Welcome to our first FYF interview! Melody, Claire, and I had the pleasure of attending the INCREDIBLE FYF Festival in LA over the course of Labor Day Weekend. It was definitely a weekend I’ll never forget. Along with the fun people, interesting garments, and delicious drinks, we also had the opportunity to listen AND speak with some amazing artists.
Our first FYF artist feature is Simian Mobile Disco. This duo (made up of James Ford and Jas Shaw) out of London is well known for creating their incredible electronic tunes by use of analogue production methods. James Ford has also produced music for artists like Florence + The Machine, The Arctic Monkeys, and Beth Ditto. Pretty incredible musicians, right? Simian Mobile Disco is just as incredible and interesting a project as the artists James has produced for. Check out their latest music video for “A Species Out Of Control” above, then listen to my interview with James below!
Spencer Moya: So we have James here. How’s it going?
James Ford: Good! Very good.
S: We read recently that you’re set to play SS Coachella?
JAMES: Yeah, we are. We’re excited about it actually. We’re from England and we don’t get any sun so these gigs on the west coast…or on a boat with sun… we’ll definitely do them!
S: What are you most excited about as far as SS Coachella goes?
JAMES: Actually we’ve got quite a few friends there; the Hot Chip guys and the DFA guys…it’s gonna be a f**king blast. I think it’s going to be really really good fun. I might even stay in the Carribean afterwards for Christmas- make a holiday out of it!
S: That’s awesome. I wish I could do the same. Musically, you’re known for the incredible production that you do. You work a lot in analogue, correct?
JAMES: Um, yeah, it’s not because we’re snobs about it. We use modern machines as well. But, we grew up using real instruments. I’m a drummer. Justin’s a keyboard player. We interact with (analogue) like we interact with real instruments. It feel like it engages a different part of your brain than the “pushing blocks around a screen” thing.
S: What would you say is your most prized musical possession?
JAMES: It’s really kind of obvious, but I’ve got an 808 drum machine and it’s just a classic drum machine that you can’t f**k with. Whatever you do just…sounds good on it! It’s like a drum kit…you program something on it and it’s like “yeah, that works!”
S: So, you also produce music for other artists. What is it like taking a break from your own music and making music for other artists?
JAMES: It’s good. It’s inspiring to work for other people because it’s all about the process. How you define the process kind of defines the music you make. Are you going to use this tape machine? A laptop? A room with guitars and a drum kit? That changes the record you make, and everybody has a different process so having insights into different people’s processes is inspiring.
S: Who would you say has the most interesting process as far as artists who you have worked with yourself?
JAMES: That’s hard to say because they’re all different. It’s like choosing what’s your favorite out of apples and oranges, you know? They just work in different scenarios.
S: Definitely. So, what was the production like when you were creating your latest record?
JAMES: It’s just fun for us. The studio bit is actually the bit we probably enjoy the most. We just go in and f**k around, basically. Plug in machines, create a system, and play with it until something fun comes out! With the machines we use, a lot of mujular stuff, they’re quite complicated so you can never predict exactly what’s going to come out the other end. Even if you think you can control it- you can’t. So, every so often something is like “Woah, what happened there? that’s such a strange thing that we didn’t expect. Let’s work with this”. And those moments are the most exciting. That minute where something happens that you didn’t intend.
S: Awesome. Well, thank you so much I really appreciate it.
You can get Simian Mobile Disco’s new EP, A Form Of Change, on October 2nd out on Wichita Recordings. You’ll also be able to see them if you’ll be attending S.S. Coachella! Full tour dates provided below… Will you be seeing them when they come to your city?
NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES
Sep 1-2 Los Angeles, CA – FYF Fest
Nov 30 Los Angeles, CA – Fonda Theater
Dec 01 San Francisco, CA – Mezzanine
Dec 02 Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
Dec 03 Seattle, WA – Neumos
Dec 04 Vancouver, BC – Venue
Dec 06 New York, NY – Webster Hall
Dec 07 Philadelphia, PA – Making Time
Dec 08 Washington, DC – Rock N Roll Hotel
Dec 11 Boston, MA – Paradise
Dec 13 Montreal, QC – Club Soda
Dec 14 Toronto, ON – Hoxton
Dec 15 Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge
Dec 16 – 19 Bahamas – S.S. Coachella
Dec 19 – 23 Jamaica – S.S. Coachella
[Photo Credit: Melody Darlene]