‘Bonsoir. Nous sommes Desire.’ Name a debut with a more iconic intro. We’ll wait…
We’ll wait ten years in fact as Desire released their first and only album, II, back in 2009 and now they are back, a decade later, for a world tour with Chromatics and the release of their long-awaited follow up album – due 2020. This year they’ve already toured North America and now they’re bringing el espectáculo to Europe. See tour dates here. Loverboy speaks with Desire’s Megan Louise about stepping into the spotlight and being Desire’s frontwoman while also being HBIC and taking care of business at legendary label Italians Do It Better.
When Desire started out, you used artwork and graphics rather than photos. But now you are stepping into the frontwoman role, right?
Yes, I feel totally reborn. Now I’m wearing head to toe latex and six inch heels. I’m in my element.
Latex should be the dress code for your European tour.
Come sweat with me! Please! I was watching this documentary about Studio 54 this morning and if there’s someone I enjoy and admire, someone who just doesn’t give a fuck, it’s Grace Jones. She seems to be very fluid with her music but also with her body and style. I channel her onstage in my catsuit. Have you ever worn latex?
I don’t think I have! Lots of leather. But Latex? No.
You have to! It feels like you have super-hero powers. But also in this Studio 54 documentary there is not one single person with a phone in their hand and everyone is making eye contact with each other or the camera. I want to open a disco club where phones are banned. We all need to hang out again.
So this tour dress code is developing, dahling. Now it’s latex….and no phone! Anything could happen and there’d be zero proof. This sounds even more like a Loverboy night out!
Yes, you’re only allowed to wear latex and we’ll provide the lube! Our crowd is so gay and sexy too! But I think phones were the thing I was most afraid of going back on tour – people not being connected to the show. But I must say I did not see a single phone on our North American tour! I mean, I promise it’s a good show! It’s a full evening, that we’ve built. Haha…But to know people could still enjoy themselves was really cool.
Have you been writing music on the North America tour?
We’ve been writing a lot of demos over the last few years so now we’re really just tweaking some the final songs. Probably we’ll write some more while we are in Europe. It’s always inspiring to be traveling and feeling a bit lonely, dark, blue…
Yes, this all sounds very on brand. Now, you were saying that since the release of II you have stepped into a business role at Italians Do It Better, right? How has being a woman in the music industry changed over the last ten years?
The only thing that has happened to me, is that fifty-year-old corporate men, managers especially, have looked at me like, ‘You can’t do this on your own.’ These guys who are feeling threatened because now a woman can do their job. I’ve literally had the words, ‘How do you think you’re going to be able to do this? You need my help.’ before bringing in an assistant who is younger than me, has less experience than me and saying, ‘Now this would be your day to day person…’
Now I’ve been thinking, I love your album and saw you on tour back in 2010! But you know I still have no idea how you formed!
Desire formed when me and Johnny (Jewel, owner of Italians Do It Better, Creative Director of Desire) fell madly in love on our first date. He then went on tour for three weeks and we spoke on the phone every day. When he came back, we moved in together…on our second date!
OK, wait, are you guys secretly lesbians?!
Haha…well, Johnny is very feminine. But yeah, one night I started jamming on a vintage keyboard Johnny had just received from Tokyo, having the best time. Johnny walked in, looked at me and said, ‘We’re going to start a band!’
Back then I just had an office on the ninth floor of an old industrial building. So we set up there, recording in my office for a week and because of how intense our love story was we had all these cool songs and ideas! Then we released a tour demo which some blog picked up on and suddenly the tour demo became our album, II. It really happened overnight.
Wow, I never knew that. You must have told that story a lot.
Not really. Desire has never really spoken to the press. You might be my second ever interview! I don’t think that story is out there and it’s a juicy one!
It is! Very romantic and cinematic. I would expect nothing less from Desire. Ok, so I have my own little story to tell. I matched with this guy on Tinder over two months ago, we speak daily and we’re finally meeting for the first time next week.
It’s like me and Johnny!
Haha…I’ve not packed my shit up just yet but he is a huge Desire fan.
Is he? Amazing. Are you going to bring him to the show?
I’m actually traveling to Copenhagen especially for that show. I am taking my BFF Lars for his birthday.
Is this other guy in London?
Well, we’ll be at the Roundhouse on 27th October too. So you should bring him to the London show. Now you have another excuse to see each other!
You make an interesting point. But before that, he has two questions he wanted me to ask. First of all is it true you imagined ‘Under Your Spell’ as the soundtrack to a kid’s birthday party?
Hmmm…there are children involved but there is no birthday party. The story is that the day after we fell in love on our first date, he had to take a flight to Paris. On the flight were all these French kids singing these beautiful songs in French. And me being French Canadian, he kept thinking about me while these kids were singing. He was like, ‘Oh my God, this is so cute. All these kids singing in French and I just met this French girl and I am…under her spell.’
Cute! The other question I’ve been instructed to ask is if it is true that Johnny had the follow up to Chromatics’ Kill For Love album pressed and ready to sell. But instead he destroyed every single copy!
Yes. Johnny, myself and our daughter were actually on holiday in Hawaii. I had paddled out quite far on a paddle board with our daughter and Johnny got a bit freaked out because the current was beginning to pull us out. So he tried to swim out after us to help but I didn’t see him and he nearly drowned getting there! After that near death experience, it made him just want to make a better record and keep working at it. So we told the pressing plant to remelt all the vinyl, recycle it and now the album, Dear Tommy, is coming out soon! It’s beautiful. We are so excited.
Fuck! OK, well, from a near death experience to…Mariah Carey. Loverboy is named after Mariah’s song ‘Loverboy’ so we always ask everyone, what is your favourite Mariah song?
Oh my God, really? That’s so good. I had no idea. Johnny and I are the hugest Mariah Carey fans. ‘We Belong Together’ is our theme song. We sing it to our daughter every night when we put her to bed. ‘I can’t sleep at night when you are on my mind, Bobby Womack’s on the radio.’ I mean, I know all the words. Obsessed!