We’ve been pretty vocal in the past about how much we love Ladytron here at SevenStreets. A ridiculously cool electronic band who not only changed the city’s music scene for the better, but had a lasting impact on pop music on a wider scale, they’re returning this year with a brand new record. And it has all the makings of another Ladytron classic.
They’ve just released their Greatest Hits album – an impressive look back at a 10 year career – and unleash new longplayer ‘Gravity The Seducer’ this September (hear the first cut, ‘White Elephant’, below). We had a natter with the band’s Daniel Hunt prior to their big homecoming show this week at St George’s Hall.
Welcome back. You’ve been away, so what did you notice as having changed around here?
It’s certainly improved in the last 5 years, though it feels in a transient phase to me. I’m excited about what’s going to happen in the Jamaica Street area over the next year or so.
There was only a limited group of people interested in anything back then, in general the scene was a lot smaller. And there were of course those who feared us, like primitive man fears the UFO. To be honest we never concentrated on playing shows in the UK at all, we went straight to the countries and cities where we were most wanted.
How do you think the city shaped the band, if at all?
I don’t think that we could’ve developed in London as we did. In those days it was still possible to have the element of surprise, and we were dealing with the old industry. Also, the first album was recorded against a backdrop of Scouse House spilling through the walls and ceilings. It arguably became more disco as a result.
Did you ever feel connected to Liverpool’s song line? Or have other cities embraced you closer?
Our label or management were always in Los Angeles so a lot of our development occurred there, and Spain in general was important for us from the beginning, we played most of our early shows there.
We’ve also been lucky to play in so many parts of the world, and sometimes be amongst the first artists to arrive, for example very few bands of our generation went to Colombia before we did, or China for that matter.
I obviously have my favourites in other countries, places I’ve lived more so than where the group fits in, though Milan was a combination of both.
As the band’s developed, its sound gained a lot more grit – would you agree? White Elephant seems more symphonic. Pastoral, even. Where does the rest of the new stuff sit?
Perhaps, but there’s moments on the first record that contain more grit than the second. The third was probably a breakthrough, in terms of grit.
The new record is more atmospheric than the others. We think it’s our best, though I wouldn’t say ‘White Elephant’ represents the whole record. It’s closer in mood overall than ‘Ace of Hz’ (a new track featured on their Greatest Hits record).
Remixes have always been a major part of your DNA, personally and bandwise. Any stand out over the years? Any you’d like to work with but haven’t?
We remixed Blondie but the planned album wasn’t released so perhaps that could emerge some day. I got the parts to Roxy Music but never did anything with them, was more an exercise in archaeology going through all those dusty channels and vocal takes.
A lot has happened to music over the past decade. Not all of it good. From your vantage point, are we in a better place?
In a sense yes, however, the saturation in pop of what was once called ‘electro’ is making it difficult to turn on a radio, and if we are in any part responsible for this, then I am truly sorry. In general though, there aren’t the obstacles to better ideas in the industry that there once were.
If Ladytron was starting from scratch now, what would you do differently?
What are you listening to right now?
How’s the DJing going – and have you had chance to survey the city’s nightlife? What do you make of it?
Korova aside, it has improved certainly, though it seems to have plateaued the last year or so.
Talking of Korova – RIP, or third coming? Any plans?
All I’d say about this are there are a few misconceptions about a) if it’s genuinely over and b) if so, why that would be. It has nothing to do with the status of the Hope Street to be honest.
We always said if we were to put energy into a new project it would reflect what was missing at that moment. There’d be no point as far as i’m concerned to recreate the original Korova itself, which fulfilled its purpose 6 years ago. The landscape is different and the city has different needs now.