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Music Interview

Simian Mobile Disco interview: 'We're back on the dancefloor'

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Simian Mobile Disco


With their third studio album Unpatterns out today (May 14), we called up James Ford of electronic duo Simian Mobile Disco to find out what fans can expect from the record, what he makes of today's charts, and whether we can expect to hear them teaming up with any big names in the near future.

Congratulations on the new album Unpatterns. Are you pleased with how it turned out?
"We've been DJing the material around Europe as it's been going down really well. After releasing Temporary Pleasure we realised that we couldn't DJ much of it, which is why we've taken a bit of a swerve on this album. We've gone back to our original philosophy of making records that we want to play in clubs."

So it's aimed more towards the dance floor this time?
"It is a dance record, but we'd like to think there's some deeper, more psychedelic stuff in there too. You can appreciate it like an album in the traditional sense too. We made a lot of tracks for this record and picked the ones that fitted together best. There's a melancholy feel that seems to run all the way through it."

It sounds like an album that collects all your experience from the electronic scene but still sounds very contemporary - would you agree with that?
"I think so. We see an album as a snapshot in a period of time. Hopefully it isn't too retro but hopefully not jumping on the bassline bandwagon. We tend to not think too much about it. In the past we've been guilty of second guessing what people might want to hear on the radio."

How long did it take to put this record together?
"We actually work pretty quickly once we decide what we're doing. We can make a track in a day or two. Because we've been constantly DJing and touring, it was a bit on-and-off for six months. We're under no illusions that we're going to sell a s**tload of records. We're just making the music we like and doing gigs we enjoy."

Dance music - in its various different forms - is everywhere at the moment...
"There's a lot that comes under the umbrella of 'dance' these days - your Guettas, bassline and a lot of the dubstep stuff as well. People do seem to be moaning, but I think it's always been this way. It's a great thing to have dance music in the mainstream - you can be a smaller fish in a bigger pond. You can make the music you want to make but still have an audience there to hear it."

Simian Mobile Disco


You've picked your collaborations very carefully in the past. Have you ever been approached by any big mainstream names?
"We have a few times. We started out as remixers who would rework anything, and as we started to make our music we've become a bit more choosy. It's a lot of effort to remix songs - to the point where we end up keeping it for ourselves and telling the artist we can't do it! We've got a list of people we're hopefully going to collaborate with, but they're more underground at the moment."

You worked on a brilliant EP with Beth Ditto. Were there more songs from that project?
"We actually made that EP in five days - that includes writing, mixing and producing. It couldn't have been much quicker! It was really fun. We're going to try and do more - there was talk of a full album at some point, we've just got to pin her down. On a personal level, it was a lot of fun and we were really pleased with it."

Have you been asked by any major pop artists?
"We have, and pop production is something we're looking to get back into. I'll admit I'm really struggling to listen to Radio 1 at the moment. I love the new Santigold song, maybe something with her would be great."

Simian Mobile Disco's new album Unpatterns is out today. Watch the video for their latest track 'Seraphim' below:

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