Innerpartysystem’s fans do not mess about. When the Pennsylvanian electro trio announced their first live date of the year in the UK, the tickets ran clean out in under 24 hours, such is the demand for the trio’s stadium-sized blend of seething, synth-fuelled rocking.
It’s a potent blend that, in the past two years, has helped them go from punky electro-alternative crossover act to bass bin-rattling dance music pioneers.
But, do you think you’ve swotted up on everything there is about laugh-a-minute drummer Jared Piccone, hat-appreciating singer Patrick Nissley and guitar/synth force Kris Barman?
They’re about to touch down in London this week, with a fistful of long-awaited new material from their mini-album, Never Be Content, which will be available for download from March 7 and out in the shops on March 21.
We thought we’d better find out what there’s left to discover fast…
1. They are total gear addicts.
No, not that kind of gear. It’s digital gear, alright? Forget DJing using iPads: Innerpartysystem go one step further by creating special live sessions using downloadable apps on their iPhones. Nifty. Barman uses one that allows him to control his sounds using the motion and tilt of his mobile, while tub-thumper Piccone uses a drum machine app on his and runs it through a Korg Kaoss Pad. When they play their full-blown live shows, the list of gear they use is mind-melting, with enough switches, glitches and manipulated effects to dazzle the highest rank of nerd.
2. They are the Willy Wonkas of record-pressing.
How’s this for confectionary creativeness? The title track from their debut album, 2008’s Don’t Stop, was the first seven-inch slab of vinyl to be made entirely from chocolate. Posh dark chocolate. Only 100 of these golden singles were whipped up in the UK, leading critics to debate whether or not it would actually work. Turns out, if kept cool enough, it just about played on a turntable – albeit with some crackling interference from ‘Wonkavision’.
3. They’re about to share the stage with one of their biggest influences
And that’s Pendulum, the headline act for Innerpartysystem’s forthcoming North American tour. In fact, when the shows were announced, the band was still in a state of disbelief. “‘Pendulum?!? Are you kidding me?!? That was our first reaction when we heard,” says Piccone. “We’ve been listening to Pendulum for years. I can remember setting up turntables in our living room in our first house band and spinning Breakbeat Kaos [the label that broke Pendulum] vinyl with the guys all night long.”
4. They are BFFs with Jay Z.
After their set at Projekt Revolution in 2008, they joined the weekender’s headliner, Jay Z, for his exclusive after-party, which made Milton Keynes look like Miami for the evening. The band didn’t make the most of the free drinks, though. Nissley told Kerrang TV: “There were huge bottles of Grey Goose everywhere and I spent half my night – because I had been drinking before – trying to pour a bottle of it into a little Champagne glass and spilling it everywhere.’”
5. Their latest single is “not unpatriotic”.
Despite its direct lyrics (“I get my facts from the TV/Believe in everything I read”) the band have insisted that their electro-smasher American Trash is not the sonic equivalent of a shiny turd on their homeland. Jared recently Tweeted: “We do love America, we just think we as a country have a lot of work to do, to be better people.” Rather, they’re about giving back to the community. Last year they donated their artistic interpretation of the American flag, constructed solely of trash, to Denver, where the single was the #3 best-selling alternative track.
6. Their underground dance fanbase is booming
Fellow Philadelphian Starkey – whose bass-heavy neo-junglist beats have been snapped up by cutting-edge electronic label Planet Mu – has worked his grimey magic all over American Trash, just one of the five remixes on the new single release. The result is the sound of a Philly warehouse rave in slow motion, but with its neon lasers squiggling on the crowd at turbo-speed.
Starkey’s American Trash remix is available as a free download from the NME here:
7. They used to be a bit emo
Long before they’d discovered synths, midi-controllers and Ableton, Patrick Nissley and Jared Piccone both used to thrash it out in Pennsylvania-based emo band Thirteen Over Eight, whose sound is not dissimilar to scream-a-lot bands like The Used and Thursday. So that’s where they get that powerhouse sound from, then. Don't believe us?
8. The new album is coming sooner that you can shout “GIVEITTOMENOW!”…
Their long-awaited record comes in the shape of six-track EP Never Be Content on March 7, including the songs Money Makes the World Go Round, Not Getting Better, Out of Touch and, of course, American Trash. We’re not sure exactly what they’re unhappy with yet, but we’re hazarding a guess that it’s because the physical version won’t be made of chocolate this time. Still, it’s looking like it’ll be rather tasty anyway.
9. …and it has been co-produced by Richard X.
While the band recorded and produced most of the tracks themselves, they enlisted the help of the man who has twiddled and turned the knobs for the likes of electro popstrels M.I.A., Kelis and Annie and to give it a final, arena-walloping kick. Give your ear canals some warning, okay?
10. They know how to bring the party
Not only do Innerpartysystem make their own bangers, but they have lent their fine ears to plenty of rockin’ acts over the years. They’ve remixed for dancefloor lady wailers like Katy Perry and Ladyhawke and indie big-guns Killers, Keane and 30 Seconds to Mars.
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