We Are . . . Electric at Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Wed 13 May; Mixed Bizness at Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Thu 14 May
Canadian girl-boy electro/rap duo Isis and Grahm Zilla, aka Thunderheist, may not be the first band to owe their existence to the internet, but they’ve certainly taken digital-age creativity to impressive lengths. The two began as casual MySpace friends, with Isis living in Toronto and Zilla in Montreal, and began collaborating musically only after Zilla accidentally emailed Isis a remix he’d done for Spank Rock. There followed a lengthy period of firing MP3s back and forth before the pair finally met for the first time – a couple of hours before their first show.
Thunderheist have spent precious little time apart since then, their burgeoning success and heavy touring schedule fuelled in equal measure by the star quality of frontwoman Isis and their irresistible melding of jacking party-rap with Zilla’s ominous, Moroder-style synth lines. Indeed Isis, a woman who not unreasonably describes herself as ‘the black Kate Moss’ on the track ‘LGB’, is the kind of startlingly charismatic talent you can easily imagine transcending temporary underground fame to make a compelling career of her many gifts.
A self-titled debut LP appeared on Big Dada in March, garnering praise every bit as gushing as the heavy blog and magazine coverage already afforded to their frantic live shows. The band themselves warn that the audience ‘will get wet,’ underlining the point that though Thunderheist once existed as a purely virtual proposition, they’re very much flesh and blood now.