TF Archives

Q&A - LCD Soundsystem

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Chatting down the line from an undisclosed location in New York, LCD Soundsystem main-man James Murphy is the first to admit that, in the mid-'90s he was both an under-achiever and proud.

"I hit 26 and realised that I'd envisioned a lot for myself by that point and I actually had nothing," he continues, "It was a wake-up call that this isn't a test run, that one day I'm gonna be dead and that's it.

"I needed to get my shit together. Though it took me a good five years from that moment to get my shit together."

Nowadays a happy over-achiever ('I'm aware that I'm achieving a lot more than could be reasonably expected', he says) he's on interview duty to promote his latest side project, a mix compilation for Fabric, which he's co-produced with LCD sideman Pat Mahoney (Fabriclive.36).Combining old school classics from the likes of Chic and Donald Byrd with newer cuts (including their own Hippe Priest Burnout), it's a typically eclectic selection reflecting their equally improvisational technique.

"We just sat down with our record bags in the hotel room in London and started pulling records out and making two stacks of records we'd choose," says James,

"We came up with a list of songs we'd choose then it was just a matter of getting them cleared.

Skrufff: How did you both do the actual mix itself-
LCD Soundsystem: "We did a couple of takes on the mix to see what worked and what didn't and tried to do one that was short enough to fit onto one CD. In practical terms we then recorded every four or five songs in blocks just so we wouldn't have to start all over if something was done wrong. That way we managed to keep it fun. DJing to me is about a roomful of people and what you're doing for them and DJing into a computer just isn't for me- I find it a little difficult to know what to play. It's too arbitrary, for me the fun is seeing what I can get away with."

Are you still attached to vinyl-
"Yes. This mix was done almost totally on vinyl apart from just a couple of CDRs."

Why do you prefer vinyl-
"Because it sounds better."

You talked about your passion for Ultimate Fighting in a Village Voice interview in March, are you still doing it-
"I'm trying, I'm supposed to come home and train with a five times world champion but I recently destroyed my knee at a festival in Leeds so I'm pretty much out of commission at the moment. Just before we played at the festival I fell on this metal grate backstage and tore my knee open."

The British Medical Association called for Ultimate Fighting to be banned last week . . .
"Are you serious-"

They said 'ultimate fighting has been described as "human cock fighting" (James: 'yeah'), specifically "this kind of competition doesn't constitute a sport, no amount of money can compensate for permanent brain damage and premature death"' . . .
"That's ridiculous: Totally ridiculous. Boxing is still allowed and that's where you get permanent brain damage. The permanent damage that lots of other sports cause is so much worse than ultimate fighting, so much worse."

Have you been hurt in any fights-
"I've hurt my shoulder, but not as badly as when I used to play American football. In fact, my father had permanent knee damage for the rest of his life from playing a sport that no-one ever argues is too dangerous. American football players don't walk right after a certain age; and professional boxers like Mohammad Ali, develop Parkinsons. The gloves they use weigh 16 ounces. Ultimate Fighting is one of those things that if people look at it and hate it they'll say 'this is two people trying to kill each other' what medical bullshit can I say to make it stop'. It's a knee-jerk cultural reaction."

Is it an incredible buzz, having the actual fights-
"I just train, I haven't taken a proper fight, I mostly train ground fighting, jujitsu. I think it's great competition. Even the