Hooked on Dirtyphonics
Mixing drum, bass, electro and rock, quartet to hit Knitting Factory tonight
French electronic dance music quartet Dirtyphonics is just as quick to name Daft Punk as they are Metallica as direct influences. Merging drum and bass, dubstep, and electro with metal overtones, the group – Charly, Thomas, Pho, and Pitchin – just released its ninth studio set, “Irreverence.” In this interview, Dirtyphonics’ Charly talks about the new album, splitting the songwriting duties four ways, and merging multiple genres into a signature sound.
IJ: Can you briefly walk though everyone’s role in the band, what they contribute?
C: We all basically come together on every aspect, from writing music to playing it live. We’re like a big family and we all love to work on all aspects of what we do. It makes it hard to say who does what when we’re all doing a bit of everything.
IJ: How did you guys come together?
C: We all met six years ago. The thing that’s important is that we’re all friends and we got united through music. But then it became a family project. We all love to spend all of our time together, whether we’re in the studio or on the road. And down time doesn’t happen that much, but when it does happen, we spend it together. That’s important for us.
IJ: What is the writing process like? Who is the chief songwriter?
C: We have a bunch of machines, toys and synths and a bunch of instruments. We sit down and write a song together or work on something that one person came up with. That’s what’s exciting to us, when one or two of us writes something and the others jump in. We like to challenge each other all the time and push each other to the limits. We’re always trying to do something new that hasn’t been done before. When someone does something the other isn’t prepared for, that’s what inspires someone to jump on the vibe and personality of it all.
IJ: You guys have backgrounds in metal, how do you incorporate that into your brand of electronic dance music?
C: Most of us started in metal bands as teenagers and then we’ve always been open to other types of music. Some of us got into hip-hop and discovered electronic music. I always wanted to produce music. We began to find influences that are not metal now, like drum and bass, and use that as a medium for the metal that influenced us. Metal and drum and bass are similar in some ways, so when we go in the studio we look at the guitar and think about how it would go with drum and bass tracks.
IJ: You just released a new album, “Irreverence.” What’s happening on the new studio set?
C: We tried to take it to another level and keep it interesting with tempo switches and transitions. We want to play a song at all different speeds and hear the idea in different ways.
IJ: What’s the story behind the band’s name?
C: In the (electronic dance music) world, a lot of things are very nice and clean. But there is definitely something that draws us to drum and bass and kind of this F-you attitude that we loved when we are teenagers. When we start writing music the environment is the first thing we think of, what would we want to do if we were at a drum and bass party. In early dubstep someone would do a whole set of music in one genre. Now we are using bridges to go from one genre to another in the same song and have it make sense. We don’t do this solely because it doesn’t exist, we are also creating what we like and what we want to hear and trying to make it happen in a certain way. … We want to make a party.