T in the Park: Simian Mobile Disco
Simian Mobile Disco might regret the name, but Claire Sawers finds they’re serious about good tunes
‘We like our live shows to be a more austere, leaner version of our studio stuff,’says James (Jas) Shaw, one half of techno-pop duo, Simian Mobile Disco. For their recent crowd-rocking show at Primavera, Barcelona, laser lights and smoke provided an electric-blue backdrop to pummelling techno and infectious pulsing synths. They hope to pull off a similar spectacle at T in the Park. ‘Laptops can be a real barrier when you perform,’ he says. ‘The crowd can’t see what you’re doing, which makes for a really static show, with no real connection between you and the crowd. We make a point of using a lot of gear onstage; analogue synths, drums machines, whatever kit we add along the way. The show’s based around a lot of hardware; it’s very tactile, chaotic and fun.’
He describes their ice-cold, throbbing electro as music ‘made to be played out’ and is proud their show evolves from gig to gig. For upcoming album, Temporary Pleasure, follow-up to their 2007 debut Attack Decay Sustain Release, their approach was slightly different, though. ‘Albums are not designed for clubs, so it has to work quiet. We’ve concentrated on more melodic, harmonious aspects and we hope it’s got deeper and more techno-ier.’
So the first single, ‘Audacity of Huge’ features the trademark broken record vocals and urgent bleeps, but with a poppier edge – and lyrics about Bill Murray, Bob Fosse and butterscotch. ‘It’s too soon for these to be crowd pleasers, but hopefully they will be in time. Until then, we’ll be playing ‘Hustler’ and ‘It’s the Beat’ for our fans.’
As for their growing popularity since SMD began four years ago, Shaw laughs, saying it’s all been totally unexpected. ‘If we’d known we were going to get big, we’d definitely have picked a less annoying name, don’t you think?’
Slam Tent, Sun 12 Jul. ‘Audacity of Huge’ is released on Mon 3 Aug, Wichita Recordings. Temporary Pleasure is released on Mon 17 Aug.