11 February 2012
Note: most trivia is based on various interviews with the band members.
They took their name from the song "Ladytron" by Roxy Music.
There are four kind of Ladytron songs: sung by Marnie (sometimes with Aroyo on backing vocals), sung by Aroyo (sometimes with Marnie on backing vocals and sometimes contain lyrics written in her native Bulgarian), duets (usually Marnie and Aroyo, but sometimes Marnie and Hunt) and instrumentals.
During the early years they were mislabeled as electroclash by some lazy journalists. Ladytron rejected the tag everytime they were asked about it. Electroclash was an electronic music subgenre, quite popular in early 2000s. Tags like electronic, electropop, synthpop, new wave, dream pop are more accurate to describe Ladytron' sound.
The legendary musician Brian Eno, once a member of Roxy Music, invited Ladytron in 2009 to perform at Sydney Opera House in Australia. He called Ladytron "the best of English pop music".
They used many synthesizers during the years, but the instrument that appeared on every album and live show is Korg MS-20.
Some similar artists to Ladytron: Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, Chvrches, Röyksopp, Client, Metric, The Knife, Fever Ray, Goldfrapp, Grimes, Marsheaux, Soft Metals, Crystal Castles, VNV Nation, Covenant, Assemblage 23, mind.in.a.box, Mesh, Shiny Toy Guns, The Golden Filter, High Places, The Human League, Cut Copy, Miss Kittin, Miss Kittin & The Hacker, La Roux, Emmon, Camouflage, Parralox, OMD, Propaganda, Ashbury Heights, Pet Shop Boys, Wolfsheim, Yellow Magic Orchestra.
Artists that like Ladytron: Brian Eno, Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Alessandro Cortini (Nine Inch Nails, SONOIO), Andy McCluskey (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark), Chibi, Falcore and Rainbow (The Birthday Massacre), Victoria Hesketh (Little Boots), Christina Aguilera, Chvrches, Tegan Quin and Sara Quin (Tegan and Sara), Emma Anderson (Lush), Sarah Blackwood (Dubstar, Client), Kate Holmes (Client, Technique), Marianthi Melitsi and Sophie Sarigiannidou (Marsheaux), Shirley Manson (Garbage), Brian Molko (Placebo), The Veronicas, Andy Bell (Erasure), Scott Hansen (Tycho).
For The Sims 3 game soundtrack, the group composed three exclusive tracks: "Rockfalls & Estuaries", "She Stepped Out of the Car" and "Young Etruscians". For the soundtrack of The Sims 3: Supernatural expansion pack, Ladytron composed another instrumental track, "Tesla".
Ladytron released 14 instrumental songs so far: "Olivetti Jerk", "Mu-Tron", "CSKA Sofia", "Zmeyka", "Laughing Cavailer", "USA vs. White Noise", "Turn It On", "CMYK", "Tender Talons", "Citadel", "Ritual", "Transparent Days", "Aces High", "Tesla".
Reuben Wu said about the process of making a new Ladytron album: "We start writing individually. We've never really lived in the same city before. We've always been geographically apart. [...] It's always been first as individuals, and then reviewing everything together, and then working on each other's songs. That's how we've always worked. And it goes well with how we make music. We do get together down the line and in the studio when we start fleshing out the tracks".
Mira Aroyo married with Harry Hardie in 2010, Helen Marnie married with Nic in 2011 and Daniel Hunt married with Adriana in 2011.
Reuben Wu considers Witching Hour as the definitive Ladytron record. Helen Marnie's favorite Ladytron albums are Witching Hour and Gravity the Seducer.
The band considered the title Fighting in Built Up Areas for the album Witching Hour when they worked on it.
"The Way That I Found You" emerged a week before they mixed 604. When Ladytron recorded that song, Helen sung it once and the band used that first take.
Daniel Hunt is a supporter of Liverpool FC. In 2005, he was a DJ for 30,000 Liverpool football fans in Istanbul before that UEFA Champions League final when Liverpool won.
Reuben Wu drew the original cover of the Ladytron's debut album 604.
Hunt and Wu set up the club night EVOL and have a share in bar/restaurant/music venue Korova, both from Liverpool.
Helen Marnie said in a Rolling Stone interview from 2011 that her height is 168 cm (5'6"). Regarding the supposed model career rumors, Helen said in the same interview: "I've never really done proper catwalk. I only ever did a few bits and pieces along with a couple of graduate shows as a favour to friends".
Helen Marnie has a small Japanese character tattoo on her belly and a red heart tattoo close to the wrist of her left hand.
When Ladytron perform live, Helen usually plays lead synth lines (when it's an instrumental part in the song), Mira plays sound effects and some synth lines (and some basslines), Reuben plays basslines, Daniel plays guitar and pad sounds, their tour drummer and bassist plays of course drums and bass, respectively.
Since the band started touring, they kept the same stage positions: in front-left Mira, in front-right Helen, in back-left Daniel, in back-middle the tour drummer, in back-right Reuben (and their tour bassist when they had one).
Ladytron used to wear uniforms onstage during 604 and Light & Magic tours.
There are two versions of the origin of the title of their debut album 604: first one is the area code for British Columbia and the second one is from the thriller The Andromeda Strain.
Some films that inspired Ladytron: The Andromeda Strain (1971), Watership Down (1978), Suspiria (1977), Phenomena (1985), Noir.
The thriller The Andromeda Strain was an inspiration for the 604 album title (after an error 601 that appears in the film) and their uniforms during 604 and Light & Magic eras. The animation Watership Down was an inspiration for "Ghosts" lyrics ("Prince with a Thousand Enemies") and its music video. Here you can read more about these films.
Ladytron rescored the original Tron movie for a live event in London in 2002.
"Seventeen" was written by Daniel Hunt.
Helen Marnie wrote the lyrics of "Beauty*2".
"Ninety Degrees" has been originally written by Daniel Hunt in Portuguese for his fiancé, and then translated it to English.
Daniel Hunt wrote "Destroy Everything You Touch" in October 2003. The song will be edited many times until it achieved the final version.
"The Beginning of the End" by Nine Inch Nails is a song remixed by Ladytron that featured Helen Marnie's vocals.
Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails is a fan of the band. In early 2007, he invited Ladytron to perform in the opening of the European shows of Nine Inch Nails.
During the early part of Witching Hour tour, the band used to name their four Korg MS-2000B synths to easily differentiate them: Cleopatra (Helen' synth), Babylon (Mira' synth), Ulysses (Daniel' synth) and Gloria (Reuben' synth).
604 was co-produced by Lance Thomas in Liverpool, Light & Magic was co-produced by Mickey Petralia in Liverpool and Los Angeles, Witching Hour was co-produced by Jim Abbiss on Elevator Studios (Liverpool), Velocifero was co-produced by Alessandro Cortini and Vicarious Bliss at Studio de la Grande Armée (Paris, France), Gravity the Seducer was co-produced by Simon "Barny" Barnicott and Alessandro Cortini in Kent, England.
Bands to open for Ladytron on their tours include Simian, The Presets, Client, CSS, Asobi Seksu, Mount Sims, Crocodiles, Franz Ferdinand, SONOIO, VHS or Beta and Geographer.
Ladytron have opened for other artists like Soulwax on their UK tour in 2001, Björk in 2003, Goldfrapp in 2006, Nine Inch Nails in early 2007 for their European tour. In 2009, Ladytron and The Faint co-headlined a North American tour.
The album titles are usually hidden in the lyrics:
604 - "I'm With the Pilots" ("six-oh-four / Belgian teachers and the cosmonauts");
Light & Magic - "Light & Magic" ("Left on the lights, is there somebody home, light and magic");
Witching Hour - "Soft Power" ("Daylight is the enemy / Witching hour, soft power");
Velocifero - the only exception. But Reuben Wu said that they made a song "Velocifero" that was skipped from the album's final version. Probably that song included the word "velocifero" somewhere in the lyrics;
Gravity the Seducer - "Ninety Degrees" ("I don't know where you've been, out on the sand with medusa / and not busy with fighting gravity, the seducer").
The meanings of some song titles:
"Mu-Tron" - the name of Musitronics, often shortened to Mu-tron, that was a manufacturer of electronic musical effects active in the 1970s.
"CSKA Sofia" - a Bulgarian football club.
"Commodore Rock" - a reference to the 80s computer Commodore 64 or Hotel Commodore. However the actual lyrics are a weird mix between the Bulgarian national anthem, a children story and an old revolutionary song.
"Zmeyka" - in Slavic mythology, the word "zmey" and its cognates "zmiy" and "zmaj", are used to describe a dragon.
"CMYK" - Cyan Magenta Yellow Black, a subtractive color model used in color printing.
"Soft Power" - a concept developed by Joseph Nye to describe the ability to attract and co-opt rather than coerce and rather than using force or money as a means of persuasion.
"Kletva" - which means "oath" is a cover of a song from a solo album by Kiril Marichkov of Bulgarian rock band Shturtzite.
"Deep Blue" - the supercomputer that beat the chess master Garry Kasparov in 1997.
"Ace of Hz" - it's a play on words between "ace of hearts" and "ace of hertz".
"White Elephant" - an idiom for a valuable but burdensome possession of which its owner cannot dispose and whose cost (particularly cost of upkeep) is out of proportion to its usefulness or worth. Also it's the nickname of the organ/synth combo Moog CDX-0652. There a picture with Helen playing this Moog.
Fixed misconceptions related to Ladytron:
- they're not electroclash, but synthpop, electropop, dreampop, new wave;
- their name is not Lady Tron or LadyTron, but Ladytron;
- they're not a duo or a solo artist, but a quartet;
- Mira isn't Russian, French or Hungarian, but a Bulgarian;
- their sound is not unemotional, cold, robotic, but emotional, warm, organic;
- Softcore Jukebox isn't their third studio album, but a mix compilation.