Pendulum - DNB Swingers
Perth drum n bass heavyweights Pendulum have had a massive year since the release of their second album, In Silico – their first on a major – and while they may now call London home, it’s going to be one hell of a massive homecoming when the Pendulum experience hits the Big Day Out circuit in January.
It’s been Pendulum’s biggest year. They dropped In Silico, their first album for Warner, and toured everywhere. Still, Pendulum’s Gareth McGrillen feels that, despite the rapturous crowds, they might have performed better on their last Australian trek. As such, the band are “pumped” for Big Day Out, having “road-tested” their new material.
McGrillen is the first to admit that Pendulum are perfectionists – or “bloody pedantic”. If the group sounded drained in interviews earlier this year, it was because of In Silico.
“We’re a lot more energetic than we were before,” McGrillen says. “That album just took so much out of us, it was getting close to nervous breakdown territory. But it looks like it’s been worth it – I mean, the album’s already gone Gold in the UK and some other places. It’s been a wild ride!”
McGrillen formed Pendulum with co-producer Rob Swire and DJ Paul ‘El Hornet’ Harding in Perth back in 2002. They generated early underground interest with Vault. The outfit then blew up with 2005’s album Hold Your Colour. Along the way, Pendulum relocated to the UK (McGrillen has a faint English accent). There, they recruited additional members, evolving into a full band – a band capable of utterly transforming Coldplay’s Violet Hill. Gareth is the bassist.
Pendulum’s progression is evident on In Silico, which has spawned the monster hit Propane Nightmares. It’s less a jungle album and more Prodigy-style rocktronica.
McGrillen maintains that the band considered In Silico a risk, not a chart bid. “We got really quite confused and flustered after the first album – it was a bit of a musical identity crisis, because we were becoming so popular. We didn’t really know what our ‘sound’ was, ’cause we only just made music on a whim and specifically for us – it was just what we wanted to hear. So we thought, ‘Why not just keep doing that, no matter what-’”
Some drum n bass purists hate Pendulum, but perhaps their most vocal critic is the jungle pioneer Goldie. This could also account for why a few months ago an irritable Swire, now Pendulum’s frontman, disowned drum n bass in these very pages. Nevertheless, the more open-minded in the scene have praised them for reinvigorating the music.
McGrillen is tactful about Goldie, who’s obviously forgotten his own prog rock aspirations on Saturnz Return, and confirms that they’ve not spoken to him about his beef. “I don’t think he’d say it to our faces!” McGrillen observes. “He’s actually a really cool guy and he’s good fun to hang around with. His whole media persona seems to be one of trying to throw in as much controversy as he can, while remaining very opinionated and passionate about what he does, and so I guess that’s where he’s coming from. But some of his vibe is probably unfounded because, where it may seem that we’ve bastardised drum n bass, in a way, because we have turned away – and turned off – quite a lot of hardcore drum n bass fans, what we’ve done for the scene, and done for the profile of drum n bass itself, has been a good thing. We’ve brought a lot of listeners to it.”
WHAT: Play Big Day Out / Enmore Theatre
WHEN: Friday 23 January / Sunday 25