The Chemical Brothers
The Chemical Brothers will soon be back with a whole load more of those block rockin' beats, as we approach the
release of their new album. As one of our most loyal clients of all time ever, we just had to try and get a few sneaky
comments out of them on the new album. This is how we got on when we sent Tom Rowlands a few Q's so that he could
give us a few A's.
MILC: Firstly, how the devil are you?
Tom: Good, hopefully nearing the end of making Chemical VI
MILC: So you've been kept pretty busy in the studio for a while. Anything else you've been up to we should know about?
TR: No its all about the music, music, music.........!
MILC: The sessions for the new album are in sight of the finishing line. How have they been overall? No catastrophes we hope...
TR: Yeah its been going great. We've found some new sounds, some new feels and been working with some interesting
people. Life is good
MILC: Stylistically, should we expect any dramatic changes to 'Push the Button'?
TR: Well we always hope to move it on somewhere - it still sounds like the chemical brothers but fresh for the 07
MILC: You always have great collaborators on your records and we hear there are some tremendous guest vocalists
who've been brought in to appear on the new album. Can you let us know a bit about who's been in to sing?
TR: All will be revealed in time.
MILC: Your relationship with Miloco goes back a long way. The Toyshop played a vital part in launching the Chemical
Brothers did it not?
TR: Yeah we first did a remix in The Toyshop in, I think '93 when it was still downstairs. We really liked the selection
of synths and the general vibe and we went on to record lots of remixes there and then went on to make and mix our first
album there as well.
We then got our own writing room in the building (in what is now The Toyshop) and spent 8 or so happy years writing and
recording exclusively at 36 Leroy Street. It was great to be able to work on things in our own room and then just pop
downstairs to the Neve Room to finish them off.
MILC: What was it about The original Toyshop which you both took to so much?
TR: I can't pretend it was a great place to hang out, but the thing we liked the most was the sound of the records we were
making in there. We made lots of music in there and have fond memories of the long nights. One session with Bernard
Sumner and Bobby Gillespie sticks in the mind!!
MILC: Although most of your time is now spent in The Neve, you have in fact re-visited The Toyshop recently, for the
first time in years. What were you doing back upstairs at Leroy Street?
TR: Top secret, all will be revealed...
MILC: You have obviously spent a lot of time mixing in The Neve Room. Is there a set winning formula to your mixing
process, or do you adapt the pattern accordingly each time?
TR: We generally go into the Neve with most of the songs written but often as things develop we change/write/improve as we go
using our experience of the room to guide our decisions.
For us, the thing which separates the Neve room from the other studios we have worked in all around the world, is the
monitoring. I find a lot of mix rooms just don't give you the same vibe. Here you can stand at the desk and feel the music
right on the end of your nose, with lots of main monitors in big studios there seems to be a distance introduced when you
switch to them. In the Neve the transition from the ns10s to the mains is seamless.
We know that mixes that sound good here will sound great in clubs, on radio, at home, in the car, anywhere. That is a
tricky thing to achieve but is possible here.... sometimes!
MILC: One of Miloco's regular producers/engineers, the wonderful Steve Dub, has been pretty much engineering your
work since the beginning. How much of a contribution has Steve had in the Chemical Brothers success story?
TR: We have a long and happy creative relationship. Steve's input on the records is really important especially at the mix
stage. He's also a great cook with a mean jerk chicken recipe. Didn't one of your other clients want to employ him as a
chef on their sessions? A truly multi talented man
MILC: So how's life in your new Brighton studio treating you?
TR: Yeah it's good - the sea air is invigorating
MILC: Have there been any key pieces of equipment used in recording this time round? Any new sounds, or should we
expect some trademark Chemicals stuff?
TR: Steve and I have been collecting modular synth gear for a while now and lots of it is on the record. My Roland
System 700 is playing a starring role. There are bits of gear that really help make our sound; they would be an EMS
VCS3 an AMS delay and an Eventide harmoniser - oooh im in heaven!
MILC: Any UK festivals this year?
TR: Glastonbury and others.
MILC: You've performed some terrific sets at both festivals and standard gigs, but is there any one which stands
out in the memory as being particularly special and why?
TR: I suppose headlining Glastonbury in 2000 was a dream come true.
MILC: Can we expect 'Rock Drill' (a track the Chems wrote for the Tate Modern's innovative 'Tate Tracks' project)
to feature on the new album in any form?
TR: No maybe a b-side at some point but not decided yet.
MILC: There is also talk of the next release of your experimental white label series, 'Electronic Battle Weapon',
in the summer. Is this true?
TR: We put one out before Xmas an it seems to be going down really well. There will be more
MILC: Finally, congratulations on the new baby!! How does it feel to become a father for the third time?
Chemical Brothers' Tom Rowlands was speaking to MILC in February 2007.