Interview – Digitalism

Digitalism recently released their eagerly awaited second album I Love You Dude back in June of 2011 and headed out on their world tour of the same name. They are set to rock The Academy in Dublin Next Sunday night.

I caught up with member Jens before their gig in Dublin’s Academy next week.

Q. You played Dublin around this time last year too, are you excited to be back?

Absolutely, I think Dublin’s always been one of our best cities to be honest, because I don’t know why but Irish people always go completely crazy, we are really looking forward to playing next weekend, especially because it’s almost Halloween, and people will be dressing up and going mental. Maybe I will dress up as Isi and Isi can dress up as me!

Q. You guys recently released your second full album I love you dude did you find it difficult to make especially as the first album was so popular?

Well I think the second album is always difficult because you’ve never done a second album before so you don’t know how to make it, what we did was, just go back to how we started. That’s why we just DJed for the last year, so we could come up with ideas over the time we had. We had favourites that we came up with that we wanted to turn into full songs. We just didn’t think too much about it. We basically just didn’t want to make a second Idealism, we wanted to do something different, and we wanted to be happy with what left the studio. That’s the only 2 things we took into account. We came up with something that was the logical next step to take after Idealism. Its more song based, it’s shorter, there’s a lot more vocals on there because we really love doing that stuff. In the end what we came up with something we were happy with and that’s when we decided it was ready to go. We didn’t really care about reactions because we are always gonna lose some people and gain others, fan bases always changes. As long as you’re happy with what you’re doing that the most important thing, that’s how we approached it.

Q. How did you decide which songs were going to make it on to the album or not, did you preview them to fans during gigs or did you just decide between yourselves?

No we just decided between ourselves, like I said we had some favourites and we just stuck to them, it’s all gut decisions.

Q. Music has changed a bit since you last released an album, where you tempted to sample current styles such as Dubstep, or did you always plan to stick to your original sound?

We didn’t want to adjust to any trends or anything like that. I think if you do something that’s not a trend and you do something that recycles old sounds or something like that, then you are in a good position. Because then you are more timeless, if you made Dubstep stuff now and then it might not sound good in the future. Dubstep could be just a now phenomenon. We just wanted to make sure we wrote good songs, we wanted to mix Digitalism style with new styles but stay true to ourselves. We just don’t look at what else is out there. I think that’s the best way to be.

Q. You co-wrote the song ‘Forrest Gump’ with Julian Casablancas. What was it like having an outside collaborator?

It was a big honour because we didn’t think he would work with us, firstly because we didn’t think he would know who we were and secondly because he was so busy at that time. He had just finished his solo album and had a kid and was writing The Strokes new material. We sent him an instrumental demo, because we thought let’s give this a shot, he could be the right person for this one. He ran out of time but managed to end over short 30 second recording of him on a guitar, it was nice to hear back from him, but it wasn’t like he was involved in the song writing, it was more like he sent us something, and he didn’t know what was going to happen with it. But it was good to have him on board.

Q. Are there any other collaborations you would like to do in the future?

We don’t know, usually we send out lots of demos to lots of friends and other bands. But last time we didn’t use any of them, we learned it has to be us first and foremost. If it’s not what we would do then we won’t use it. We have one other collaboration on the new album called Just Gazin. But for the future we don’t know what we will do, collaborations are kind of a new thing for us. Time will tell.

Q. You’ve worked on a lot of remixes, do you get to choose which songs you want to work on or are the songs sent to you?

Sometimes we approach artists or bands because we really like them or the song, and sometimes artists approach us to do a remix but we only really do them for bands that we like. Sometimes its friends of ours, or sometimes it’s what we think is gonna be the next huge thing, or sometimes it’s a song that we think could be re worked or could sound good remixed. It always depends. We haven’t really done any remixes in the last 2 years but now that the album is finished we are gonna do some, we didn’t want to do remixes while we were concentrating on our own stuff, we wanted to focus on that, but now that it’s done its done we will. We have some stuff coming up but I can’t really say what it is, it’s a secret for now. We just go with the flow so if something comes up that we like we will give it a tweak, but for now you will have to wait and see.

Q. Your songs are quite varied, how do you decide which ones will have lyrics and which wont?

It’s something new for us, we closed the first album writing pogo, and we really got into that vibe. We wanted to do some more of that on the second album. We usually come up with the music first, and after that it’s just gut decisions. Sometimes the idea, the loop, or the song, or the sound just sounds complete, but sometimes we just think ‘oh this is so nice’ but it could use a bit of something on top like some lyrics or a vocal melody or something, some ideas just scream, for them some are just left alone.

Q. Do work on the songs evenly or what way do you approach a new song?

Well we just jam in studio firstly, we tend to work on things evenly. We are kind of like a camera man and director. I come up with ideas and we discuss together what we are going to do with it. We’ve had brain storming sessions in the studio and this time we wrote all the lyrics together. We are not classical song writers, it’s new to us. It’s something we’ve had to work on.

Q. You’ve inspired a lot of artists over the last few years, what artists have inspired you recently?

I don’t know I think that for the second album there were a few influences. This summer we were blasted away by Arcade Fire, we seen them play a few shows and they were amazing, they give you goose bumps when you see them play live. Around the album process though we tried not to listen to too much so we didn’t become biased, we try to listen to stuff from the past such as Simple Minds, and 80s soundtracks, and all crazy stuff with synth, just a lot of influences from the past. There’s a lot of stuff we like, we just tend to mix the influences together.

Q. Have you any upcoming projects or do you just plan to tour for the next while?

We are touring up until Christmas, and we are working in the studio at the moment, we are gonna work on a lot of remixes too but it’s all under wraps at the moment. We are just gonna enjoy touring and then hopefully just work on the new remixes we have in the pipeline.

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