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Soft Cell’s Marc Almond On Why ‘80s Music Endures: ‘It’s About Liberation In Repressive Times’

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Stranger Things has been a crash course on ’80s culture for those too young to have lived through the decade themselves. For Marc Almond, whose band Soft Cell was the soundtrack to those exciting years, Stranger Things is more than just a trip down memory lane. It’s a chance to celebrate what made the ’80s so iconic. “I think a good thing about Stranger Things is that you don’t have to be a kid to watch it,” Marc tells HollywoodLife when discussing Soft Cell’s involvement with Stranger Things x Doritos Live From The Upside Down concert. “If you’re an older person like me, you’ve lived through those decades, and you’ve seen them make all those cool references, and you [understand] where that’s come from and everything.”

“I think they’re getting hold of all the different references. They can download different music – the music their parents liked is not uncool anymore,” Marc says with a laugh. “Something like Stranger Things, for example, it’s so well-considered with its love of the ’80s nostalgia and culture. It isn’t just a horror story set in the past – it has everything from horror, science fiction, teenage angst, drama, and intrigue, and that really appeals to young people.”

As fans watch Stranger Things 4 (out today, May 27), music has played a vital role in setting the mood for this horror/sci-fi/teenage drama. Fans can also get the full-on ’80s experience with Doritos’ upcoming Live From The Upside Down virtual concert. Framed as a tour bus that crashed near Hawkins, Indiana, in 1986, Live From The Upside Down will feature Marc and Soft Cell alongside such iconic peers as The Go-Go’s and Corey Hart. Plus, Charli XCX, who has embraced the love of the ’80s aesthetic and sound, will join the rest of the trapped superstars.

It’s no surprise to Marc why the sound of the ’80s continues to resonate. Marc, along with Dave Ball, helped pioneer that decade’s distinctive tone with albums like Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing, and The Art of Falling Apart, music that perfectly fits today’s synth-powered pop. “Eighties music resonates because it’s sweet,” he tells HollywoodLife. “It’s kind of naive. It has a naive sweetness about it with a visual excitement. Unashamed fun. Hedonistic. It’s occasionally political, which is cool for young people. And I think it’s about liberation, as well, in such repressive times.”

Soft Cell performing in 1982 (Shutterstock)
Soft Cell performing with vocalist Marc Almond and instrumentalist David Ball. (Shutterstock)

Modern audiences are “hooking onto these kinds of themes” in ’80s music, says Marc, “which I think are relevant and resonate now with young people.”

Fans young and old and in-between can tune into Live From The Upside Down after securing a ticket via a bag of Doritos or Doritos 3D Crunch featuring the limited-time Stranger Things packaging. They can also go to Doritos.com/StrangerThings to reserve their ticket for the June 23 event from the Upside Down.

(Frito-Lay North America)

When asked if this nightmare landscape was the worst place he’s ever had a gig, Marc thought about it. “I’ve been in the worst places and the best places,” he said. “I’ve played in everything from a cupboard to a – I would say the strangest place was when I had to sing a whole concert to someone while sitting at a table in a restaurant. It was kind of a big favor to them because they were getting married.”

“So, one song wasn’t enough. I ended up doing like, fifteen songs or something, sitting at a table in a restaurant. I won’t say if they were paying me or not,” he said with a laugh.

One can watch Marc and Soft Cell perform during Live From The Upside Down while they sit at a table, stand on a subway, or anywhere else they can find a decent wifi signal on June 23. Click here for more information.

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