Friday, March 16, 2007

Simian Mobile Disco Interview

Steve Aoki's favorite producer right now, Simian Mobile Disco, had all the blokes at Making Time subject to "La Breeze". After chatting with them on the balcony, I soon realized they had more amazing information than my drunken brain could retain. The following interview proves SMD really is "guiding the machines."

New Machine Addict - Could you brief us on the transition from Simian to SMD?

Simian Mobile Disco - Me and Jas were DJing while we were in Simian, we used to run off after Simian had finished playing, to play little after parties. After the band split, we kept being asked to play and do remixes, and three years down the line here we are about to release our own album.

NMA - While in Simian, Brian Eno did a remix of La Breeze. That's quite an honor, how did "uncle Eno's" remix come about? Have you ever experienced "La Breeze"?

SMD - Eno was kind of interested in Simian. In fact, he came to the studio to hang out several times while we were making the second record. The mix came via that. La Breeze was our version of the French wind that sends you mad.

NMA - While we are on the subject of remixes; French electro duo Justice did a remix of "We Are Your Friends (Never be alone)", which contains vocals and music originally from a Simian track. How did this come about?

SMD - We ran a remix competition in France around the time we released that song. We just gave the parts out. We had 10 remixes come back from unknown Frenchies, and Justice was one of them. I believe it's only the first or second thing they ever did!

NMA - Mr. James Ford, recently you produced several successful indie rock bands, for instance, The Klaxons and The Test Icicles, just to name a few. You also are credited as drummer on several Klaxons tracks from their album "Myths of the Near Future". How did you end up in the producer's chair and what role did you play as producer (artistic direction or recording/mixing engineer)?

SMD - I've always wanted to be a producer, so it was natural for me to get into that after Simian split. Every time I produce, different things are asked of me, from playing, to the more technical side, to the more conceptual and interpersonal aspects. Thats why I love it, it's thinking on your feet.

NMA - Are there any particular bands you're working with now that we should watch out for?

SMD - I just produced the new Arctic Monkeys record, it's a great record I think.

NMA - After chatting with you for a minute Friday night, I found out you use Protools and Ableton Live. Do you use ALL analog synths and if so what are your favorites?

SMD - Yeah, its all analogues. Favorites are MS-20, Arp 2600, Juno-60. Jas has a modular system.

NMA - Mr. Ford is a Drummer/Producer and Mr. Shaw is a keyboard player. Are there any specific roles either of you tend to play more often in the studio.

SMD - We don't have specific roles, we just plug in all the machines and guide them 'til something good happens. We know each other well enough that we can collaborate instinctively.

NMA - Who does the vocals for the SMD tracks? Char Johnson or Ninja, from "The Go! Team"? Was there any specific reason why you choose them? Do you have plans to collaborate with anyone else in the future?

SMD - They were just some of many vocalists we tried out. The things they contributed just seemed to fit best. We also wanted to use vocalists that were no that well known, otherwise it starts to become about collaborations as opposed to our music.

NMA - What microphone and pre-amp did you use?

SMD - Various, but probably a Nuemann U87 and a Universal Audio 610 pre.

NMA - Do you mix in the box or do you have a console of choice?

SMD - We wrote the whole album in the box, but we ended up mixing it on a lovely old trident board.

NMA - Right now you are touring the world and I noticed that you are doing a few "live" shows? I saw you DJ, and have to admit, you fuckin' killed it. Great selection and tight mixes. What does your live show consist of and does it rave as hard as your DJ set?

SMD - The live show is just gonna be us and some machines. We won't use any backing, It'll all be sequenced live and it'll rock much harder thank the DJ set.

Listen to more tunes at SMD's Myspace Page


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