When it comes to dance music and its mainstream, middle-of-the-road purveyors of today―your Swedish House Mafias, your Aviciis, your Tiëstos―there’s a frustrating and saddening lack of creativity. Everyone seems to be making anthems for fist-pumping meat-heads, jacked up on Red Bull and vodkas and god knows what else. Fortunately, there are a handful of acts that sit a little on the fringes of the mass market “EDM” scene that are doing what they can to advance the genre―and its myriad derivatives―to a place where the heady audiophiles can coexist with those just looking to dance in skimpy clothes and face paint with glow sticks in hand.
Simian Mobile Disco is decidedly of this “fringey” group: the British duo―who only uses hardware for their live shows, which are buttressed by stacks of LED lights―is big enough to fill large venues such as New York City’s Webster Hall, but not quite enough to, say, be the headliner at Electric Daisy Carnival. (One day!) With their new album, Unpatterns, out now through Wichita, the boys are showing the world that you can put together an excellent house record that’s of the moment and on-trend but also done with technical prowess and an sense of reverence for the past.
A few months ago, we caught up with the two Jameses (Shaw and Ford), to discuss their career up from back when they were still psych rocking with Simian to today, the new album, and breaking up due to the stress of too much exhausting touring. Peep part one here and keep an eye out for the other three over the course of the month.