Pop: Wouldn't it be good...

...to be in Jacques Lu Cont's shoes? Too young to have plumbed the shallows of Eighties music first time round, he's made his name by reviving it in the Nineties.

JACQUES LU Cont, the 21-year-old brains behind Les Rythmes Digitales, is a self-confessed fraud.

"My name's not Jacques at all, it's Stuart Price," he says in an unmistakable Thames Valley accent. "But I was born in France and I thought Jacques sounded better. It's a more romantic name, don't you think?" Lu Cont is also a living monument to the Eighties, despite the fact that he can hardly remember them. His pillar box-red hair flirts with the mullet - a fashion faux-pas traditionally the preserve of footballers - while his wardrobe is a riot of fishnet T-shirts, stonewashed jeans and flecked suits. His record collection is shamelessly littered with Eighties mainstays The Human League, Harold Faltermeyer and Miami Sound Machine. The first record he ever bought was West End Girls by The Pet Shop Boys.

But first appearances notwithstanding, Lu Cont insists that his passion for the Eighties is a discerning one. "There's a fine line that you tread with the Eighties: Rubik's Cubes were great, but leg-warmers and fluorescent socks were unforgivable," he explains. "It's the same with music. I'm not pretending it was all good, but people have written off a whole decade of music because of a few dodgy tunes."

Lu Cont's forthcoming album Darkdancer encapsulates all he admires about music from the Eighties. It embraces the tinny electro rhythms, simple melodies and gratuitously shallow lyrics, and blends them with Nineties house grooves. The result is an irresistible pop LP, brimming with infectious tunes, that makes your spine tingle with both excitement and embarrassment.

The album's first single "Music Makes You Lose Control", a homage to the thrills of the dancefloor that fuses the dry humour of Daft Punk with the synth licks of The Human League, has already been making waves on the club circuit, as has the Day-Glo bounciness of "Jacques Your Body (Make Me Sweat)", a consummate dance anthem that bridges the gap between squeaky Eighties synth and today's bass-driven house music. Lu Cont's stage antics during live performances - lip-synching to his own songs and striking poses that would make Boy George blush - has also attracted attention, and has single-handedly put showmanship back into live dance music, a genre which these days seems to have an increasingly sombre reverence.

"Who wants to see banks of keyboards and dreary films when they go out to a dance gig?" he splutters. "It's so poor." Not content with just lifting Eighties grooves, Lu Cont has requisitioned vocals from such Eighties luminaries as Thomas Riberio, disco diva Shannon, and Nik Kershaw.

"Nik is my favourite vocalist from the Eighties and he is a great songwriter," trills Lu Cont. "'The Riddle' is one of the greatest songs of the era." Lu Cont's first problem was convincing Kershaw that he was not about to be victim to a cruel Eighties send-up. "Our managers organised a meeting and I went down to his studio in Essex. I played him some of my other records and showed him that I wasn't into novelty songs. With Shannon it was the same. I simply said that I liked the sound of her old records."

While he accepts that there is a comic element to his music, Lu Cont would like it to be known that he is not being ironic. Indeed, his records act less as postmodern statements than as a catalogue of his obsessions.

"I like concepts," he explains. "It's all about about creating an image and an act. In 10 years' time I want to look back and be able to say 'that was the Eighties album', 'that was the experimental album' and so on. I will never make a record like Darkdancer again." So what is it about the Eighties? "I like the simplicity of the songs," he maintains. "I actually like that cold, thin sound that everyone dislikes." Lu Cont may have been born in Paris - he appeared prematurely during his parent's honeymoon - but he has lived in Reading since he was six months old. His parents are concert pianists, and Lu Cont grew up on a diet of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Mozart. Pop music was banned in his house - "My parents thought that it was for people who weren't very clever". As a result, Lu Cont was reduced to visiting public libraries for his musical edification.

"My introduction to pop music came from Madonna, The Police, Duran Duran, and Prince, as it was all I could get my hands on. Since I couldn't really remember the Eighties, it was up to me to piece it together through listening to pop records." To his parent's horror, Lu Cont swapped his piano for an electric keyboard and sampler, and signed to Wall Of Sound records while still in his teens.

Within a year he had released an electro-tinged techno record, "Liberation", and has since remixed records for Placebo, Cornershop and Pavement. He has also been on a few profile-raising tours with Bentley Rhythm Ace and Cornershop.

Lu Cont may have convinced his collaborators that he is devoted about Eighties music, but in the light of the recent revival tours from Culture Club, ABC and Duran Duran, Lu Cont concedes that he will have a harder job convincing the rest of us.

"I look like a cartoon character because that's part of my act, but I am utterly serious and I want to make credible pop records. I think people will get into the music once they get over the embarrassment of remembering what the Eighties were really like."

'Darkdancer' is released on Wall Of Sound Records on Monday

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

    Britain's Atlantis

    Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

    David Starkey's assessment
    Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

    'An enormous privilege and adventure'

    Oliver Sacks writing about his life
    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
    Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

    Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

    Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
    Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

    The dark side of Mexico

    A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

    Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935