Hadouken are becoming increasingly well-known to clued-up musos thanks to their rave style hits. They have recently released their second album. They play their first Spanish gig in June and we swapped a few emails with James ahead of their Barcelona debut.
You formed in 2006, you're two albums into your career and are now touring the US. Tell me a bit about that journey, some highlights and some negatives. The highlights have been playing the legendary Astoria in London (now closed down), getting out to Japan and supporting the Prodigy, and doing what we love for a living. The low points are having to wait in lots of airport lounges, the jet lag and the hangovers.
You've said in previous interviews that your influences range from some hardcore bands to more dance-led bands like the Prodigy—how do you think these differing influences play out in your music? I think the dance music rubs off on our musical output but the rock side definitely has an effect on our live shows; we like them to be loud, chaotic and punky. The songs themselves have a rock format, but can be played just as well inside a nightclub.
Tell me about the obvious shift from dance to the more angsty, aggressive music that is on your second album—was that in any way a reaction to some of the critical comments about your grime influences? Not really, we just wanted to take the music into a darker, more serious territory for the 'difficult' second album and not cover the same ground as we did with the first album. I think that Noisia producing the album also had a sonic effect on the sound, as they provide heavier beats and a drum and bass influence.
Annie Nightingale and Zane Lowe have both had you on their shows, and you've been championed by Mike Skinner—is there anyone you've meet that has left you a little starstruck? It's been cool to party next to Lemmy from Motorhead in Japan and LA. The guys in The Prodigy are top blokes too, they are our idols, if we have any.
Tell me about how the Labour party song came about—why did you agree to do it? The Labour party song wasn't an official backing by us of the political party, more of an experiment. We were asked to do it by a news tv show in the UK called Newsnight. We really enjoyed the experience and got to be on serious news television which was a little bit strange.
You've covered Nu Rave, Emo-esque darker dance—where next for Hadouken? I think what is working live for us is trance influences, and house music beats, but we need to keep the fun elements that make us Hadouken and make sure it is always party music.
Working with Noisia was obviously a highlight for you as a band—who else would you like to work with? I'd love to work with Leftfield, The Chemical Brothers, Pendulum or even someone like the Lost Prophets.
You seem to attract a love/hate reaction to some of your music–how do you react to the negative comments? We don't.
How is Swagger Mouse—will he be in Barcelona? We would love to bring him out for the trip. If we are flying he probably won't be coming as they don't allow mice on the plane, and if they did, he would probably get kicked off for being drunk.
Is this the first time you've played in Spain? What are you looking forward to if so, and if not, what do you like about playing here? This will be the first time playing in Spain and I have to say we are really excited to get out there. It also helps that the food is good and the weather is hot, so bring it on!
Hadouken play Razzmatazz on June 5th.