London-based duo Simian Mobile Disco first gained widespread fame for their early funky electro-pop sound, which drew heavily from the band members’ rock background. Both of SMD’s members, James Ford and James “Jas” Shaw did, after all, play in an electro-rock crossover band first, Simian, from which they drew their later project’s name.
As Simian Mobile Disco, then, out of the gate they boasted a strong pop sensibility and structure, as well as rock attitude, in their original tracks. They also often remixed other bands’ songs into club anthems, creating a hybrid sound that was vocal-heavy and, unlike much dance music, often provided an opportunity to sing and dance along.
So when the pair’s last record, Delicacies, came out last year, it seemed like a radical departure. The nine tracks are completely instrumental, long, and deep — pure techno, really, and designed strictly for peak-hour dance floor play rather than earbuds or the car stereo. But really, it wasn’t that much of a surprise.
Ford and Shaw have, apart from their own original creations, been DJing for several years. And the years have gone on, their DJ sets have leaned heavily more towards the techno side of things, as has their London club night, Delicatessen. The official new manifesto, perhaps, was the Essential Mix they released for Radio One in 2010, which unveiled the new sound. And it’s behind the latest material that the pair is currently touring.
Still, old fans need not be disheartened about Simian Mobile Disco’s potential gig set lists. As inveterate crowd-pleasers, they’ve vowed to continue to play their older material, albeit with a new twist, and blend it energetically in with the new tracks. Meanwhile, a new, “proper” studio album is due out next year, which will again showcase their more pop-oriented side.
To get fans excited about their gigs, though, Simian Mobile Disco has released a series of free MP3s lately. Download a three-part Delicatessen DJ set for free below, and stay apprised of tour dates at simianmobiledisco.co.uk.
MP3: Delicatessen Warehouse DJ Set, November 2010, Part 1
MP3: Delicatessen Warehouse DJ Set, November 2010, Part 2
MP3: Delicatessen Warehouse DJ Set, November 2010, Part 3