For a while there it looked as though we had lost Ladytron.
The much-loved group covered Noughties digital pop in swathes of black, a stylish, artful project that merged terrific songwriting with a slew of fresh innovation.
Largely silent for seven years, Ladytron recently began to stir. Work on a new album is progressing, with the band recently sharing new single 'The Island'.
A brooding, dystopian return, its taut paranoia and synthetic feel is perfect for these unreal times, and comes equipped with a magnificent short film.
Shot by Bryan M. Ferguson in and around Glasgow, it opens with the birth of a humanoid, The Experiment, and we follow its troubled, threatened existence.
An intense yet beautifully shot clip, it's a sign that Ladytron don't just want to match past glories – they want to surpass them.
Watch the video below, then check out a full Q&A with Ladytron after the jump.
Ladytron have been away for so long, how do you go about assessing what the group means, and how it should sound in 2017?
Daniel: It was really quite basic. We decided in July 2016 to begin making a new album. five years from the last one’s release. A few years later than we had expected. We began working on material and during that first phase it actually felt easier to be making a record after this amount of time, separate from chronology, or live shows or anything else. Then there’s obviously certain things that strike you during the creative process – the world has changed tremendously in seven years, so have we.
But I can’t say that we gave any conscious consideration to external factors in terms of how it should sound. We never do.
‘The Island’ recalls those stellar early singles, did you want to hone in on that electronic pop sound?
Helen: I think it was more a case of remembering where we came from, our strengths, and nodding to that time whilst also wanting to move our sound forward and develop as a band.
Daniel: To me it doesn’t sound like the early days per se, as all of our albums had this sonic thread, but what is evident on the Island is that we approached this record with a blanker canvas than we have had for a long time. We were more free.
Recording sessions took place in the south of England, was this a productive time for the group? How was it to write another chapter for Ladytron?
Daniel: We were recording in the countryside near Cambridge, I’ve worked there before, but not for this amount of time. Staying out of the city was productive but it was a relief to return to dirt and chaos as a reward when it was wrapped.
‘The Island’ feels tied in to the current climate, to the general sense of disquiet many of us feel right now. Was this a personal song? Did any specific events – political, societal – spur its writing?
Helen: Yes, it is a personal song. It was triggered by an event in my own life, but equally it’s broader than that trigger. I guess it’s a cry for help, a call out to like minded people who are passionate about our world and where it’s heading.
Bryan M. Ferguson is the perfect choice of director, were you fans of his work? Was there a lot of communication before the shoot?
Helen: A designer friend of mine actually gave me a link to Bryan’s films, and i binge watched them immediately, falling in love with his sublime weirdness and heavy use of colour. I reached out to him hoping he’d be interested in making us something, and thankfully he was into the idea. His treatment gelled so well with the music and lyrics, i knew we were in good hands.
Glasgow is an odd but entirely successful base for this blast of sci-fi dystopia – was it always your intention to shoot there? Was the city’s geography – or even weather! – an influence on the feel of the song?
Helen: That’s weird, because i feel like Glasgow is the perfect base for a dystopian world. Bryan is based up here, as am i, so it was natural to film here. The shoot actually took place over the three hottest days this summer, so Glasgow and the outskirts are looking beautiful bathed in sunlight in the film. I think the sunny weather makes the visual even more creepy.
Daniel: For me, Bryan’s film shows this banality of evil. That is amplified by the setting for those of whom it is familiar. If such a ghastly project existed now, in the UK, it would be managed by these kind of bored, dead-eyed, Serco employees. When I see something described as a dystopian future, it always strikes me that only those living in a very tiny bubble of privilege on this planet do not sense that we are already there.
There’s a certain nihilism to the clip, do you feel this is balanced out by some lingering hope? What should we take away from such a potent visual message?
Daniel: It is heavy. I cried the first time I saw it. But it should be a reckoning. That in itself is hopeful.
How inter-connected are the themes on the new Ladytron album? Does ‘The Island’ act as a microcosm, or an outlier for the music you’ve created?
Helen: There are some definite themes that weave through, but it wasn’t conceived like this. Only on listening back to the record, now that it is complete, did those themes become apparent. The Island is an emblem for the record, like singles always should be.
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