Thursday, August 6

Audacity of Two

. Thursday, August 6

The art of the collaboration has long been the mainstay of hip-hop and R’n’B with the suffix ‘Ft. Snoop Dogg’ etc being the norm. However, Simian Mobile Disco are appropriating the hook up with a brand new album, ‘Temporary Pleasure’, containing a whole host of guest stars including Gruff Rhys, Beth Ditto and Hot Chip.

“We wanted to make a really cosmic record and we went down that path a little but then the lyrics came in and really turned that around,” says James Ford, one half of the production duo. “We basically made a lot of friends at festivals as everyone is in the same boat there. So when it came to the second album we knew we could get people involved.”

By handing an element of control to their friends Simian Mobile Disco have ended up with a varied and broad record featuring the heavy and electronic sounds they are famed for alongside disco, afro pop, hip-hop and something sleazy courtesy of Chris Keating of Yesayer. “That track (‘Audacity of Huge’) sounds nothing like SMD and nothing like Yesayer which is pretty unexpected,” starts Jas Shaw, before his co-hort adds: “There were quite a few emails sent between me as Jas about it. Just sending things back and forth saying 'What is this?' He (Keating) said he was going for a creepy N*Sync vibe and it took us a while to get our heads around it but now we love it. It’s got pretty odd lyrics and a really creepy windowlicker vibe too.”

With so many stars on board (‘Temporary Pleasure also features Young Fathers, Jamie Liddell and Telepathe) was there anyone the pair wanted but couldn’t get? “We tried to get Andre 3000 from Outkast but he was doing a film” says Ford, before Shaw says, “We want Nick Cave too but he keeps getting away. We’ll get him eventually though, he can’t run forever!”

Despite the predominant theme of ‘Temporary Pleasure’ being the guest appearance it is still a tight and intense electronic record by an act at the top of their game. What has inspired the duo and would they make another album in the style of this one? “We changed what we listen to quite drastically and I think that informed the record a lot. We learnt a lot by playing at festivals and going out and DJ’ing. We play in a lot of techno clubs so that’s inspired us and it’s pretty evident in the record,” says Shaw.

Ford adds: “We’re constantly recording so song writing for us is pretty much a constant process where we’re always learning how this bit of equipment works or how that instrument sounds. On the first album we used the vocals like a synthesiser but because on this album we had people who make more traditional songs and use melodies we decided to leave the vocals in a more song like format and not meddle with them. It’s a much more song-based album. So basically this new album is less of a sea change and more a snap shot of a period of time in our lives.”

Have thoughts turned to album three yet? “Often we start out wanting to do something and we end up achieving something totally different and that is what we like the best, that journey. If you try and do something and end up close to it then it’s just really boring. Next time around we want to do something totally different again. We always end up away from what we intended though so we might end up with another record like this! What we’ll have to do is set out to make another album of guest vocals,” jokes Ford.

With Simian Mobile Disco being one of the biggest names in the electronic music world what do they make of the current scene? Ford kicks off, “Since the electro thing came back in it has become really saturated. It seems to me that there is a fork in the road where some people head off to that really noisy electro sound that we were moving away from even on the first album and that side of things seems to be spiralling into some sort of...” Ford pauses for the correct word, until Shaw pipes up: “Bullshit”. Ford agrees. “A lot of these remixes are just lowest common denominator stuff that use the most basic parts.” It is not all bad though. He continues: “We really like the sort of Kraut influences coming in and the cosmic and disco stuff too. There is always good stuff out there it’s just getting harder to find.”

Having slated the current state of remixes does that mean Simian Mobile Disco will not be reworking other bands songs like they have in the past? “We haven’t done a remix in over a year just because we haven’t had the time. It’s really annoying because loads of people asked us and we really like doing them but we’ve just been too busy” says Shaw. “We want to get back into it but a remix takes as long as a track so you’ve got to really want to do it. Having said that we’re trying to get back into it”.

The pair then agree that they’d love to work on an Animal Collective remix. With a killer second album in the bag, an impressive live reputation and James Ford manning the desk for some of the biggest bands in the country the future looks bright for Simian Mobile Disco. Who knows? Maybe Nick Cave will be chasing them soon.



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