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Macht kaputt, was euch kaputt macht. Destroy what destroys you. With that song Ton Steine Scherben, one of the most influential German rock bands of the Seventies, once expressed the feelings of an angry, loud and politicized youth. About 30 years later, at the turn of the Millennium, when Ladytron began their career, not only the world had changed, but also the music. Ladytron's comparatively smooth-sounding electronic pop is certainly not a call to revolt, though the name of one of their best-known songs, Destroy Everything You Touch, could definitely be interpreted that way. Nevertheless, Ladytron are consistent in everything they do. After they released Gravity The Seducer in 2011, things went quiet around Ladytron. Seven and a half years have passed since then. Whoever thought their career was over, was on the wrong track: Ladytron are back again. Fire seems to be one of the leitmotifs of their brand new album. In terms of external communications, however, the quartet from Liverpool does not rely on hustle and bustle, but on British understatement – and on one single word: Ladytron. That's the name of their latest release and also kind of a new beginning. VOLT magazine talked to singer Helen Marnie about Ladytron's sixth studio album.

Your last record Gravity The Seducer was released more than seven years ago. What were the reasons for your long break?
It wasn’t intentional. We’d intended just a year or two to refresh and reset, but time has a habit of flying fast and it became five years before we got together to work on new Ladytron material.

What happened in the meantime?
Up until 2016 I was solely focused on my solo career as Marnie. It was important to me to do that work justice, and so I didn’t want to confuse things by working on Ladytron at the same time.

When was it about time to start working on a new Ladytron album?
By the end of 2016 I had begun writing for Ladytron.

How did you know that the time has come?
I suppose the stars aligned. We all made time, and we all had material that we wanted to contribute and pass around for collaboration. So it was quite an exciting time for us, having been apart for quite some time.

Are there some live gigs coming up in Europe?
We play Mexico and a couple of US dates at the end of February, and then we’re hoping there’ll be some European dates from April onwards. It’ll be good to get up onstage and play the new songs. That’s the best part.

What was it like for you to record a new album for Ladytron after such a long time?
It was quite refreshing actually, and pretty exciting to get in a room together and hear everything coming together. It felt like Ladytron of old, but also had a new, raw edge to it.


What was different this time compared to previous recording processes?
Our recording process didn’t change. The early stages start with individuals coming up with a track, and then passing files for collaboration. We are all dotted around the globe, different hemispheres, so that made things a little more tricky. We had to plan really well to get us all in the same place at the same time.

Did you compose the new songs face to face this time?
No. That’s not something we’ve ever really done. We don’t operate like that. For me songwriting is a very personal process, so I can’t really imagine doing that with someone else face to face.

Your new record was one of the most awaited albums of this year. Did this put you under pressure?
Not really. We finalised all the songs around eight months ago, not really knowing if there would be much anticipation or how the album would be received. We always write for ourselves, not to appease others. I’m super happy there’s excitement about the record, but for us there’s nothing else we can do now. It’s out there in the abyss. Hopefully people will fall in love with it.

Why is it self-titled? This usually is a thing which artists tend to do with their first album.
We just thought it made sense. After having such a long hiatus it felt right to be eponymous. Like here we are. We’re back!
 
This time, you created a more catchy, even more danceable sound, yet you’re maintaining your unique feathery and ethereal style. Is that a natural evolution, the next step so to say?
On my part it was intentional. I wanted to weave rhythms together to create a danceability. It’s just another element to our sound on this record.

Are you planning another remix album as released back then for Gravity The Seducer?
Who knows, there could be a remix release further down the line. It’s always interesting to hear different takes on songs.

The new album features Igor Cavalera of Soulwax/Sepultura on drums. How did this come about?
Daniel (Hunt) and Igor are good friends having met in Brazil, so he asked him to come into the recording studio and lay down some drums. I’d say Igor really helped create a dance vibe by adding some great rhythms to the songs. The tracks he worked on took on a new life in the studio. They popped.


Jim Abbiss, with whom you worked together successfully already, was involved again this time. What was his role exactly?
Jim was acting as an executive producer this time around.


What was the cooperation between the band and him like?
He couldn’t be with us the whole time, but when he was it was quite an inspiration. He has this ability to just fiddle in the background with some analogue gear, and then he’ll suddenly say ‘let’s try this on the track’, and it was usually an epic idea that totally transformed sections.



The Island seems to step out of line of your musical style somehow; it reminds of acts such as Phantogram, considering the saturated sound of the synths, the 80s-like dreamy soundscapes, or even of dream pop-acts such as The Chain Gang Of 1974. Please tell us a bit about that song.
I think that perceived 80s sound comes from the Roland Juno-106 which features quite heavily across the song. That synth has the ability to create a lot of warmth, as well as more stark sounds. It’s a song that warrants both, because it is quite bleak on the surface of it all, but there is an inherent sense of hope, too.

You do seem to have an affair with fire somehow. Considering the phoenix-like polaroids of the partly burning woman in the Gravity The Seducer-artwork and also taking into account the cover of the new album, the lyrics of Until The Fire and Paper Highways, for example. What is this fascination about which follows through your work like a leitmotif?
I once saved my family from a house fire. Whilst on tour we’ve been in hotels that have caught fire. And a venue in Edinburgh burned down the night after we played. So, yes, fire does seem to follow us around. That aside, the beauty of the artwork is that the couple is not shying away from the fire, but leading each other into it  ready to face whatever they come across.

In this context: the cover looks like a scene from a 90s Lynchean movie or like a scene from a modern horror-series such as Stranger Things.
Reuben (Wu) designed the artwork. He’s a brilliant photographer, and so it was natural for him to produce the cover for us. We’re all Lynch fans, and we wanted something that was very dark and sinister.



www.ladytron.com
Foto: Maria Louceiro

Interview: Catrin Nordwig, Kai Reinbold
Text: Kai Reinbold

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M'era Luna Festival - 
Der Besuch eines M’era Luna Festivals birgt immer gewisse Gefahren: Es kann zu unerwünschten Begegnungen mit ungeliebten Personen kommen, die Ohren können mit Musik konfrontiert werden, die weder berührt noch verführt, und wenn es ganz schlimm kommt, verbringt der eine oder andere das komplette Wochenende – alkoholbedingt auf dem Zeltplatz, obwohl er 120 Euro Eintritt gezahlt hat.

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