Evolving still

Interview with Simian Mobile Disco

Evolving still

02-11-2013 | 11.29

"Because we are your friends, you'll never be alone again, so come on!" A line that might still be embedded in your skull due to the Justice remix of the famous Simian song back in 2006. After Simian decided to split up, former members James Ford and James Shaw released their first album together in 2007 as Simian Mobile Disco called Attack Decay Sustain Release, of which almost every track became a hit. Six years later the two men have changed their sound radically as can be heard on their new album Live and are performing at Hifi tomorrow with Patrice Bäumel and Nuno Dos Santos. Time for a quick catch-up with the two Londoners.

Hi guys, thanks for having this chat with us. Throughout the years, you've made quite the transformation in your style and approach to music. Could you walk us through your career from your point of view, from Attack Decay Sustain Release to the new 2013 Live album?

To be honest, that’s quite hard. From the perspective of the listener, fan or journalist, it must seem like we make conscious decisions to transform our style, but that’s because of the album format condensing long periods of time into a release. From our point of view, it’s just been a gradual, natural evolution, of making the kind of music we wanted. Buying more equipment, listening to different other artists has influenced us gradually over a long period of time.
What was the incentive behind the new album and how did it come about?
We wanted to capture a snapshot of the live show we did in Philadelphia during our 2012 US tour, as it tends to change quite a bit from tour to tour, and this was the first time we were incorporating the new music with the old. The versions of “Wooden” and “Hustler” on the live album have been pretty radically reworked from their originals to fit in with the material from Unpatterns. We recorded several shows on that tour, but chose the Philly one as we felt it was our favourite performance, and we were able to capture crowd noise, which is good to do.
In your recent interview with The Quietus, multiple connection are made between you and various artists in regard to the Live album (I think mostly due to the fact that your oeuvre covers so much ground). Which artists inspire you nowadays and we are you listening to at the moment?
Things we’re listening to at the moment and inspire us are:
James Holden - The Inheritors
Die Partei - La Freiheit Des Geistes
Craig Leon - Nommos
Factory Floor - Factory Floor
Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom

If you had to pick one track from the new album to signify the 'new' Simian Mobile Disco, which one would that be?
Again… difficult! The album is pretty diverse… both “Cerulean” and “A Form Of Change” (from the EP of the same name that collected the tracks that didn’t make the album cut) are tracks that people have been surprised were by us. But they don’t really represent a “new” direction.
Last question: you've never played Trouw before. What do you expect of Trouw and what can we expect from your DJ-set?
We’ve been to Trouw before as punters, so we know the layout of the club, have a bit of a feel of what the crowd is like etc. – and we’re expecting to have a lot of fun! From us, you can expect techno…

Thanks for the chat guys!
See you tonight!

Simian Mobile Disco is coming to Trouw tonight with our residents Patrice Bäumel and Nuno Dos Santos. To celebrate this occassion, we are giving away two copies of the Live album and two vinyl edition of Simian Mobile Disco's new EP 'Tong Zi Dan'!
What do you have to do to win this prize? Send us an e-mail to before Sunday November 3rd 17:00 containing the answer: on which label has Simian Mobile Disco released their latest record? The winners will receive notification after this weekend.