Ladytron opens up about life on the road, their new CD and communism
By Erin Keene
On June 11th, Ladytron played to a packed house at Studio A as part of their international tour for their new album Velocifero. OutLoud had the chance to interview Helen Marnie and Daniel Hunt before their performance.
If you see a homeless person washing a tour bus while a fleet of avant garde rock stars with black hair and impeccable style roll out of it on bicycles, you can safely say Ladytron is in town.
The group—Helen Marnie, Mira Aroyo, Daniel Hunt and Reuben Wu—often uses bikes to explore the cities where they play. Hunt says they have kept a stash of “crappy beer from Salt Lake City” on the tour bus, which apparently the bus driver has used as payment for the car wash.
It’s just part of life on the road, with which Ladytron is very familiar. Their current tour takes them from the U.S. to Italy to Australia and isn’t scheduled to end until April 2009.
“We tour more because it’s important, but ultimately, we do want to go home,” said Hunt, who plays guitar. Hunt affirms thatthe dates listed on the band’s Web site barely scratch the surface of how many shows they’ll be playing during the tour.
Singer Marnie at least hopes they will get a break for Christmas. “How depressing would that be, to wake up in a bunk bed? Mum? Dad?” she said, laughing.
Ladytron’s wide appeal has led to sold-out performances and venues across the country. They played at Studio A in June and will also play Bonaroo this summer.
Much of the audiences that line up to see Ladytron have become fans by taking the initiative to find out who they are and to get familiar with their music. While some of the Studio A crowd had read about the group in reviews, quite a few discovered them in a club or through a friend, and one owed his fandom to “pirated music.”
Still, Ladytron credits the Internet for much of their success, as it has allowed wider access to both music and music videos.
“When we did the ‘Seventeen’ video, we naively thought everyone who was going to know about us already knew,” Marnie said. That song came off of their second album Light & Music, and Ladytron has only grown more popular since.
In fact, they were so popular in Colombia that when they played to a crowd of thousands in Bogota the army tried to cancel the rest of their performance but had to wait because Colombian President Alvaro Uribe’s son was in the audience.
The crowd gathered outside Ladytron’s most recent Miami show was excited to hear the band’s newest album Velocifero, which includes the hit single “Ghosts” as well as two songs in Mira Aroyo’s native Bulgarian. Alessandro Cortini of Nine Inch Nails and Vicarious Bliss of Justice also contributed to the album.
Ladytron considers it a continuation of the music they have been making thus far, without a radical departure, and was humble about the many positive responses to the album.
Hunt and Marnie remember being nervous about the release of their second album, Light & Music, and getting lukewarm responses from friends who later loved it. They say they are less worried about the response to Velocifero and the way the album will define the group.
“If you’ve made the record, you must have thought it was good,” Hunt explained. “There’s going to be a section of your audience that sees what you do first as defining the band, and a section that thinks what you’ve done latest is what you’re about.”
In light of that, the pair said they usually have no idea what to expect before a live show. One thing not to expect is the song “Sugar,” which Marnie says is requested at nearly every show.
“I’ve never enjoyed playing it live,” she said.
Hunt explains that Ladytron has a “very instinctive, organic way of creating” and half-seriously considered putting together a bicycle-based concept album after the current tour.
Ladytron has no shortage of experiences to mine for creative material. “We went to China when it was just starting to become possible” to do so, Hunt said.
The band was invited by the British Council to perform, and Marxist friends said that the group was being brought in as Capitalist propaganda.
“I was like, I don’t know, is Ladytron going to destroy Communism?” Hunt joked.
Ladytron’s audiences are getting larger and more diverse than ever, and with Velocifero that just may be a possibility.