After teasing fans with the track Fire & The Flame last month, electronic pop duo Born Stranger are gearing up for their live debut after spending the last 12 months working on their first album.
The project of Northampton singer songwriter David Maddox-Jones and co-producer Raife Hacking, Born Stranger is a continuing departure from the former’s largely alternative background, heading firmly into pop territory.
Songs which will eventually feature on Somewhere Between Hope And Fear are a dark hearted take on the genre and influenced by some the best British pop’s most influential names from across decades.
For the record which was written in Northampton, Devon and London, the pair teamed up with Yoad Nevo (Sia, Goldfrapp, Pet Shop Boys).
“Me and Raife had already written an album but we weren’t really that happy with it,” explains Maddox-Jones.
“I sent an album sampler in January last year to the manager Kwame Kwaten and he got back to me straight away explaining that we needed to up the production.
“He sent it to Yoad who mixed a couple of tracks. We loved what he added and we went for a meeting with him and he wanted to do an album.”
Nevo had been working on the music for Circus Soleil in Spain and after finishing that, joined up with Maddox-Jones and Raife to work on the record.
“We started properly in August last year,” Maddox-Jones explains.
“Me and Raife were doing writing sessions in Billy Lockett’s cellar and we ended up writing about 10 tracks for the album.
“We were going to London every week and we’d come back with an idea, get working on in and send over a demo. It was an exciting process and happened really quite quickly.”
Born Stranger are managed by Claire Coulton and Kwaten who work together under the name Ferocious Talent.
The 15 tracks Born Stranger currently have finished will likely be whittled down to about a dozen for the album.
With a strong polished pop sound throughout, Maddox-Jones explained it was a priority to make sure there is absolutely no “dead space” on the album.
“Before I met Yoad, I used to think to make a chorus bigger, you had to add more things, more layers, but I realised that isn’t always how it works,” he explains.
“The first track, Fire & The Flame, is one of the first songs we wrote and it feels like a great introduction.
“I wrote it with Peter Marchant and even as a demo, it sounded really good.
“It has a nostalgic kinda feel to it, when you realise you and your childhood sweetheart have grown apart. Not in a sad way, but more the realisation of two people growing apart.
“Too Close was about when I was single last year and is about meeting someone who doesn’t want to let you in.
“I found that period was quite a creative time. I find a lot of good songs come from when you’re on edge and uncomfortable.”
As well as having worked with Marchant, Maddox-Jones has been working with writing partner Roby Kenna on tracks for the album.
Many of the songs started as a conversation between the pair, with Maddox-Jones explaining Kenna helped him take what was going on in his life and work it into songs.
He added: “We got to know each from our hum drum lives,” he explains, “And Roby has really helped get the best out of me.”
Fire & The Flame was revealed exclusively via The Independent, with Maddox-Jones saying he’s been delighted with the reaction.
“We were a non-entity until we had something in the public eye,” he says, “And the plan is to hopefully have another track out soon and build the story.
“This is the most ‘pop’ thing I’ve done. I’ve always written pop songs, it’s just the way they are dressed up that has evolved.
“It’s hard to sit on some of the tracks we’ve got – especially as I don’t think we’ve put out our best material yet.”
Born Stranger will be making their live debut at the KOKO in London at the end of September.
While Maddox-Jones admits the pair are eager to start playing live, he adds having an album of music was a priority.
“With pop music, it’s all about the songs. Pop is a genre which is all about the ‘now’,” he says.
“It’s all well and good playing loads of gigs but for us, we knew we wanted a killer album and it’s taken us this long to get it right.
“We’ve recently started rehearsals. Live, there’s going to be a few more of us, an electronic drum kit and a guitar and bass. I want our shows to be quite visual but most importantly, sound amazing.
“I don’t think there’s any shame in wanting to have something sound amazing live.
“People want a show. We want to make people feel something and get excited, it doesn’t matter how it’s done live.
“People’s ears are spoilt now-a-days and there’s no shame in elements of pop which have to be done with backing tracks.
“I certainly feel with this album we’ve got a worldwide sound. There’s big plans. I’m ambitious and want to take Born Stranger to play in the likes of Europe and America.
“Saying that, I’m happy every time I know we have new people listening and liking what they hear.”
Born Stranger will join April Towers at Club NME at the KOKO in London on Friday, September 30.
Tickets are available via http://bit.ly/BSKOKO.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/BornStrangers