World Café: Words and Music of World Café: NPR

World Café: Words and Music of World Café: NPR

Chemical brothers

Hamish Brown / Courtesy of the artist


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Hamish Brown / Courtesy of the artist


Chemical brothers

Hamish Brown / Courtesy of the artist

  • “Jump like a stone”
  • “without reason”
  • “Good-bye”
  • “The Dark You Fear (Harvest Mix)”
  • “Song to the Siren”
  • “Where do I start?”


For over 30 years, The Chemical Brothers have been pushing the boundaries of dance music with their fusion of breakbeat, hip-hop, psychedelia and rock. Their music has flooded dancefloors everywhere with equal parts euphoria and solace So nice feelingTheir tenth album, is no exception.

Duo Tom Rowlands and Ed Simmons wanted to capture a specific feeling in their latest recording.

“For us, one of those feelings that is hard to get is joy,” Rowlands said. World Café In a one-on-one interview on Zoom. “That’s a hard emotion to hit.”

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In this session, Rowlands talks about how The Chemical Brothers are always experimenting with sounds to capture all those beautiful emotions. In addition, he talks about the group’s new retrospective book, He paused in the cosmic reflectionwhich takes a look at the duo’s long friendship and creative partnership.

You can read some highlights of the conversation below, or listen to the entire session in the audio player above.

Highlights of the interview

When you start working on a new album

“Our place where we start recording an album is always the same attitude of wanting to have something inside you, outside you. Making music is something I love to do every day.

“I always love coming to the studio – it feels like a place where you can play, have fun, make magic and make something happen. I know it’s a cliche to say, but I still see the studio as this place ‘where you can go in with nothing and come out transformed. I think that transformative thing about music – making music and listening to it, how it moves you and what it does to you – is why we keep coming back to it.”

In capturing “joy”

“This record went through different stages… I think there was a real drive to do something really live. A lot of music, especially dance and electronic music, hides itself… I don’t know what the word is, like, it’s a lot easier to be quiet and not… (Directly.) And for us, one of those feelings that is hard to get is joy.

“This is a difficult emotion to overcome. Like the depth of sadness is a faster emotion, or there are more connotations that great musicians accept. Whereas joy is harder to achieve without it being too sentimental or too intoxicating.”

“We wanted it to feel light. I don’t want people to see the work in it. I want it to feel like it just fell.”

Ed Simmons (left) and Tom Rowlands of The Chemical Brothers

Hamish Brown / Courtesy of the artist


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Hamish Brown / Courtesy of the artist


Ed Simmons (left) and Tom Rowlands of The Chemical Brothers

Hamish Brown / Courtesy of the artist

On their book, He paused in the cosmic reflection

“Mainly because of our good friend, Robin Turner, who was one of the first people to attend one of the early DJ gigs in London, like the basement of a pub.

“He would go around telling anyone who would listen that you should listen to these DJs, so he was with us from the beginning. He was always like, ‘You should write a book.'” There are so many different angles to the band. We have this whole visual world and all the people we’ve worked with and all the amazing collaborators and history. Robin was saying, “It’s never been put together in one place.” ‘

“Part of me was always saying, ‘I don’t want to look back at any point. I just want to keep moving forward. “But it was very interesting and it was very emotional, really, to go back and look at all the kind of experiences that Ed and I had and all the things we did and all the music we made and all the people we worked with and all the friends we made through music and from During our live shows and celebrating that.”

On the duo’s permanent partnership

“It wasn’t like ‘guitarist looking for drummer’. We just liked hanging out with each other. We’re happy in each other’s company. But it’s really amazing that we spent so much time on it.”

“There were a lot of sticking points along the way, and to be able to negotiate that and still call ourselves good friends now? We still feel connected to each other when we get on stage. This weekend, we were playing live And on Sunday, we were DJing in Ibiza at like 4am. It’s totally surreal and fun. We entertain each other when we DJ. It’s good to have your friend by your side when you’re in those strange environments. “It’s really incredible that we’re still together.”

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