Interview with Daniel Hunt of Ladytron
Most musicians would never admittedly claim their own musical imperfections, but Daniel Hunt of Ladytron feels comfortable with playing what he hears and not what he knows. "I'm no virtuoso on any instrument. I play each instrument my own way. I have zero knowledge of theory, and I have my own names for chords. My music teachers would be turning in their graves", says the multi-instrumentalist and driving force of the band. However, take a listen to any of Ladytron's three full-length albums, or watch as they perform to packed houses worldwide, and a sense of disbelief may cross your mind concerning Daniel's previous statement. Their unique blend of synth-driven, minor-sounding pop evokes the spirit of northern soul and ‘80s new wave with a modern sensibility catchy enough to acquire fans from any and all age ranges and cultures.
The basis of Ladytron's danceable soundscape revolves around the group's four Korg MS2000B synthesizers. Every member of the group, Reuben, Mira, Helen and Daniel, have their own MS2000B with a name of their choosing written on the back. "We named them to make sound checks easier, not as any kind of statement. Though the interpretations of the names so far have been hilarious", Hunt confesses. Daniel named his "Ulysses", Mira's is "Babylon", Reuben's is "Gloria", and Helen's is called "Cleopatra!"
Ladytron have a passionate preference for vintage analog synths and Daniel says, "It helps that the MS2000B is part of the lineage from the MS10 and MS20 we love so much". A consequence of that love is the abuse brought on from constant travel and use. "Taking the old gear on a world tour eventually costs a fortune in repairs and needless nightmares. It can't take the stresses of every flight and knock". Happily, Daniel is confident in the quality of the newer MS line. Hunt praises, "We got the MS2000Bs because we needed a reliable keyboard to use live that could do all we needed to do. The MS2000Bs haven't let us down".
Along with Ladytron's MS10s, MS20s, and MS2000Bs are many other Korg products in their arsenal, including a Korg Delta, an Electribe•R, and a MonoPoly. And they don't plan on stopping there, as Daniel confirms, "We're about to get a Legacy to play with and to use as a backup".
While Daniel confesses that he had the majority of the first record written before the band's conception, it is now the case that everybody in Ladytron writes. Each member comes from a different mindset, and even different parts of the world. They all met up in Liverpool, England where their personalities and talents meshed together to create one unifying sound and identity. Ladytron are very conscious that they are a single entity and have their collective hand in almost all aspects of the group's image. From their artwork, which early on was done completely by the band, to their style of dress, which has changed from album to album to include military uniforms and futuristic, gothic get-ups. Ladytron works like a well-oiled machine, making constant progress and keeping ahead of the times.
Unlike many of their "electro" contemporaries, who borrow from the great songwriters of the past, Ladytron creates all of their tracks through the use of their instruments. They produce a sonic array of sounds ranging from hard bass-driven beats, to beautiful melodies, to extremely haunting, spacey tones. This, combined with the sensual female vocal stylings of Mira and Helen, creates a rare atmosphere within each of their songs.
Ladytron's latest album, Witching Hour, is their first on a major label. Two previous releases were put out by smaller independents, along with countless EPs and remixes. Daniel made the ultimate goal of the band clear, when he proclaimed it was, "To have an effect, to leave our mark, and to influence others", which in the minds of many they already have.