OUT ON THE DANCE FLOOR
Featuring gay front man
Andreas Lundstedt, Swedish export Alcazar
lands in the States
Ever since Abba, the world has been aware of
the Swedish affinity for disco. With "Crying at
the Discoteque," from their self-titled domestic
debut (E-Magine Music), Alcazar, the latest Swedish
disco export, proves that they can also "dance"
and "jive" and "watch that scene." Openly gay
front man Andreas Lundstedt and fellow group members
Annikafiore and Tess are poised to meet the needs
of queer club culture via the dance floor ("Tears
Of A Clone," for example, includes the lyrics
"A room with a hundred men/The design of a perfect
blend/Identical strains of code/Dressed up in
the fashion mode").
Gregg Shapiro: Many of the songs on Casino,
including "Paris in the Rain," have a vintage
disco energy. That is especially true in the case
of "Sexual Guarantee" and "Crying at the Discoteque,"
which feature Chic samples. Do you have a favorite
period of dance music?
Andreas Lundstedt: Actually [laughs],
it's hard to decide, because I love them all.
I must say for me, the '70s crossing over to the
'80s disco music I kind of like the most, because
when it was really hip in the '70s, with disco
and everything, I was too young to go out clubbing.
I never got to go out dancing to that music. I
did it in my living room. Now that I'm older [laughs],
I can kind of take it back, do it real, full out,
and record it and sing it.
So, you're reclaiming it for yourself?
Yeah, definitely, and for people who love the
"Crying at the Discoteque" was included on
the original soundtrack to the Showtime production
of Queer as Folk. What did it mean
to you to be included on the CD?
A lot. We've never had one of our songs on any
kind of soundtrack. I've never seen the series,
though. I've seen the English version.
Dance music is very popular within the queer
community, and it's refreshing to hear these songs
sung by a gay man, as opposed to a big disco diva.
There are the Pet Shop Boys and Jimmy Somerville,
to name two, but there aren't that many openly
gay men singing in the realm of disco. How does
it feel to have that distinction?
That's something that I don't really reflect
on. I don't think about that really. It's just
my sexuality. I don't think it comes across in
the music-my sexuality-maybe because I like disco
and that's very queer music. Other than that,
I'm just a singer like other singers, straight
or bi, or gay. I don't see it as a big thing.
I think there's more gay singers, but they just
aren't saying they are.
Speaking of Pet Shop Boys, Neil Tennant of
that group had words of praise for Alcazar.
Does Alcazar have any plans to ever cover
a Pet Shop Boys song?
Well, not to cover a Pet Shop Boys song, but
we would love to work with them. That would be
a great thing, if they had a song for us or something
like that. You never know. Maybe we will do a
cover, because their songs are so great. I don't
think we would do it as good as they do, actually.
It's kind of like doing a cover of a song of Abba.
Abba does it so good themselves. You can't really
top it. If Neil Tennant or Chris Lowe would call
us and say, "Hey, we just wrote a song that would
really suit you," we would definitely be there
in a second.
Alcazar does do a cover of the Human League
song "Don't You Want Me." Why was that song selected?
It was actually one of our producers, Alexander
Bard, who got the idea for us to sing the song
and record it. When he asked us, "What do you
feel about doing a cover of 'Don't You Want Me'?,"
we immediately got all of these memories from
the '80s. The song is so kind of funny-fun lyrics.
They're very desperate-"Don't you want me?"-and
we love desperate lyrics. Maybe that goes hand
in hand with the gay thing, the queer thing, like
"I Will Survive," "Disco Inferno."
Alcazar will be performing live at the Billboard
Music Summit in New York City in October. What
are you most looking forward to about that event?
Oh, my God! We are so psyched. We can't really
believe it yet. I used to live in New York from
'93 to '95. When I lived there, I didn't work
with music or anything. I was hoping and dreaming
that one day it would be so cool to come back
to New York and actually be on a stage and perform.
It's really hard to believe. Because we're Swedish,
typical Swedish people, we don't take anything
The predominant musical trends currently emerging
from Sweden appear to be dance music, such as
the songs on Casino, or garage rock,
performed by bands such as the Hives and Sahara
Hotnights. What do you think about those musical
I think that it has to do with in the winter
Swedish people don't have a lot to do because
it's so freaking cold. What to do? We go down
in the basement and write songs. Or when we were
in school, we had a lot of music classes. We were
always in different choirs. It's the way that
we were brought up, we Swedish people-choir practice,
and you always learn some kind of instrument.
I just wanted to sing.
Pop culture journalist Gregg Shapiro, a 1999
inductee into Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of
Fame, is also a published fiction writer and poet.
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