When it comes to Liverpool’s place in the musical output of British cities, not much immediately springs to mind aside from The Beatles, Cilla Black and Atomic Kitten. But one of electro’s most innovative groups, Ladytron, hails from the banks of the Mersey, and over a ten-year period they’ve managed to not only stick together – no mean feat – but also produce consistently brilliant music. To celebrate and reflect on their past decade they’re releasing an extensive compilation album, Ladytron 00 – 10, featuring new single ’Ace of Hz’, before steaming ahead with their new studio album, Gravity the Seducer, to be released later this year. So So Gay decided to have a chat with the band’s Reuben Wu to find out what makes them tick.
SSG: How was Ladytron first born, and did you anticipate the longevity that you’ve managed so far?
Reuben Wu: We first started up in Liverpool back in 1999. We definitely never thought that we’d still be making music 11 years on.
You’ve been together for 10 years, a damned long time in the music industry. How would you say you’ve evolved as a band?
We’ve evolved a lot. We started out as a fun music project between friends: we never even aimed to go touring. The evolution basically started when we were getting so many requests to play live that we really needed to rethink how to make it work. We’ve now got to a point where the live performance is just as important as the music we make in the studio and even determines how we write the music itself. I think it’s good that we’ve managed to retain the aspects of the band that we have, so the evolution kind of makes sense.
What prompted you to release Ladytron 00 – 10? This seems to be a bit more than a cheap label cash-in.
It’s definitely not a cheap cash-in! It was the ten-year mark and having four albums under our belt which prompted us.
Is the deluxe, two-disc edition definitely only going to be released in the United States?
Nope, it’ll be released everywhere.
Is new single on the Greatest Hits, ‘Ace of Hz’, a taste of things to come, or are you plotting a different musical direction in the future?
‘Ace Of Hz’ is actually a song which was written a few years ago. The forthcoming studio album has a lot to offer in terms of a new sound.
All of you seem to keep a relatively quiet profile when the band isn’t active, rather than courting the media. What do you get up to?
We’re always active in some ways. Writing with songwriters and other artists and DJing frequently is something we all get up to. I also work as a photographer and travel as much as I can.
During the course of your career you’ve supported the likes of Bjork, The Nine Inch Nails and Goldfrapp. Who would you say was your favourite to tour with?
I think I’ll definitely remember our tour with NIN as it was a UK and European tour. We just happened to play with Bjork and Goldfrapp on the same stage.
You worked with Christina Aguilera for her most recent album, Bionic. How did that end up happening?
Christina got in touch with us a few years ago and asked us if we were interested in working together. It was one of those things that was put on the back burner for months and months until one day we got an email inviting us to pay her a visit in her studio and to bring any songs we’d written with us.
How many tracks did you record and how would you describe them?
We worked on three tracks, two of which ended up getting released; ‘Birds of Prey’ and ‘Little Dreamer’. ‘Birds of Prey’ is a slow-burning dark anthem whereas ‘Little Dreamer’ is a delicate and uplifting lullaby.
Do you have any upcoming live performances planned?
Yes, we’ll be playing shows in support of our upcoming new studio album.
If there was an epic bitchfight to the death, who would win: Ladytron, Lady GaGa, Lady Miss Kier, Ladyhawke and Lady Antebellum?
Well, there’s four of us, and one of us can throw a mean headbutt, so we’d definitely survive on top!
The Best Of Ladytron 00-10 is released on 29 March, as is the single ‘Ace of Hz’. Upcoming new album Gravity the Seducer is planned for release in July. For further information, including upcoming tour dates visit www.ladytron.com