FM PREMIERE: The Heroic Enthusiasts and top producer Stephen Hague share new version of Pet Shop Boys hit ‘It’s A Sin’

“I’ve always thought the best covers put a spin on an existing song while showing respect to the source,” states Hague. “This is one of those.”
31 May 2023

The Heroic EnthusiastsJames Tabbi and Thomas Ferrara – recently released two convincing EPs that were both critically and commercially successful on Meridian/ECR Music Group. Now, the dynamic synth-pop duo returns with legendary producer Stephen Hague to give a new twist to the 1987 classic Pet Shop boys‘ hit It’s A Sin.

It is amazing to think that this collaboration was both by accident and by fate. Over the past half century, Hague has produced iconic records for a long list of artists, including New Order, Erasure, Peter Gabriel, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Blur, Robert Palmer, Pretenders, and Pet Shop Boys.

The Heroic Enthusiasts have been working closely with Hague for some time now, he was producing their two EPs.

“My first encounter with The Heroic Enthusiasts’ version of ‘It’s A Sin’ was while scanning through some demos they’d sent, not paying much attention to the titles, just listening,” explains Hague. “When the track started I thought it was interesting but then as the first chorus hit I thought, ‘wait a minute!’ Up to that point I didn’t realize what song it was, the mark of a good cover!” 

Hague pulled his old Oberheim OB-Xa polysynth out of the closet (the same one he used on the Pet Shop Boys’ album) and played the classic, recognizable chorus part with both synthesizer and guitar. “I’ve always thought the best covers put a spin on an existing song while showing respect to the source,” states Hague. “This is one of those.”

This alluringly refreshing and passionate new version of It’s A Sin, is an extension of The Heroic Enthusiasts‘ relationship with Hague, which began with an exciting start.

“So much of what I’m sent these days is basically beats with hooks, but the Heroic’s stuff was a breath of fresh air,” reveals Hague. “When I first heard their demos, I was taken by their song-craft and musicality. After a couple of introductory phone conversations with Thomas and James, I knew and said, ‘Buckle up boys, I’m joining the team.”

Tabbi and Ferrara, they both had a background in computational mathematics and statistics, Tabbi and Ferrara‘s musical efforts “cleverly merge the intellectual and emotional”.

The duo have a lot in common musically – they both draw inspiration from Brit-pop, New Wave and Post-Punk. They were both established soloists before working together as a duo, producing music, composing tunes and playing multiple instruments.

It’s A Sin is out now via ECR Music Group.

Photo by Sophia Scaravillo @sophsscar