15 August 2015

Soulwax - Seventeen vs. Billie Jean

A mash-up of "Seventeen" by Ladytron and "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson.

04 August 2015

Ladytron featured on NME's The Famous Songs That Gifted These 23 Massive Bands Their Names list

"It's remarkable to think Liverpool's Ladytron formed as long ago as 1999, though the song they named themselves after was an ambient glam classic by Roxy Music from the early seventies. When Bryan and Brian performed on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1972, they famously upset host 'Whispering' Bob Harris by sounding too much like the future".


18 July 2015

Virtual Festivals interview (2003)

Virtual Festivals: Ladytron have been playing an awful lot of festivals recently...

Helen Marnie: Yeah. The last couple of months we've been doing the European festivals like Norway, Sweden, Spain, Greece and Portugal. This is our first UK one this year.

How does Leeds compare?

They're all different. Like Spain for example. Spain's just a mad country anyway - it works differently! This is the third time we've done Reading/Leeds in a row but Reading yesterday was the best we've ever done so we're looking forward to Leeds. Our stage is really good this year. Last year we were put on in the dance tent and we didn't quite fit. Although it's dance-able and stuff, it's not dance music. It's pop and a bit of rock - not what people really want to see in that tent. It's much better this year now that we're on the Radio 1 stage.

What would be your fantasy festival line-up?

The line-up on our stage that I watched yesterday, Electric Six, that was just amazing. The crowd went mad. They were a good fun band. I love Interpol. I've also now seen the Polyphonic Spree! But on my perfect line-up, Prince would probably be there and then I'd have to have somebody like Joni Mitchell. I think that the line-up on the Radio 1 stage is very good this year.

You've had a lot of press this year. How has that affected the band?

I think that we've still got a long way to go but it's good that we have been doing a lot of festivals 'cos that's not our audience really. Like yesterday at Reading, on the front row, you could see a few people that knew you but the majority was just like people who had probably never heard of you. It's a good thing to do, to get more exposure. The last year's been really good because we've been touring America and everything seems to be going quite well.

Ladytron have been cited as fashion icons. How have you found that?

It's a bit weird because it's not what we set to do. Some fashonistas have latched onto the fact that we wear uniforms and things. That's not why we wore the uniform in the first place. It was a uniform so therefore it wasn't fashion but it's backfired a little bit!

Have you had any time to write any new material this year?

Touring is not the environment for us to make music. Although you have the ideas for things like that we haven't had the chance to put them down. Once all the festivals are done and the UK tour finishes we're going to go back in the studio, get everything down and just start again.

Are you anticipating a different direction for the new record?

Yeah, I think that this year's live show will influence what we do a lot 'cos our sound has progressed more with a live drummer and bass player on stage. It completely changes the way we are and it's made us all a lot more confident. It will affect the way we go in and record. I think it will rock a bit more than previous records.


17 July 2015

Q Magazine Special: The Story of Electro-pop (2005)

Phase Four


"We bumped into Tiga last year", explains Ladytron's songwriter Daniel Hunt, "and he said, Congratulations for escaping electroclash". While Montreal DJ Tiga has so far failed to follow-up his Top 30 cover of Corey Hart's "Sunglasses at Night", Liverpool-based Ladytron have just completed their third album, due for release in early 2005.

Founding member Daniel Hunt started making electronic music after buying dilapidated synths for "next to nothing from this huge car boot sale right by the ventilation shaft of the Mersey tunnel. It was a bit like Barter Town in Mad Max".

In 1999, he joined forces with a fellow designer, a model and genetics student, namely Reuben Wu, Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo, to record Ladytron's first single, "He Took Her to a Movie", on a 50 pounds budget.

Apart from mucking about half-broken machinery, Hunt was drawn to synthesizers because "not only are Depeche Mode one of my favourite bands, they seemed to offer a completely different view of how alternative music could be made".

Dressed in uniform black ("we wanted simplicity") they released 604, an album of quietly understated pop, in 2001, followed by the more ambitious Light & Magic a year and a half later. The latter contains the excellent singles "Seventeen" and "evil", and is both more poerful and better designed - a concept that is close to their heart.

"It does feel as if the way the future was anticipated 30 years ago has actually happened", argues Hunt, pointing out the futuristic designs of iPods, digital cameras, mobile phones and so on. "It didn't look as if it would and then suddenly you look around and it kind of has".

Meanwhile, Ladytron's forward-looking style has not only survived electroclash and the financial meltdown of their label (they're now signed to Island), they even spent autumn of 2004 touring China in association with the British Council to promote 21st-century music.

Their new songs are described by Hunt as "still electronic but nastier. We've always been into Neu! and My Bloody Valentine and now we can be influenced by stuff like that. Before it would still sound like The Human League by the time we'd put the ideas through some ancient synth".


As Ladytron's Daniel Hunt explains, "there's a lot of stuff that's completely taboo, that you're not allowed to like. It's as if people are afraid of it. And if you're influenced by anything from that period, then they think it must be a joke, that you don't actually like it. But it also means that you're starting out with something fresh, that you're not using all the usual old reference points".

Scans source. I transcribed only the parts where Ladytron were mentioned.

15 July 2015

Reuben Wu - Neuro (Part II)

Reuben published on his Soundcloud account a new track, "Neuro (Part II)". It seems that it's part of a soundtrack to a virtual reality project called Neuro.

06 July 2015

Premonition Magazine interview (2002)

It is the second album of this young Liverpool-based band who sparkles their pop compositions with electronic sounds straight out from the 80s. When asked about the obvious nods and allusions popping up throughout Ladytron's songs, founder and programmer Daniel Hunt denies any conscious imitation attempt, insisting on his despise for fashion and hype and unhesitatingly reproaching other bands with doing exactly what Ladytron's usually criticised for... A debate that soon turns round in circles. However justified, such criticism doesn't necessarily deserve to be commented upon at length, at the risk of depreciating the album's efficiency. Dissecting Light & Magic should remain a pleasant exercise.

Ladytron is a young band who's been very rapidly propelled into the "hype". Aren't you afraid of such a rapid success?

There is no rapid success, or any "hype". We were on an independent label who cannot afford "hype". We have been together 4 years, hardly overnight success.

Don't you think that you're somehow too much pop for the electronic scene, and too much electronic for the pop scene?

We are not a part of anyone else's scene. If someone wants to place us within a scene and then finds that we do not fit... that demonstrates the absurdity of scenes in general. We exist in isolation, always have. At the beginning we were compared to LRD, because that was the only thing around to compare us to... in retrospect that is false. We have made no secret that we make pop music, we didn't intend to make a cash in Hi-NRG record this time... although that's what most have done... we can remix our songs into club tracks very easily.

You are often compared to Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode or Zoot Woman... aren't you bored with all these comparisons? Without what bands would Ladytron not exist today?

Those comparisons are false. Our songs look more to Lee Hazelwood than Kraftwerk.

Your music is at once cold and extremely emotional. How do you create such an amazing balance?

Just by writing human songs, songs which are not obsessed with style or fashion, that is where we differ from some of our peers. We're just a completely different school to most of the things we're compared to. We are more like New Order than say... Gary Numan.

Where do you take your inspiration for writing texts?

Bad sex!

What are the differences between this new album and 604?

This is a better album, it works as a record a lot more coherently, it's more varied, better produced.

Light & Magic is less dark than 604, is it deliberate?

Some people say it is more dark.

Nods and winks seem to constantly pop up throughout the album. Reminiscences from Visage on "Cracked LCD", "funkier" echoes in "Turn It On"... is it some kind of deliberate tribute or a totally unconscious process?

There are no "winks" ;) It is all coincidental, and involuntary. "Cracked LCD" sounds more like The Cure or Joy Division, but started life as a Hi-NRG track. "Turn It On" sounds more like Genesis than anything else.

Are you always dressed in black? Is there a meaning to that?

No, we dress in different colours, just uniform. It is so people don't focus on our clothes... although it seems to have the opposite effect. We hate this fashion-led electroclash scene, the 80's clothes are horrible. We made it clear at the beginning that we are not interested in 80's revivalism, that the clothes and the hair are not interesting... just some of the music production.

I've read somewhere that you were planning to work on the Tron 2 soundtrack, is it a joke or what?

That is completely untrue... and not a helpful rumour to have floating around. We did rescore the original Tron movie for a live event in London, that's all, that's probably where this rumour came from.


30 June 2015

Marnie - Hebden Bridge, UK, 2015 concert review by The VPME

Had circumstances been different we could well have been standing in a field in Somerset last Saturday night, and it probably would have been great fun. However, any fun would have been tempered by the knowledge that we'd have been missing a rare live show from Ladytron's front woman Helen Marnie. So having eschewed the delights of Glastonbury and Kanye's gargantuan ego, we headed to the beautiful West Yorkshire Market town of Hebden Bridge, specifically to the Trades Club to catch Marnie... and we weren't disappointed

Whilst all four members of Ladytron have embarked on various solo projects in recent years, it's Helen who appears to have remained the most musically active. Her debut solo long player Crystal World was our own album of the year in 2013, and we described it as demonstrating "how inspiring, poignant, and engaging pop music can be when it's produced with such eloquence and sincerity". So suffice to say we were rather excited at the prospect of seeing it performed live – although perhaps not as excited as the young Dutch chap stood next to us, who admirably had travelled all the way from Amsterdam just for this gig!

Electronic duo U.V. who had previously caught our attention with tracks such as Receiver and Cuts opened proceedings with a darkly compelling set. Illuminated by just two red lights, singer Zandra Klieven's haunting voice allied to & Jonjo Feather's brooding beats created an ethereal soundscape that sounded not unlike the musical lovechild of Alison Goldfrapp and Trent Reznor.

If we had any questions or concerns about how Crystal World would translate, live with a full band, we need not have worried, because Helen has assembled a group of hugely talented musicians to bring her songs to life. Backed by Emer Tumilty on synthesizers and backing vocals, Jonny Scott who has played with the likes of the The Kills on guitar and synthesizers and Peter Kelly (Moon Unit) on drums Helen kicked off the set in fine style with the opening two tracks from her debut in the shape of "The Hunter" and "We Are the Sea".

She then informed the crowd that she intended to mix things up and launched into a sublime version of "Playgirl" from Ladytron's debut studio 604 (where it all began for us). There was a storming version of "Sugarland", replete with coruscating shoegazy guitar flourishes from Jonny, a pulsating hypnotic rendition of "Runaway" from Ladytron's 2008 Velocifero album, before things were slowed down with the hauntingly evocative, almost Bronte-esque "Laura". "Hearts on Fire" sounded like the huge electropop festival anthem it undoubtedly deserves to be, whilst "Wolves" was introduced as the newest song in the set. On first listen it's not a song you'd consider sounding overtly political but it was inspired by the Scottish Referendum, the need for change and the fact that people are sick and tired of a self-serving Westminster elite, as such, it was delivered with real passion.

We were treated to another Ladytron classic in the form of "Soft Power" followed by Crystal World's devastatingly beautiful closer "Gold" before the set itself was brought to an end with Ladytron's hypnotic minimalist pop classic "Seventeen" inducing dance moves from the audience that ranged from the energetic to the ill-advised Wink.

The only slight hitch arrived during the encore, when, as Marnie performed the dramatic epic instrumental outro to "Submariner" a rather excitable young lady had one of those "well it seemed a good idea at the time after a full bottle of wine" moments and constantly quizzed Helen as to where she'd bought her stage outfit and where could she purchase such a wondrous garment? As Mark E. Smith discovered during his Glastonbury set, there's a time and a place for everything, and this was certainly not the time to be seeking fashion advice. To her credit Helen concentrated on the job in hand, laughed it off and concluded a fantastic gig with perhaps Ladytron's most beloved tune "Destroy Everything You Touch". That's how it's done, Kanye take note.


27 June 2015

Ladytron - Barfly, London (2003)

Content: True Mathematics / Playgirl / Another Breakfast With You / Cracked LCD / Blue Jeans / He Took Her to a Movie / Evil / USA vs. White Noise / Seventeen / The Way That I Found You / Turn It On / Discotraxx