The first SG Music interview of 2011 sees us catch up with FIFA 11 featured artists, Ladytron. Having been on the scene for over a decade, the 4 piece featuring members from Scotland and Liverpool have created quite a cult following amongst festival goers and are renouned for their live shows. Their track, Ace of Hz can be found on FIFA 11, and their music has also been featured on EA titles such as Need For Speed and The Sims along with the recent release for PS3, LittleBig Planet 2. I caught up with Reuben from the band to discuss football, music and performing!
Firstly, Ladytron could you explain a bit about your name and how you came together?
Ladytron was the name of a song on Roxy Music's first album. We formed in 1999 when I was back in Liverpool doing a masters degree in design, Danny was DJing at his own club night and Helen was doing a degree in music. We met Mira through a friend of ours while she was doing her PHD in genetics in Oxford.
Your music has a very strong electronic vibe, who would you class as your main musical influences?
Although we sound electronic, our influences are much wider-ranging than that, and it's impossible to list all of them, as the 4 of us like a lot of different music. With me, it's My Bloody Valentine, Brian Eno, Goblin, The Fall, Serge Gainsbourg, Curve, Wire, Broadcast, Stereolab as well as stuff like Aphex Twin, Pansonic, Nine Inch Nails, The Carpenters, Angelo Badalamenti and JS Bach which I have loved over the years.
Your are widely praised amongst music fans for opting for creativity ahead of conforming to the generic musical styles. Is this a conscious decision about the direction as a group or something that comes naturally?
When we are working on music or anything requiring creative thought, we automatically end up asking ourselves whether it's original and whether it's any good. I can't think of any time when we have decided to do something which was similar to anything in the mainstream media - I guess we are just not wired that way and many of the decisions are made solely by the band rather than a record label. In answer to your question, it's probably a combination of both. It also helps that there are 4 of us.
Ladytron are renouned for putting on top level live shows when they performing, and have developed something of a cult following. What are the best parts about performing live?
The best parts of live shows are seeing the crowd react to the songs we play them. We built up our live shows from scratch. When we first played live I'd say it was an attempt to replicate the early recorded material, whereas we're now at the stage where the quality of songwriting is matched by the ability to play them all out live. As electronic artists, it's very important that we keep it as live as possible and not resort to easy ways out, as it's just not fulfilling.
Having released your first international EP in 2000, how do you feel the music world has evolved and changed over the past decade, both positively and negatively?
Well, I can only comment on the music world that we are part of. I know that nowadays it's totally mainstream to feature synthesizers in music, whereas when we released our first records, only a very small handful of artists were using them as prominently as we were. Every interview we did asked us why we were using keyboards, compared to now when every band uses synthesizers but never get asked why! One aspect of modern music-listening which is both a curse and blessing to me is the internet allows anyone with a decent connection to listen to everyone else's music but at the same time it has nurtured short attention span and increasingly homogenised music.
Onto gaming, your tracks have been featured on games such as Need For Speed, The Sims 3 and of course FIFA 11. Do you feel these mediums are the best way to give mainstream audiences the opportunity to hear your music?
Definitely, we've always been quite an underground band so having our music included on these games is really refreshing. It's a whole new platform and adds a new dimension to music-listening. Our tracks as a soundtrack to a visual experiences work really well.
Do Ladytron game as a band at all, and if so, what are your favourite games to play, and ultimately, who is the best gamer?
Not really! I used to be an avid Super Nintendo player though. My favourite game was Legend of Zelda which I once completed in one day on one life after I pulled a sicky off school.
Music within video games is becoming a massive thing, with soundtracks being commonplace amongst many top level titles. Would you ever be interested in one day composing and developing an entire musical score for a video game?
Yes, we'd love to compose a whole score.
Regarding football, and with a band made up of people from both Liverpool and Scotland, do you follow any teams and are there any in group rivalries?
Not really. Danny's a big LFC follower but the rest of us aren't really huge fans. One thing's for sure. If there's a big LFC match on then we won't be in the rehearsing room.
Finally, there are very few groups that are mixed gender and manage to stay together for ten years. What are the best and worst parts about having both male and female elements to Ladytron?
It's all good. Seriously, I think this is one of the reasons why we are still together! Things are a bit more civilised when ladies are involved.