Orbital come with a certain gravitas.

The Hartnoll brothers emerged from the white heat of Rave, helping to define what British electronic music could achieve. Spending the bulk of the 90s swerving away from pre-conceptions, Orbital parted company in 2004.

Deciding to get back together in 2008, Orbital quickly seized back their status as one of the few electronic groups who could bulldoze the previously rock-heavy festival crowds.

Now the duo have completed work on a new studio – their first in almost a decade. ‘Wonky’ will be released on Monday (April 2nd) and comes equipped with guest vocals from Zola Jesus and Lady Leshurr.

But can it match up their glory days? ClashMusic tracks down Paul Hartnoll to find out the band’s feelings on extending their back catalogue but one more step.

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Why make the decision to record new material? You’re back catalogue is pretty iconic in its own right, it must of been a huge decision. When did that decision happen and what made you do it?
We decided to do it out of the fact of we’d been playing live for two years and we wanted to keep playing live and we didn’t want to keep on playing the same old tracks. So we thought let’s write some music that we want to play live. So, basically, that’s what we did and the fact that it takes the form of an album shows we’re quite old fashioned guys and we like our albums. So it was like let’s write an album, but let’s make it full of stuff that’ll work well when we play live. That was our very clear agenda for it. There was nothing weird about it or scary, we didn’t have a record deal. It seems to me people don’t seem to buy records anyway nowadays, certainly the amount of people that buy records have dropped considerably. But for us playing live has been a big thing in the last few years, so it’s gone round the other way, it’s like cart before the horse now. It used to be driven by record sales when you’d go out and play live to promote your record, but now you go out and play live to earn your living and then you make records so you’ve got something to play live. It’s great, it’s kind of refreshing in a way; quite different. Interesting times, but quite scary as well with the music industry the way it is, but at the same time you just go with it and see what happens.

Very good point about letting the record drive the tours now. You have played a lot of high profile shows since you came back, did that live performance change the way you approached the music on this album, were you constantly thinking about how things would translate?
Totally, because that’s what we were doing, we were writing music that we thought would be good to play live. One of the things we did do, we kept deejaying for all last year while we were still writing, so we kept knocking up demos of what we were writing so we could play it at the weekend. It was great to try stuff out on an audience when we’re still in the writing stage, really good to try that out actually, sort of kept it fresh in your mind; that you’re thinking about it in a live context.

How did the Zola Jesus collaboration come about?
That literally came about because we felt the track needed a singer; we needed a singer with her type of voice. We didn’t know who she was at the time, we just decided what we were looking for and put the feelers out, got people to recommend things and she come up as a recommendation. One of our mates in America, he said try this person out and it was instantly yeah, she’s the one. Same with Lady Leshurr as well, someone who we worked with was working with her, and he said well if you’re looking for a female rapper, try this one out for size.

You mentioned you were DJing, what were you personally playing out?
We were playing a lot of…you’re going to catch me out here, Phil’s been doing a lot more deejaying than me and all he’s got is, annoyingly, is beatport numbers on record. I say to him “what is this one called?” – “I don’t know.” That’s all I get out of him. But certain favorites, there’s a track called ‘Space Junk”, I can’t remember who that was by. Kind of ravey I’d say; anthemic, ravey and ballsy, and mixed with all our kind of stuff, with Club DJ’s track called ‘Light Fantastic’ that we love, that just kills it; works every time.

A lot of young producers are echoing that rave / Hardcore sound.
I think it’s hilarious, but I do at the same time…I don’t mean that in a bad way; I don’t look down on that. I have been around; I’ve seen all of that. For someone in their twenties now… it’s all fresh to them and I’m not belittling that at all. I just think it’s interesting to be old enough that you see things go full circle. I find it interesting, but at the same time it kind of gives me an excuse to sound how I used to. We’ve got a track on the album that sounds like us from the early ‘90s called ‘Stringy Acid’; even with the title.

Do you use a lot of the same kit?
Yeah, we’ve kept all the synths and the drum machines.

That’s the thing, all these producers are desperate to get the right plug-in. You’ll be the ones going one step further.
There are some people who don‘t though, I noticed L-Vis 1990 goes for real synths and real drum machines, and you can hear it. If you listen to his current album, you can hear that.

You designed this with a live arena in mind, did that influence the way you constructed the tracks?
Totally, very perceptive of you. That is true, these are the recordings, some are born out of when we were deejaying so they’ve been generated from us writing them and trying them out and changing them and developing them and simplifying and modifying. So essentially they’re a snapshot of that’s what they sounded like then and let’s see how they develop. The way we play certain tracks now, like ‘Impact’, it bares very little resemblance to how it sounded like on the original album, it kind of developed and changed over the years. Tracks like ‘Satan’ as well completely changed so much we ended up putting a new version of it on our new album, it’s so more from its original position it’s like a different track. Not that it was ever on an album though, it’s the first time it’s ever been on an album. But yeah, now we take stuff to the live arena and see where it goes.

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Orbital release ‘Wonky’ on April 2nd.

Do you like your rock music loud, hard and in-your-face? The way it should be played? Then this was the gig for you. The HMV Forum was packed out with a double bill of Kentucky metal band, Black Stone Cherry and LA ‘70s-style blues rockers, Rival Sons.

First up was the bunch from LA. They’ve enjoyed extended playtime with the single ‘Pressure and Time’ from their debut CD on the UK rock waves lately. Their gritty blues based rock is well suited for Jay Buchanan’s voice and screeching guitars of Scott Holiday. Joey Tempest (Europe) was spotted in the audience, seemingly having a rocking good time, and commented later that Rival Sons are the business. Drummer Miley had a jam-packed evening, set to support legends Steve Winwood and Roger Daltrey later the same night for their gig at the Royal Albert Hall, but this did nothing to prevent him giving his drums a good old fashioned pounding.

By the time they reached ‘Burn Down Los Angeles’, the crowd was clapping and stomping in delight. Rival Sons have matured into a tight unit and they seemed to enjoy themselves on stage. Old school rock fans loving passionate and ballsy ‘70s rock certainly got their money’s worth. Only time will tell, but Rival Sons could earn the title of “classic rockers” a few years from now.

From slow rock ballads to fuzzed-up, teenage, metal outrage, Black Stone Cherry packed it all. This band feeds on adrenaline and energy. They played their big guitars and large riffs at maximum volume and the onslaught was relentless. Chris Robertson’s voice was almost too good to be true. Ben Wells’ axe work was in overdrive, backed by drummer John Young, hell-bound on destroying his drum kit. ‘Things My Father Said’, ‘White Trash Millionaire’ and the latest ‘Blame It On The Boom Boom’; all their hits were there and the fans loved it.

A few years ago this group supported legendary bands like Def Leppard and Whitesnake, and it showed. They stepped it up a gear and delivered the goods which left most of their fans gasping for more. Set to appear at the Isle of Wight Festival later this year to cement their place in rock history, and judging by their performance on the night, they’ve probably done so already.

Words and photo by Stephen Fourie

Click here for a photo gallery of the gig.

‘Gimme Shelter’ is one of those tracks which simply seems to exist.

Used in countless Hollywood movies – normally to soundtrack napalm explosions in Vietnam – the Rolling Stones’ classic has a tangible sense of menace.

Yet it’s also delicately put together, and ultimately soulful. Fast rising British singer Natalie Duncan recently recorded a stripped down version of ‘Gimme Shelter’ with only the barest of accompaniment.

Demonstrating a different side to the track, Natalie Duncan’s effortless delivery is a nice counterpoint to the blistering original. Much more elegiac in tone, this is an intriguing take on ‘Gimme Shelter’.

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Natalie Duncan’s debut album ‘Devil In Me’ will be released on 16th June through Verve Records. Head to natalieduncan.com for more information.

Diplo and Snoop Dogg are seemingly working on a new reggae album together.

More than twenty years in the game, Snoop Dogg still likes to shake things up. One of the first Stateside artists to interact with dubstep – rapping over a version of ‘Eastern Jam’ – the hip hop icon is now set to try something different.

Hooking up with Diplo, the pair are seemingly working on a new studio album. The Florida producer spilled the beans, informing MTV that he had been laying down tracks with the seminal rapper.

“Snoop Dogg is an icon, man; he’s bigger than the music” he enthused. “What we’re doing is a reggae record. It’s like Snoop Dogg and Major Lazer together. It’s all reggae and he’s singing and he’s doing a fucking awesome job and I never knew it, but he had his heart in every song”.

Continuing, Diplo insisted that work will progress on the album throughout this year. “We’re going to get back into the production of it next month, and I’m really proud of that record. It’s the first record I’ve ever executive-produced and his crew is amazing.”

The move is the latest interaction between hip hop royalty and bass culture. Earlier this year, for example, Cypress Hill recruited Rusko to produce some tracks for a brand new EP.

Elsewhere in that fateful MTV interview, Diplo also revealed that he has been working with none other than R&B hit merchant Usher. “I love Usher,” Diplo gushed. “I’m an Usher fan. I love him for records like ‘Confessions Pt. II’ and ‘Burn,’ those are some of the first R&B records from my generation that are still lasting forever. And we did some uptempo stuff too. I don’t know what’ll make the album, but I think there are definitely three songs that’ll make it.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Diplo also has a book on the way. Busy lad!

Gerard Love’s new project Lightships have recorded a Moondog cover for their new single.

A new project from Gerard Love, Lightships may just have produced one of the year’s most refreshing indie pop albums. ‘Electric Cables’ will be released on April 2nd, with the collective completing some wonderfully breezy slices of jangling songcraft.

Upcoming single ‘Sweetness In Her Spark’ is a great introduction. Three and a half minutes of winsome pop, Lightships even rope in that most mis-understood of instruments – the flute!

The video was shot by The Forest Of Black, with the action taking place in Gerard Love’s native Glasgow. Watch it below.

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As if that wasn’t enough, Lightships have also recorded a cover of Moondog’s ‘Do Your Thing’. A truly unique musician, Moondog roamed the streets of New York dressed as a Viking, all the while composing idiosyncratic nuggets of swing indebted noise.

Stream Lightships’ take on his legacy below.

Lightships will release their debut album ‘Electric Cables’ on Monday (April 2nd).

I.R.O.K. have pieced together a bizarre, hypnotic clip for their recent track ‘God’.

Once, there was Dead Kids. An explosive London indie troupe, the band’s live exploits instantly became the stuff of legend.

Tragically splitting after just one – free download – album, Dead Kids singer Mike Title took time away to regain his sense of focus. Now, though, he’s back.

I.R.O.K. – The Intergalactic Republic of Kongo – is a new project that melts together African percussion, brutal electronics and a sense of psychedelia. Live shows have, predictably enough, been raucous affairs with a recent visit to KOKO resulting in a running battle with security.

Rapidly becoming a name to drop for those in the know, I.R.O.K. also have a stunning control of visuals. The ballistic electronics of ‘God’ are matched to spliced together with black and white footage, with the emphasis being placed on terror, the body and control.

Watch the video below.

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Fancy catching I.R.O.K. in the flesh? Well, Clash Magazine have invited him along to our issue launch party.

Taking place in the always comfortable confines of London venue The Lexington, I.R.O.K. will be joined by Class Actress and Look Stranger! – who will be launching their latest EP.

Join the fun HERE.

Quakers are giving away their new cut ‘Russia With Love’ featuring vocals from Coin Locker Kid.

Geoff Barrow has always admitted a debt to hip hop, but few expected him to jump feet first into the genre. Yet with new project Quakers that’s exactly what the producer has done – and the results are something quite special.

Formed with two friends, Quakers have been building beats and working up tracks for some time. Set to release their debut album through Stones Throw next month, the trio are ready to give away a new track.

‘Russia With Love’ features production from 7-Stu-7, Katalyst and Fuzzface while Coin Locker Kid adds some rhymes. Seemingly uncovered via MySpace, the rapper is one of the less well known artists on the new album.

Perhaps that’s why Quakers have decided to release the track. “When I made this beat, I knew who to send it to,” explains Katalyst. “The track is in 7/8 and seemed like it might be a bit of a challenge, but Coin Locker Kid came up with the goods the first time round.”

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Meanwhile, Quakers have also unveiled a new video which will act as a preview of the new album. Watch it below.

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London dance weekender South West Four is set to return this summer with a bumper line up.

Held on Clapham Common, South West Four is one of the biggest dance weekender’s London has to offer. Returning this summer, organisers have unveiled a line up peppered with globally recognised names.

Obviously, the biggest headlines will go to Skrillex with the controversial American producer set to play a high profile slot. Returning to the UK, the West Coast bass producer will be aiming to win over an audience steeped in bass mythology.

Elsewhere, Borgore will appear at South West Four while Andy C, DJ Fresh, Flux Pavilion and more have also confirmed their involvement.

Benga and Skream were pivotal to the development of dubstep, learning their trade in a tiny studio above Croydon’s seminal Big Apple record shop. Going their separate ways, each developed a style which took bass saturation in new directions.

Still close friends, the pair found chart success with Artwork under the Magnetic Man guise. Skream and Benga still DJ together regularly, developing a set which has taken them across the globe.

Heading back to London for South West Four, the pair will be joined by their usual collaborators Youngman and Sgt Pokes. Both acclaimed artists in their own right, the MC pairing will attempt to vibe the inner city crowd.

South West Four runs between August 25th – 26th.

Niki & The Dove are streaming the intergalactic video for new single ‘Tomorrow’.

One of the year’s top rated newcomers, Niki & The Dove match expertly prepared pop music with a real grasp of visuals. Each video seems carefully crafted, with the duo applying a sense of imagination to what they do.

The clip for upcoming single ‘Tomorrow’ is no exception. Featuring plenty of battles in outer space, the latest Niki & The Dove video is a lovably daft homage to the era of the Intergalactic B-Movie.

Watch it below.

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Meanwhile, Niki & The Dove have also confirmed plans for a new headline show in London. Taking place at XOYO on May 16th, the gig will take place just two days after the release of ‘Instinct’.

Tickets are on sale now.

Niki & The Dove UK shows in full:

April
27 Sheffield Bungalow & Bears
28 Reading Oakford Social Club

May
4 Coventry Kasbah
5 Leeds Live At Leeds
9 Southampton Joiners
16 London XOYO
18 Liverpool Static Gallery
21 Newcastle Cluny
22 Birmingham Institute Temple
23 Cardiff Full Moon
30 Manchester Ritz (with Miike Snow)
31 London Brixton Academy

Click here to buy tickets for Niki & The Dove!

Paul McCartney breezed into the Royal Albert Hall last night (March 29th) for a hit laden set.

At the end of the day, Paul McCartney is still Paul McCartney. Capable of drawing on what is perhaps pop’s première back catalogue, the songwriter breezed into the Royal Albert Hall last night (March 29th).

A highlight of this year’s Teenage Cancer Trust concert series, the show opened with a montage of the work done by the charity. Obviously moved, Paul McCartney then launched into a set which encompassed his entire career.

Taking place on the 141st birthday of the venue, it was Paul McCartney’s first visit to the Royal Albert Hall since the George Harrison memorial concert back in 2002.

Using a far smaller venue than his recent British tour, the Royal Albert Hall housed some celebrity fans. Pulp are due to take part in the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts tonight (March 30th) and Jarvis Cocker was on hand to soak up the show.

Chatting with the Evening Telegraph, the frontman said: “We’re going back to rehearse now. We’re scared.”

At one point Paul McCartney was joined by a number of guests to run through his ‘Let It Be’ classic ‘Get Back’. Ronnie Wood, Paul Weller and Teenage Cancer Trust patron Roger Daltrey all assisted the former Beatle – who seemingly re-organised his European tour to fit in the Royal Albert Hall date.

Roger Daltrey told the Sun recently: “Sir Paul has been brilliant. We almost got him last year but he couldn’t make the date work”.

“He said, ‘I’ll be there for you next year, Rog’ – and here he is. He did a few extra shows in Europe to make it work so no-one had to foot the bill of getting his show here – and that means a lot.”