17 July 2015

Q Magazine Special: The Story of Electro-pop (2005)

Phase Four


"We bumped into Tiga last year", explains Ladytron's songwriter Daniel Hunt, "and he said, Congratulations for escaping electroclash". While Montreal DJ Tiga has so far failed to follow-up his Top 30 cover of Corey Hart's "Sunglasses at Night", Liverpool-based Ladytron have just completed their third album, due for release in early 2005.

Founding member Daniel Hunt started making electronic music after buying dilapidated synths for "next to nothing from this huge car boot sale right by the ventilation shaft of the Mersey tunnel. It was a bit like Barter Town in Mad Max".

In 1999, he joined forces with a fellow designer, a model and genetics student, namely Reuben Wu, Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo, to record Ladytron's first single, "He Took Her to a Movie", on a 50 pounds budget.

Apart from mucking about half-broken machinery, Hunt was drawn to synthesizers because "not only are Depeche Mode one of my favourite bands, they seemed to offer a completely different view of how alternative music could be made".

Dressed in uniform black ("we wanted simplicity") they released 604, an album of quietly understated pop, in 2001, followed by the more ambitious Light & Magic a year and a half later. The latter contains the excellent singles "Seventeen" and "Evil", and is both more powerful and better designed - a concept that is close to their heart.

"It does feel as if the way the future was anticipated 30 years ago has actually happened", argues Hunt, pointing out the futuristic designs of iPods, digital cameras, mobile phones and so on. "It didn't look as if it would and then suddenly you look around and it kind of has".

Meanwhile, Ladytron's forward-looking style has not only survived electroclash and the financial meltdown of their label (they're now signed to Island), they even spent autumn of 2004 touring China in association with the British Council to promote 21st-century music.

Their new songs are described by Hunt as "still electronic but nastier. We've always been into Neu! and My Bloody Valentine and now we can be influenced by stuff like that. Before it would still sound like The Human League by the time we'd put the ideas through some ancient synth".


As Ladytron's Daniel Hunt explains, "there's a lot of stuff that's completely taboo, that you're not allowed to like. It's as if people are afraid of it. And if you're influenced by anything from that period, then they think it must be a joke, that you don't actually like it. But it also means that you're starting out with something fresh, that you're not using all the usual old reference points".

Scans source. I transcribed only the parts where Ladytron were mentioned.