Simian Mobile Disco
Profile: Simian Mobile Disco
Words: Niall Doherty
Whilst New Rave has been tearing the country a new neon-lit arsehole, DJ duo Simian Mobile Disco have been its dancefloor-soundtracking pioneers. Essentially the new rave band’s new rave band, it makes sense that the Hackney-based beat-merchants have chosen to make the transition from playing other people’s records to making one of their own. ‘Attack Decay Sustain Release’ comes on the back of various remixes they’ve done for their peers and maintains the adrenaline-rush euphoria of their live sets, their only manifesto for it that they make sure it stays fun.
“After Simian ended,” says James Ford, producer-extraordinaire (he’s knob-twiddled this year alone for Klaxons and Arctic Monkeys) and one half of SMD. “I went into production and Jas (Shaw, Ford’s SMD cohort) did computer programming. We’d DJ at weekends and it was fun and then we did a few remixes and it built up and snowballed from there. We only actually thought of making an album at the start of this year. We approached writing the songs in a similar way to how we remix. We see people’s reactions on the dancefloor to songs when we DJ so we knew what worked and what didn’t.”
Indeed, ‘Attack Decay Sustain Release’ is a party album that rarely lets up. ‘Hustler’ sounds like Chemical Brothers before they started roping in rock’s dinosaurs, whilst ‘Tits & Acid’ is a relentless surge of electro-wizardry. When guest vocalists do pop up, however, it’s less about The Big Name™ and more about what the song needs. “We didn’t wanna go overboard so that the album was just about the collaborations,” says Ford, “like UNKLE or Chems or something. All the people we used were friends or people we’ve met along the way.” Hence, there’s vocals from former Clor frontman Barry Dobbin, New York rapper Char Johnson and former Simian bandmate Simon Lord.
Determined to avoid the monotonous experience that usually accompanies recording dance albums, they became The White Stripes of techno, sticking to old gear, and the luddite approach meant enthusiasm levels were never allowed to drop. “We use old analogue gear,” explains Ford, “and we buzz off it. It’s a two man job, all about the performance rather than pushing round blocks on a computer screen, we have to guide it and mould it til it excites us. It’s organic and we worked quick, mixing tracks in a day. It’s never laboured, we’ve got low attention spans. We both produce each other, trying shit out. We’ve known each other for so long, we can read each other. This is a fun project – we’re just making party music.” As one of his former projects said themselves, get on your dancing shoes.
‘Attack Decay Sustain Release’ is released on Wichita on June 18th.