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Pendulum - Finding new ways of doing things.

Author: Andrew Weaver
Thursday, May 8, 2008
The life of the members of Pendulum is a busy one - when they're not jetting about, they're playing shows. When they're not jetting about to play shows, they're recording drum 'n bass designed to get the crowd moving. And when they're not doing any of the above- Why, they're doing interviews to promote their good selves, of course! When do they sleep-

According to foundation member Rob Swire, being one of the most famous exports from Australia that the vast majority in Australia have never heard of before is going really rather well - the Perth group have thus far been able to maintain their anonymity despite having a gold record, playing with the likes of Jay Z, remixing the Prodigy, and having several top 20 singles in the UK charts.

Yet, he also fears remaining anonymous - since moving to London in 2003 from their native Perth, the five-piece have noticed a decline in the drum 'n bass scene in Australia. 'Obviously in England where we've established ourselves and done tours we seem to have jumped out of the potholes over there, but it hasn't happened here as much.'

Their new album, In Silico, is a very different beast to their debut Hold Your Colour. For starters, it was recorded as a band. 'I've always liked the idea of pulling apart the tracks and approaching it as a remix,' he says, 'just recording the album first and then remixing ourselves basically.'

It must be very different to go from remixing the likes of Muse or the Prodigy and remixing your own material - how do you separate yourself from yourself-

'That's why it took so long to put out a second album,' he says. 'We had to work in multiple studios - the drums got done in Olympic Studios in London, and everything else was recorded all over the place, and then we put it all together.'

When it comes to putting on their live show, Pendulum also undergo a massive re-jig from their studio set-up. In their house, it's all on PCs - but when it comes to performing live, they're suddenly running Macs. Nine of the buggers. Both he and Gareth 'Gaz' McGrillen grew up around computers, learning how to utilise them to best suit their needs.

Performing live has become something that has become the norm for Pendulum, and it's something that In Silico will continue to see the group do. They've also road-tested a lot of the material already, but Rob admits that the reaction to the new material hasn't been entirely what he expected.

'It seems to have left them [the punters at their gigs] unsure, a bit,' he wagers. 'The tracks that they've heard already are going down really well, and in some cases better than the old stuff.'

From the outset, in the wake of their first album, Pendulum always realised that the material from In Silico would be performed live on stage. It's not something they were necessarily expecting with their debut, but they were determined from the get-go that this knowledge wouldn't affect their creative process.

'We just did whatever in the studio and worried about piecing it together live later,' he says. 'We didn't even know we'd be putting together a band when we did the first album. Our PR agent really hounded us - 'it sounds like a band' - and a friend of our label boss, who's a drummer now, said the same, that we should try doing a band thing. Either they convinced us or we convinced ourselves - either way, we decided that if we could get the right technology then we'd put it together.'

With In Silico, maintaining the drum 'n bass feel with live instrumentation was easy - it was simply a case of forgetting that they were making drum 'n bass. 'We wanted to get as far away from drum 'n bass as we could without losing our sound,' Rob explains, 'and I guess that's how we did it.'

Pendulum's In Silico is ou