Ladytron Whip Up Xtina
A chance meeting with Brian Eno's daughter has snowballed into an Australian tour for Ladytron. The Livepool four-piece are out this way to play the 'Luminuous Festival' at the Sydney Opera House, curated by Mr. Eno himself.
Given Ladytron take their name from an old Roxy Music song, Brian Eno's former band, you can understand why they're well chuffed with this unexpected turn of events. As the group's DJ and producer, Rueben Wu, explains: "[This girl] started talking to Mira and ended up introducing herself as Brian Eno's daughter. She said she'd got her Dad into us so that was quite funny and then a few days later we got a call asking us if we'd play Brian's festival in Sydney. It's funny when kids keep their Dads being cool."
The four members of Ladytron have been together since mid 1998, a long time for any band to stay together without getting sick of each other. “Well,” ponders Reuben, pausing for a while, “Not really. You kind of develop the way that you work together… I think with us every album has been different. The way we work together has evolved… We’re now very collaborative and very comfortable.”
It probably also helps that they live far away from each other; in Milan, London and Liverpool to be exact. As for the fabled story of how they met on a boat in Bulgaria, it turns out the real story is a lot less exotic. Rueben laughs, “Actually that’s just a myth. We just constructed that.”
In reality Reuben and fellow Ladyton DJ Daniel Hunt met spinning tracks in seedy clubs. Singers Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo came later. Not long after, they had recorded their first song, 'He Took Her To a Movie'. It cost fifty pounds to make. Since then the group has released four studio albums, including the recent 'Velocifero', and introduced the world to club favourites like 'Seventeen', 'Destroy Everything You Touch', 'Playgirl' and the more recent 'Runaway'.
Ladytron are widely regarded as being one of the forefathers of the electroclash movement. A fusion of electro and new wave, it came about at the start of the new Millennium and gave rise to the modern electro movement. Being lumped in within that movement is something they are keen to shake. "We've been fighting that pigeonhole since 2001,” admits Wu. “Since the electroclash thing died, we’ve continued as a band for however many years, and now we’ve had closure.”
Electroclash is also a movement that is seen as having strong links to the fashion world and Ladytron are also seen as a “fashion band”. Again, this isn’t something they agree with. "We're probably as into fashion as the next band…we’ve just been embraced by the fashion community. I think the initial impact of how we look kind of encapsulated a lot of what was going on in fashion at the time.”
Doesn’t the song Seventeen reference fashion though? “Does it?” he responds coyly.
Ladytron are well known for avoiding pinning any kind of meaning to that particular song, despite its seemingly obvious fashion references (“They only want you when you're seventeen / When you're twenty-one, You're no fun They take a polaroid and let you go / Say they'll let you know…”) “You’ll have to figure it out,” he giggles. “I think some things are better left to the music lover. It’s the same with film. You don’t say what happens at the end of The Italian Job.”
As far as their music is concerned, Ladytron aren’t exactly Top 40 radio fodder, yet they have been the subject of a lot of coverage in mainstream press thanks to their supposed involvement in the upcoming album of one Christina Aguilera.
“This is true,” admits Reuben, who says Christina got in contact with them a year ago and told them she was “really into” their music and would they like to work with her.
“We were like ‘err yep’”, he adds, indicating they didn’t have to think about it for too long. “It was a secret for quite a while at home until all of a sudden I got an email from a friend going ‘oh my god you’re working with Christina Aguilera!’ and it was all online, it was everywhere. We were just like ‘oh my God, what have I told someone when I was drunk’, but it turned out it was actually an interview that she had done with Billboard.”
After going over to meet Christina and get to know her socially, they’ve recently started working on tracks. “It sounds like Ladytron with Christina Aguilera on vocals…I think it’ll be a really cool record.”
Ladytron also claim they’re quite the hit live. “We’ve never been heckled once in our career. If anything the only thing that’s been thrown onstage is bras,” Reuben claims proudly, despite later admitting that the girls in the band have been the main targets of errant lingerie.