They’ve sprung from seemingly nowhere (well, Perth in Australia) to sold-out arenas in seven years, and fans of their in-your-face hybrid of drum ’n’ bass, nu-metal and techno-rock have bought hundreds of thousands of copies of their three albums. Pendulum’s colossal live show turns venues into gobsmacked rallies of the faithful, but the band have drawn criticism from non-believers, who think they’ve betrayed the
drum ’n’ bass scene by signing to a major label. As they prepare to bring a stripped-down DJ set to Dubai, we shattered some myths with founding member and lead singer Rob Swire, 29.
Pendulum are self-confessed geeks.
‘We are (geeks), yeah. I could never deny that. Technology is a means to an end, and something like the Z-tar [Swire’s Midi controller that’s played like a guitar] is practical, because if you stay behind the keyboards and do vocals too, it looks a bit Elton John. But also, if you’re not trying to push boundaries and get hold of the latest technology, I don’t know why you’d bother having an electronic-based band. It comes with the territory.’
The band suffer from a collective attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
‘We’re very ADD in what we focus our attention on, the kind of music we like and what we want to make. And that will change weekly – or daily – and then we’re on to the next thing. In a weird way, it’s calmly schizophrenic, which is what I like.’
They’re don’t share much in common with Philip Glass.
‘I don’t think we really believe in minimalism [laughs]. We’re more a megalomaniac, wall-of-sound affair.’
Their crowd are regressing – in age, at least.
‘You’ll find people of all ages at our shows, but the longer we stick around, the younger our crowd gets. I’m not sure what that says, but it seems to be the case. At the front you’ll get the 12-year-old dude with his dad, but you’ll also have a 40-year-old in a Metallica T-shirt. It’s so random, and that’s what I love about it.’
They describe themselves as a ‘drum’n’bass’ Muse.
‘That’s quite a good analogy and we did take quite a lot of influence from Muse’s live show initially, especially just before [second album] In Silico. We were watching all these videos and being blown away by how good they were live. We used to say that if we could be anywhere near as good live as Muse, then we were on the right path.’
Despite using a dozen computers on stage, the band claim to be an electronic act who ‘actually’ play live.
‘There are very, very few electronic bands who actually play live – the instruments they have on stage are not what’s coming out of the speakers. What’s coming out of the speakers is off a hard disk. With us, everything you hear is being played on the spot.’
They really care about what their fans think.
‘To be honest, any artist that says he doesn’t care what people think is either lying or doesn’t want to sell too many records. We put stuff online because we’re so excited about it that we can’t wait for people to hear it.’
Pendulum play a DJ set at Trilogy on Thursday November 17.