23 January 2015

Sunday Mail interview (2008)

The Beat Goes Tron

Ladytron singer Mira Aroyo quit science to hit the stage with Helen Marnie, Daniel Hunt and Reuben Wu - and reveals here why it was the best move she ever made.

Why is the album called Velocifero?

It means carrier of speed. It was the title of a track which didn't make it on the album but we liked the name so much we kept it. Scooters and pushbikes also go by the name. We Googled it and found it was also the title of a 19th-century Italian opera. We just liked it because of the speed of velocity.

What's the inspiration behind it?

To do something more diverse and better. That's all really, otherwise it's just the same inspiration for all the things we do. We want to make songs we enjoy and like playing and hopefully other people will enjoy them. We've been going for eight years and I don't think we would have if we weren't pushing forward. I'm happy with the album. I guess it's natural to think it's your favourite because it's the last one you have done.

What was it like recording in Paris?

We went straight from touring in America to recording. One of the studios we were in was underneath a big theatre where they record people like Charles Aznavour. Duran Duran recorded Rio there. It was funny doing it with people who were not English-speaking. Funny but nice.

You are originally from Bulgaria. Do you get back home much?

We've played there twice. I have to go quite often because my grandma and uncle are there. It was pretty amazing to play there because I think people appreciated it.

Do you get nervous playing at home?

My home town now is London. It's where my friends are. It's always stressful because you have to make sure everyone is OK. It's like it's your party and you never get to enjoy it much because you are pouring drinks and stuff.

How did the band meet?

Through friends. Helen was at university in Liverpool, where Danny and Reuben are from. They were on the music scene. They were DJing and we met through mutual friends.

Your fellow vocalist, Helen, is from Scotland. Do you visit here much?

I love coming to Scotland. We've played at Oran Mor in Glasgow a few times and it's one of our favourite venues in the UK. Because Helen is from Glasgow, she goes there all the time. She has a flat there as well.

You were a geneticist. How did you get into music?

We've all been very passionate about music and I was a DJ before but I never thought it would be a career. We all had jobs when we started Ladytron then little by little we ditched them. I was a geneticist doing a PhD and realising lab work wasn't for me. We were doing Ladytron at the same time and I was enjoying it more. It was easier and more fun.

Is there anyone you'd like to work with?

We are really interested in during more film soundtrack stuff. Stay at home, less touring, more soundtracks. The director who did the video for our single Ghosts is a big Ladytron fan and he has some scripts that he is hoping to start on next year. He has asked us to work on the music.

Any favourite films?

I'm obsessed by films so there are lots of favourites but I really like Watership Down, David Lynch films and lots of horror films.

What's your favourite way to spend a Sunday?

In summer, I like to go to a nice park, cycle around or have a picnic on a boat or a barge. Right now, that would be nice.


20 January 2015

Excerpt from a new track by Reuben Wu

Reuben Wu posted on SoundCloud an excerpt from a new track for SiteSeer.

19 January 2015

The Lovers (unofficial video)

Credits for the video: Gabriel de Laubier.

17 January 2015

MTV Iggy interview (2015)

ICON: Ladytron's Helen Marnie Steps Out on Her Own

In late December, Helen Marnie, one-quarter of Ladytron and, as of recently, a solo artist recording under her last name, played her first solo gig in Glasgow. We met there in a pub to discuss her upcoming album and the fate of her famous band. "I think it went OK", she says modestly, then thinks for a moment. "Except no one told me my keyboard wasn't working for the entire show". The gig — a "not pretentious" benefit for TYCI, the Glasgow-based feminist collective founded by Chvrches' Lauren Mayberry — offered Marnie the chance to get a low-pressure solo show under her belt (and to iron out any kinks like malfunctioning keyboards) before the beginning of a year that will see her play overseas and release her second solo album. It was also a chance to reconnect with the community of her home city of Glasgow, where she returned, after 12 years living in London, two years ago.

With song titles like "High Road" (the name of '90s Scottish soap opera) and allusions to the sea, the influence of her return home is stamped over her first solo album, the warm and emotionally resonant Crystal World, released in 2013. "I think because it was my first solo album, things like my childhood and my influences were going to creep into it", she says. "Crystal World is very reflective and about looking back and reminiscing about things, so Scotland played a big part. It was recorded in Iceland, but Iceland didn't creep into it at all because the music and lyrics were already written".

Marnie went to Reykjavik to record at the studio of Barði Jóhannsson of Bang Gang and Starwalker. She brought on Johansson to co-produce with Ladytron bandmate Daniel Hunt so that the album would not be just a Ladytron project. Now she is working with Jonny Scott, known for his work with The Kills and Olympic Swimmers, who she describes as a "synth geek and quite pop-oriented".

For her next album, which will be out later this year, she plans to write and record with Scott. "I think it will probably go more electronic sounding than the previous one. I think Crystal World had a softer edge. It was electronic but had a folk tinge to it. The next one might be a bit weirder".

As a teaser, Marnie released the Scott-produced "Wolves", a track calling out the establishment and urging people to raise their voices, in September 2014 — pointedly right before the referendum. The chorus goes: "Raise all your voices / Gimme all your hands, take the chances / Don't be fooled, wolves in disguises / All your hands! All your hands! / Hail for better days!"

"I wrote the lyrics at the beginning of 2014 when there was so much information about [the referendum] being thrown at us". She says. "The referendum was part of my life for so long that it was natural that it fed into it. At the time, I realized what I was writing about, and I wanted it to be quite anthemic".

The solo work and return to Glasgow have had some worrying that Ladytron is no more, but that's not the case. In fact, in what will be an exceptionally busy year for Marnie, she expects the band to get started on a sixth album in the second half of this year.

Reflecting on Ladytron's place in and influence on the electronic music scene, she says: "A lot of the electronic music that's coming out now is more pop than Ladytron. I think that we were always more underground than the stuff you would hear in the mainstream. Then, it wasn't like it is now where there's so much electronic music, and a lot of people didn't know where to put us and how to label us".

As for the more immediate future, she has solo gigs lined up in Peru and Mexico this month. It seems natural for her to play in Latin America, which has always been good to Ladytron in comparison to the UK where they "never really took hold". When asked for career highlights, as well as a show in a Brian Eno-produced festival at the Sydney Opera House, she fondly remembers a gig in Mexico City where she could barely hear her own voice over the crowd. The response in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and North America has far surpassed that of Ladytron's home country where the band "never really got much radio play".

While the new album is still in the planning stages, one thing she's certain of is that she won't be repeating her last experience of funding it via Pledgemusic — an experience she describes as "a lot of hard work" and "quite stressful". She also credits the crowdsourced method as a factor in the subdued reaction it received, although, the reviews it did get were highly positive. "The day the album was available, it went to the pledgers, so I felt that it didn't get much press because [by the time the media heard it] it was old news; it was already out there", she tells us. Neither will she be returning to Reykjavik to record. She says she is quite happy back in her hometown, a "good city" where "the people are good".

"When I make another album I am really looking forward to just staying in Glasgow and making it here", she declares. After more that 10 years in the business, it seems fair that Marnie gets to do it her own way.


11 January 2015

Live at Santiago Chile (2011)

Format: MP4, 1280x720
Size: 279 MB
Source: YouTube. You can watch the concert here.

01. Ace of Hz
02. Discotraxx
03. Destroy Everything You Touch


05 January 2015

3 films that influenced Ladytron

The Andromeda Strain

The Andromeda Strain is a thriller from 1971 directed by Robert Wise about a group of scientists that investigates a deadly new alien virus before it can spread. This film was an inspiration for Ladytron's uniforms during 604 and Light & Magic eras, plus (sort of) the title of 604 album. There's an error 601 on one of the displays from the lab in this film.

Daniel: "I'm really into The Andromeda Strain [Michael Crichton's futuristic novel that was made into a 1971 movie – Ed.], so that's kind of an influence on the title of the album and the uniforms we've got and stuff. But the design – me and Reuben just love that film". (Source)

Also the design of the US version of the 604 cover (especially the big 604) was probably inspired by some inscriptions from this film.

Watership Down

Watership Down is an animation from 1978 directed by Martin Rosen about a group of rabbits that flee their doomed warren and face many dangers to find and protect their new home. This film was an inspiration for the Ladytron song and music video "Ghosts". The lyric "prince with a thousand enemies" is directly inspired by the character El-ahrairah from this movie.

Mira: "I'm obsessed by films so there are lots of favourites but I really like Watership Down, David Lynch films and lots of horror films". (Source)

Helen: "I love the animation. I love the music. I love rabbits. It's not as simple as being just a gory scare fest. #watershipDown". (Source)

Helen: "I like Watership Down as well". (Source)


Suspiria is a horror film from 1977 directed by Dario Argento about a newcomer to a fancy ballet academy that gradually comes to realize that the school is a front for something far more sinister and supernatural amidst a series of grisly murders.

Suspiria probably influenced Witching Hour in a way. For example the film features witches and the line "Bad luck isn't brought by broken mirrors, but by broken minds" probably was an inspiration for the "Soft Power" lyric "Broken glass, is luxury". Reuben and Helen mentioned this film during the interview for Fly Music below (around 2:11). They also mentioned the films Phenomena and Noir.

Also during a special Halloween show at El Rey, Los Angeles in 2006, Ladytron had Suspiria playing in the background on screens throughout their performance.

25 December 2014

"We Are the Sea" live snippet

Unfortunately it seems there are not videos, pictures or audio from Helen's gig at Stereo, Glasgow excepts this short clip...