final tracklist?
Actually, we recorded just the tracks that were supposed to be on the album, and that finally were included. We hear pretty early if a track works or not, so we don’t even record tracks that don’t feel good.
You took part in one track by Anoraak last year. How did you meet? Has this experience made you feel like doing other featurings with new artists?
It started with Anoraak making a remix of Anorak Christmas, partly because of the similarity in words! (That remix has only been spread to blogs, but it’s finally included on this album as a bonus track on the digital release.) Then he contacted us about collaborating on a track for his album. He sent two instrumental tracks, and Johan wrote melody and lyrics to one of them. There are two versions of the track, one more guitar-based and one more electronic. The guitar-based version was included on Anoraak’s album and the electronic « alternative » version is now included on our album.
We’ve also made a collaboration track with Electric Youth (included on this album) and one with Fred Ventura (released as a 12″ last year). Then I have tried a few other collaborations that were not as successful. I made a track with Psychemagik which was paid for by Warner Music UK but it was never released. I also made a track with another duo, but I wasn’t 100% happy with the end result, so it’s going to be released without anyone knowing that I sing on it. So overall the experience is a bit mixed, but of course I’d be up for a collaboration if it’s an artist and a track that I really like.
How did you decide upon the name Sally Shapiro?
It was Johan’s idea, he suggested we should use a pseudonym like in the days of italo disco, something that sounded English, a surname that was not too uncommon and not too common. We thought Sally Shapiro sounded good.
In an interview for Pitchfork, to the question « Is there any offer you couldn’t refuse? A band or singer that you couldn’t turn down if they wanted you to open for them, or something? », you answered, Of course it would be hard to turn down, like, Mylène Farmer or stuff like that. Are you a fan of Mylène Farmer? Since which period have you known this ultra popular artist in France?
I discovered Myléne Farmer in 2004 (I think) when a friend (who is often i France) had forgotten a CD in a CD player, I pressed play and loved it from the start. Both I and Johan listen a lot to her music, especially the 80s stuff.
Who are the french artists you are listening to by the way?
Apart from Mylène Farmer: Elsa (« T’en Vas Pas »), Francoise Hardy and Air for example. I’m not so good at checking out new stuff.
Once the album is out, have you got any other projects? Collaborations? Tour?
Not anything which is official yet…
Your last word for our TEEZ’FM listeners?
Thanks to Sally Shapiro
Special Thanks to Johan Agebjörn
Interview by Thierry Jaussaud / (Trad : Valencia Ehrhart)