Norwegian cult synth pop act Shatoo prepare comebackPosted on 22/02/13
One of Norway's biggest synthpop bands, apart from A-ha, called Shatoo, are heading for a comeback. They have not released an album or any material at all since their 1988 album "Life".
Today, Friday 22nd. February, both the Shatoo albums + the Dag Brandth solo-album have been released digitally worldwide in remastered editions with bonus tracks including 7" b-sides, remixes etc (get both Shatoo albums here on iTunes, the Dag Brandth album can be found here on iTunes). These albums never have been released on CD again since their original pressings in 1987/1988 and never been released digitally at all. All 3 albums are remastered by ex-Yello member Carlos Perón.
And there is also new material coming up, namely a first new single since 1988, entitled "Nothing That I Wouldn't Do", produced by Per Aksel Lundgreen (Apoptygma Berzerk, Angst Pop, Cronos Titan and Chinese Detectives) and Roy Julian Digre (Technomancer, Laboratory 5).
This will be followed by a "Best Of" CD, including the new single, the old singles, and some 2013 versions of the old classics in new beefed-up versions. To top this off, Shatoo will return on stage for some live-shows this spring/summer. Says Dag Brandth: "Finally I don’t have to look and/or sound the way a manager tells me to. I'm not 15 years anymore, and I can go back to my synth/electronic roots, and to be honest, I'd like to do more industrial/EBM versions of my songs now! Apoptygma Berzerk are one of my favourite bands, and I'd like to sound like them, heck, I'd even like to be the lead singer in Apoptygma Berzerk, ha ha!".
The story for Shatoo started in 1984 when Dag Brandth bought his first keyboard and 4-track recorder. He started making demos and wanted to sound like Eurythmics, Soft Cell, The Human League or Frankie Goes To Hollywood. The problem for Dag was that he was only 12 years old at the time, and not many labels signed up 12-year olds. At age 15 he met Lars Hoel, a manager that saw the potential in this young guy, and after listening to some of his demos, he decided he wanted to invest in his future. He cherry picked two other members for the band that got the name Shatoo, but they where more posterboys than anything else, as Dag wrote all the songs and did all the vocals.
The 3 were sent to Stockholm to release their debut-album "A True Story" holding all the songs from Dag’s early demo-tapes, but now produced by Ulf Wahlberg of Swedish synthpop sensation Secret Service. When the slickly produced debut hit the shops in 1987, it was an instant hit. The first single from the album, "Overload" was a number one in the Norwegian charts 11 weeks in a row, and the follow up double a-side single "Santorini"/"Dangertown" made it into the top 5 charts too. This was all in the wake of and in competition with A-ha, and after selling 50.000 copies of their debut album, Shatoo was heading for a golden future, or at least so everybody thought.
They were launched in France and in Japan with huge success, and the manager and the record company demanded an instant follow-up. All the old demo material had been recorded, so the band was sent to Thailand (I still wonder what all these Scandinavians have with that country) for 2 months to record the new album without any distractions. Just before departure, Calle Marcussen was thrown out of the band by the management (because of an incident still not clear to the public), and then they where two.
The follow-up album was written in a hurry, and also this one was produced by Ulf Wahlberg of Secret Service. It spurred singles like "Queensland", "The Oriental Touch" and "Fly Fly", but it failed to chart, and 'only' sold 25.000 copies in 1988. Further pressure was put on Dag Brandth, the man with the melodies and the voice, and under intense stress, a solo-album, "Tranquility" was produced together with Guy Fletcher. The songs "One Night Love" and "Starlight" gave them some airplay, but the album flopped, selling only 8.000 copies. The story was over, and Dag moved first to Stockholm where he recorded a 7" with Peo Thyrén that today is a super rare collectors item, before moving to London to try and find a way back to his musical roots.
Posted by B. Van Isacker
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