The Chemical Brothers Say Their Beats Are Made for Breaking

The Chemical Brothers Say Their Beats Are Made for Breaking
Having previously titled tracks "Block Rockin' Beats" and "Loops of Fury," it's easy to pinpoint where the Chemical Brothers have had a stranglehold for the past few years. The duo of Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands have become legendary for their manipulated electronic sounds, drums and sirens. But imitators abound since their 1995 debut Exit Planet Dust, yet the Brothers still manage to dig deep in the crates and keep their beats distinct.

"The starting point for most of our songs are good drums. We find them off other people's records and have a drum sound made up of lots of various beats from lots of different types of music and lots of different eras," explains Ed Simons. "We might have something from the ‘60s layered on top of very up-to-date beats and then they become one mess of cool-sounding drums. It's kind of hard for us to be excited hearing sounds from going through crates and going through records for ten years. It's become a lot harder, but then again it's more rewarding when you do hear something on a record that excites you. There's not an area of music that we now look to more for those drums. It just comes out of record collecting."

Their latest effort, Come With Us, is one of their most diverse sounding albums to date. It mixes the variety of genres and rhythms that they've dabbled with since their early hip-hop and big beat influences. Mash all these ingredients together and the result is their fourth record — remarkable for a career that began with their own DJ needs. "The first record we made was ‘Song to the Siren,' which had a lot of elements of what we were playing at the moment," Simons recalls. "We used to play a lot of instrumental hip-hop with big breaks and weird noises, and if it had a siren then all the better; it sort of combined all those things. We made it to try and get more DJ work, so I suppose in a sense it's been very successful."

If the reasoning behind their first-ever track was to get more work as DJs, they've since evolved into more studio-bound musicians. "At the end of the day it's stripped down to the level of making music," Simons says. "We get a lot of satisfaction out of that. Neither of us has got much in the way of retirement plans. Being in the studio, there are limitless possibilities, when you start with blank cards. We have no idea where we're going to end up with our music, and that's still a good feeling to have."