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Pet Shop Boys: "Xenomania are never [being] boring"
Posted at 11:43 AM, 26 June 2010 -

Interview Magazine spoke to Neil Tennant ahead of Pet Shop Boys' Glastonbury performance tonight. He talked about Xenomania and the Grammy-nominated album Yes:
What are your thoughts on how your songwriting collaborators, production team Xenomania, have transformed mainstream music this decade?

TENNANT: They're fascinating because, like us, they work in the area of experimental mainstream pop music. Taking mainstream music by the scruff of its neck is the most exciting and difficult thing to do. They never stick to one sound, so they're never boring. They have a big range. It's a team of people who really love music, a situation which actually reminds me of my journalism days at Smash Hits–we were all obsessed with pop music. As musicians, Xenomania share that ethos and have a fresh outlook. So, working with them really suited us. We almost wrote with them for our previous record, Fundamental, but then we heard New Order were doing so, and we didn't want to deal with accusations of ripping them off, even though that collaboration ended up fizzling.

What was the process of recording with Xenomania's Brian Higgins like? He's notoriously tricky to work with—Franz Ferdinand actually quit working with the team because their energies clashed.

TENNANT: I know—it's a shame because I think that could have been an amazing record. For us, it was interesting because I find that Brian has a very flexible way of writing songs. But I think for a lot of bands, his methods are tricky, indeed. Brian is highly disciplined, and I think most acts find it very challenging to deal.

With those massive hooks, "Love Etc." should have been a #1 hit, no?

TENNANT: It should have been bigger! But when you're our age and you've been around a long time, it doesn't matter how good the record is. They're not going to play it! [UK's] Radio 1 said to us, "It's an amazing record—but we're not going to play it." It didn't fit their youth demographic; they don't want to introduce anyone new to the Pet Shop Boys. But in Germany, "Love Etc." was on the charts for months. Of course, we haven't been played in America for years.

Pet Shop Boys are set to headline the Other Stage at the Glastonbury Festival tonight for the second time in their career. They are due onstage at 10.15 pm and their entire set will also be broadcast live on BBC3 TV.

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