Jas and James share a similar upbringing, despite being raised in different parts of the country. In a small town outside of London, Jas grew up in a house that played "pretty straight stuff" – Elvis, The Beatles, David Bowie – so he'd often find himself on a train heading into the city, on a quest for new sounds.
ll DJing aside, and considering their music backgrounds, inevitably the duo decided to explore the realms of a live platform. Their blinding (in more ways than one), unpredictable live shows have since become a mainstay on festival stages around the world.
Simian Mobile Disco keep all listeners keenly on their toes and, taking a step away from any misguided preconceptions, showcases an exemplary DJ set on FABRICLIVE 41: an arresting, expansive mix that shuffles with 4/4 rarities and gems.
Simian Mobile Disco: Hello, well, we've just been in the studio, recording for a new SMD record. We're doing a lot of festivals in the weekend and then record music during the week.
Beat Factor: How come you're not in Barcelona at the Sonar festival?
Simian Mobile Disco: We got a few gigs for the weekend so... Also we played last year there, so we're not that worried about not being on this year.
Beat Factor: Both of you have a solid background in rock music. When exactly did you have the first contact with the electronic music?
Simian Mobile Disco: I kind of started with some selected ambient works. At the beginning I had absolutely no idea how to make electronic music, because at that time all I had was a guitar and a couple of effect boxes. I think I was just fascinated by the sound, and I think that was one of the first things.
Beat Factor: Do you still get influenced by earlier rock / pop and synth – pop bands?
Simian Mobile Disco: Yes, off course. We listen to a lot of older stuff, a lot of Kraftwerk, a lot of psychedelic stuff, even old pop. We try to find everything, in terms of what we're into.
Beat Factor: You are a part of this new European wave of Electro. What do you think made this explosion of Electro on the international electronic dance music scene?
Simian Mobile Disco: It's pretty hard to say, really. Yes, it recently exploded. I think this is just what people wanted. Maybe they got a little bit bored of that straight guitar music, and they wanted to be back in the clubbing life. And this new electro has a lot of energy and the rock dynamics in a closed environment.
I think dance music would probably change. It would probably go a little more deeper in the next few years.
Beat Factor: How did you made this new mix CD, Fabriclive 41?
Simian Mobile Disco: We dig it into our record boxes, we wanted this mix to be representative for the kind of DJ set that we would actually play in Fabric. It's quite an aggressive set; so it is a selection of different styles, from bangin' electro to minimal.
We did the mix live, and it didn't take us more than one week to make it. We made a huge list of tracks that we sent it to Fabric, and then we got back 40 tracks that we could use in our compilation. So there's a difference from what we play live and what we DJ.
Beat Factor: What it represents for you? Does it still keep anything from the early Simian mixtapes from three - four years ago?
- [a:rpia:r] - A successful story
- Luciano: I'm Still the Same Guy
- The Model - A Special Man With Special Needs
- Me and You is M.A.N.D.Y.
- Carl Craig: I'm Not A Fortune Teller!
- Audio: In Between with Paul Van Dyk
- Audio: Steve Bug - 'I Don't Make Music for Bugs!'
- Ricardo Villalobos - from South America with love
- Lee Burridge: Balance, drugs and Tyrant
- Audio: Ricky Stone, a busy combination
- Hook N Sling - a Fat Australian Export
- Break-Beat lessons with Krafty Kuts
- Ewan Pearson, the lucky guy
- The other side of Ellen Allien
- The Balance of Luke Fair
June 23, 2008 at 12:14 PM CEST
Beat Factor: After the huge success with the last year EP "Hustler", do you plan any new bomb?
Simian Mobile Disco: New bomb? Well, thank you!
Beat Factor: Well, not like terrorist bombs!
Simian Mobile Disco: (Laughing) Yes, we work on some new SMD material at the minute; we plan a new album soon, we're working on it. At the moment we got this mix and the remix album as well. So I think we will officially release something early next year.
Beat Factor: How would you describe the Simian Mobile Disco sound?
Simian Mobile Disco: The sound is changing, so as we were in the studio recently, we discovered that our new stuff that we're doing it's much more trip hop and psychedelic than the stuff we did before. It's still dance, but what we really wanted on our new material was to sound different than before. I think our new record would probably bee more psychedelic; maybe less punk and more ... hippie :)
Beat Factor: How's it going with the SMD live setup?
Simian Mobile Disco: We really enjoy our live set, and I think we're going to expand it more. We try to stay away from only using a laptop and making it really sound real, with real instruments. We'll definitely continue the live set.
Beat Factor: As a fresh presence on the scene, what's your opinion on the current dance music?
Simian Mobile Disco: It is apparently changing for the moment. I think people started to get bothered of that noisy, distorted and non dynamic sound, which is very pregnant in a lot of clubs. Everything starts to go into a deeper direction, everything it's still changing.
Beat Factor: Do you plan any appearance in Romania this year?
Simian Mobile Disco: We're looking forward to Romania, but I don't think we have anything booked at the minute. At the moment we're not doing any live shows, because we're working on new material. So, hopefully we'll get there early next year.