Q&A with Simian Mobile Disco

"/>

Thumbnail image for Simian_Mobile_Disco_general_-_Kate_Moross.jpg

Producers James Ford and Jas Shaw, of London dance duo Simian Mobile Disco , injected electronica with a much-needed anti-noise antibody with their '07 debut

"/>

Q&A with Simian Mobile Disco

  • Q&A with Simian Mobile Disco

  • ">

    Thumbnail image for Simian_Mobile_Disco_general_-_Kate_Moross.jpg

    Producers James Ford and Jas Shaw, of London dance duo Simian Mobile Disco, injected electronica with a much-needed anti-noise antibody with their '07 debut disc, Attack Decay Sustain Release. Big beats coupled with drumming synths powered a pop-centric engine that smoothed the jagged edges made by the genre's more out there practitioners, giving all but the most puritanical house heads a tasty treat to snack on.

    Indeed, SMD delivered 10 bite-sized tracks that, at around three to four minutes each, stayed well within ADD range. The focus is on intense experiences made palatable by a glossy sheen of familiarity. "Hustler," for example, vibrates with dissonant textures and pounding synths fastened together by a loose rap about a broke music fan cadging records from an unsuspecting clerk. Then, as if to mirror the narrative, the beat unexpectedly erupts into a warehouse rattler before finally dying out in Morse Code-like inflections. This in just over three-and-a-half minutes--a purposeful attempt, as Ford and Shaw reveal in the Q&A after the jump, to make the tracks hit harder.

    We caught up with the guys via email to talk about the impact playing in a rock band had on their current incarnation, why they don't mind being labeled "pop," their upcoming album (still no release date), and what we can expect to see at their show Friday, March 13, at Neumos.

    How did the experience of playing in the band, Simian, impact the way not only that you view music, but also the music business?

    We learned some lessons, I guess, but more than anything we learned not to rush making records. With that said, making records is always a bit of a rush toward the end. We tend to ignore the business and try to focus on the music.

    Along with Justice, Digitalism and others, you've been identified with the so-called blog-house movement. What's your take on that?

    It's a strange phenomenon to label a bunch of fairly disparate artists as being the same thing just because they get written about on blogs. We don't really identify with blog house per se, to be honest. We like blogs, though.

    Critics often note your pop sensibility. How much more accessible than other dance music acts do you consider yourselves? Is that a bad thing?

    It's not a bad thing, but it's not totally intentional either. We don't know that we're more accessible than the Chemical Brothers or anyone else, though.

    Attack Decay Sustain Release is a highly compressed album in terms of length. Was this purposeful, or just the way it came out? What approach are you using with your next disc?

    It was purposeful, actually. It could have been much longer, but we edited down a bunch of the tracks to make it punchier. The new album is longer. We still edited some tracks down, though. People have short concentration spans.

    Talk a little bit about your upcoming album. Any surprises?

    We're very please with our new album. It was literally just finished. It's maybe more cohesive than the first in that it was all written and recorded in the same period pretty much. Surprises? Well, it has a few guest appearances....If we told you who, it wouldn't be a surprise now, would it?

    How do you decide to use samples?

    Actually, until this new record, we never have. The opportunity to use Todd Rungren's vocal from "Born to Synthesize" was too good to pass up, though.

    How do you choose your song and album titles?

    Random word generators on the internet.

    What equipment do you use when recording and playing live, and what's your view of the role technology plays in dance music?

    That would be telling. It's a lot of vintage synths, some compressors, a pedal board, a laptop, and a really big homemade modular unit. We make the machines sing.

    What do you look for in a live show, and how does that influence the way you plan your concerts?

    We look for spontaneity, energy, being unafraid to make mistakes. We try to turn them into something good.

    What can people at your show in Seattle expect from you?

    A mind-bending psychedelic live audio-visual experience.

     
    comments powered by Disqus

    Friends to Follow