Simian Mobile Disco

Art & Culture

Simian Mobile Disco bring their brilliant live set and a rather ace handpicked line up to Matter this Friday for ‘Delicatessen’ launching a series of techno 12s across the year of the same name. Green Velvet, DJ Pierre, Joker, Mowgli and more muck in. The Ransom Note caught up with James Ford to talk testes, Dr. Who, circles, ket and anoraks.

The Ransom Note: Why ‘Delicatessen’? Will cured meats and pickles be available on the night

James Ford: Ha. No. The idea for the name came from lots of disgusting delicacies we have encountered on our travels. When things are called delicacies, they generally are the part of an animal you wouldn’t normally eat like testicles/brains etc. We plan to release a series of instrumental techno tunes throughout the year, each names after particular delicacies. We have a new track called nerve salad which is basically slices of spinal cord.

TRN: We love the way you do the live set, circling around that big bank of wiggly looking gear. You look like two pilled-up Dr Whos pilotting a giant rave Tardis. Was that the inspiration? If not where did the idea come from?

JF: Well, we are huge fans of Delia Derbyshire who did the original Dr. Who theme but that isn’t where we get the idea. It was basically a practical solution. We both needed quick access to all the machines and still be able to see each other as lots of moments in the set are “on the nod”. Plus we have a thing about circles.

TRN: It looks like your sort of fine tuning some kind of giant mechanical engine. In terms of controlling the music, do you have specific roles to perform or specific knobs that you’re in charge of? What happens if your partner touches your knob? Do they get a slap on the wrist?

JF: We don’t have specific roles, although i tend to control the mixer most and Jas seems to gravitate to the modular synth. Now and again you do have to employ an elbow if you want to do something spur of the moment on a machine that is being used.

TRN: How much scope do you have for jamming ideas on the fly or manipulating the sounds and structures so that each set is unique? Are you able to respond to ‘the vibe’ like when you DJ?

JF: There is lots of room for improvisation. I think with modern technology, it’s almost easier to improvise with electronics than with a live band and we have whole unplanned sections in the set for that reason. We definitely took a lot of cues from DJing when putting together the live show, but it’s even better because you can actually shape the tunes to the audience too!

Click next for Part 2