Roland Users Group
Since 2001, Ladytron has been on the forefront of the new, electronic rock movement beginning with their first release, “604.” Some called it Electroclash, but Ladytron, since their earliest days, have never been easy to categorize. The band has an effortless way of combining old school technology within a 21st Century context — and always with strong songwriting. Known for their high-energy live shows, the band is able to translate the same excitement and mood of their studio productions to the stage.
Ladytron relies on a mixture of different Roland synthesizer technologies, from some of the earliest vintage pieces to the latest workstations. Roland Product Specialist Dan Krisher met up with the band in New York during their tour for their latest release, “Velocifero.” Present were Mira Aroyo (keyboards and vocals), Danny Hunt (keyboards, guitar and vocals), Helen Marnie (keyboards and vocals) and Reuben Wu (keyboards and vocals). The band discussed their new CD, their songwriting process and how Roland gear fits into their enigmatic and compelling sound.
We’re here in New York, just before you go on stage. So what would be your ultimate live show, if you had unlimited time money and resources?
Reuben: The North Pole. We could fly everyone out.
Danny: Soulwax told us about this urban myth about the black Amex card. Apparently one of its default functions is to be able to hire a jumbo jet and fly your friends all over the world anytime.
Helen: And ideally no sound check!
Mira: And lots of pyrotechnics. Lots of lions jumping through hoops over us while we were playing.
I didn’t expect so much “Vegas” from Ladytron.
Helen: No, not so much Vegas..
What would the lights be?
Danny: Well, we really like the lights we have now.
Mira: Maybe more of them.
Reuben: Like maybe a million of them.
The band has a new release out. What’s the concept behind it?
Danny: It’s a long playing format with thirteen songs, called “Velocifero.”
Helen: But we all don’t say it like that.
Reuben: I say, “Velo-KI-fero.”
Helen: I say, “Velo-SO-fero.”
Danny: And it’s out now, and it’s been going well. We’re touring it at the moment. This is the first time we’ve really toured before an album came out. We’re playing seven songs off it.
Dan From Roland: Last time we spoke, you described your process. You recorded this quickly, in December I believe. Was the process the same or different this time?
Danny: Similar process, but with little pockets of development.
Mira: It’s just that we really don’t have a process. So it’s easy to say it’s a similar process, because we don’t have a set process. So it was the same lack of process.
That’s probably one of the elements that keeps things moving forward and staying fresh all the time.
Reuben: Yes. This was thirteen happy accidents.
How did your Roland gear play into the new recording?
Mira: Then we requested for other things to be there when we finished up in Paris. We specifically asked that an SH-201 be there in Paris to use.
Danny: There’s a lot of [SH]-201 on “Ghosts and “The Lovers.”
Reuben: We used a lot of SH-2 and SH-9. There’s always a lot of old school stock.
Danny: Juno-6, too. We used Fantom piano on “Runaway,” and on “Verses,” there’s a V-Synth patch called “Orgone.”
How’s the tour been going?
Danny: Really well — biggest so far. Biggest crowds, biggest venues.
Mira: When you have a new album out, it’s all more exciting and fresh.
For your millions of Roland fans, what are you using on stage?
Danny: We’ve got the Juno-G and we’re using the [SH]-201 of course.
And you use a lot of BOSS pedals too. You use these with the guitar and keyboards, right?
Reuben: We’ve got the Space Echo [RE-20] pedals. They’re our favorite toy.
Danny: They are brilliant.
Reuben: They’re so cool!
Danny: It’s amazing — if you’ve got a static instrument, the Space Echo gives it all this life and chaos to play with. Especially by pressing and holding the right hand pedal, which was this trick we learned about from the ‘net. That wasn’t in the manual.
Reuben: It’s made out of metal and has the same look as the original one, the same color scheme. It’s just authentic.
Danny: We’ve got that [RE-20] going through a couple of the keyboards and guitar as well.
Helen: Danny just goes off into his own world. He forgets what he’s doing, and all we’ve got in our in-ear monitors is all this echo.
Danny: You know what happens is that we’re both using our own at the same time! You look at me thinking it’s me, and then I look at Reuben and he’s got his foot on his using it too.
Reuben: [to Danny] Sometimes you play with the intensity knob. You are playing, then hit intensity and get this massive feedback from the keyboards — it’s great.
What happens after the North American tour ends?
Mira: More touring!
Danny: We’ll probably be out until next Summer.
Mira: Lots more big festivals.
Helen: We do a couple of support slots for Interpol, then all the big European festivals. Then we go to Australia. Then back to the UK and Europe.
Reuben: We could actually tour for years and years until we decide to put a new album out.
Can you tell me what the next single might be?
Danny: We think it’s “Runaway.” What do you think?
Well, I’m into “Tomorrow” and definitely “Burning Up.”
Danny: A lot of people say that.
Helen: Maybe we release all of them as singles.
Danny: Thirteen singles!
Look out for Ladytron everywhere in 2008. For more information, check out http://ladytron.nettwerk.com.