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Pendulum - The Way It Swings

Author: Cyclone
Sunday, 11 May 2008
It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock n roll – especially if you’re from Perth. But, with Kosheen faltering early, Pendulum could be the first drum n bass supergroup since Reprazent – that is, if they don’t become the new Prodigy.

Pendulum are following 2005’s breakout LP Hold Your Colour with In Silico. Like its predecessor, In Silico travels through rock, drum n bass and electronica. It’s ferocious video game music.

These days the group are backed by a major, Warner, and that’s taking some adjusting to. Pendulum’s frontman Rob Swire, who formed the group circa 2002 with co-producer Gareth McGrillen and DJ Paul ‘El Hornet’ Harding, isn’t exactly ecstatic to be conducting interviews the day of a sold-out gig. Still, pithy responses aside, he stops short of being stroppy. Swire claims to be oblivious to Pendulum’s global status.

“We still don’t know the state of things,” he drawls. “We just hide in the studio and play our live shows and that’s it. We don’t pay much attention to what else is going on.”

Since Hold Your Colour Pendulum have memorably remixed The Prodigy’s Voodoo People and morphed into a full band. The influence of both can be heard on In Silico.

“Hold Your Colour obviously wasn’t coming from a band perspective,” Swire says. “We didn’t have any idea that we were gonna do anything of this sort [performing live as opposed to DJing]. I guess the difference with this album is that we went into writing it knowing that it was eventually gonna be presented live on stage.

“The whole album was put together with that in mind.”

In 2008 Pendulum’s original members reside in the UK and are, as such, close to the epicentre of drum n bass. However, in what will astonish the British jungle DJs embracing them, Swire maintains that Pendulum, described as a “crossover dance band” in recent press releases, have little affiliation to the scene. They detached themselves while recording In Silico.

“We stopped listening to drum n bass a lot more than we were and tried to listen to anything else that we could get our hands on and draw influence from that instead,” Swire says.

This proclamation won’t impress Pendulum’s detractors in jungle’s underground – or purist – ranks. Swire, an old heavy metal freak, is unrepentant. He feels that drum n bass resists experimentation – including the use of guitars. “We basically just felt it was time to move on,” he says.

Swire’s ambivalence is ironic because Pendulum are invariably identified as part of a drum n bass resurgence. “We heard that a couple of times but, when we were getting into the music, we didn’t really know the state of things within the scene – like what had happened before and where it was going,” he says. “In retrospect, I think we caught it on its last legs. It seems to be going down a bit all over the world.”

If Australian music is generating unprecedented interest internationally, no one has informed Swire. (“Is there- It’s news to me.”) He’s apparently unfamiliar, too, with other ‘buzzworthy’ acts like The Presets, Cut Copy and Midnight Juggernauts. (“I’ve never heard of them... ever.”) Swire knows Van She, but only because they’ve remixed Pendulum’s Propane Nightmares.

In the same way that they’ve outgrown drum n bass, Pendulum, now with an expanded line-up comprising Brits, are no longer strictly an Aussie band, as Swire states:

“We don’t really wanna be recognised for coming from a place rather than just making music.”

WHO: Pendulum
WHAT: In Silico through Warner
WHEN: Out now