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         Tom Rowlands, Ed Simons
 

Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons met in history class at Manchester University in 1988. The two immediately got along and soon began scouting out the city’s active nightclub scene. Not content with the popular house music at the time, they began DJaying themselves. As a tribute to the American Dust Brothers, they initially called themselves Dust Brothers, but later changed the name to Chemical Brothers when the Dust Brothers threatened to sue. In 1995, the duo released their acclaimed debut, Exit Planet Dust. Two years later came Dig Your Own Hole, and now they’re back with Surrender.


    NYROCK:

It's been quite a while. What have you guys been up to?

             TOM:

A bit of this and a bit of that... The usual stuff, you know.

                ED:

A bit of fighting, a bit of remixing, a few dramas, the usual stuff that happens when you know each other for over ten years.

    NYROCK:

Ten years is a long time. Since you're still friends I guess it hasn't been too bad...

                ED:

We grew up together and we need our drama, makes us work better...

             TOM:

We grew up? When? I must have missed that completely. Grown up? That sounds scary. I don't want to grow up.

    NYROCK:

Lets get back to the drama. Drama sounds good. What was it all about?

             TOM:

We had so many ideas for this record, so many different strands and different things we wanted to do. Sometimes it was too much and we squabbled about it. Nothing really serious, more like outbursts.

                ED:

Two different people, two different ideas, but that's good. It causes some friction sometimes, but that helps the creative process.

    NYROCK:

I'm puzzled by how you got started? It seems like you went from DJs to stars. I imagine your original material helped a lot.

                ED:

I don't really see us as stars. I still see us as DJs trying to give people a good time.

             TOM:

That's the whole deal. The whole idea of being a DJ is working a club and making people dance, making people enjoy themselves and dance their bootie off. We still enjoy doing that. Putting it on an album isn't much different. We're trying to do the same stuff we do at live gigs: Giving people a good time.

                ED:

Tom and I always DJ together.

             TOM:

We still get our inspirations from DJaying. We get a lot of new impulses and it's a good way to check new tracks in clubs, if people like it, if it's club compatible.

                ED:

Dance music is something that grips you. It forces you to dance. Resistance is futile, ha ha.

             TOM:

We don't want to be rock stars and stuff. We like getting our music out; we like sharing our music; we love playing. We make these albums which can be enjoyed by a lot of people and that's great.

    NYROCK:

Is it difficult working together all the time? Small wonder you have some friction...

                ED:

It works for us.

             TOM:

We always do it together. We don't work apart. We have one studio, one computer, one desk and all the music you hear is written between us. We're always writing and recording because we have our own studio and we go in there every day.

                ED:

We work on tracks but there's an album somewhere in the back of it all.

    NYROCK:

You guys won a Grammy for "Best Rock Instrumental"...

             TOM:

(snorts) Best Rock Instrumental, yeah. It's kind of amazing what they come up with. Best Rock Instrumental, oh please. They really were looking hard for a label or a drawer to stick us in...

                ED:

Oh well, we took the Grammy anyway, so what the hell.

    NYROCK:

In the early stages of your career the Dust Brothers threatened to sue if you didn't change your name. Now they've remixed one of your tracks...

             TOM:

Yeah, that was some shock. We loved them, admired them. That's why we called ourselves Dust Brothers and when they threatened to sue we were shattered.

                ED:

Yes, but now that they remixed one of our tracks and we remixed one of their tracks everything is fine. It's a great compliment, after all they were our heros and our inspiration.

    NYROCK:

You are pretty well known for your remixes. Have you had your eye on the scene? Anything you particularly liked?

             TOM:

I quite liked the stuff the Microbots did. That really impressed me. Or the Pole album, a lot of effect with really simple methods, that's great.

                ED:

The Dirt Chamber sessions are also great.

             TOM:

Yes, but Liam Howlett, come on, the guy is a genius.

    NYROCK:

On Surrender you worked with Noel Gallagher again. It seems like a steady collaboration between the Chemicals and Oasis...

             TOM:

It's fun working with Noel, really fun. He's a good sport.

                ED:

Noel's really cool. When we asked him to do it, he said yes and just came round and did it in a day.

             TOM:

It was a lot of fun. We had fun and I think it comes across on the album. I think he likes it because it's so different from putting together an Oasis album. It's something else for him.

    NYROCK:

You had quite a number of guest musicians, Noel, Bernard Sumner and Hope Sandoval. What was it like working with them?

             TOM:

It was different with each and everyone of them, Bernard Sumner and Noel and Hope Sandoval. They are far apart from each other. But our sound is so strong and so defined that it can really take on these different things, without sounding watered down or losing it.

    NYROCK:

You guys seem to be a bit nervous. Did I ask the wrong questions?

                ED:

er... nope, football...

             TOM:

Champions League, Man United...
PS: The team Manchester United won. It looks like the Chemical brothers are always on the winning side.

July 1999

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