A Fine Romance


By Jason Lamphier

Would you ever address your office job or sing about something mundane in your music?
Sally: It would be feel really odd to have Sally sing about an office job.
Johan: Yeah, Italo disco is quite a limited genre in terms of themes. That's a problem for us, actually.

Will it be a setback for you later on as artists? Do you think you'll be pigeonholed as just Italo disco? What happens when this trend fades?
Johan: That could be a problem. The second album can't be exactly the same as the first. We need to develop in some way, but at the same time we have been classified as Italo diso, so we can't make something completely different. We're getting inspiration from other genres. For example, I like 'Follow Me,' by Ercola featuring Annie, which is more modern. I also make ambient music, so I'm thinking of ways to incorporate Sally there.

How much control did you have over the remix albums?
Johan: Some of the artists have been chosen by us, some artists have been chosen by the record label. [On the first remix album] there are five artists from Europe and five from North America. The five from North American have been contacted by the label, the five from Europe contacted by us.

Do you think these remix albums have the power to bring you more into the mainstream?
Johan: I think in clubs, yes, but not so much with airplay since the tracks aren't radio-friendly. When I wrote certain tracks, I thought they would actually suit a more modern sound, and it's a pity because we make this '80s sound and not many modern DJs play that kind of sound. It's good that these remixes sound a bit more modern.

You're willing to spin your own music, but when will we see Sally Shapiro perform live?
Sally: I don't know if it's going to happen, and if it's going to happen, I don't know when. If I had the guts, I'd like to do an acoustic version of one of the songs, but that seems so far away.

And you don't allow Johan in the room when you record a track?
Sally: No, I think I do it better when I'm alone. I do let him come in sometimes and listen to what I've recorded. Maybe it will change. If you'd asked me a year ago, I would have said I wouldn't sit here now.

Why are you willing to be interviewed now?
Sally: Well, this was a surprise. You have to let things grow, think about it, and take it step by step. I came to the conclusion it could be fun.

If you were to make me the most fabulous mix tape, what would have to be on it?
Sally: Myl'ne Farmer -- mostly her '80s period. I'd include a lot of nostalgic tracks, songs that evoke memories. I'd also include Pizzicato Five's 'Tout Tout Pour Ma Ch'rie' -- it's really crazy, it goes faster and faster and never ends -- and Eighth Wonder's 'I'm Not Scared.'
Johan: I would put something by Aphex Twin and the KLF on it.

Dovetailing off your Myl'ne Farmer story, how would you feel if in 10 years some girl wakes up, goes into her kitchen, listens to the CD player, and her friend tells her, 'Oh, that's Sally Shapiro. That's gay music. I didn't want to tell you I had it.' Would that bother you?
Sally: [Laughing] No, I think it's probably gonna happen. It wouldn't bother me. Why should it? I know Sally Shapiro is cheesy music, so I don't need to hide it. I like the idea of being a gay icon.

Send a letter to the editor about this article.