In a world inundated by musical genres, Aussie band Pendulum is pushing the envelope of cross-genre music and leading hundreds of thousands of fans to uncharted territory. Already a popular Drum n Bass band in Australia and the UK, they are taking to the States with their new style, having kicked off their tour in Boston on October 1st.
While some of their early and more devoted fans have criticized the shift in sound and genre, the band argues that the new album is merely a step in achieving the blend that they are looking for. The new style attempts to replicate the synthetic computer generated music with live instruments, in an attempt to create a more authentic sound. While their new music is, arguably, electronically rich, authentic percussion draws from the ability to emulate their original Drum n Bass Sound, which may explain some of the complaining. Despite the criticism, their new album has proven a tremendous success, rising to the top of the charts in Australia and the UK.
Personally, I think their music is the kind of different an American Audience needs. After listening to their early work, comparing, and contrasting it with their new album, I recognize the difference, but am also able to hear how they incorporated their root sounds. On September 30th, just one day before kicking off their U.S. Tour, I had an opportunity to interview frontman Rob Swire and his co-producer and writer, Gareth McGrillen at Atlantic Records in New York City.
InternetDJ: Give me a timeline of your shift in musical style between “Hold Your Colour” and “In Silico.”
Rob: It was really more of a natural adjustment. The goal was to write songs experimentally, in a way that has never really been done or heard before.
InternetDJ: Cross genre music is often controversial, as some fans accuse artists of abandoning their “roots” and moving towards the mainstream. Your new album, while exemplary of great talent, clearly appeals to a more mainstream audience. How would you respond to those critics?
Gareth: Sticking to the same genre, that is not what we consider original music. If we are gonna repeat ourselves, we would be selling out.
InternetDJ: In what direction do you see your music going?
Rob: Well, I think with any of our music, there is no ultimate goal. Each album is just a step towards achieving a greater musical experience. We wanted to incorporate genuine rock sounds more subtly. It sometimes feels like we were almost compelled to make this change. We really want an energetic and aggressive sound to emerge.
InternetDJ: Within the music, especially now, do you ever feel a struggle between the electronic and authentic sounds, synthesized vs. real?
Gareth: We don’t really feel it so much when we are in the studio, but rather when we are on stage. We find some audiences are more responsive to electronic sounds, while others are more responsive to live instruments. But if there is any struggle, I guess it would be when performing live.
InternetDJ: How much of your production work on the album is outsourced and how much is in house?
Rob: None of our work is outsourced. We do all production in house.
InternetDJ: That being said, considering your busy tour schedule, when do you find the time to create new music?
Gareth: Actually, our current album had arrived a good six months late. It is difficult, but we manage to find the time.
InternetDJ: Are either of you classically trained musicians?
Rob: Well, I took piano for 6 years, which I suspect may have helped me, though I don’t remember liking the lessons so much.
InternetDJ: What are some other types of music that you either like or may have inspired you?
Rob: Other than Drum n Bass, I would say Metal, Rock, and Dub Step.
Pendulum will be back in New York performing later in October. I most certainly will want to be there and look forward to possibly interviewing the band at a live show.