Music

The Chemical Brothers: “Our show is the best it’s ever been”

The Chemical Brothers are just a matter of days away from headlining South West Four on Sunday 28 August.

Ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend, and to help prepare ourselves for just how sensational it’s going to be, we chat to one half of the legendary Chemical Brothers duo, Tom Rowlands.

Scroll down for the full interview and get last minute Sunday tickets at Ticketmaster.co.uk/sw4.

Is there a story behind your track Hold Tight London?

“The title of the track comes from all the shoutouts on the early pirate radio stations we both used to listen to. We loved the idea of connecting the phrase to this emotional, warm sort of house song we had written. So you had the dual meaning of being held tight in the warmth of the sound and also a nod to the underground stations we were into.”

Are there any venues in London that hold special memories for you?

“I guess there are probably three venues that immediately spring to mind. First, The Albany pub on Great Portland Street where the Heavenly Social used to be held. It was where we first had a residency in London in 1994 and it was really the making of us. Thanks to the amazing people at Heavenly, we met so many interesting, music obsessed people. We were making the album Exit Planet Dust in the studio in the week, then we would show up at the basement of this pub and play demos tracks off tape. So many great nights and friendships were made.

“Secondly would be Turnmills where we had a DJ residency in the ’90s. We would come back again and again for special one offs, including the last weekend before it closed down in 2008. That was a proper nightclub with an amazingly intense dance floor. It was run by great people and really shaped the music we were making at the time. Tracks like Hey Boy, Hey Girl and lots of the electronic battle weapon series were made to play on this dance floor at 1am on a Saturday night. It continues to influence our music, when I think of an underground club with strobe/smoke/acid house this is it.

“Lastly Brixton Academy, which will always be special to us. We’ve played live there so many times, in one week we played there five nights. We’ve both seen so many great gigs there and it’s still a great place to play.”

How have the shows been going over the summer – any particular highlights?

“Yeah it’s been fantastic. The show is probably the best it’s ever been. We’re playing a real wide range of tracks, ones from our early EPs alongside songs we’ve just written. Also, the visual side of the show, which is created by Adam Smith and Marcus Lyall just keeps developing. The images and sequences they’ve come up with are incredible.”

Are you working on any new material right now?

“When not touring I’m always in the studio working on music. There’s even a few beginnings of ideas being thrown into the live show at the moment which is exciting. I’ve also written the score for our long time visual collaborator Adam Smith’s new film, which is called Trespass Against Us, it stars Michael Fassbender and should be out later this year.”

Chemical Brothers 2016

Is it true that the you have a pair of Robots onstage? Are they called ‘George & Mildred’? Will they be at Clapham next weekend?

“Yes, though Ed and I aren’t overly keen on their nicknames, but someone said it and somehow it’s stuck in ’70s sitcom land. Remember even if they are called ‘George and Mildred’, they are giant robots with lazer eyes and they’re coming for your soul!”

It’s a been a while since you last played London, are you looking forward to it and do you have any surprises lined up?

“Yeah we’re excited to be back playing an outdoor festival in London. It’s a bank holiday weekend and hopefully the sun will be shining, so let’s go!”

South West Four Festival will be taking place on Clapham Common across the August Bank Holiday weekend (Saturday 27 and Sunday 28). Check availability and book now at Ticketmaster.co.uk/sw4.

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