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

26 June 2015

Marnie - Wolves (Glasgow Science Centre 2015)

The first pro shot video of a Marnie live performance.

23 June 2015

Backseat Mafia interview (2015)

Helen Marnie was studying classical piano in her native Glasgow before dropping out to take a degree in pop music at the University of Liverpool. There she met Daniel Hunt, Reuben Wu and Mira Aroyo forming Ladytron who have influenced a generation of British electronic acts.

With the band on hold Marnie is out on the road touring her solo album Crystal World and as she told Paul Clarke is playing two solo shows to promote it.

So what can people expect from these gigs?

I've been doing my solo project for a while now so the majority of songs are from my first solo album and I'll throw in a couple of Ladytron songs to mix it up a bit. It's a full band with three others, and we've done a few gigs lately which have gone really well.

So with Ladytron on hold it was the right time to go solo?

I wanted to keep making music so I thought it was just good timing. Now I've done the solo thing I really enjoyed it, and I am working on a second album right now, so I'm quite busy.

Will you be premiering any songs from the new album?

I'm afraid not because it's not quite there yet, and the songs are all at the demo stage, so it would take too much time to get them to up to scratch.

What are the new songs sounding like?

My solo stuff is pretty different as it's not as dancey as Ladytron, or as heavy in parts, so it's a bit more of an electro folk thing as my voice has taken centre stage.

And you've got a drummer in the band?

The drums give it the energy it needs, I like live drums onstage, and it feels like a proper band when you have a drummer. I feel really lucky to have found them as they are all really amazing musicians so it's really cool.

New Order legend Stephen Morris remixed your track "The Hunter" for Record Store Day.

That came about through the label that distributes my music as they have a connection to him so they got in touch and he was really up for it.

And were you pleased with the result?

It's always interesting with remixs as sometimes they can transform a song, which is what he did, and it was cool he was into it. But other times it's an odd situation as you've done the original so hearing it in another way can be hit and miss, but I was really happy with what Stephen did.

You grew up loving pop music so that is an influence on your solo stuff?

It's very song based, but when I was writing Crystal World I really wanted to concentrate on choruses, and I think I managed it so in that respect it is quite pop. But it's not commercial pop from a production point of view.

And your solo career isn't the end for Ladytron?

I'm going to get the second album done by the end of the summer then I'll be free to be work on Tron stuff. I don't know how long that will take and what form it will take. People mistakenly keep saying I'm ex-Ladytron, which is not true, so it will be nice to put that right and get back with the guys to write. It's a different beast from my solo stuff so it'll be interesting to see what we come up with.


22 May 2015

New Ladytron album, probably in 2016

Ladytron confirmed on their Twitter account that their new album will be released probably in 2016: "OK, breaking silence on a new album: Probably 2016".