Updated: Monday, 19th August 2019 @ 10:17am

Interview: Manchester electronic duo Shmoo chat musical influences of MGMT, The Killers and Oasis

Interview: Manchester electronic duo Shmoo chat musical influences of MGMT, The Killers and Oasis

By Robbie Gill

Named after a shapeshifting alien who aids a group of mystery solvers, Shmoo are an indie-dance crossover trying to revolutionise live music.

Based in South Manchester, brothers David and Neil Newport moved to the city from Banbury ten years ago to tap into the thriving music scene.

Drawing comparisons to Kraftwerk and MGMT the duo do not own guitars but there self-constructed attic studio does contain a plethora of analogue synthesisers.

Neil said: “In terms of our equipment that’s who we look towards because lots of it is really old.

“So we look to them as our peers to give us guidance on how to use the really early pieces of technology.

“But we feel we have a rocky sound to our music like The Killers and even Oasis in terms of melodies.

“We draw influences from both rock and electronic music and amalgamate the two.”

Many people see electronic music as studio based, to be played out through a laptop in clubs but Shmoo want to take this live.

Synthesiser enthusiasts, they enjoy spending time experimenting in the studio making new sounds and adding to their burgeoning synth collection.

Their studio is littered with Korgs, Rowlands and Moogs which have undergone a surge in popularity as people begin to see that raw sound as something to be celebrated.

Moog in particular are beginning to release new equipment which utilises modern technology to create an old underproduced sound.

“We started getting involved when you could get these things quite cheap,” Neil said.

“Like the philosophy of Portishead who collected all these old synths when people used to throw them away as rubbish at car boots.

“We just missed the wave of really cheap synths but we did manage to get one or two for free.

“People could keep something like that in a musical museum, but we use it to make music so we just have a enormous collection of old synths.

“We obviously have some new ones as well but the majority of the sound that we record is vintage and 70’s.”

With all that equipment in the attic Neil has been shocked by the reaction of the neighbours who have surprisingly never complained.

“Surprisingly we’ve never had any complaints about noise, the only time anyone has knocked on the door they were asking for drum lessons,” Neil said.

“Someone said to me down the pub are you the band that lives round here, I was about to appologise but he said no its wicked.”

The brothers are embarking on their first UK tour, with dates coming up in Liverpool, Birmingham and London.

Shmoo pride themselves on their live show, taking studio elements of dance music and turning it into an exciting experience.

Neil said: “The key things about our set are that such a big sound is made from just two people.

“We do a really good light show and people think it’s the venue but its actually all us and midi controlled.

“It adds to atmosphere of the night and people think the engineer does it.

“We don’t use laptops like a lot of other electronic acts. We have stuck to our roots and kept it all live on synths and samples.”

Neil plays a hybrid drum kit and a keyboard as well as singing lead vocals, his brother David looks after drum machines, pads and synthesisers.

They did experiment with a live drummer but they wanted to take on everything themselves to create a ground-breaking act which changes peoples perception of live dance music.

“The thing with instruments is that people can relate to them and see how they can play them in their hands,” he said.

“But unless you’re projecting what you’re doing on the laptop, how engaging can it be?

“We perform like a rock band would, we’re energetic on stage because we love what we do.

“We try to push ourselves as much as we can and be as innovative as possible.”

A lover of all genres, Neil draws influences from Massive Attack, Portishead, and Darwin Dees but Neil hopes the prevalence of electronic music will help them out.

Having recently signed a deal with a new management company, the band are gaining more of a following — highlighted by their current tour.

With the internet changing the way that people consume music, recent weeks have seen high-street giant HMV enter administration but Neil belies that it creates an opportunity.

“With the developments of different types of media it means that record sales will not be the only way for artists to get out there,” he said.

“TV, radio, film will all use music. It's just about finding different avenues.

“If record sales fall and that door closes it might open another one in new media forms.

“It’ll always be hard to stop people copying but they don’t get the full product with the artwork and the whole package which is what they are missing out on.

“The one thing they can never take away from you is coming to see you live in person and I think it will make that industry grow.

“Hopefully it will drive down prices and encourage more people to go and see live music.”

More information on the band, their music and their tour can be found at www.shmoo.co.uk

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