Former Klaxons member James Righton has shared a new collaboration with ABBA‘s Benny Andersson – listen to ‘Empty Rooms’ below.
The track is the latest preview of Righton’s new solo album, ‘Jim, I’m Still Here’, which was announced this month and will land on July 8 via Soulwax‘s label DEEWEE and made in collaboration with David and Stephen Dewaele.
Righton met Andersson when putting together the live band for ABBA’s forthcoming Voyage live residency in London, which begins next month.
“He’s never done anything like this before,” Righton said of Andersson’s contribution to the track. “I nervously sent him the track and a couple of days later he sent back this keyboard line which was perfect
“’Empty Rooms’ is about silent conflicts,” he added. “It’s about realising one’s own flaws and working through them. Like all the songs on the album it reflects another side of life during lockdown.”
Listen to ‘Empty Rooms’ below.
The ‘Voyage’ live show will see a “digital” version of ABBA performing alongside a 10-piece live band (put together with the help of Righton and featuring Little Boots) at the new purpose-built 3,000-capacity ABBA Arena at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in a run of shows from May 27, 2022.
Speaking to NME last year, Righton explained how “trying not to say anything to anyone is quite hard when you’re working with such a legendary act like ABBA”. The multi-instrumentalist explained how he’d been part of the “amazingly well-kept secret” for two years ever since Johan Renck (who directed David Bowie’s videos for ‘Blackstar’ and ‘Lazarus’) got in touch and asked him to help out with the project.
“He gave me a call and said, ‘I’ve got this project that I’m working on’,” said Righton. “He said the word ‘ABBA’ and my jaw dropped. Whenever you hear an ABBA reunion rumour it just feels so unbelievable.”
While making soundtracks for movies (including Simon Amstell’s Benjamin in 2019), Righton has also spent recent years working under the moniker of Shock Machine as well as releasing debut solo album ‘The Performer’ last year and working with Soulwax members David and Stephen Dewaele for his recent dance single ‘Release Party’ – which he described as a taste of things to come.
Check out NME’s interview with the producers and directors on what to expect from the ABBA live show here, along with details on how long it might run for.