Long ago I got the chance to chat with Simian Mobile Disco when they had just finished their mix for Fabric… and unfortunately the entire interview has never seen the light of day until present so enjoy this throwback interview!
INTERVIEW WITH SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO
Patch: This mix is drastically different from pretty much all your previous ones.
James Ford: Drastically?
Patch: Yeah, drastically! What influenced the track selection the most?
James Ford: To be honest it was kind of just stuff we were listening to at the moment. We wanted it to be stuff that we would actually play at Fabric, and maybe slip in some older weirder things that you wouldn’t hear at Fabric but in a way that wouldn’t break your stride, if you know what I mean.
Patch: It stuck me as flowing together really well. You had said in the past that Fabric is your favorite club to play at. Is there a particular club in America that sticks out as being what you would consider as a favorite?
James Ford: Probably Studio B in Brooklyn. Our friends Josh and Dave who we’ve done quite a lot of gigs with… (then a bunch of lost audio)
Patch: What was it like doing the SMD live show in America compared to your experience DJing America as SMD during your Simian days?
James Ford: I think we kind of really enjoyed some of (the shows) . We were just going to do a few, but then actually it went down really well, and we really enjoyed it, and we did a lot of touring really. So, we definitely plan to do more of the live thing. With DJing you get to go to a lot of different places, and get treated well, and people get you drunk so you can’t complain!
Patch: James, I ran into you before your show in Chicago, and mentioned that Chicago audiences often don’t dance at shows for thirty minutes or more. It has happened to Klaxons, Arctic Monkeys, really almost every band I’ve ever seen! Did you run into similar situations across the rest of the tour?
James Ford: Umm, I don’t know. It was different in different places. I think, we kind of found, that generally we were pleasantly surprised by a lot of the shows out there really.
Patch: America seems to be pretty afraid of dancing on a whole. Do you guys care to speculate why dance music has never really caught on in the U.S.?
Jas: It’s the media in New York (edit: I’m REALLY not sure if that is what he said. Does it make sense? Or should I have a competition to see if you can figure it out! Someone should win a prize if they can tell what the garbled audio says!) Isn’t it in most clubs? At least that’s what I was told…laughing…
James Ford: People go out and dance, but to a different sort of music. I don’t know, I think now it seems like more European dance music is kinda making some inroads but I suppose there aren’t the clubs or whatever. It’s a really hard thing to answer.
Patch: Yeah, it is strange, I mean we’ve got Chicago house and Detroit techno…
Jas: Exactly! It all started in their clubs!
James Ford: I mean we came up with football and that’s obviously caught on there (in America).
Jas: I’ll tell you what’s wrong…
James Ford: Oh, yeah, also San Francisco was really good! We had a really good time there…
Jas: All the places we went to there seems to be like small scenes going on but like maybe it just wasn’t over ground and I don’t see that as much of a problem really!
Patch: Yeah it was actually really nice knowing, when I saw you, normally I’d be surrounded by tons of people but there were, you know, 50 or 100 people in the bar that instead REALLY really wanted to be there…
James Ford: In America, a big thing is people wanna sit on their table and get a posh bottle of booze, or whatever, and sit and kind of look cool, you know what I mean? And that’s definitely something you don’t get in the UK and Europe.
Jas: What we need to do I think in order to fix this is just to flood America with pills.
Ford: Yeah drugs, we’re going to bring loads of drugs to America!
Jas: Next time we come, yeah…
Patch: Yeah, bring backpacks full!
Patch: Moving back to your music, your new remix album also has some kind of unexpected names on it. How did you choose the remixers? Are they friends or…
James Ford: Yeah, we just wanted to again go away form the obvious. We always try and make things different and it does work. We did that in Simian and it probably helped out success doing that. I think we basically wanted to make a remix album.. you know you got Chrome Hoof and people we like. There’s an American band called Invisible Conga People… and there are other people we like like Joakim, and we’ve got Silver Apples on there who is a great hero of ours. We just thought it was more interesting than to just get the usual suspects there.
Patch: I really enjoyed the Pinch remix of ‘I Believe’.
James Ford: Yeah, he comes from a totally different scene which unrelated to us, really, so we felt that it was really interesting… (more interesting lost audio)
Patch: Speaking of other artists, who are you guys enjoying most right now? What’s getting played most on your personal stereos?
Jas: The Hercules and Love Affair stuff. That new DFA stuff. Yeah and they are touring over here at the moment.
James Ford: There’s a new band called Telepath I like, and I think are an American band as well. There’s a lot more indie music and rock music stuff going on at the moment and it’s quite psychedelic and interesting; left field American music is doing well!
Jas: You know its crazy that American band come over to the UK and and everyone goes crazy for them, and they go back to the States….
James: It worked for Jimmy Hendrix…
Jas: …they come over here and we get all excited about them…
Patch: Yeah, no one knows who the Gossip are in the U.S. but they blew up big time in the U.K….
Jas: Yeah, it’s about the drugs!
Patch: Hey, I wanted to ask, are you guys at work on the new album? I know you aim to have it be spontaneous and not a routine, and this seems to be the first time you’ve had downtime in like 2 years…
James Ford: Yeah, we haven’t had a lot of time what with dealing with the production and the live show and stuff. Time in the studio is precious to us, if you know what I mean, but that’s the bit we enjoy doing the most really. In the last couple weeks we’ve made a start and we really enjoy it…
Patch: James, you’ve produced loads of albums in the last few years. By the way The Last Shadow Puppets album is fantastic! What’s coming up next for you?
James Ford: The next SMD record is next on the cards, as well as the new Klaxons. (And this is the most important piece of audio that I lost… he said someone else important… but I haven’t the faintest idea)
Patch: Lastly, Mr. Shaw your baby doing?
Jas: He’s old enough to be breaking stuff now, so yeah he’s good!
Patch: Well, I’m sure that’s all sorts of fun! Well hey guys, thanks for calling and you have a good rest of your day.
Both: You too! Cheers!
Here are some live videos I took during SMD’s first American tour. They let me be the first to premier their Armand Van Helden remix after that night… it was a big moment for me back then!