Gareth McGrillen tells Rock Sound the band they want to emulate in the future is… Deftones
Will Pendulum remember 2010 as the year they properly assaulted the rock world or the year they made their biggest strides yet into the mainstream? Either is perfectly valid, let's be honest.
One personal memory of their Sonisphere set was watching people actually sprinting - sprinting - from the back of the arena right into the crowd to get as close as possible, and that simply doesn't happen if people are ambivalent towards a band. What's most interesting, though, is the fact Gareth McGrillen (bass / DJ) reckons their future will be extremely different...
Your live shows always tripped between rock and drum 'n' bass, but this year you took the rock stuff to new levels...
“Yeah, I mean, we kind of shat our pants with that! Especially at Sonisphere, because I know Download has a reputation as having more of a cross-section of rock and metal fans, you know, the type of people that like everything. Whereas Sonisphere has a reputation for pure head bangers, so we weren’t sure how we were going to go down. Also to be Iron Maiden’s special guest, that was a pretty incredible thing. We all love metal and we literally live it as well, but whether our show was going to be aggressive enough we weren’t sure. But as we played the place just tore to pieces. I think a larger section of our fans are leaning more to the rock and metal genre anyway, so, it’s becoming that way.”
When you started did you ever think that would be your natural environment?
“No because when we started out it purely was dance music and dub-plate culture, and drum‘n’bass and ‘Get me, get me’ London dance. But because we came in very late to the game, we never really fitted in or understood it properly. We came from Australia with a metal and rock background so it was only going to be a matter of time before we got bored and put our guitars in it again. When we were experimenting in the very beginning the first track we ever did had Rob singing on it and we had the guys from Karnivool playing guitar and bass on the first album. So it wasn’t a new thing and it wasn’t a surprise, you know a sudden record label driven angle, it was just something driven by us.”
Does that mean the next album will be purely rock-driven?
“This next album is going to have nothing drum‘n’bass on it at all, other than the core elements of drum‘n’bass. So the core kind of ethos, the sounds behind drum‘n’bass and the aggressive energy that it gives us. That’s all still there, but it’s all going to be dressed up in skinny jeans and Motley Crue t-shirts, rather than baseball caps and baggy pants. I think the way to explain this next album will be punk and raw as fuck but not punk in the genre sense, but punk more like in the ethos sense. Raw and aggressive and I think tempo wise, we don’t want to be confined by the tempos of drum‘n’bass any more. We still love what it can give us musically and the tools that it provides, but we’re not going to adhere to any of the rules other than that.”
Are you looking forward to a complete change?
“Yes, definitely, it’s time to start writing definitely, we’re not bored of the old stuff, it’s just that we’ve had a massive tour cycle and this is going to be the end of it. We’re hitting America in January and then that’s, it time to put it to bed. We’re really keen to get some new stuff on the go as well. I think a good example is Deftones. They’re a band that have grown so much and changed so much, but in another way, they haven’t changed at all and I think that’s why they have such a huge core following. There’s an element of them that’s always the same, it’s this moody, kind of emotional, sexy metal or whatever you want to call it. I think some bands reinvent themselves and all they’re really doing is changing their style and then something’s lost. So, I’d like to stick to the Deftones vibe, where you put the song on and it could be completely different but you just know as soon as you hear it that it’s us.”
What is it about Pendulum that unites the tribes, so to speak?
“I think it’s largely it’s a live performance thing, but also it’s that the music is sort of polished with this sheen of aggression. Whether the tunes are mellow tunes or not, there’s this kind of aggressive energy that makes you get up and go, I don’t know what it is. I think in the UK there’s large demand among rock, metal and dance music fans for escapism. The UK is a grim place, it’s cold, it’s fucking snowing like crazy right now and I think what people like is after a hard work all day, is putting something on that takes them out of this world. I think maybe, that’s what our live shows and our music sort of provides. I think that’s the only thing I can put my finger on that makes people seem so excited about it.”
How's the new album coming along?
“We’ve got a studio on the road with us so it’s going to be started this week. We’ve got a lot of ideas in our heads so Rob and I set up a studio everywhere we go and throw down ideas. Upstairs on the tour bus we’ve got a lounge as well where we can set speakers up and, dressing rooms are good. I mean, in the UK the tour distances are so short so you’re asleep at 4am, you wake up at 8 or 9 in the morning and you’ve got an entire day of sitting around basically doing nothing until soundcheck anyway, other than interviews and stuff. So, you’ve got all that time on your hands to get ideas out, which is what we’re going to be doing.”