Life after bands: an idea with the most negative of implications. But there is indeed much vibrant life, brimming with heart and soul, left for James Ford and Jas Shaw, collectively known as Simian Mobile Disco. The name for their production/DJing outfit sings ballads about their musical history, from the very first word - Simian, a psychedelic indie band that had its moment of taking over the world in the early noughties, with Jas on guitar and James keeping time on drums. Simian celebrated two critically acclaimed albums, globe-encompassing tours, working with Brian Eno (on their second album, "We Are Your Friends," in '02), even songs being featured in international adverts (most notably in a Peugeot 1007 advertisement) but, like all good things, an end was inescapable.
Life before the band: Jas and James share a similar upbringing, despite being raised in different parts of the country. In a small town outside of London, Jas grew up in a house that played "pretty straight stuff" - Elvis, The Beatles, David Bowie - so he'd often find himself on a train heading into the city, on a quest for new sounds. Continually adding to his ever-growing collection, on his London record shop adventures, Jas would get beautifully lost in a world of rock ballads, The Cure and Pantera. It was only a matter of time before he picked up a guitar and, likewise, a pair of turntables. Meanwhile, up north, the Stoke-On-Trent native James was wrapped up in piano lessons and began kick-starting bands at the ripe age of 11. Playing bass and singing, and spanning everything from rock to jazz to pop ("I remember covering -The Boys Are Back In Town!"), even from an early age James was en-route to becoming the producing/performing innovator that he's developed into today (he's an award-winning producer outside of SMD, working with the likes of the Klaxons, Arctic Monkeys, Mystery Jets and The Last Shadow Puppets). The two musically kindred souls gravitated towards each other at Manchester University when they both decided to start a band and, with Simon William Lord and Alex MacNaghten, created the force that would eventually become Simian.
"We dug through a lot of stuff that's not very current. With a lot of mix CDs, you do them and you know it's just going to go out and do its thing, but we always think a fabric mix is something that sticks around a lot longer. We weren't aiming to make it the most current mix of tunes; of course there will be a few new things but a lot of it is us digging back into our record collections, just the stuff that people may have forgotten about, or that went overlooked." Simian Mobile Disco
Simian Mobile Disco keep all listeners keenly on their toes and, taking a step away from any misguided preconceptions, showcases an exemplary DJ set on FABRICLIVE 41: an arresting, expansive mix that shuffles with 4/4 rarities and gems. At times tough, other times spacey, and riveting throughout, the iridescent collection is an exploratory trip onto a dancefloor commanded by the improvisatory musicians. SMD strips back and lets loose with the thump of Smith N Hack, the disco shine of Metro Area and the proggy sounds of Sisters of Transistors.