For anyone growing up in the 80s the songs Valentine, Heart and Soul and China in Your Hand by T'Pau would have been a backdrop to their teens. The band, fronted by singer Carol Decker had several chart hits before disbanding in the early 90s. Carol has continued to tour under the name T'Pau ever since and last year she reunited with former band mate Ronnie Rogers for a 25th anniversary tour. This summer will see T'Pau taking to the stage at the Flashback Festival alongside Jason Donovan, Heather Small and UB40. This years two day festival set in the picturesque surroundings of 18th century Nostell Priory will also feature Jools Holland, plus special guests on the Sunday.
The retro 80s vibe is still very palpable in music and modern culture, so much so that it is popular with all ages - even those who were too young to remember it the first time round. Speaking to Carol I ask her why she thinks the music of the 80s is still so popular. “A lot of the songs are just brilliantly crafted pop songs, there’s always a great melody and structure. It was also a time when technology in the studio was changing, there’s a lot of melody in the instrumentation as well as the vocals.” Just by putting on an 80s compilation album you can hear the depth of the music and song writing which came out during that time.
The eclectic decade that was the 80s also allowed bands like AC/DC and Whitesnake to appear alongside Kylie, Wham and New Order in the charts, something you don't tend to get now in modern trends of music.“It was an incredibly diverse decade when you went from post punk to new romantic and electro pop then through to people like Madonna, U2, Wet Wet Wet and T'Pau. There was a real wide range in the choice of music.”
This variety is great for retro music events like Flashback Festival as it gives the audience a total 80s musical experience. I asked what we can expect from her performance at the festival. “You'll get lots of memories if you’re of a certain age, but you'll also get a great show. It's not just about nostalgia it's about everyone still giving a great performance. I pride myself on still being a good entertainer. It's a music day and we'll have a lot of fun.” With the 80s being more popular than ever, this trip down memory lane at the beautiful Nostell Priory promises to be a weekend to remember.
For T'Pau it seems that the fun will continue for the future: After last years successful tour with Ronnie they have more plans to work together. Carol tells me that Ronnie is now a regular with the band and does as many gigs as he can. She says “I think he's got the taste for it again,” which is great news for fans. Speaking of which, after having requests throughout the years from people wanting to hear how T'Pau's songs started life, Carol released a limited edition CD and DVD package called The Story Behind The Tracks.The album contains previously unheard tracks and all original demo recordings for Bridge of Spies, which is a great addition to any collection but why has it taken so long to release? Carol explains: “ I was always very protective of my demos and wanted people to hear the perfect finished song. Then I realised that it was nice to hear the creative process...There's sometimes a naive charm in a demo that gets lost in the final recording.” So popular was this release that it sold out at all of their live shows last year. If you go to Gnatfish Records you can still buy a copy.
I'm curious to find out what the future holds for T'Pau now that Ronnie is back with the band and a tour is planned for later in the year, Carol tells me “ I'm working on a song that I've got high hopes for.” Although she doesn't give much away she does indicate that the song may be on a new album, which is very exciting. I ask her how she approaches her song writing “the songs just tend to come to me... I should set time to down to sit and write but it doesn’t work that way, they just pop into my head.” She has of course written some great songs but would she like anybody to cover any? “Maybe some young hip person like Bruno Mars could recordHeart and Soul and Celine Dion could record China and make me lots of money” she jokes, although you can't deny that it would be good to hear their interpretation of the songs.
Until they do, head over the Gnatfish Records, buy The Story Behind The Tracksand don't forget to come along to this years Flashback Festival and see one of T'Pau's fantastic live shows in beautiful surroundings with some English sunshine!