Simian Mobile Disco bio:
by Kenyon Hopkin, Rovi
Producers/remixers James Ford and James Shaw formed Simian Mobile Disco in 2005, following their departure from the experimental electronic rock band Simian. The two had originally formed Simian with singer Simon Lord and Alex MacNaughton in the late '90s. Not content with their roles in the band and wishing to indulge their longtime interest in electronic dance music, the two latched onto DJ gigs while touring with the band. Eventually, the duo split from Simian and dubbed themselves Simian Mobile Disco. Looking to prevent their own electronic dance tracks from sounding too polished and programmed, SMD exclusively used analog equipment. The result was Attack Decay Sustain Release, which appeared in June 2007 through the Wichita label. Meanwhile, Ford also devoted some time to several production gigs, which saw him helming music for the likes of Mystery Jets, Klaxons, and the Arctic Monkeys. Simian Mobile Disco toured sporadically throughout 2007 and began working on a new album the following year. A remix album, Sample and Hold, was released in 2008 to placate their audience. The proper sophomore album, Temporary Pleasure, appeared in 2009, featuring vocal collaborations from the likes of Super Furry Animals' Gruff Rhys, the Gossip's Beth Ditto, and Jamie Lidell. The following year, SMD put together the first volume in a series of mix albums for the New York club night Fixed, and at the end of the year, issued a very club-centric studio album, Delicacies.
Dave P & JDH (Fixed)
via Bond Music Group
Rumors of NYC nightlife’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. While the ever-pervasive rumors of “no dancing allowed” and draconian cabaret laws continue to reverberate around the world’s cities, the state of underground dance music in the big apple is indeed much stronger. This is thanks, in no small part, to the efforts of Dave Pianka and Josh Houtkin (DJing as Dave P and JDH, respectively). The two have been responsible for bringing over some of the most credible DJs and live bands and giving them a proper venue and environment in which to play. In addition, they have honed their DJ and production skills over the years, and are increasingly breaking new records and sounds with their back-to-back sets. Dave has also recently kicked into gear with production duties, contributing remixes of established acts like the Klaxons and Bloc Party.
The two first met through Josh’s affiliation with Flyer, a now-defunct cultural magazine. They were frequently booked separately to DJ at the same parties in NYC, often in the same rooms.
“We both came from very similar musical backgrounds growing up in the punk/hardcore scene,” says Dave. “We both basically progressed in the same direction from there, into indie rock and into the more electronic sounds where we find ourselves now.”
Says Josh, “Our influences come from a pretty wide variety of places. We both were heavily into the early-90's punk/ indie scene. Fugazi, Dischord Records, Bikini Kill, that sort of stuff.”
The two quickly teamed up, expanding their horizons into techno, electro and other permutations of dance music. In early 2004, they started a party called FIXED at the Tribeca Grand hotel, where they quickly established a forward-thinking booking policy that found heavyweight, Berlin-based techno jocks like Ewan Pearson playing one week, with on-the-rise indie acts such as Little Boots or Friendly Fires the next. To date, blue-chip artists like Erol Alkan, Soulwax, Booka Shade, Justice, Superpitcher, the Klaxons, Peaches, LCD Soundsystem, Mylo, Vitalic, Simian Mobile Disco, The Rapture, Tiefschwarz, M.A.N.D.Y., and many more have all made appearances. The party celebrated its 5-year anniversary in November 2009, with Basement Jaxx headlining the night.
In a city full of nights with style over substance, FIXED is now known as a party with an eclectic crowd of sincere music lovers, where all sorts of interesting styles and genres find a place to come together.
“Aside from our musical upbringing, we are both influenced by nights such as Optimo, Trash, and Bugged Out!, says Josh. “These are great parties that don't necessarily have a musical "policy" or "style." For us, every style of music is good and merits attention.”
In terms of their DJing, the two have forged a defined musical understanding over the years. They often play back-to-back, each pushing one and other to find the perfect record to follow another with. “There are times when Josh and I are djing and one of us will put on a record and we'll both reach for a track to play out of it and then realize that we both grabbed the same one,” says Dave. “We’re both very conscious of flow.”
Going forward, JDH and Dave P look forward to continuing helping interesting acts around the world establish a beachhead on US shores, as well as continuing to bring their act on the road. With recent DJ tours with Simian Mobile Disco and Soulwax, they’re finding wider acclaim on a global stage while keeping up the ravenous appetite for breaking new sounds.