Australia may be better known for its sandy beaches than its electronic artists, but Perth boys, Pendulum, have been shaking up the scene both at home and abroad, writes Kate Rothwell.
Some call them drum n’ bass, some say electronica and others might simply label them as a rock band. Whatever category they fall under, Australian group Pendulum have mastered the art of the genre crossover and picked up a legion of fans along the way, something which was confirmed this summer by a well-received tour of Japan and a huge turnout to their set at the Reading Festival.
The band have just begun their ‘Tour of the Americas’ which will take them from Sau Paulo to New York in a bare month. The well-worn term of ‘breaking America’ is however, an idea that frontman Swire shies away from.
“I don’t really like to think of it that way. I think that’s a UK-centric fear. All the labels and managers, including ours, have this hang-up about ‘breaking America’. We’re not really worried about people getting in to it as me, Gareth and Paul (founders of Pendulum) were born and bred in Australia where the music culture is more tilted towards the American rather than the UK sound anyway.”
“I guess I’m a little wary of being labelled as mainstream since I think once you get that label people tend to disregard your music where otherwise they might have appreciated it”
The band have in recent times been favoured by British metal magazine Kerrang, which suggests a shift in their fanbase to a more mainstream audience. And while no band wants to shun publicity, this is something that Swire is cautious about. “I guess I’m a little wary of being labelled as mainstream since I think once you get that label people tend to disregard your music where otherwise they might have appreciated it. But so long as the music’s good and you don’t rest on your laurels and keep making different music, trying to change your sound and evolve then people will appreciate it.”
With musical genres being the commodity that they are, he has no time for fans lost purely because their style is changing. “If they were only in to the music because it was part of a genre in the first place then they weren’t real fans anyway.”
The ever-growing popularity and continuous merging of electro with other scenes is undeniable, and something that Swire welcomes. “I’m so bored of strictly rock or electronic stuff on the radio. It’s always exciting when genres merge and you come up with new sounds and new artists come along and do something different.”
One form of merging that Pendulum have dabbled in is remixing, their best known example being a reworking of the Prodigy’s ‘Voodoo People’. Their own material is more than enough to keep them occupied at the moment, but further high profile remixes could still be on the cards.
“We’re not really up for remixing anything that’s not a serious classic but anything from the dance or rock spheres that could be considered a classic tune we’d be up for doing”.
With six members playing as a live band, Pendulum don’t follow the typical ‘one man and his Mac’ type set-up that has come to be expected from an electro act. “If anything we want to be the ultimate antidote to that. Sitting there with a laptop and manipulating sounds and tweaking knobs, that’s not really playing live. That’s just an evolved way of DJ-ing”.
Anyone who wants an electro/drum n’ bass/rock/delete as appropriate gig with more to offer than a laptop and a lightshow can see Pendulum play the RDS on 25 November. Tickets: €33.60.