Hadouken!: Nu-rave to the grave

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Proud purveyors of fluoro though they may be, Hadouken! (pretentious exclamation point ignored from this point on) are mining a similar path to success as Klaxons – hit the kids up with remixes, craft a couple of tasty singles, then release an album to much ridicule from the press but a heap of attention from the public.

Frontman James Smith still lives at home. “That’s VERY rock ‘n roll,” he screams (in a whisper, so as to not wake the olds). “What do you think I am, a millionaire?! Do you think I’ve SOLD an album?”

It must be a good feeling to have it out, finally, after what must seem like an interminable wait. “It’s good to play shows and have people really know the songs, which is pretty sweet,” he attests. “We wanted to make sure we got it ‘right’ – we weren’t in any rush to put an album out so we did the mixtape, and we had a bunch of songs on MySpace and things like that, and by the time we went to put the album out we realised that the songs that everyone had and that we’d been playing for a year-and-a-half we were over them, so we moved on and made something different.”

Nevertheless, two cuts released a year prior to the album – That Boy That Girl and Liquid Lives – nevertheless reappear on Music For An Accelerated Culture. Given that there’s been a slow build towards its release, the obvious question is why does a group like Hadouken need to release an album at all; surely a succession of bona fide killer songs released as singles, coupled with their mixtape fetish nature, will suffice?

“I still think, as a music fan myself, that an album is the unit of currency that works best,” James says thoughtfully. “It was something that we wanted to do; some people really like singles, but I’m an album man myself. It made logical sense to make 11 songs and do it like that.”

The album plays like a child with ADD addicted to Street Fighter on the Super-NES – it’s absolutely all over the shop, flying off the handle at times with Prodigy-like rave-up, delivering pop melodies at others. It’s always moving, never settling. “You don’t think of how a song is going to sound when you write it,” he explains. “You just go with the moment. But when you’re compiling the album you think about what songs are going to work with other songs, so you take that into consideration.

“We just chose the best 11 songs really – in retrospect, looking back at the album, there probably is too much variety for it to be coherent,” James admits candidly. “I like it, I like every single song on the album, but there’s such a variation that you’d have to have really broad taste to really like every single song on the album. But we’re not trying to please everyone – we’re just doing what we believe in.”

It points to an interesting future for the group, with two obvious options available to them – they can either continue in the same grab-bag manner, delivering eclectic albums, or they can focus on one particular aspect of their sound for each subsequent release. “We’re writing the album at the moment actually,” he outlines, “and I think there’ll be a lot more coherence to the project. It’s heavily, heavily dance orientated, and there’s a lot of 4/4 in it, and it’ll be a bit deeper – there’ll be a lot less vocals on it, and it’ll be a lot more mature and a lot less hyperactive and more settled. We’ve been going for 20 months, and we’ve been signed for 12, but we are still finding our feet, so we want to experiment and find what we’re doing.”

Having been on tour for the best part of the last year, James is confident that the group have developed a sensibility of their own, knowing what works and understanding what Hadouken represents. “I think we should be allowed to experiment and find out who we want to be,” he says, “because this is all our first band – we’d never been in a band before and didn’t know what we wanted to be.”

Nevertheless, Hadouken have – unsurprisingly, given their sound – been lumped into the nu-rave grab-bag of a scene. “At the start we were adamant in dismissing it,” he says of the label, “but now we’re more comfortable with who we are. Yeah, there’s a scene, and we’re probably part of it whether we like it or not. We want to concentrate on the music and people can pigeonhole it however they like.”

Hadouken’s Music For an Accelerated Culture is out now. The group is touring Australia now for Splendour in the Grass and select sideshows.

Sun Aug 3 – Splendour In The Grass, Byron Bay (Sold Out)
Wed Aug 7 – The Forum, Sydney
Thu Aug 8 – Hi Fi Bar, Melbourne

And check out the guys in action…

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