LCD Soundsystem is the project of New York-based producer and multi-instrumentalist James Murphy, who is also co-founder of the DFA Records label. LCD Soundsystem’s unique melding of disco, punk, funk, and more into danceable indie pop gems has garnered critical acclaim (including three Grammy nominations) since their self-titled release in 2005. The follow-up to 2007’s celebrated Sound of Silver has just been released. It’s called This Is Happening. And it is.
We were lucky to have James take some time out of his busy touring schedule to share his thoughts on making music, the new record, and of course, VOX.
VOX: How do describe your progression from getting started to where you are today?
James Murphy: I’m sort of a home-musician, agoraphobic rocker, if you will (if you must), a homebody kicking it home-style…like “artisanal bread”. My first band was a new wave outfit in 1982 called the Mystery Meats named after my school’s cafeteria food, but my first instrument was the refrigerator in my family kitchen which rumbled at a very nice and harmonic D, much like a tambora. I used to sing to it. That was say, 1975.
VOX: This is Happening is out and people are psyched. Did you approach writing/recording it any differently than Sound of Silver?
JM: I don’t know, I don’t think so. I mean, I always go, “Oh crap…this had better not suck,” and then spend the rest of the time trying not to think about it sucking so I can free myself to write. This time, I was in Los Angeles, though…which I liked. I could swim as a way to not worry.
VOX: You will tour extensively this year…do you write while on the road?
JM: I don’t write too much on the road…a little in my head, though. I usually just get grand ideas more than actually write.
VOX: Any recent performances or recordings you’ve done that stick out in your mind? Why?
JM: They all seem like one long argument with the world … although Glasgow ruled, mainly because the people of Glasgow go for it as if they might get stabbed to death on the way home from the show. Come to think of it, that might be because they very well could get stabbed to death on the way home from the show. I love that place!
VOX: Let’s talk gear. What drew you to the VOX AC30C2?
JM: We use the AC30C2 live because I’ve recorded for years with some early ’80s AC30 that isn’t old or new. I love it because its brightness is less “guitarry” and more “airy”. Only VOX’s do this particular open treble sound.
VOX: Any favorite features from the AC30C2?
JM: The master volume is pretty transparent, which is really handy when moving from big stage to smaller stage. We run a bass through an AC30 as well, not just guitar. The AC30 is what I recorded the bass through on the first LCD release.
VOX: Is there anything else about VOX that you want to talk about?
JM: How much I love the VOX Wah Wah over all others … they sound insane! Wide sweep. Really powerful. The best.
We’re glad to hear it. Thanks for talking with us, James!
Find out more about LCD Soundsystem and This Is Happening at www.lcdsoundsystem.com
by Evan O’Brien