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Chemical Brothers
British electronica stars Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, known together as The Chemical Brothers, are back with some brand new beats and The Record brings you two offerings to celebrate this: a great interview and new photographs of the band members (which you know is a rare occurrence if you’ve followed the band’s career)!

Read on for what the duo has to say about the new songs, working with technology, measuring success and why they still value album artwork in the age of downloading.

So, you’ve finished the new album then…
Ed Simons: We still don’t know whether it’s finished, but it kind of feels like it is ~ suppose so!
Tom Rowlands: It must be finished because it’s coming out, and that’s, you know, like…even the other day I was in the studio…and you have to stop yourself. Because you know, you’ve been making this album for quite a long time so you’re still in that mode of thinking that you can change things but it’s all finished (laughs).
Ed: Yeah it’s very strange when you just commit it to mastering because it’s been on your mind for a long time ~ two years, thinking about little things. And yeah, it’s like as Tom just said, it’s easy to forget that you don’t have to think about that…it’s gone now, it’s done.

Do you have any idea how much material you recorded during the making of this album?
Tom: I was backing up the computer with all the files on for the album and it was some mind numbing, like, 50,000 files or something. And you think that’s 50,000 things that you’ve created to make this thing…
Ed: 58 minutes…
Tom: We used to make a song with like 10 floppy discs, with a sound on each side kind of thing and that would be your record and then, you know, now with your levels of undo and…it’s difficult it’s one of the tricky things about making music with computers is to keep your focus, and to remain… [to have] some idea of what you’re trying to do, but then also explore all the different things that working with a computer can offer you.

Do you do anything with the leftover material?
Ed: Ideas that don’t get fully developed become other music, you know, there’s lots of, there’s lots of stuff on this record that once was something else or was a little idea for an album a while ago, or we make our b-sides or different mixes. I mean, you know, there’s really good stuff that doesn’t quite fit into this period, this hour of music that we’ve given out. But it’s good, you know, it’s a good platform to go and make other music and it’s not discardable by any means.
Tom: Yeah, also…you may work on a track for months and months and then you save it away and you come back to it and you think, “Well, the good thing about that was the high hat sound,” or something and that will go on to be part of something else, you know.

You must have such an ear for detail…
Ed: For all the hours of music that are recorded for any given track, just one moment you hear it and you capture it right and you just think, “God, that was perfect.” Because those little details and intricacies of the music will only come about just through sheer like, doing it again, and again, and just exploring all the ways it can go. And, you know, I was listening to the single, Do It Again, and there’s a little bit we did right at the end, you know, we did a track a while ago and then did more on it, and there’s this one little bit that happens that would never have come to be without that perseverance, and just wanting to explore it more and more.

What’s the origin of the album title We Are The Night?
Tom: It comes from a sample that’s on the track of this Canadian beat poet, sort of from the 60’s ~ this guy Bill Bissett. And it was this poem he’d written and we said, “Oh, that’s a really mad poem with real energy and it’s quite a crazy sort of thing.” And that line just stuck out ~ We Are The Night ~ and we just thought, “Oh imagine…” I’d be excited to hear a record by the Chemical Brothers called ‘We Are the Night’ you know. And that’s, that’s the guiding principle (laughs). It’s not too complicated. You know, it just sounds intriguing doesn’t it? Sort of what’s… what’s that all about? We don’t necessarily know what it’s all about, but it’s like… (laughs) You know, it just feels like it could mean something interesting.

Tell us more about the title track We Are The Night…
Tom: That was one of the few songs that we had a real idea of what we wanted to achieve, you know. We’d played a gig in a squat in Switzerland…it was in Berne wasn’t it?
Ed: Yeah.
Tom: …In this massive squat, and we’d been told when we’d been playing there that it used to be a really mad…in the 70s all the sort of Swiss anarchists and stuff used to have concerts in this big squat. And we were sort of imagining what the music would be like for that, for a Swiss squat party, you know, full of mad, acid anarchists. It was a quite creepy sort of building and you imagine these… you know, it was a mad gig we played in there, and it just sounded wild and out of control and stuff and it was just…yeah, it’s got a sort of Kraftwerk kind of Kraut Rock kind of insistent groove to it.

You can read the rest of our exclusive with The Chemical Brothers in the August 2007 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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