British journal, The Guardian got intimate with the beloved dance duo The Chemical Brothers on an interview the journal published recently, which you can read in its entire version here. They discuss a considerable variety of topics, from their career to their view of the current situation of what has been renamed EDM. Worth the read, don’t be lazy.
Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands, a.k.a The Chemical Brothers have had one hell of a career, with all kinds of offers, such as official Metallica remixes, and they have always sticked to their ideology to keep the music coming for the love of music. “The music’s the best bit of us,” says Rowlands. “Have the music! You don’t want us trying to sell you a phone.” They also clarified that they have never claimed to be celebrities, that the only thing that keeps them connected to their fans is the music, and that’s all they want. The Chemical Brothers have wanted to give their fans a modern psychedelia to accomplish the titanesque task of taking the listener somewhere else.
Let’s not forget to mention that a new album is on the way, and they have stipulated that the point of it is to give a little retrospective to their best times, back in the 90s when they were the new hot duo everyone talked about. Ed added something we should all think about: “Continually harking back to some golden age is daft, it’s like people in the 80s wanting to make records that sound like Tommy Steele. It’s a long time ago now, isn’t it?”
Something else we should all learn from this duo is the value of true friendship. Rowlands is now 44, and Simons 45. They both met at the University of Manchester, where they studied history, and they can’t get away from each other since back then. “We’ve been together longer than a lot of marriages”. That says it all, think this one through. They make the perfect team, and the results cannot fail. “For 20 years we’d have to coordinate when we were going on holiday and things like that. There comes a time when you maybe want to …” “You know, it’s longer than quite a lot of marriages. It’s not a bad thing, it’s a great thing, but I wanted to do something which was just me.”
Simons is trying to keep up with touring while he returned to his studies, which he did not want to specify on the interview… who knows? Rowlands threw a joke at Simons and the interviewer for the occasion: “He’s a spy, innee!”.
Nevertheless, they both have been working on their projects separately, Simons on his studies, and Rowlands is keeping his musical career on a roll, producing tracks for artists such as Tinie Tempah, The Klaxons and working on a new tune with Lorde for the third Hunger Games movie.
Simons is not sure if he should keep working on The Chemical Brothers, as he is feeling a bit disconnected to the group’s work, and as a result they both feel a bit disconcerted. “I’m friends with the Chemical Brothers on Facebook,” says Simons. “I’m in the Chemical Brothers! And I see the dates coming up and I’m like, Am I?” “No. It’s heartbreaking, really.”
Starting to wonder if they haven’t thought of splitting up, especially back in 2012 when they released their concert film “Don’t Think” which felt like a compilation of the duo’s accomplishments so far.
“That could have been a good point to exit, but it felt like, actually, no, there’s another good Chemical Brothers record in us, and to not try to find it would be sad,” says Rowlands.
The interesting part of the interview begins here, when they start to discuss music. How do The Chemical Brothers find their inspiration? How do they work? What do they look for when they are in the studio? “That’s what all the months in the studio are: trying to find those little bits when you’re overwhelmed by what’s coming out of the speakers,” says Rowlands. “It’s still chasing that feeling. It’s so easy to make a massive-sounding tune. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. We try to hit something that’s slightly wrong but still feels good: a strange but necessary record.”
Their latest record is the living proof of what Simons and Rowlands are talking about, the music they look forward to create.
Simons also mentioned how special is the connection with the people through the music “That moment when a beat or a particular sound takes over a room full of people, it’s magic to watch. Just seeing how music can take people somewhere else.”
They also talked about collaborations as they were talking about the duo’s album released back in 2010 “Further”. What’s the meaning of a collaboration and what to expect out of it.
“Further was so uncomplicated,” says Rowlands. “Just do it. When you collaborate with people it goes both ways. I love it when you have an idea and then someone has a better idea but it can be like, [awkwardly] ‘Oh yeah, that’s interesting.’”
“It’s good but can you make it better?” says Simons. “Finding different ways to say that is a fine art.”
The less we can say about this is that some EDM producers should listen to legends like The Chemical Brothers to make soulful tracks and not just top charting bangers produced to sell.
They are suggested jokingly that they should start a residency at Las Vegas to become a part of the multibillionaire industry that EDM has become.
“Can you imagine?” says Rowlands. “Not your archetypal EDM DJ look.” He ponders it for a second. “If we really wanted to we probably still could but I think it would be soul-destroying. It’s a mad old world, that world. It does feel alien.”
They also add that they have a mixed opinion on what EDM has became, because they are really happy for young generations to have fun on the dancefloors, but they are also really disgusted with the low efficiency of what Rowlands would call “pie-chart music”.
“The one-dimensional sound is quite effective but it doesn’t seem to have that magical, transporting quality,” says Rowlands. He shrugs. “But if I was 18 in Orlando and I’d just finished my exams, maybe it would. I don’t know.”
They are jokingly comparated with the recently released “22 Jumpstreet” movie, featuring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as the main characters. The movie is based on the attempt to be police officers and everybody expects them to fail for being too old, but at then end it works out just fine. At first, the duo gives an empty look. Seemingly, they don’t know the movie. The interviewer explains it briefly, Simons smiles and declares: “That’s a metaphor for life, isn’t it?”
Source: The Guardian.