Count Indigo speaks to

Count Indigo is a versatile pop singer, performer lyricist and compere of surprising vocal and aesthetic range. His music encompasses smooth baritone soul grooves, dark falsetto dance rhythms and exhilarating orchestral arrangements. The uniqueness of his approach to music – making comes out of combining mature themes of joy and betrayal and with a beguiling soulful accessibility. A decade of acclaimed nightclub & festival performances all over Europe and honed an intimate, humorous showmanship personified in his album, Homme Fatale. We caught up with ‘The Count’ recently and he explained his new ‘Crowd Funded’ Queens Ransom Project in some (semi-secret) depth.

01. When did you first start in Music, what were you doing prior to this date?

​I started writing songs whilst still at college in the Eighties and had a couple of bands. Clay and The Magnificent and The Love Ambassadeux. (The band name’s spelling wasn’t my idea!)

02. What brought your Sound together and how did you decide on that moniker?

The sound, the aesthetic is down to how I wanted audiences to feel and behave rather than any overwhelming love of a particular genre. Lounge music, library music written for advertising or incidental music is all about a lack of ego and mood setting. It’s wonderful as a means of getting under the listeners skin. I got my nickname ‘The Count’ from wearing suits and vintage clothing even when brassic as a student. Whilst I adopted Indigo from Duke Eliington’s jazz blues ‘Mood Indigo’.

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I started a nightclub (Indigo) playing rhythmic midcentury soundtracks and library music. It allowed people to chat, dance and enjoy really varied entertainment without pre judging the content.

03. What are the diverse influences that shape your current sound?

Its all about people. I’m really enjoying working with great musicians again after a lot of time in programming suites. The opportunity to collaborate with Kenny Clayton for instance gives me a direct link to the heyday of beautifully crafted pop practitioners like Matt Monro, Petula Clark and Shirley Bassey. How to craft and then really interpret a lyric. While a bass player like Dale Davis is fantastic for channelling that melodic funk tradition from James Jameson to Bootsy Collins.

04. At present you function in various formats and sizes, how does that function when touring and the onstage set-up?

Count Indigo Original
For my own original Count Indigo yachtpop sets like Queens Ransom I have a 5 piece band that glows in a soul/loungecore disco glory. I occasionally do a vocal PA without them.

Count Indigo Vintage
For a set that concentrates on covers and the wholly easy-loungecore tradition I ‘m well known for I work with The Brighton based 7-piece Jet Set International complete with sitar and go-go dancers.

Twickenham Toy Orchestra
Finally I have a rather joyous side project The Twickenham Toy Orchestra, which is a six-piece ensemble doing covers like Golden Years and The Ace of Spades but on kids instruments.

05. What can someone that has yet to see your live show expect to see and hear?

Twenty years of compering means I like to really engage an audience. A Count Indigo set is slick moving from bossa-novas to 70’s funk onto Daft ‘Punkesque’ disco over drive. A loungecore set cranks up the kitsch familiarity of huge ‘60s soundtracks and fabulous shifting melodies.

The Twickenham Toy Orchestra charms the socks of you with a cheeky joie-de-vivre. In the end everybody wants to get down to Word Up done on a melodica, kazoo and kids drum kit!

06. What types of people do you attract along to your Club events?

It’s very genuinely inter-generational. The new music attracts people in their twenties after some authentic grooves and provocative subject matter. ( There aren’t too many funk outs referencing kidnapping the Queen for example). The interpretative bands offer something a little more cosy and humorous with a funky go-go twist.

07. You have played many established festivals and historic venues, and even been on TV a good few times, what were the high and low points and stand-out memories?

The Count’s first live appearance on British T.V. was on the very first show of Chris Evans’ TFI Friday. A hilarious live session on French T.V. backed by Parisian band A.S. Dragon comes to mind. My face, when the presenter announces the arrival of ‘Cunt Indigo’ is quite a picture!!! Russian T.V. interviews are always pretty surreal experiences, involving fabulous parades of of utterly un-self conscious fashionistas. I loved presenting at The Vintage Festival at Goodwood in 2010 – what an ambitious and fully realised jamboree. Shame it didn’t endure really! Contact me here for bookings!

08. What Countries are most receptive to your current Sound?

Anywhere keen on sunshine and the metropolis. So Southern Europe and the American West Coast, New York, Paris and my traditional hunting grounds in Eastern Europe. I’m also hoping to thrill Latin America soon!

09. How do your songs develop? What is the usual process of writing new material?

I usually find a subject matter inspiring first and almost always start from a fully realised lyric and melody that I then flesh out with a writer or arranger.

10. What are your Heroes and Zeroes from music and beyond?

Darius Milhaud via Burt Bacharach
Nelson Riddle
Scott Walker
Billy Strayhorn
Lee Hazelwood
Bruno Nicolai
David Whittaker
Danger Mouse
Willy Brandt

11. What is your current favourite music and influences? What do you think of the current music scene?

I’m not much influenced by contemporary music, but like listening to the acts listed below. I don’t think there really is a current music scene as such, as things have become so atomised and domesticated by the digital revolution.

First Aid Kit
Perfume Genius
Matthew E. White
Gregory Porter
Mikey Georgeson And The Civilised Scene
Death and Vanilla
Curtis Harding
Forever Pavot

12. You have collaborated with various people, how did that come about and work out?

I’ve worked a lot with French producer and composer Bertrand Burgalat, founder of Tricatel Records. We were introduced by my manager of the time when he produced my second single Her Other Man. We also co-wrote Trinity together. Tricatel produced my album Homme Fatale but its lack of commercial success meant we went our separate ways, although we still gig together from time to time and have written regularly together over the years.

13. What shows/events have you got planned for the near future?

Best place to keep up to date with my dates is to visit my all new cool website here!

14. Are you involved with any other outside projects?

The key ones are the clubs Mrs Peels ( and The Variety Discotheque.

Mrs Peels is very much a penthouse take on more obscure grooves of the Swinging ’60s. Featuring go -go dancers, body painting and live music. All in on the 4th floor cocktail lounge of a hitherto private club.

Variety Discotheque reignites light entertainment in a nightclub setting featuring the party sounds of DJ The Psychedelic Milkman against the Backdrop of house band The Twickenham Toy Orchestra and visiting performers featuring magic, comedy, sword swallowing and trad jazz spoons playing.

15. Tell us about your unique taste, style-sense and outlook?

I love to entertain and seduce an audience with performances that hark back to the wealth of post war showmen and women from Louis Jourdan to Sammy Davis to Grace Jones. I’m more a made to measure guy than bespoke. Given too many sartorial choices I’m prone to disappearing up my own fundament. I believe that the art of entertaining comes out of embracing and challenging your audience to adore melody and good timing.

16. Is there anyone that you would dream to work with on a mini-project?

I’d love to get Michel Legrand (who I interviewed once) to do arrangements on a fabulous sex and soul E.P. I’m planning away now as we speak!

17. Please feel free to plug any of your recordings that may be for sale?

I’ve recently become the sole vendor for my album Homme Fatale. Its never had distribution in the U.K. and its a neo-soul tendencies prefigure bands like Gnarls Barkley and Metronomy.

18. What does the future hold for you all?

I’ve recently completely rediscovered my creative mojo after being completely immersed in my loving role as a father. I want to make at least 2 E.P.s a year for the rest of my life and also develop a whole range of fun live formats and products that make people happier!

19. Tell us about the Queens Ransom project?

Queens Ransom is a crowd funded fantasy Yachtpop E.P celebrating my kidnapping of Elizabeth II on the eve of her becoming the longest reigning monarch in British history. Check it out here!

20. Can you tell us a joke please?

I once upon a time had a bad experience telling Bruno Brookes (who?!!! ) a joke once and swore to never tell one again! Sorry!

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