Hadouken! Talk "Parasite", New Album, and More
Thu, 28 Jun 2012 07:26:26
"I wanted to make a record that encourages people to let go and forget their troubles," explains Hadouken! singer James Smith. "Everybody needs to do that. It's been a part of rave culture for a long time, and I'm fascinated with the idea of musical escapism. That's what this album is about."
You'll want to escape alongside the English quintet as soon as you hear them. Injecting hyper-energetic punk into staggering rave production, Hadouken! blast through the senses with a sound unlike anything out there. "PARASITE" is punchy enough for a mosh pit, but it's also bombastic and bouncy enough for the dance floors. That intoxicating cocktail of styles and sounds makes Hadouken! a true trailblazer and trend-setter.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Hadouken! mainman James Smith talks "PARASITE", fusing genres, and so much more…
What's the story behind "PARASITE"?
Well, basically, the song was one of the first demos for the new album. We were trying to create a fusion between rock and dance elements. When it gets to the chorus, you get this big guitar riff and a very rock-y, punk-y vocal. There's also a bass line with a drum n' bass feel. That's the music I grew up with. In London, it's been big forever. Obviously, dubstep, rave music, and dance music are too. We were trying to get something quite epic and emotional, put it all together, and combine the best of the elements for a good song that goes down really well live. It's difficult to do. We've been on the road for five years as a band, and it's a natural place for us to be. We play live, but we have a lot of electronics. We're moving towards the electronic arena because right at the moment dance music is so fresh and it's really exploding again.
It's a seamless transition between the genres.
It's natural for us because we're indie kids, but we're influenced by dance music and we know it so well. When people do it in-authentically, it doesn't always work. A lot of rock bands in the UK have recently tried to put electronics in their tracks, but I don't think they really understand dance music. I'd like to think because we've been going for a good 15 years, it's really in our bloodstream.
Did the video capture your vision for the song?
The idea is to visually replicate the mundane, urban suburbia of London and Europe to you guys. It's that drab and droll socialist housing in places. We're trying to add something magical in there which, to us, would be the music and possibly all the stuff that goes around it like the culture. It brings that mundane setting down to life and turns it into something quite magical. The director really captured it. "PARASITE" is probably the darkest and heaviest song on the album. We wanted to replicate that. If we were going to go dark on any video, this was going to be the one. It's cool. It's got this schizophrenia or something going on there. It's narrative, and it fits the song perfectly.
Where did "PARASITE" come from?
It's about sonic aggression, really. We're not aggressive people ourselves in the band, but we try to channel any aggressive we have in a positive way, which would be into the music. When we're playing this live, there's a lot of tension in the intro. It builds up, and everybody lets go. We're playing it last in the set and it's going down very well. I feel like we're going in the right direction. We love the song so it's all good. We wanted to come back with a bang to set the pace and the tempo. Hopefully, "PARASITE" does that.
Do you feel like your sound has always been open to evolution?
Absolutely! When you start a band, you're not typically thinking about these things. With us, we always wanted to be a dance band. In that landscape at the time in the UK, we had bands like Arctic Monkeys and Bloc Party who were all about the guitar. No one wanted dance music at the time. We were into it though. We loved those sorts of bands, but our heart was in dance music. We were trying to bring dance music using guitars and drums. The pendulum has swung back towards the electronic arena though. Our first album was quite guitar-y, while our second was produced by NOISIA. It was a natural progression. Now, we're on to our third record with a whole bunch of bass music producers.
Is it important for you to merge styles?
I'm of the Napster generation. We could download anything for free. I could listen to Metallica and Limp Bizkit and then Eric Morillo and Paul Oakenfold or something like that. It was very natural for us to burn CDs. You could taste what you wanted without having to commit to it too much. Dance and rock has been coming together since the early '90s. There was a big element of rock in The Prodigy, Primal Scream, and The Chemical Brothers. We want to carry on that lineage and do something fresh obviously.
What artists do you come back to?
I come back to The Prodigy, early Rage Against the Machine, a band called Left Field, Arctic Monkeys.I wasn't there the first time around, and I'm getting into grunge—bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, and Nirvana. It feels fresh again for some reason. I switch between really heavy dubstep and heavy hardcore, metal, and post-hardcore. I like music of the extreme variety if I'm listening on a day-to-day basis.
Listen to "Parasite":
You can download "Parasite" on Hadouken's website.
Did you enjoy "Parasite"?