“We like the dark and moody vibe”
Electronic music lovers around the world seem eager for new material from established bands like LCD Soundsystem and Justice. It is in fact a well loved local band (who initially grabbed the attention of aforementioned Justice) leading the way and exciting their audience with new single This New Technology, leaked online last month and quickly pushing them up the chart as the most blogged artist on reputable music blog aggregate, The Hype Machine. Midnight Juggernauts have withdrawn from their dance anthem beats, suggesting a move towards their psychedelic Pink Floydian influences. As drummer Daniel Stricker puts it, “We’d been playing live for so long [on their 8 month long international tour] that I think we changed as a band, and the things we listened to, the influences, evolved.”
Midnight Juggernauts have performed with a lot of musicians who have cropped up on music blogs over the last year or so. It seems there are so many of these experiences that Daniel is almost too excited to articulate, “There were a lot of bands we played with that I liked. We’ve done a lot of shows with this band called Holy Fuck in the past couple of years – they’re great! There’s another band called Fuck Buttons as well… Bands that do electronic stuff live and create this massive sound; that’s been inspirational to me. Not just those bands, specifically, but that technique.”
Apart from bands with the word Fuck in them, the soft-spoken drummer also seems keen on older music, revealing that he’s, “been into a lot of the old kraut music. Like nord-ian stuff, where they use four-track cassette players to manipulate the sound of things. There’s a bunch of that on the [new] record. There’s this one track where we got these vocals and we recorded them through a synthesizer, and then we re-recorded that through a four-track tape player through a delay pedal. And it gives this weird sounding texture, it’s really gritty. A lot of this record had just been running stuff through a million different things, manipulating sounds…”
Daniel explains the differences employed on the new album (compared to their debut), being that the sophomoric release is, “More like a live band playing in a room. Instead of it being a massive dance production (though it has elements of that), it’s more about the layers. A lot of the time you’ll get a warped sound effect, really lush and washed out; more that kind of intensity.”
Beyond their, once again, self-produced album, Midnight Juggernauts have been given multiple gig reviews, some describing them as energetic and fun, others saying they’re more chilled out. “I guess it’s a bit of both but we like the dark and moody vibe. And we try to do a bit of everything. We have all these samples and loop pedals and toys and make a real effort so we can be improvised and so that it can be organic.” Regardless of the wild or relaxed atmosphere, it can be said that things have changed for Midnight Juggernauts when performing live, no longer ad-libbing with Chinese menus or getting booted from the stage by John Travolta so he can sup in front of a jazz band. Reception has improved, to say the least! But it’s not about playing it safe on stage either. Daniel tells me that while, “our songs won’t be improvised, their structure and how they will be played will change. There’s nothing tying us down to play it exactly the same way each time. A lot of electronic bands are tied to a backing track or other electronic aspects, which stops you from moving around. We make an effort to recreate everything we can as live as we can.”
What seems to have persevered over the course of their ever-expanding career is the dark ambience of their sound, provoking comparisons with David Bowie and descriptions like, “prog dance meets cosmic film score.” It wouldn’t be a stretch to see Midnight Juggernauts scoring some intergalactic flick, or even producing the kind of album that can be played in sync with an eighties horror film (much the same way that Radiohead’s Ok Computer can be played while watching Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). “Film and the visual element is a big part of the band,” Daniel emphasises. “A lot of our references and ideas come from different soundtracks by guys like John Carpenter. A lot of the music we do focuses around a mood, and the music and the imagery supplement one another, adding to an overall effect.”
Midnight Juggernauts’ technique has opened a lot of windows of opportunity, Daniel explaining that, “We’ve been saying no to a lot of remixes. We get asked almost every single day but we’ve had to say no so we can get this album together. We’re totally going to get back into it though!” Amidst some pondering, Daniel does briefly mention that a remix for Health is in the works. They don’t seem to stop!
In fact, now that they’ve completed their second album (after their big international tour) Midnight Juggernauts are already about to tour their Mother country (Australia, not England).
Author: Peter Rosewarne