Interview with Rob from Pendulum
Founded in 2002, Pendulum have revolutionised the Drum n' Bass scene. Incorporating different styles such as electro, dubstep and heavy metal; Pendulum have taken the world by storm with their two previous LPs. We talk with Rob Swire, frontman of Pendulum, about their recent success, and conversely, the past mistakes they have made on their journey to success.
CM: Hey Rob, how you doing?
P: Yeh I'm good thanks
CM: You had your first number one album with 'Immersion' this year. How was that for you?
P: It was good, it went to number one. No, we don't really think chart positions are all that important to us. They're important to our manager and to the record company obviously but personally it was nice that we were much more settled about the album itself.
CM: You played your landmark gig at Wembley in May. I bet that was a huge achievement for you guys
P: Yeh, the Wembley Show was great; the first time 10,000 people were packed together in a venue like that and we hadn't really seen that outside a festival before so it was great. I think after the festival circuit, we are quite used to playing that size of the crowd but it was the first time we were playing in an arena with strictly Pendulum fans, rather than in a festival, when you get all sorts.
CM: You're touring the UK next month. It's your first big arena tour. What can we expect to be different in your shows?
P: Well it's only been 3 or 4 months since our last tour so it's been a bit of a stretch to think of things quickly to come up with. Playing in an arena is a different experience. We've put some new tracks in and we've had to redesign the entire set; the stage will look completely different- we have some new lighting and new video content. I think we're just going to do what we do best.
CM: What's the craziest crowd you have played to?
P: Probably a couple of shows we did in Birmingham once where they actually got rowdy to the point of throwing drinks everywhere; not out of disrespect but just out of rowdiness. It ruined half of our equipment at the same time [laughs].
CM: What country do you get the best reaction?
P: The UK definitely. Scotland is always very good for us; I don't think you can beat the reaction there. People who haven't seen it probably wouldn't know what I'm on about but it's that sort of getting into the music almost to the lack of any sense of self-preservation, which I think is healthy.
CM: In recent times, there has been a large increase in the drum n bass fanbase. Why do you think this is?
P: I think students are always, at that stage of time, looking for the next thing to grab a hold of and make a riot of. So other people from different age groups are outside that immediate world don't have it and can't get into it. So I think that's a part of it and it's good that University crowds have adopted it; it's made it a lot more healthy than it was.
CM: In terms of musical artists, what are your influences?
P: A lot of stuff. Hardcore and metal groups such as Cancer Bats or Devin Townsend . Electronically, everything from Deadmau5 to early drum n bass such as Conflict. I'd love to work with Marvin from The Shadows or Greg Ginn from Black Flag; just obscure people that would bring something different I guess.
CM: What was your favourite record from 2010?
P: Probably the Skrillex 'The Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites' LP. It was just a completely different take on dubstep and electro. I think they were two genres that were starting to feed on themselves a little bit so he completely put a different take on it.
CM: What's been the highlight of your musical career so far?
P: I don't think there is one; there have been various types. One of the big ones this year was playing Reading Festival - the reaction and atmosphere in that tent was pretty mad.
CM: What's your favourite festival to play?
P: It's a hard one but I'd have to say Download or Reading. Especially with Download, I think it's the bands that are on the line up. Download is a festival where 3/4 of the bands playing are those that I have had on my ipod for ten years. So it's good to hang about there.
CM: Have you ever thought that you made a big musical mistake?
P: Yes, the second album; the whole thing could've been a mistake and I guess we're very lucky that we managed to keep our heads together and pull together something. I don't know if it was second album syndrome or what it was; we were tormenting ourselves that it was a follow-up to a record that everyone had said changed drum n' bass. We had to follow that up and it was also our first release on a major label - the whole thing was a learning experience. I think to be successful in your first endeavour at anything is always a mixed blessing and you can see that repeating itself the world over. With us, it was a bubbling underground success and when you see bands like MGMT and the way their second album sounded, it's always a mixed bag when your first effort gets that big.
CM: You said last month that a new record is in the works, how is that going for you?
P: It's going well - it's nothing serious yet, we're just playing around and it's not that much pressure.
CM: You also said you are going for a new direction in punk music. Why the change and how far of a divergence will it be from your drum n' bass staple?
P: Well I don't think we know the answers to those yet. We still have to get the general sound of the album down. I'm up for taking things to a different direction but not to the point where we alienate or upset our old fanbase as much as we did with the Hold Your Colour and In Silico transition. We're not going to worry however about what specific genres we're going to be blending to be honest.
CM: What's 2011 got in store for you guys?
P: We're touring at the beginning of the year with Linkin Park in the States. It'll be the third time we've supported another band that's been that much bigger than us. It's going to be odd and strange but necessary to do in the States. I'm quite apprehensive working with Linkin Park because it's something we have not done before. But I'm sure it's going to end up great and it's going to be fun working with them. Beyond that, we've got festival tours, Australia, festivals here and writing music in between everything.
CM: I bet it's nice to go back home to play for your fans there?
P: Yeh it is, especially now that we have taken off in the past year so it's nice to go back home and actually play there.
Thanks a lot for your time Rob.