Simian Mobile Disco interview

Art & Culture

Ahead of their Records & Machines set on 26th of this month in London, Ransom Note caught up with Simian Mobile Disco to hear their thoughts on Thousand Year Old Eggs, techno, eating knee ligaments whilst hungover and what they’ll be feeding JDH & Dave P on their arrival to play on 26th.
Not got your ticket yet? All 10 tickets sold-out a while ago and the 12.50 have almost gone too. Don’t hang around.Get yours here on Ransom Note tickets

Your fantastic new album is called Delicacies and each track is named after a speciality dish youve encountered on your global travels. Which of these dishes was the most stomach churning in a) concept b) appearance c) taste. Expand if you wish.

I have to admit that we have not eaten all of these, after trying a few we started looking them up on the internet. Ortolan, for example, is illegal so that’s gonna be a difficult one to try. James used to be vege so he’s a bit squeamish about meat, I hate milk so the rotten cheesy ones are my most feared. The maggots in cheese combo that is Casu Marzu has to be pretty high on the stomach churn scale.


It’s an egg that’s been buried for, well not a thousand years but quite a while. It goes very dark and very wrong.

Has anything been presented to you along the way that has been too distressing to sample? And which one of you is the most fearless when it comes to gross-out starters? Or indeed mains. Which promoter out there is King or Queen of the pre-gig dubious dish?

While in Jakarta I was brought brains, knee ligament and skin crackers for breakfast. I was badly hung over but did eat a bit of everything.

It says here, Delicatessen is the home for your techno type leanings. Patently techno in 2010 is a much splintered thing and informs multiple fields of electronic music. What does techno mean to you? And what part of its sprawling lineage do you most closely identify with?

Techno is old now, it’s informed artists in many other genres and, fortunately has taken influences from outside itself. The abiding principles that seem to carry though all it’s variants are to be forward looking and do things as simply as possible.

Snidey techno purists would probably site SMD at the more commercial end of dance music. Is there an aspect of SMD that you feel is overlooked as a result of your indie pedigree, headliner status and the broad appeal of singles like I Believe and Cruel Intentions? How much is this album and accompanying warehouse style parties an attempt to assert the underground tone of your DJ sets? Do you feel SMD are in some way misunderstood or perceived as fair-weather techno fans?

You are probably right but I imagine that this is the case for most artists. People that don’t engage with an artist will judge them on the basis of their most popular material. I’ve lost count of the amount of bands that I’ve written off from hearing their ‘big single’ only to find that I really like some of the album tracks and b-sides. The Delicacies imprint and Delicatessen parties were not really intended to to address this issue, people who have written us off probably won’t hear about them as they won’t get the attention as the popier tracks. The Deli stuff was an outlet for the muckiing about that James and I wanted to do in the studio before we went back into doing another SMD album. We never planned it to be an album, it was intended to be just a bunch of 12s that went out under the radar to those who were into that sort of thing. This stuff is actually quite similar to how lots of the previous album tracks started off before we added vocals. It does seem to have pricked up the ears of some people who had written us off, and I imagine that others think we have gone off the rails; you can’t please everyone, fortunately you don’t need to if you don’t mind catching some abuse from people who didn’t get what they expected.

Youve held a quarterly DJ residency at Fixed in New York this year. How did that come about and how have you found the DJ gigs stateside?

We have been playing for the Fixed guys for ages, in fact before out first album came out. We just decided to make it official and call it a residency. Josh and Dave have been friends for a long time now and we always dj for them when we are in New York and take them on tour with us when we tour the states as they are fantastic djs.

JDH and Dave P from the aforementioned night are guesting at this here thing in London. Obviously its nice to return a favour but you must be fans of their sound too? And which of East Londons, er, delicacies will you be laying on for them on their away leg? Whelks and jellied eels? Or some soggy mephedrone in a national lottery slip wrap perhaps?

To Americans all English food is a delicacy, ie disgusting. It’s going to be Thanksgiving so we will try to cobble something Thanksgivingy for them, then probably go out and buy something edible.

Part 2 coming next week.

Pick yer tickets up for the party on 26th on Ransom Note tickets

Jim Brackpool for Ran$om Note. Welcome home JB