Jake Shears’ created his new solo album ‘Last Man Dancing’ as a home for his Kylie Minogue duet Voices.
The LP serves as the follow-up to his 2018 self-titled debut and sees the Scissor Sisters frontman return to the dance floor with a party-ready collection of feelgood anthems.
Speaking in RETROPOP’s July 2023 issue, the hitmaker reflects on writing and recording the LP and admits: “Voices is probably the oldest song on there. I really wanted to build the album around that Kylie song, because I love it so much. I always thought it was really special and didn’t want it to go by the wayside.
“I thought there was something really magical about it and I loved the production on it. I love the fact that it’s a proper duet between the two of us and I wanted to build a home for it; I wanted to build songs that it could sit with and that’s kind of how I started writing the record.”
Jake and Kylie’s paths first crossed back in 2004 when he and his Scissor Sisters bandmate Babydaddy co-wrote and -produced her ‘Ultimate Kylie’ single I Believe In You, with Jake later contributing to her 11th album ‘Aphrodite’ (2010) and Kylie lending vocals to their third LP ‘Night Work’ (2010). Their most-recent work together is the 2017 single The Other Boys with Nervo and Nile Rodgers.
Although he doesn’t put an exact date to Voices’ origins, Jake adds: “There have been multiple versions of it over the years. We laid that down before my first solo record came out, but then she was doing [the country-influenced] ‘Golden’ and I was doing my solo record, so the sound had nothing to do with anything that we were doing.”
The tracks on ‘Last Man Dancing’ are a far cry from the material on either of those albums, as Jake leans into the sounds of dance music pioneers from across the decades and roots himself in club territory for an album that’s all about having a good time. As he notes: “It definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously!”
“I think I was just ready to make some party music again – some proper party music,” says the musician. “There are different sides to the music that I make; there’s my very classic rock-oriented side – that kind of easy listening, AM radio side – then there is the dance music / party music side of me.
“I feel like I definitely got all my ya-yas out on the last record and I didn’t really feel the need to be making any personal, emotional statements. I definitely incorporated my love of that sort of tripped-out, Journey-tastic feel, where a song and music can kind of take you on a ride.”
Alongside Ana Matronic, Del Marquis and Randy Real, Jake topped the UK charts with Scissor Sisters’ eponymous debut album – which was the best-selling album of 2004, earned four Top 20 hits and won three BRIT Awards – before matching the commercial success with follow-up ‘Ta-Dah’ (2006), which entered the US Top 20.
The success continued with ‘Night Work’ and ‘Magic Hour’ but behind the scenes there was a sense of pressure that, 20 years since their breakthrough, he’s managed to shake. “It was amazing and I wouldn’t trade any of it, at all, ever. I’m so proud of all of it and it’s allowed me to continue the great life that I have and be able to be creative in the way that I want to be. I’ve been very, very, very fortunate,” he shares. “But I have to look back and give myself a little bit of grace, because I was just a kid trying to do my best.
“Sometimes you think back and you’re like, ‘Why? Why was I acting like that? Why was I behaving like that? I should have known better. I shouldn’t have been feeling all that pressure.’ But I didn’t feel like a grown up at that age – I still don’t feel like a grown up, by the way!”
Jake adds: “I’m gonna be 45 this year and I do want to just keep doing it. I love the fact that we look at Cher and we say, ‘There she is, still doing it.’ Iggy Pop is a great example of that; he’s somebody who’s still going. He’s not someone who’s in it for the hits or the fame or the money – he does it because he loves doing it. He loves making music. He loves performing. He loves being himself and letting himself go crazy and be free on stage. That is my goal in life.”
‘Last Man Dancing is out June 2 via Mute.
Read the full interview in the July 2023 edition of RETROPOP, out now. Order yours or subscribe via our Online Store, use our Store Finder to locate your nearest stockist, or get Digital Copies delivered direct to your devices.