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Pendulum Swing by India

The Australian-UK dance rock act will play DJ sets at Bengaluru, Gurgaon and Mumbai on their first tour of the country

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Deepti Unni Jan 24, 2011
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PendulumOn a cold December day just before Christmas, Paul Harding is snowed in in London. “We’re in the middle of a tour, literally. We can’t get out,” cackles the veteran DJ and founding member of electro-dance-rock act Pendulum. But even as the band wrapped up shows for 2010, Harding was getting ready to hit three cities in India this month, two (Bengaluru, Gurgaon) as part of the Invasion Tour and one standalone date in Mumbai. “This will be my first time in India; the first time we’re DJing in India so we’re excited, yeah. I don’t wanna have any expectations; I just want to see how it goes,” says Harding. While the band’s shows are usually elaborate productions, the India shows will only feature Harding deejaying a stripped-down set. “The thing with our live shows is it’s like 17 people have to come for us to actually put it on and we can’t use any equipment other than our own equipment and sometimes it takes quite a few years before we can actually go to a new place. So a DJ set is a good introduction and a good way to test the waters and feel out a new place.”

Pendulum began as an eclectic drum and bass act in Perth, Australia. Frontman Rob Swires and bassist Gareth McGrillen were part of popular local rock band Xygen and Harding was already a well-known DJ in Perth when they first met. The result was ”˜Vault,’ an instant drum and bass classic that brought them critical underground acclaim from all over the world but especially from the UK. Their first album, Hold Your Colour (2005), was released to rave reviews on the renowned Breakbeat Kaos label at which point the band packed their bags and moved to London to be closer to the dance music scene. Over their last three albums ”“ Hold Your Colour, In Silico (2008) and Immersion (2010) ”“ their sound has changed to incorporate more rock and even metal influences and their last album featured collaborations with artists as varied as Liam Howlett of The Prodigy (who they’ve been often compared to), Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson and Swedish melodic metallers In Flames, making Pendulum a sort of halfway house for listeners of rock and metal and fans of electronic music. “I think just our roots as musicians were the main influence behind that. We were always listening to a lot of hardcore, a lot of metal, a lot of rock,” says Harding of their unusual sound. Then collectively when we became interested in drum and bass, we didn’t make a conscious decision to try and fuse the two. I think it was just born out of making what we thought sounded good.” Even so, the collaborations on their albums have been unconventional to say the least and musically completely unlike each other. “The In Flames collaboration”¦ we’ve always been huge fans of that band and they’ve been the pioneers of their kind of music, so to get a chance to have them come and work on what was technically an electronic music track was an absolute honour,” says Harding. The Steven Wilson collaboration, he says, came out of a desire to introduce his work to as many people as possible because the band thought it was criminal how underrated Porcupine Tree was in their own country and calls Wilson “one of the best songwriters that’s ever lived.” The more obvious collaboration with The Prodigy’s Howlett came after rumours surfaced of a rivalry between the two bands, despite the fact that both bands had shared the stage often. “There were also a lot of comparisons between Invaders Must Die and some of our tracks and that was kind of annoying for both of us because I didn’t believe that was true. And neither did they, so we said let’s just put all these rumours to rest and get in the studio and see what happens.”

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The band are also beginning work on their new record. What musical direction will that take? “No idea. I can’t tell you. I haven’t any plans,” laughs Harding. “We were talking about making it a little more punk rock sounding because we’ve done drum and bass to death, so hopefully something a little more punk would be good.”

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