Dannii Minogue: Club culture's princess of pop

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While her older sister Kylie Minogue may be the undisputed queen of the pop music world, Dannii Minogue is the pop princess of dance music culture; from her early radio-friendly releases which had massive dance remixes from “the best in the biz,” to her later incarnation as a dancefloor bunny. After all, her 13 consecutive #1 club hits that she achieved over ten years are certainly nothing to scoff at. And while her output earlier in her career was arguably a lot more disposable, her association with the world of nightclubs was a vital force in helping her carve out her own unique identity. This is set to continue, as she’s back with a new collaboration with uber-producer Jason Nevins that goes by the name of Touch Me Like That.

And if you’re one of the naysayers who wrote Danni off as vapid or shallow, you’d be wrong. Because there’s a lot more to this pop starlet than meets the eye. As she told ITM, “My ambition is to spread happiness around the globe in the highest stacked, most gorgeous heels I can find.” That just about says it all really! So it’s not just about sugary melodies and standing in her big sister’s shadow. ITM finds out more…

Needless to say, you’re no stranger to the dance scene – and you’ve chalked up no less than 13 consecutive #1 club chart hits over ten years. Give us some insight into what has no doubt been a pretty amazing journey…

I guess I first fell in love with dance music when I moved to London. The radio stations played really different music to what I was used to in Australia: and I loved being surrounded by all things new. The main difference I noticed was that radio stations were really specialized. There were so many different kinds of music stations. I loved KISS FM, as they were the dance music station (now Urban). This influenced the music I was releasing (all my early pop releases through MCA had massive dance remix packages, by the best in the biz) and the direction I would later take. When I signed to Eternal Records (AKA Warner) I was partnered with A&R man Steve Allen. He was very interested in me developing my own style, and breaking away from the standard pop that was all sounding so generic. I guess he also was passionate about dance music, and could see the explosion was soon to merge with all different styles. The Girl album was born, and that was the start of my journey as a dance artist. Music critics were keen to point out the album was “an exciting and unexpected comeback”, so I’m so thankful for the freedom I was given to carve an identity for myself. I had started writing my own songs, and the right people started to notice where my passions lay.

There was a bit of a reinvention in the late 1990’s; culminating in All I Wanna Do, which would go on to be your first #1 UK club hit. Ten years on, and achievements aplenty, the undisputed ‘Queen of Clubs’, is this how you imagined it?

I had no clue what I could achieve – but Matt Waterhouse has done my Club Promo for many years, and always directed me to whoever is at the top of their game, or new and cool on the scene. I couldn’t have achieved this without him. I always get a buzz from the British music industry bible Music Week when I topped the club chart, especially as I hold the record for the most number ones – yay!

Good to have you back, this time with Touch Me Like That, your collaboration with Jason Nevins; based on a 70s Sylvester classic, this song has got big written all over it, and will be a favourite on radio stations across the Aussie summer. What and from where was the inspiration?

You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) is one of my all time favourite disco tunes, so doing this track was the musical equivalent to the best chocolate cake you ever ate. Matt Waterhouse heard this track Jason Nevins had written, and they both agreed that I would be the right person to vocal it. It arrived in my email inbox, all I had to do was record it and make a video. Jason lives in NYC, so he did all his production part from there, and I recorded all my vocals in London. I sourced the video director and treatment, and Jason and I met for the first time on set at the video shoot!

Jason has remixed for some pretty big names – including you back in 2003 with Put The Needle On It, as well as Madonna, Fergie, Good Charlotte – the list goes on. Obviously a pleasure to work with?

It’s always a pleasure to work with someone who loves music. He is incredibly organized and focused on getting his songs right. He was so busy doing work for the Grammies, that we had a two day window to fit in his trip to London to film the video and do the press shots. He turned into a little boy when he saw the female dancers only dressed in rubber lingerie and stockings: he was adamant he had a picture with them! I wonder if that is on his studio wall?

You spent some time in Ibiza recently, hanging with no less than Roger Sanchez, and soaking up loads of musical inspiration (and sun)... How was it? What trends do you see emerging in dance music?

Roger is a real sweetheart. I love going to see him play at Pacha. For a large venue, it’s very intimate – I sometimes hang in the DJ booth with him, as he is incredible to watch – his work is very intricate. I also go to see him play at Café Mambo – just a small bunch of people on the beach jamming to his tunes – a power packed half hour. For Roger, who only does 6-hour sets, it’s a killer. I see him feeling rushed and stressed, but the crowd love it. I always bug him for copies of the show – “it’s perfect for a quick workout on the treadmill,” I tell him, “I need it in my iPod for the gym!” So you see, the shape of my arse depends on how many CDs papa Sanchez gives me – as I’m really crap at getting to the gym – I need mega music coaxing!

Club Disco is your upcoming album: how’s that coming along? When and what are to we expect?

It has already been a digital release in the UK. It has all the tracks owned by All Around The World, with other special bonus tunes that I have been dying to release. A cover of Xanadu with producers Thriller Jill; a Roger Sanchez penned song (it reminds me of classic Prince with Sheila E), and my favourite Afterlife mixes. This album is a little gem.

You’ve come a long way from your early days in Young Talent Time, and even before that, Skyways and The Sullivans. I can’t help but ask, what have been some of the out and out highlights?

A few of my favourite performances: Performing with Earth Wind & Fire in Tokyo, Party In The Park in London (100,000 crowd), Mardi Gras in Sydney, Homecoming Tour with Kylie last year in Melbourne and being the first artist to officially bootleg a Madonna track when I did a mash up with Get Into The Groove.

I can only assume that it’s always nice to come home and play to an Australian crowd; through your travels, what have you found to be unique about Australian partygoers?

In Australia I find a real sense of fun – Aussies never need a reason to party, but if we party at an event, at least there is a theme, and we know what to wear!

Where to now for Dannii?

More of everything! My ambition is to spread happiness around the globe in the highest stacked, most gorgeous heels I can find.

Dannii Minogue vs Jason Nevins Touch Me Like That is out now through Central Station/MRA. Check out the video below…

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