Bish Bash: Republica are Ready To Go for Saturday night
They may have been penned 25 years ago, but Britpop sensation Republica’s 90s hits Drop Dead Gorgeous and Ready To Go can still be heard regularly on radio, as well as in movies, adverts and online games.
Their 1996 self-titled album sold three million worldwide. Fronted by the charismatic Saffron Sprackling, the band are still going very strong and will release a new album this year as well as a reissue back catalogue featuring remixes and versions of their early tunes.
They bring their exciting live show to Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday night for Bish Bash, and Saffron is very much looking forward to it. “We're really excited. I've heard that it's a great festival,” she tells me.
“We'll be playing a little bit of old and new. We always put on a good live show, so it should be really fun.
"Nowadays there are four of us in the band: me, Tim Dorney and Johnny Male have been part of it since the beginning, and we use a live drummer as well, Conor Lawrence. Plus our front-of-house sound man Ben, who's just the best sound man there is! We’re charmed to have such talent on board.”
Republica have been gigging heavily in 2019, and their new album is at the mastering stage. It’s the first record they are putting out since critically-acclaimed 2013 EP Christiana Obey, which was used to relaunch the group.
So what can festival-goers expect? “People are still going to hear the Republica sound that they know, it’s just some different songs,” Saffron explains. “We try to write better and better songs as we go. We write, record and produce it all ourselves.
“We feel blessed every day that people still want to come out all these years later and that our songs continue to be played all around the world. We just did the Captain Marvel movie trailer, which was amazing – they used Ready To Go – and that’s one of the top films in the world. We still have a hardcore loyal following that supports us and comes out, so we're super-humbled that we get to perform all the time.
“For us, each part of the song is important, not just the lyric and the melody but how it sounds too. We're most proud of this new album as a piece of work, we think it's our best yet. The new songs that we've been playing live have gone down really well, arguably as well as the old stuff.”
It is exceptionally hard for young bands to break through nowadays, and Republica’s industry experience counts for a lot.
“The situation nowadays is quite shocking. It’s virtually impossible to break through, unless you’ve got someone big backing you, and sadly you have to sign a 360 deal, meaning that the label takes everything off you, which I don’t agree with at all.
"There’s a couple of bands out there that are great – Blossoms and The Amazons for example, they're going well – but it's not like the old days sadly.”
Collaborations have been important in Saffron’s career. In 2001 she worked with The Cure for their song Just Say Yes, appearing in the video, and she was part of Fuel My Fire with The Prodigy for their 1997 smash album Fat of the Land. More recently, she has been working with Junkie XL (Tom Holkenborg), who is responsible for some of the biggest movie soundtracks in Hollywood.
“He’s done Tomb Raider, Divergence, 300: Rise of an Empire, Batman vs Superman,” she continues. “He worked on The Dark Knight Rises with Hans Zimmer too, so he’s flying.
"I put together some songs with him, one of which [Beauty Never Fades] went to number one in the dance charts. It was used in the Animatrix DVD from The Matrix and is still the theme for online game EVE. So solo wise, a lot of the songs I've written have done quite well.”
The Bish Bash will be one of the first stops in a jam-packed summer for Republica.
“We're booked up solid. We’ve got a new site being set up and a new online shop. We want to keep it as in-house as we can in terms of promoting the album. We know what we're doing with it, we just need a good distributor and enough money to promote it to radio and TV.
“We're back to back every weekend. In July we actually have two shows on one day! We'll make that happen somehow. But the show in Bishop’s Stortford is going to be a special one without a doubt.”