It’s not hard to understand how Toronto synthpop duo Electric Youth ended up on the soundtrack to Drive. One of director Nicholas Winding Refn’s favorite filmmaking tricks is to set scenes of unsettling violence to exactly the combination of stylized retro electronics and weightless pop hooks that their “A Real Hero” does so well. (See also: his use of New Order and the Pet Shop Boys in Bronson.) But beyond that, the pair (who recently released their debut album Innerworld) have soundtracks woven deep in their musical DNA, as the playlist they made for us proves.
1. Air – “Empty House” (from The Virgin Suicides)
Our favorite from The Virgin Suicides. Air did an amazing job with the soundtrack for this great movie. You can hear the influence of Goblin (who also appear on this list) on what they did here, but they updated and made it their own for the 2000s.
2. Giorgio Moroder – “Chase Theme” (from Midnight Express)
Perhaps our favorite soundtrack hit of all time, from the king of movie songs himself, Giorgio Moroder. This was from his first big soundtrack and still one of the best. It’s amazing to see the new audiences that have embraced him since his involvement in the latest Daft Punk album.
3. Sniff ‘n’ the Tears – “Driver’s Seat” (from Boogie Nights)
Great song that was a hit in the ’70s, then again in the ’90s around release of the amazing Boogie Nights. Interesting fact: Lead singer-songwriter of Sniff ‘n’ The Tears, Paul Roberts, went on to an amazing career as a painter whom we had the privilege of working with when he painted the cover for our album Innerworld.
4. Debbie Harry – “Rush Rush” (from Scarface)
Credit on this one as well to Moroder, who produced the entire soundtrack for De Palma’s Scarface. Debbie Harry and Moroder collaborated on the amazing American Gigolo OST/Blondie classic “Call Me” as well, but this one is our fave from the two.
5. Goblin – “Tenebre” (from Tenebrae)
No rock band has been more prolific in the film music world than Goblin from Italy. The aforementioned Virgin Suicides soundtrack is just one of many great examples of the influence they’ve had. We first came to know them for soundtracking some of our favourite horror movies like Dawn of the Dead and Suspiria. This is something from a little later in their career and was initially credited to just two members of the band, though we had the privilege of catching a rare live performance of this in LA during a Goblin reunion tour last year. This song is probably best known for it’s being sampled by Justice a few years ago, but it originally appeared in Tenebrae, in what may be the coolest shot from any Dario Argento movie ever.
6. Prince – “Beautiful Ones” (from Purple Rain)
A soundtrack full of undisputed classics from one of the best to ever do it. We still hear “When Doves Cry” and the title track “Purple Rain” all the time on the radio, but “Beautiful Ones” is one of our favorite lesser appreciated gems from the set.
7. Vangelis – “Memories of Green” (from Blade Runner)
Another lesser appreciated gem, from what’s widely considered the best synth-based soundtrack of all time. While we were influenced by its synth sounds during the making of our album (where we used the same synthesizer, the Yamaha CS80) we were just as inspired by the amazing piano sounds, heard best in “Memories of Green.”
8. Pino Donaggio – “Telescope” (from Body Double)
Another great song from another great Brian De Palma movie, this one from our favorite, Body Double.
9. Neil Young – “Philadelphia” (from Philadelphia)
When you hear this song in context during Philadelphia, it becomes incredibly emotive. It’s still incredible standing on its own as well. In recent years, we’ve really come to appreciate the fact that Neil Young really makes music for real human beings.
10. College & Electric Youth – “A Real Hero” (from Drive)
On that note, we didn’t really want to include ourselves on this list! But truth is, Drive is unbiasedly one of our favorite films and we truly love the scenes Winding Refn used this song of ours in, which we really did write for real human beings and real heroes.
ELECTRIC YOUTH FALL 2014 TOUR DATES
Nov. 3 – Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy
Nov. 4 – San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
Nov. 6 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile
Nov. 7 – Victoria, BC – Victoria Event Centre
Nov. 8 – Vancouver, BC – Biltmore
Nov. 12 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
Nov. 13 – Washington, DC – Black Cat
Nov. 14 – Philadelphia, PA – District N9ne
Nov. 15 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
Nov. 18 – Toronto, ON – The Hoxton