INTERVIEW

Aussie prog-dance meets cosmic film scores of the future

Aussie prog-dance meets cosmic film scores of the future

After a brief pause, synth pilot Vincent assures, “we take it a lot more seriously now,” much to the roared laughter of his two band-mates. The slim keys player has just been recounting the very first gig his band played, above a Chinese restaurant.

“When we first started we’d play all of our songs but were still writing them so they didn’t all have lyrics. So we ran downstairs and grabbed some menus and two of the songs were just made up from reading the menu list. It kinda worked. I don’t think people really noticed it.”

It was grinning drummer Daniel that prompted the telling of the tale, and as such it’s he who laughs the loudest, probably because it was before his time as a Midnight Juggernaut. But Vincent’s reassurance isn’t needed.

Having written and recorded an imminent debut album (‘Dystopia’ is released on May 19th via a big ‘ol EMI deal) that’s one part live dance music, one part cosmic prog and countless parts an atmospheric film score for an epic David Lynch space feature, this Australian trio are taking their music a lot more seriously these days.

But hang on! Dance music? Cosmic? Film score? This is an Australian band. Isn’t it their duty to play to the national stereotype that bands from Oz play straight rawk, toting the post AC/DC riffs of Jet, or, at best, The Vines?

“That whole pub rock thing was so big that everyone thinks we’re going to come in wearing singlets,” half jokes Daniel before Vincent interjects. “Even in Australia, when we started, it was really hard for us because all the lineups were these meat and potato rock bands and we’d get on a bill and people would say, ‘what the hell is that?’ as we’re doing some gay disco tune.”

These days, Midnight Juggernauts are put in the same basket as Cut Copy and The Presets, perhaps not coincidently since they supported Justice (a band they refer to as “real artists”) on their North American tour, sparking the French duo to name-drop the band in every given interview since. And, like Justice, the band’s music comes alive most when they move what they do from the studio and onto the live stage. Daniel pounds like the self-confessed Nirvana fan he is, while Vincent nonchalantly plays single notes and Andy throbs around, swapping guitar for bass, and back again, singing into a mic that has that Daft Punk robot effect on it.

“I understand [being compared to bands like Cut Copy],” admits Vincent “but we have all of these obscure 70s and 80s rock influences that we want to explore. So we do have one foot in that indie dance world but then we’re happy to go into that self-indulgent Pink Floyd thing also.”

Which is why the new, easy sell of ‘Midnight Juggernauts: The new Justice’, needs a pole up its back to stand. Neither straight pub rock, nor simply indie disco, this Oz Trio are something altogether more innovative. Who’d have thought it?

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Originally published in issue 1 (vol. 2) of Loud And Quiet. May 2008

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