Since the release of RE:VISITED in February, we have been overwhelmed by the response from fans, both longstanding and new.
We have received an unprecedented number of messages along with many questions about the project.
Here are 10 questions that keep being asked (well to be honest 11, but we aren’t counting the first one as everyone love ABBA, don’t they?)
The answers below, direct from the Queen of Hi-NRG herself.
If there are any questions about RE:VISITED you want to ask that aren’t covered here, please send them in via the contacts page here on www.hazelldean.net
Love Team Dean x
Q. Hazell, Are you an ABBA fan?
HD: Of Course! Who isn’t?
ABBA wrote and performed perfect pop songs. They are musically and lyrically complex pieces of storytelling.
Perfect little gems that catch the imagination and stick in your brain. I love the versatility, they can be heart-breaking or sugary sweet.
Everyone loves ABBA right?
Q. Why RE:VISIT the ABBA catalogue again?
HD: “The Winner Takes It All” album became a fan favourite very quickly, but was difficult to find in its original Carlton Records format. There are lots of bootleg versions circulating in the ether, but there has only been one official release of that album from Carlton.
The original project was such an enjoyable experience (with my production partner Pete Ware) We spent weeks together working on the Carlton version, it was a very cathartic and creative process, as each track is so very different.
We used rock guitars and classical pianists – it doesn’t get more diverse than that.
The harmonies are complex and intricate, so it was also a challenge – Pete and I do love a challenge. RE:VISITED as a title came easily, as that is exactly what we did – it was like revisiting old friends.
Matt Pop has been remixing my tracks on Energise Records for a few years now, and has a back catalogue of ABBA remixes to his credit, plus he is such a fan of ABBA, I knew that a collaboration would be great. It felt like a good time to do it again.
Re:sung, Re:mixed, Re:visited – it’s as simple as that.
Q. How different is this album be compared to ‘The Winner Takes It All’?
HD: Some of the tracks originally included on “The Winner Takes It All” have been replaced for “RE:VISITED”.
They weren’t replaced because they didn’t work, but because I wanted to add some freshness to the new album. For example “Like and Angel Passing Through My Room” remains a firm favourite of mine, but was so simple and beautiful the first time round, it was best left untouched and would not have fitted into the re-mixed format of RE:VISITED.
If you don’t have it, or have never heard it, do yourself a favour, find it and have a listen. It is beautiful, and was the last track that I recorded for that original Carlton disc. It is very special.
Q. You added some new songs to RE:VISITED, how did you choose the new tracks?
HD: There are so many fantastic ABBA songs you become spoiled for choice, so I selected the ones that I felt would suit my voice and my style.
“Does Your Mother Know” seemed to surprise everyone, but I think is a great fun song.
“Summer Night City” is perfect for both vocally and it its mood. This track was hard work, but one of my favourites on RE:VISITED. I love that it has a hint of darkness about it.
“Summer Night City” along with Matt Pop’s superb mixes of “The King Has Lost His Crown” and “The Winner Tales It All” are spectacular.
“Happy New Year” is a difficult song, and we did have to tweak the lyrics to make them suitable for a 2016 release.
I have never been a fan of Christmas songs being covered, so “Happy New Year” was the perfect choice and compromise for something seasonal, but not overtly Christmassy.
It was paired with “The Way Old Friends Do” as they both work well for new year, they both have a sense of melancholy which is perfect for that strange New Year period. A time of reflection as well as looking to the future.
Q. Will there ever be a full RE:VISITED show?
HD: I have included one of the tracks in my show for the Summer, but my show isn’t an ABBA tribute, as much as I love them, it’s still very much a Hazell Dean 80’s show, with the briefest of visits from ABBA.
Q. Do your fans like this album?
HD: I can honestly say, I have not heard even one negative response to RE:VISITED. Even people who really didn’t want to like it had to concede that collectively it is a fabulous body of work, vocally and musically.
The songs are all great, my voice is soaring, the Dean & Ware productions are (as always) pristine and sparkling, the remixes are fantastic.
I would love the guys from ABBA to hear it, as I would be interested to hear their reactions. I am pretty sure they would like it, as it has been done with love and respect throughout, and I think that shines through on every track.
I am very proud of RE:VISITED. It has reached a new audience thanks to the support of various ABBA fan sites and forums, and has received a very warm welcome. I think it is very special, and for that reason fans have taken it to their hearts.
The best compliment you can ever receive is “I LOVE IT!” and it seems there are a lot of people who really do love it.
Q. Will there be a RE:VISITED volume 2
HD: I have been asked this a lot recently. If the question is, will I be recording more ABBA tracks, the answer is no.
I’m not sure if there will be any more remixes released from RE:VISITED at this moment in time, but sorry, there will be no “Dancing Queen” from The Queen of Hi-NRG!
Q. Why the choice of Pop Art inspired artwork.
HD: Originally I toyed with the idea of Pete Ware and I dressing up as Benny, Bjorn, Frida and Agnetha, but we would have ended up fighting over who got to dress as Agnetha, so that idea was scrapped. LOL!
(Obviously I would make a much prettier Agnetha than Pete)
The cover artwork is inspired by Andy Warhol. I liked the way that the same image could be interpreted in different ways, just by changing the colours. Its the same with songs, they can be re-interpreted many times, and still have an impact. Some things are worth doing more than once.
Was it a homage to the 1970’s? Not intentionally, although Warhol was most prolific with this type of work during the 1970’s, and of course ABBA first became internationally famous in 1974, so I guess it was meant to be.
Practically, it meant the images could be divided into 4 (again a nod to the 4 members of ABBA).
The Warhol images are strong, graphic and very versatile, which is exactly what I wanted for RE:VISITED.
Q. Have you ever met any of ABBA?
HD: Sadly no. I have sailed passed a small private island just outside Stockholm, where I believe one of them lives (so touristy) but that’s as close as I’ve been.
If anyone wants to introduce me, please do, I would love to meet one or all of them!
Q. Have you performed in Sweden?
HD: I performed many time in Sweden in the 1980’s, often just flying in for the day to record TV shows.
My last visit was to perform at Stockholm Pride, which was great. I stayed for the weekend and took the opportunity to take a look around the city.
I really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere, and had some really great food.
Q. You have a connection with Eurovision, is “Waterloo” the definitive Eurovision winner?
HD: “Waterloo” is another example of their clever lyrics and melody, so yes, it was a worthy winner. Is it my definitive Eurovision song?
No, there are many winners that define the competition, “Rise Like A Phoenix” being one of them. That song and performance was so breath taking, it was game over once Conchita had performed.
Had “Waterloo” not won, maybe we would have never been exposed to the genius of ABBA? Who knows.
And before anyone asks, no, I have absolutely no intention of every entering “Song For Europe” or representing the UK (or any other country) in the Eurovision in the future, and yes, I have been asked to represent a country other than the UK!!! Can you imagine?
Don’t Forget, if there are any questions about RE:VISITED or any other Hazell Dean questions that you want to ask please send them in via the contacts page here on www.hazelldean.net