Friday, August 20, 2010

Kelly Llorenna - Pop Trash Interview

If I had to choose my favourite post from the past five years of Pop Trash Addicts, I'd probably go with my retrospective on Kelly Llorenna's career - Requiem For An Orange Goddess. It's not particularly well written or insightful (in fact, I think I was high when I wrote it: "The mere sight of Kelly is enough to throw her core audience of unwed teenage mothers and derelict homosexuals into an uncontrollable frenzy" - LOL!) but it captures the depth of my love for the holy pop icon. K Lo is an acquired taste but I was smitten from the first time I heard "Set You Free" in the mid-90s. That lead to years of crazed fandom on the old AATW forum and even a ratty fansite I put together with Jamie - who classily founded Kelly's first fanclub. Respect! The original Queen of clubs has been a bit quiet lately but she's on the cusp of a fabulous comeback as the face of Freak Asylum - a new band she founded with the boys from Love To Infinity. Their sound is an interesting change of pace for the diva but I'm sure her tens millions of fans will go along for the ride. Kelly was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule of tanning and nightclub PAs to answer some questions about her amazing career and new venture. K Lo, we salute you!

Kelly, I'm such a big fan. I can't wait to probe you properly but before we get into it - can you please debunk the hateful rumours that you sleep in a vat of golden glow?
Ha ha... well, my darling, the rumours are true! I have a special bedroom with a bed (like a coffin!) that sprays me all night and every night! With the special K-Lo glow! Laughs. Gotta keep the glow up, guys!! (Laughs again). Now that I am platinum blonde (for my sins... my dark roots grow through in 48hrs. Not good as I will probably be bald by Xmas!) I have ditched the tan for good! Being blonde with a tan is definitely not a good look, you will be pleased to know!

Did you ever think your luminous natural tan would become your trademark?
Ha ha. Hey, it could be worse!! (Laughs). But I can have a joke and don't take myself too seriously when it comes to tan jokes. (Laughs again).

You are one of pop music's great survivors – first coming to international super stardom as the voice of N-Trance, then as the original Queen of Clubs and now as the face of Freak Asylum. How do you explain your longevity in the industry?
Simple! 3 words! I SING LIVE! There's few and far between that can cut it in dance music. It's ok having the hits but you have to be able to sing them live! I have seen lots of singers come and go over the years!

“All Clubbed Up” is one of the defining albums of the noughties. Did you receive any flack for releasing a greatest hits compilation as your debut? Why was it so long in the making?
No, I didn't really get any flack as I had done, and featured on, some massive dance tracks before my solo career, so it made sense to do a greatest hits... even though it was 50/50 the hits and new songs I had written too.

That era spawned a bunch of classic tracks like “Heart Of Gold”, “Brighter Day” and your amazing top 10 smash hit cover of Taylor Dayne’s “Tell It To My Heart”. Do you have a favourite from the early years?
Ooh!! Too many for different reasons! Obviously "Set You Free", which was a personal achievement for me and the band. It was a long time coming and we gigged that for years before it ever did anything in the charts. "Tell It To My Heart" (below) because even though I had solo singles out before, it was my first top ten.

Is there anything that you absolutely hate and wish you had never recorded?
Erm!! Ys but not gonna say. He he!

During those years, you were the undisputed Queen of AATW. How did you feel when first Dannii and then Cascada tried to steal your rightful crown?
Oh nothing at all! Manian and Yanou from Cascada make great dance songs and their production is class and Natalie has a great pop voice. I've done a lot of gigs with them and they are cool guys. Dannii is cool too. Love To Infinity have written with and produced Dannii. She went to Andy's Birthday Party! We all love Dannii and she is now a yummy mummy too!

Why have so many of your best songs remained unreleased? “One Day I’ll Fly Away” and “Nobody Like You” are two of my favourite K Lo anthems. And your massive improvement on Madonna’s “Dress You Up” was an internet smash. Is there a massive conspiracy to keep you from taking over the charts?
Ha ha... that has been said many times! (Laughs). The tracks you have mentioned where down to behind the scenes politics but hey, that's life! But yeah, tracks like "Nobody Like You" was one of my faves too! "Dress You Up" is still big on the gigs just like when I did the UK Arena tour... maybe certain people have a voodoo doll stickin' pins in me not to succeed! (Laughs).

Over the past couple of years you have collaborated often with legendary dance outfit Love To Infinity. “Keep Love Together” and “Sweetest Day Of May” are huge favourites of mine. How did that union come about?
Andy, Pete and Dave Lee from Love To Infinity and myself go way back!! Andy Lee engineered "Set You Free" back in the day! So, we've been friends a long time. On each part we both had mutual respect and loved what each one of us was doing so it made sense to work together on the LTI stuff. I joined Love To Infinity as an equal member in 2007 as their new singer, and now we have FREAK ASYLUM together.
Tell me more about Freak Asylum. Whose idea was it?
The band was born in a bar in Las Vegas. Andy and I were contemplating what to do with all our musical influences, so Freakz was the natural progression. It's a collaboration between myself and the Love To Infinity Brothers. A whole new band. It's been a dream of ours for along time now! Great songs, great guitar riffs, great huge synths, killer dance beats. Basically, great pop/rock/dance/radio friendly songs. I really think you are all gonna love the new album. Think Pink, Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson etc. Freak Asylum rock! Check us out at , @freakasylum on twitter, I just got an iPhone 4, so I will be tweeting all the time now! Follow me Freakz for all my wonderful wacky thoughts and ideas! It's gonna be freakin' mad!!

What is it like to re-invent yourself after so many years as the golden goddess of Hi-NRG? Are your fans shocked by your new sound?
Freak Asylum KICKS ASS!! Wait till you hear songs like "Fetish" and "Something To Say" with Korn's Guitarist Shane Gibson! There is an energy to these songs that I just can't describe. They are very uptempo! So the Kelly fans are still gonna love this! I wanted this new start to have no preconceptions, to come back with a whole new look, new image, new sound and most importantly NEW BAND. Freak Asylum is a band and we will be out touring very soon and all my fans have embraced it which is brilliant! Thank you soooooo much! So onwards and upwards as they say! And as you know my alias is Lola Leethal! Ooh yeah! It's my alter ego! And believe me, you ain't seen nothing yet! Lola is bad ass! There is a whole side to me you all have never seen yet! Ha ha.

Who have you worked with on the new album? I read that Toby Gad was involved.
I've been in LA a lot working on the new record and this has taken a lot of time to get the songs right. It's all about the songs for us. We've got some of the best writers on the planet like Toby Gad, who I just LOVE! His work with Beyonce, Alicia Keys and, of course, The Veronicas is amazing... so I feel very honoured to have one of his songs and it's a killer song "You Better Leave"! You guys are gonna love it and you will be hearing it very soon! Working with Peter Hook from New Order/Joy Division was also great. He played on two songs on the album and wrote one with us. He came down to the studio with the original bass he used on "LOVE WILL TEAR US APART". Now that's a serious piece of music history sat in that bass guitar case! Hooky has a totally unique sound, you can always tell when Hooky is playing on a record and that's such a cool thing to have a sound that everyone instantly knows.

I've been working with a true Guitar legend 'Mr Scary' George Lynch, George is the original LA guitar hero, a stunning player I'm honored to have him on the record, you will not believe what he can do with a guitar! And his tone is killer. Nobody and I mean nobody has guitar tone like George Lynch. We first met Shane Gibson, who plays guitar with Korn, a couple of years ago in LA, as we know Ray Luzier, Korn's Drummer, Andy has recorded with Ray in the studio. Shane does the impossible guitar parts on the album! He's wicked!! So you see I wanted an eclectic mix of the best people playing on the Freakz album.

When is the lead single going to be released?
We are in the process of deciding on the first Freak Asylum single, we have 6 possible singles. All killer, no filler as I said! And we have also started storyboarding first the video. Ooh you're gonna love it! Trust me! Lola AND Kelly. Nuff said!

Your new image is outrageous and sexier than ever. How did Lola Leethal evolve?
Ha ha. I have always been Lola Lethal but never had the chance to let her be leashed to the public! Ha ha, she is out now and trust me, you gonna see plenty of Lola!

Finally, you haven’t aged a day since the mid-90s. Can you share the secret of your eternal youth and stunning beauty?
Haha...eternal youth? Maybe the golden glow works (Laughs)! Joking aside, I don't do anything apart from the usual girly things but I think being happy and appreciate what you have and making the best of it helps... also being self aware what suits you and doesn't! Oh yeah! I forgot - wear a descent pair of sunglasses haha!!

You can listen to a clip of Freak Asylum's music on their Myspace. Make sure you also visit their website and add Lola Leethal on Facebook. You know you want Kelly as a Facebook friend as much as I do! For more Freak Asylum, check out Gordon's fabulous interview with Kelly over at Diva Incarnate.


Anonymous said...

kelly forver!

*bows down*

Miss Halliwell said...

Fabulous interview.

I think K-Lo is so fantastic! She takes the piss out of herself, has a fabulous voice and seems to now be enjoying the music business.

Not having to be an AATW pawn really suits her!

Viva La K-Lo!

Jamie_movietrip said...

I can't wait to hear Kelly's new album, it's been way too long. I for one will miss her tango tan though, it was one of the last shining beacons of pop music. Great interview Mike! Kelly, I thought you were great on Radio 1 a few weeks ago, I tuned in to hear you x.

RV said...

GREAT news
I hadn't had a clue the Love To Infinity were preparing such a comeback !
I can't wait
Kelly has such a great voice

The Prophet said...

Stunning! I hate High NRG but she seems lovely and talented.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Please, post a review about Rosanna new single Waterfall. Is amazing! Do u like?!

undisco_me said...

I love her answers, and great questions.

And thanks for linking my page, that was very nice of you.

Kevin said...

Kelly Llorenna... I just puked in my mouth! She might sing live, but she can't sing to save her life.

In that Lola Leethal pic, she looks EXACTLY like Michelle Visage circa The S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. years.

tommie said...

I bask in her K-Glowness! The mention of Joy Division made me come.

Mike said...

Kevin, don't be a hater. What would pop music be without Kelly's orange glow?

And Tommie's back! Yay!