The Chemical Brothers’ Ed Simons talks new album, upcoming arena tour and the early days

This article contains affiliate links.
Chemical Brothers arena tour Leeds tickets

The Chemical Brothers are back with a new album and a massive UK arena tour that’s rapidly selling out — including a date right here in Leeds.

Having just released their new record, For That Beautiful Feeling — the tenth studio album in a career spanning nearly thirty years, they’ve already back out on the road and are soon to rock back up to Yorkshire.

The electronic duo will be playing Leeds’ First Direct Arena on Saturday, 28 October and ahead of the huge headline gig we had the opportunity to chat with one-half of The Chemical Brothers, Ed Simons.

Discussing all things past, present and future for the pair, it was an honour to chat with one of the biggest exports the British music scene has ever produced.

Back with more block rockin’ beats and another massive UK tour

So, how much are you looking forward to being back touring new music?

 ”It’s good to be going back indoors — it’s a big thing, you know, we play a lot of festivals; most of them are good but you get a much better sound [inside] and everyone’s in the same place and, hopefully, in the zone.

“[Post-Covid] A lot of people have still missed out on their first experiences of big loud music and big raucous crowds. Maybe some people are waiting to let go again and thrust into it.”

As for the album, first since 2019, what can you tell us about the direction you’ve gone in?

“Yep, well with performing live we really want to play the new music and just rest on what we’ve done before, we want to incorporate the two. It’s exciting for us. People have heard some of [the record] at summer festivals but now it’s is out there are lots of people that want to experience it for themselves.

“There’s always a core thing: some kind of secret thing between us about what we like about our music. It’s not so much a secret as it is the effect it has on other people but, hopefully, it’s evolving and the sound is still fresh. We don’t ever want people to say, ‘Oh, it’s just another Chemical Brothers record’, there has to be some quality to it.

“It’s a pretty rousing album and has the sense of people waking up again out of a long period where things still are difficult for a lot of people, but that sense of fragmentation that we went through in the lockdowns and what it’s like to come out of that.

“We made a lot of music in that period, but we’ve kind of concentrated on the stuff that feels the most rousing and has a bit of get up and provocation to feel alive again.”

The Chemical Brothers are bringing the new music to Leeds in a month’s time

Absolutely — the new singles like ‘No Reason’ definitely tap into that energy. What’s the reaction been like so far?

“Yeah, it’s been good. We had bits of and then had a sort of pressure to put it together into something we could play because we were about to DJ at fabric [in London] a few years ago at a charity gig for a friend of ours and the first time we played it at a club, even a really early version of it, you could feel it had an energy and sounded different. Great bassline too.

“It’s been rewarding and it’s been a really big live track for us this summer and we do a kind of live edit of it, which is fun and fresh.

“The track ‘Tell Me I’m Dreaming’ has also been a really big track. The visual that Flat Nose George [real name Adam Smith] and Marcus [Lyall] put together for that is really crazy, and, yeah, that’s been going down really well. I think that could be pretty huge when played indoors.

“We’ve had versions of it for a long time, but I think the first time we played it was actually at The Warehouse Project in 2021, I think? You know, when things were picking up again and it just immediately had that impact with the loops and the vocal…

“A few DJs have been playing it like Erol Alkan now too, so yeah, it’s kind of a big club track — a strange one but it works.”

The early days of The Chemical Brothers and how they got together

Tell us a little bit about the early days and how you and Tom [Rowland] came to meet at uni.

“We at the University of Manchester in 1989. We met really early on, pretty much the first week through a mutual friend. We were on this tiny little course on medieval history, so there weren’t many of us, and then I think we were talking about wanting to play the Haçienda, which at that time was the big thing and we’d all heard about it.

“So yeah, we just kind of became friends because we were the only people in this course and we just wanted to go to the Haçienda and I think we ended up going every Friday from September to Christmas. We were just so into the music that Mike Pickering and Graeme Park were playing, and just the whole atmosphere. We also loved buying records together.

“Tom was actually in another band at the time called Ariel, so our thing was just DJing together at first and then after making some more friends about a year into our course we started putting on these nights around town and we got really friendly with a lot of local DJs.

“We used to buy some really brilliant records that Richard ‘Moonboots’ would put aside for us and then when we came to London, we were suddenly DJing and playing all these cool records that no one else had heard…

“Without those times, we wouldn’t be coming back here to do big Arena gigs like this all these years later.

Read more:

You can grab your tickets to see The Chemical Brothers in Leeds at the First Direct Arena on 28 October HERE.

Featured Image — Supplied/The Chemical Brothers (via Instagram)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts