“A boy/girl pop duo from Manchester, Modernaire make pop dance music with a decedent underbelly of experimentation. Alex is the music man while Hannah is the one behind the lyrics and lead vocals. Together they have more to say about the current state of music than most, as well as how in 12 months time they could very well be “destitute and unloved.”
1. How did Modernaire start?
Alex: I played Hannah a track I’d done on my laptop and she wrote a song for it in about half an hour. We recorded it right there in her bedroom.
Hannah: Music history made amidst the wreckage and filth of a floral nightmare.
2. Do you guys share a similar taste in music?
Alex: No not really, although there are artists we both love, such as Bjork, or The Smiths.
Hannah: I’ve gone right off Morrissey since he was so rubbish and languid when I saw him live. We’re both very fond of music in general though, which is the main thing really.
3. What music are you into?
Alex: Too much to list really, but at the moment I’ve been listening to stuff like The Knife, JME, Marie Laforet, Gogol Bordello, Wanda Jackson, GZA, Sebastian, The Shirelles and Uffie. I like pop music that’s a bit wrong.
Hannah: Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen for the winter months, gypsy dervish folk stomp for the summer. Led Zeppelin and P. J. Harvey all year round. Last night I had an epiphany when I was played God Speed You! Black Emperor, I want to do more epic string music along those magnificent majestic lines.
4. Who do you aspire to be?
Alex: A producer who makes great, original pop music, someone like Stuart Price, Richard X or Timbaland.
5. Finish this sentence – Modernaire sound like…
Alex: Girls Aloud if they were 17th century Parisian assassins disguised as prostitutes. Feist having a threesome with Daft Punk, whilst Joni Mitchell poisons Prince with mercury.
Hannah: I don’t like questions like this. They are difficult to answer properly and are usually inaccurate. I’d hope not to sound like anything else in particular.
6. We’d say you write POP tunes. Would you agree or is ‘POP’ the dirtiest word in music?
Alex: Yes, definitely. I don’t think Pop is a bad thing at all. There’s just a lot of rubbish pop around. I think too many bands just concentrate on getting a good “sound” that shows off their trendy influences, rather than actually writing good songs. It amazes me that some bands get so big when they haven’t really written a memorable tune. Loads of indie people are really snobby about R’n’B, but I think people like Kelis or Justin Timberlake put out far better songs than Forward Russia, Babyshambles or The Pipettes for example. A Pop tune doesn’t have to be really simple or obvious either. I think Aphex Twin’s ‘Windowlicker’ is one of the greatest pop songs ever written.
Hannah: Pop has been bastardised by hordes of vacuous hell spawn, assembled in a factory in Milton Keynes and sent to plague us with their joyless accounts of so-called love. But that’s not even music as I understand the word, so we can ignore all that. Once upon a time, pop was a noble thing, and it still can be nowadays.
7. ‘Faites Tes Jeux’ is a tune about gambling, death and robbery right? How close to Modernaire’s real life existence are such events/issues?
Hannah: All my song lyrics are entirely autobiographical.
Alex: I used to go to a Casino in London, but it was incredibly depressing and unglamorous, and I stopped going after I lost all the money I’d made over a month in one single night. It was full of drunk Chinese men who wept when they lost the money their wives had given them to buy birthday presents for the kids with. A huge African guy with a diamond Rolex once gave me a ¬£5000 chip to gamble for him, but I was too scared I’d lose his money. It certainly wasn’t like Monte Carlo.
8. MySpace – pure evil or pure genius?
Alex: I think it’s a great idea, but it annoys me when bands just randomly add loads of people and put flyers up on their sites. We don’t really add people we don’t know, it seems a bit rude. I’ve come across some amazing music on MySpace – stuff like Alex Rider and the Fluxes, Souvlaki or Paul Green for example. I also think bands should be able to have more songs up, and sell mp3’s as downloads.
Hannah: Neither. It’s a useful tool.
10. Where do you stand on the New Rave scene?
Alex: There is no New Rave scene really, it’s something the NME made up to try and make kids buy the NME so they can find out what’s going on in “the scene” this week! I’ve seen all those bands like Klaxons, Datarock and Shitdisco. I like most of and they certainly have nothing to do with Rave music.
Hannah: I know nothing of such the bands, but they have nothing in common with each other apart from the fact you can dance to their music, things.
11. Manchester hogs all the greats while the south is left with The Ordinary Boys. Discuss.
Alex: I don’t really agree with that, I think there are plenty of great acts from the south: Hot Chip, Patrick Wolf, The Rakes, Zongamin, loads of Grime, Bishi, about a million more I can’t think of. I do think Manchester has a better scene though, everyone seems to know everyone and there’s a lot of good stuff people are doing themselves.
Hannah: That’s a vast generalisation. Good music comes from everywhere.
12. Pet hates?
Hannah: Wet feet.
Alex: I can’t stand listening to people talk on the bus, I have to put my fingers in my ears and make a low humming sound.
13. Put these scenarios in order of preference for the future of Modernaire, with reasons.
A) You blow up like the arctic monkeys but suffer the same backlash and last 1 year at the top.
B) You blow up like U2, turn into a couple of Bonos and start trying to save the world. You’re rich and famous beyond your wildest dreams but you are likened to Bono.
C) You experience the moderate success of Shed 7 or The Bluetones.
Alex: I think c, b, a, although I’m not entirely sure who Shed 7 or The Bluetones are. I’d rather be moderately successful than hugely so. We have been approached by an A & R from a major label who wanted to hear our demo, but having seen their roster (and sales) I’m sure they’d never sign us in a thousand moons.
Hannah: None of the above, we shall carve our own path.
14. What does the future hold for Modernaire?
Alex: We’re on the new High Voltage compilation ‘Full Charge’ which is out November 6, we’ve got quite a few gigs lined up in Manchester, supporting the Hot Puppies in December, working on remixes for The Holloways and Hot Puppies (that will probably never see the light of day), recording more songs, and we’re also hopefully going to be on a Jackdaw Recordings record next year. I’d love to put out a 7″ single, just as a limited run of 500 on a little label, that’s always been my dream.
Hannah: The nature of the future is that it is difficult to predict.
15. Is guitar music dead?
Alex: No not at all, but quite a lot of it sounds like it’s been made by dead people.
Hannah: Guitar music will never die. The tragedy is that mainstream music is entirely dominated by identikit idiot boys who think that a leather jacket is the only thing you need to be in a rock band. And there’s a lot to be learned from the dead.
16. Other than music, what are Modernaire into?
Hannah: Anne Bonny and Mary Reed, sword-wielding buccaneers who fought tooth and nail against part of the British army sent to commandeer their ship. The male members of their crew were too drunk to fight and eventually our heroines were overpowered. When Anne went to visit her lover Jack Calico in jail, she was heard to utter: ‘If you had fought like a man, you need not be hanged like a dog.’ Wikipedia is indeed a fountain of intricate myth.
Alex: The Borgia family, who were a powerful Spanish-Italian dynasty during the Renaissance. They were all fucking each other, and they poisoned anyone they didn’t particularly like. One of them, Alexander, was the pope, and he held huge orgies on religious festivals. He also declared that all pictures of Jesus should look like his son, which is why Jesus is always portrayed as a weedy white man with a long beard. I wish I was a Borgia.
17. Finish this sentence – in 12 months Modernaire will be…
Alex: Destitute and unloved, or the darlings of the New-New-New-Rave scene.
Hannah: Ruling the waves with an iron-like fistful of bespoke beats.
18. Any other business?
Alex: If you could mention that you can buy some of our mp3’s at www.Jackdawrecordings.Com and our myspace (www.myspace.com/modernairetheband) that’d be great! Cheers.
Hannah: If you could also mention www.myspace.com/moulettes, which is the other band I sing and play in, I would be most grateful. It’s a different kettle of fish, but intriguing nonetheless.