October 10, 2008

Pendulum Embarks on First U.S. Tour

By Scott Iwasaki Deseret News

Pendulum, known in the music world as a drum-and-bass band from Australia, is embarking on its first United States tour in a few weeks.

The band -- vocalist/synthesizerist Rob Swire, bassist Gareth McGrillen, guitarist Peredure ap Gwynedd, DJ Paul "El Hornet" Harding and drummer Paul Kodish -- were arriving on a plane in Brazil from the United Kingdom when the Deseret News caught up with McGrillen via e-mail.

Here is the e-mail interview:

Deseret News: What were your musical influences that steered you into the direction of making music?

McGrillen: I think early electronica, bands like Technotronic, Altern8 and The Prodigy, as well as punk metal and grunge, too many bands to mention really but I don't think any particular one was instrumental in inspiring us into music, they all were.

DN: When it became obvious that the group was going to become more than a hobby, did you set any goals for the music?

McGrillen: Not really. We've only set goals of doing better than the last thing we did. With our first singles and then with our first CD "Hold Your Colour," and later with our latest album, "In Silico," doing better for us is anything from producing something bigger and more intense as well as reaching a wider audience and selling more copies etc.

DN: To date, what has been the most challenging aspect of being in the band?

McGrillen: Writing our second album proved to be more difficult then we first anticipated. I think the pressure was self-inflicted largely but it was a difficult period, nonetheless. Even though the process seems to have paid off, I don't think we'll be letting the writing recording and production process do our heads in so much next time!

The live shows development was also a yearlong struggle in which we had to develop a means to bring the sonic fullness we get in the studio into a live environment. All the tracks we brought into the live arena needed to almost be re-engineered from the ground up so as to recreate them live.

DN: On the flip side, what have been the rewards, both artistic and personal?

McGrillen: Well, there's no better reward then doing something you love and being accepted and loved for it, and being able to earn a living from music isn't as common as it used to be, so we thank our lucky stars we're in a position to do so.

DN: Please tell me about the recording sessions for "In Silico." Did you have all the music ready before you went into the studio, or did you write and experiment while recording?

McGrillen: Rob had so many tracks written in bits, ideas here, riffs there. And we had a pretty clear concept for the album. We kinda went through and pieced them all together into songs, kind of like we would for "Hold Your Colour." Except, this time, once the songs were pieced together and basically written as drum and bass tracks, we then went into the studio and recorded all the different instruments much like a band would.

After all the instruments were recorded, we then set about tearing all the recordings apart and built the tracks from the ground up, sometimes treating the recordings like recordings, and sometimes treating them like samples and cutting them up and processing them.

DN: How was the approach for the songs on "In Silico" different from "Hold Your Colour"? I do notice the sound of "In Silico" is, to me, a bit more broad in dynamics.

McGrillen: "Hold Your Colour" was a purely a drum-and-bass album. It was our stamp on all the different sub genres of drum and bass that we liked. "Hold Your Colour" saw us almost holding back on our influences from outside of dance music as that wasn't really the task at hand. In retrospect our rock, metal and punk influences did end up coming through some on "Hold Your Colour," and, because it did so well, we felt we earned a bit more creative license. So, with our next record, "In Silico," we decided to just let whatever we were listening to -- be it surf rock, old blues, rock like Led Zeppelin, or metal or whatever -- affect the outcome of the music while still being electronic at the core.

DN: Was hearing that "In Silico" hit the Billboard Top Electronic Albums and Heatseekers Charts surprising to you?

McGrillen: Yeah, it's a great surprise, though we're expecting America to be our most challenging task to date. But we're excited about it, and I think we have music that American fans will want to really get stuck into.

DN: Congratulations on playing your first U.S. tour. What is the most surprising aspect of the current tour so far?

McGrillen: Well, as of yet we've only just touched down in Brazil, we're going to play a festival here and work our way up north to the States. We are all ready and excited about it, so it should be a good five weeks on the road. We'll see how we feel after those five weeks. Hahaha!

DN: How challenging is it to bring your live show to the (other countries)?

McGrillen: Our show is a big show. Size-wise, we have a lot of lighting equipment and stage equipment and instruments. And since we're not so big in the States, we're having to play smaller clubs.

The environment of small clubs is always really good and the atmosphere is great. It's just about trying to fit us all onto the stage like slipknot would have had back in the day. Except we don't have 9 members on stage we have 9 computers running the show and five members.

DN: Do you have time to think about your next step? If so, what are your future plans for the band?

McGrillen: We're definitely getting ready to start our next album. Other than that we're just touring nonstop, getting the record out there to as many people around the world as we can!

If you go ...

What: Pendulum

Where: Murray Theater, 4916 S. State St.

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

How much: $16

Phone: 467-8499, 800-888-8499

Web: www.smithstix.com

E-mail: [email protected]

(c) 2008 Deseret News (Salt Lake City). Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.