18 April 2012

UberDrivel interview (2007)

I notice a lot of shoegazing influences on Witching Hour. How did this come about? Any thoughts on the apparent shoegaze revival that seems to be going on? (The Jesus and Mary Chain playing at Coachella, Robin Guthrie producing and recording, Kevin Shields saying there will be another MBV record, etc).

We've always been fans of MBV, Chapterhouse, Cocteau Twins, Lush, Ride and Ultra Vivid Scene amongst others. It all still sounds so fresh. As well as that we were listening to bands like the Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Comsat Angels and a load of stuff on the Constellation label. I think there is always a revival of past music every decade or so. It's good because it's like recycling and making it more accessible for fans who would not normally get the chance to hear the original bands.

Ladytron has a large amount of material that's been remixed, as well as contributing a large number of remixes. What impact has this had on when it comes to original material? Any particularly moments of inspiration?

I think remixing others is definitely more of a creative trigger than having music remixed by others. It gives freedom to experiment with a song which has already been written by someone else, and you are pretty much free to do anything you want to it. It's a great way to come up with interesting riffs and patterns that might be incorporated into your own compositions later on. In recent months we've remixed Placebo, Indochine, Blondie, Gang of Four and Bloc Party and I definitely want to do more studio-based work, perhaps soundtracking.

How has touring, particularly with a live drummer and bassist, affected the band? Can you attribute live sound to the denser sound of Light & Magic and especially Witching Hour? How does DJing compare to full-band sets, and has it had any influence on your own music?

Yes, the live sound that we had developed over the years with a live drummer and bassist had developed the way we think about our own music. We finished the touring in 2002 and pretty much had a load of songs ready to be worked on in the studio for Witching Hour. We wanted an album which reflected the way we had grown as live performers, not to produce yet another electro record. I think we succeeded - and whilst we still regard ourselves as electronic, I don't think we see the record as being 'electro'.

What direction do you think the band is heading, as far as new material? When can we expect a new album?

We're working on a 4th album right now whenever we get time off between gigs and I'd say we have well over 20 songs already. Direction-wise I wouldn't like to say until we are in the thick of it all but we definitely want to work with Jim Abbiss again, the producer worked on Witching Hour. Hopefully we should finish it by the Autumn 2007.

Ladytron is a pretty diverse group. How have your different backgrounds affected the creative process? Specifically, I've read that Daniel did most of the songwriting on 604, but it's become a more collective project on the later albums; how did this trend occur?

It's really the individual diversities rather than cultural diversities which has shaped the band. We all pretty much like a lot of similar things but there are areas where we bring something new into the group. I came into the band as a DJ and got more involved that way, so I tend to work a lot on programming and remixing. Regarding songwriting, Witching Hour was the most collaborative effort to date and I think the next album will be even more so. The reason why it was less collaborative then was because all but Daniel had full time jobs and there was only so much time we could commit to the record.

How did this tour with Nine Inch Nails come together? Has Trent Reznor had any influence on style, production, or any other aspect of the band?

Trent made a request for us to support NIN on the UK and European dates. It's a great honour because I listened to them a lot when I was 15 or 16. Pretty Hate Machine, Broken and the Downward Spiral are great albums and they have probably influenced me somewhere along the way. I think we listened to the same kinds of music such as Throbbing Gristle, DAF, Joy Division, Psychic TV, Queen.

There seems to be a somewhat cold aura surrounding the band (whether through the press, visually, or perhaps just our preconceptions about synths and drum machines). What are your thoughts about this? It seems that this was a real stylistic decision, at least initially, but has it changed? For example, was the shift from the 604-era “uniforms” to a more casual dress an effort to dispel these notions?

I agree some of the photos we've had done do give that impression but in all honestly, what bands do you see laughing and smiling? When we play onstage the reason why we can't move around much is because we're all playing synthesizers but we did ditch the uniforms because we felt that they were quite restrictive, both physically and conceptually. It wasn't in an effort to dispel notions, we just wanted to feel more comfortable on stage yet still look like a cohesive group.

Any general thoughts on the state of the music industry or, for that matter, the state of the world? Witching Hour is definitely a dark album, but (without revealing too much) was it in response to outside events or more personal content? I just saw that Mira was interviewed by Peta 2; is more political activism in the future?

I think we're one of those bands who are lucky to have music which has international appeal. This has allowed us to get really interesting gigs all over the world (Russia, China, Brazil, Columbia, Bangkok, Australia) relatively easy. And because of internet communities such as MySpace, it has become possible to play entire tours in regions where we have no support from labels - the interest from the internet has been enough of a medium to fill entire venues with kids who know all the words to our songs, it's a really fantastic situation to be in...