5 Minutes With…Simian Mobile Disco
We’ve been fans of Simian Mobile Disco for a fair few years here at DT. It’s hard not to be impressed with an act that seamlessly flick between live shows and dj sets, retaining their audience whilst refining a constantly evolving sound. Electro, techno and house the dynamic duo have mastered it all delivering 3 genre hopping albums on the way. So we caught up with the former band members, University of Manchester students and all round dynamic duo to see how things went Stateside and what’s lined up for 2013 ahead of their return to London this Friday at Factory 7.
You’re just coming back from a tour of the US. How have things changed for you since you were first performing in America?
Well, a bit different musically… We’ve been incorporating more of the material from ‘Delicacies’ and ‘Unpatterns’ on the last few trips, and playing older material in a different way. And we’ve been through a few different lighting set ups too!
You’ve been famous for your blistering live sets since the beginning and we’re about to get a piece of the action on record. What can you tell us about ‘Live’?
It was recorded in Philadelphia, last December, straight from our mixer, with a bit of crowd noise picked up on some mics on stage. There was no post editing or messing with the music, so it’s a faithful document of that particular evening.
Do you think the record captures the atmosphere of your infamous live sets?
That’s the plan! Hopefully our fans will agree…
The track listing features a mix of old and new. Do you have a favorite track to rework live?
Well, some the older tracks have had some pretty radical reworkings. In particular, “Hustler” is essentially a brand new track – the only part of the original in contains is the vocal. We’ve also really enjoyed playing “Wooden” live a lot, a track that hasn’t had much of a look in in our live sets for quite a few years.
Something you’re known for is the use of analogue synthesizers in production and during live sets. Can you explain to us why you use analogue synthesizers and how this affects the live show?
Primarily, because of the sound. But secondarily because there is always a bit of random factor using analogue synths and sequencers onstage.
You obviously do lots of DJ sets as well as the live dates. Which do you prefer?
Er… don’t really prefer either, they’re very different, different ways of performing. Both can be incredible fun if it all goes right. The live show is obviously much more of a hassle in terms of logistics, and that often means it’s hard to tour sometimes, but it’s definitely worthwhile.
Are you looking forward to being back in the UK when you play London this month?
Yeah, obviously we love playing in London, and again we’ve got the chance to curate the night and having Untold, South London Ordnance and Matt Walsh along will be great.
With each record you manage to evolve your sound into something new and progressive. Is there a conscious decision to shake up the sound each time?
From our end, it’s more like a slow and natural evolution over time. Because there’s a gap between albums, then it might seem like a conscious decision to try something new, it’s actually quite a slow change that happens due to us DJing a lot, playing new records, gaining new influences…
The release of Unpatterns saw you moving away from the featured vocalists of Temporary Pleasure and, continuing from the Delicacies release, create a deeper, more immersive club sound. How did the progression to Unpatterns and the A Form of Change EP come about?
We knew we wanted to have less vocals on Unpatterns, as the balance on Temporary Pleasure was too much in favour of the guest vocalists. However, we still tried out quite a few potential vocalists, but nothing really worked out satisfactorily. So we ended up using small vocal loops , more as instruments , than as conventional parts of a “song”. We had already spent a while making purely heavier dancefloor music, for Delicacies, and we also wanted to take a step back from that, and do something a bit slower and deeper, that worked on the dancefloor and for home listening.
Is there anyone your taking inspiration from at the moment for the future?
We’re working with a variety of collaborators at the moment, which will have to remain secret for now… but we’re taking inspiration from them!
Finally, aside from Live and the European tour, what else can we expect from SMD for the rest of 2013?
New music coming soon… then a bunch of festivals over the summer, both live and DJ.
Fans can catch the intrepid pairing at London’s Factory 7 ahead of the release of their ‘Live’ album out April 15th on Delicacies