It’s been a great year for crossover rock/dance combo Pendulum. Having hit the charts and all the festivals with their latest album, Gillian Leschasin talks to Gareth McGrillen about life in one of the success stories of 2008.
If you’re heading to Halton, Reading, or Leeds next weekend then chances are you’re going to come across Pendulum. The Australian drum and bass gang is invading festivals across Europe this summer with their heavy basslines and menacing guitars that have won dance and rock crowds over.
To find them, just look for a massive crowd pulsing to the rhythm of their down and dirty sound where you’ll see this six-piece group is no longer just regulated to the underground drum’n’bass scene.
Following the success of putting out a new album In Silico in May 2008, and zipping around from festival to festival, Pendulum’s bass guitarist/DJ Gareth McGrillen took the time to answer a few questions for Thrash Hits .com.
It seems like you’re playing at every festival this summer, from Bestival to Reading to Creamfields. Why are you playing in so many festivals that attract completely different crowds?
I guess it’s because our music is able to appeal to different crowds. I think at the end of the day an audience at a festival wants to jump around and have fun. And our music does that. It makes people jump around – if they didn’t they’d go to a folk festival.
Watch the video to ‘Granite’ by Pendulum
Which venue would you rather play – a superclub, a small dingy bar or an alternative music festival? Why?
They can all be great but I think the one for us at the moment is festivals. They’re great because coming from the underdog angle that we are we get to show what we’re made of to audiences who have not yet heard of us or are not there to see us. When we can turn a festival upside-down you really feel like you’ve won fans
What’s the meaning behind the title of your latest album, In Silico?
The album has no particular meaning; it’s just another piece of the puzzle. But In Silico the title itself is a play on words from the Nirvana album In Utero. In Silico is Latin for ‘born artificially’. And that holds meaning for the album as almost all of the album was recorded with real instruments and played by real people, but at the core it’s essentially synthetic, torn to bits cut up and rearranged in a computer.
Looking back at your debut album Hold Your Colour, it was pretty straightforward drum and bass. What would you say are some of the main differences between that album and In Silico? What genre would you classify your latest album under?
What I think we wanted to achieve with this album – genre and classification wise – was to declassify it completely. I’m not the one to say whether we’ve done that or not, but it’s interesting to see bands we aspire to like The Prodigy or Chemical Brothers, all whom came out of very specific genres all reached a certain level where their music was just simply electronic music and not defined by any particular genre.
Watch the video to ‘Propane Nightmares’ by Pendulum
What made you decide to include more vocals on your latest album?
We’ve always included vocals and particularly Rob’s vocals since we were young. It’s nothing new, it’s just more dominant now in the same way guitars are more dominant now. It wasn’t any vain attempt to make the music more accessible simply because there are now vocals in it. The music has naturally progressed to this point and having vocals dominate the tunes made the tunes complete.
It seems like you’re a group that’s up for changing its sound, what kind of sound can we expect to hear from you in the future?
At this point our sound could go either way, it could go more electronic or it could go more rock, at the core its always going to be electronic.
On a more personal note, you’ve decided to base yourselves in the UK. What do you miss most about Australia?
The UK at the time of our relocation was the home of drum and bass, but has also proved to be the home of music in general and seems to be the place to be. [There is] great access to America and Europe. We can get any piece of studio equipment we don’t own night or day. Where else in the world can you do that? Australia definitely is paradise but at the moment the only thing I really miss is family. I used to say the food but I’ve since been back to Oz and now Australian food tastes odd and UK food tastes normal.
Pendulum perform at Reading & Leeds Festivals as well as at The Nike Human Race in August