EXCLUSIVE Interview w/ The Talented Duo Simian Mobile Disco

Simian Mobile Disco are an English electronic music duo and production team hailing from London, formed in 2005 by James Ford and Jas Shaw – originally a DJ duo on the side of their simply named, early four-piece band ‘Simian’. Musically, they are known for their analogue production. In addition to his work with Simian Mobile Disco, Ford is a versatile producer and has worked with artists such as Florence and the Machine, Peaches, Arctic Monkeys and Klaxons, just to name a few.Their eclectic releases have found home on respected labels like I’m Cliché, Kitsune, Kompakt, KMS Records, Im A Cliche, Bedrock & Strictly Rhythm. Their own highly acclaimed imprint; appropriately named ‘Delicacies’ is a small but growing catalog of quality analog techno which is grabbing the hearts of techno purists, electronic music critics and dance music newbies alike.

We caught up with the SMD (right before they were off to record their next album, completely live) to talk about their new their latest release and collaboration with Roman Flugel 
Hachinoko which is out now on Traxsource via Delicacies.

The Interview

1) Firstly, thanks for taking the time out to chat with us. Tell us where you are and how you are feeling right now.

We’re in the studio – we’ve been writing and rehearsing our new album, and we feel maybe just a little stressed. We have to play the new album and record it live in under a week. It’s been hard work.

2) Where does your artist name: “SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO” emanate from, what’s its meaning & why did you choose it?

Well we used to be in a band called “Simian” and while we were, we were releasing the odd remix and mixtape as “Simian Mobile Disco”. It was always supposed to be a bit of a joke. When Simian broke up, we carried on using the name and now we’re stuck with it!

3) The topic for today is Hachinoko EP on your very own Delicacies Imprint – tell us in your words a little bit about how it came to be and what you were trying to convey to your listeners…

Most of the Delicacies releases, especially these collaborations, were conceived in a pretty free-form manner. We just invited our collaborators (in this case Roman) to come to our studio and hang out. Then it was just a case of turning on all the machines, and jamming about, letting ideas come until we had something we were happy with, and building songs from there.

4) Tell us about the collaboration with Roman Flugel – how does this release differ from producing solo work?

Actually, it’s not that different, the work process is pretty similar with just the two of us in the room, as it is with our collaborators. Everyone we’ve worked with has been super easy to get on with! We have our studio set up so it’s easy to just go in and get all the synths and drum machines running.

5) Let’s talk about Delicacies label – apart from the obvious quality factor, how does an imprint garnish such established support in such a short time?

No idea on that. We just make music we like and put it out. This series of collaborations has really probably helped people take more notice in the label though.

6) Share a few artists that have influenced your sound?

Today let’s say – Aphex Twin, Jeff Mills, Silver Apples, Cluster.

7) What is the one piece of kit that you simply cannot do without?

We’ve been experimenting with different set ups over the years, so we’re now at the point that we don’t have that many essential bits. The rather boring answer would be something like “mixing desk” as no matter what hardware we’re using, we need that to tie the whole live show together!

8) Where can your fans catch you in playing over the next few months and what is next for you?

We’re just about to do this live gig and record our album at the same time in Pioneertown, California. That’s all we’re focused on at the moment. After that we’re playing a few festivals over the summer in Europe – Sonar, Field Day, Green Man. The album will be coming out sometime over the summer, but we haven’t set a date yet.

9) What’s you’re opinion on the current state of house & techno music?

It’s is a pretty good state – lots of new artists, lots of different evolving trends. Certain sounds have got a bit over-saturated, but the good side of the high turnover of music is that nothing ever stays still for long.

10) Best gig of 2014 so far and why?

Probably playing Robert Johnson in Frankfurt with Roman – our first time there, and it was great. Ace crowd, ace club. And obviously playing with Roman!

11) Tell us something we may not know about you…

Jas really hates milk.

12) And finally, what would be your short list of dream collaborations, past or present – dead or alive?

Nick Cave and Bjork

Simian Mobile Disco latest release ‘Hachinoko’ is out now on Traxsource.

Simian Mobile Disco


Simian Mobile Disco latest Top 10

Interview conducted by Chris Mackay for Traxsource