A version of this article originally appeared on Noisey Brazil.
“In a way, it just happened, you know?” says Daniel Hunt, a founding member of Ladytron, when asked about the seven years that have passed since the release of Gravity the Seducer, the Liverpool quartet’s last album. “We did a lot of touring between 1999 and 2011, and when we decided to stop, it was just supposed to be a break. We didn’t think it would be such a long break,” laughs the Englishman, who’s been living in São Paulo, Brazil since 2013. Happily, the wait is over. Instead of being a memory associated with the electroclash fever that characterized the beginning of the new millennium, Ladytron is back with a new single from their sixth and forthcoming album.
“The Animals,” directed by Fernando Nogari and shot with a local cast, is a co-production from Conspiraçao Filmes and Banzai Studio, two independent Brazilian studios. Hunt describes the video as “a love letter to São Paulo,” and it follows young people on their search for fun and self-awareness in a city that’s as hostile as it is exciting.
“Living in São Paulo inspires me creatively, but not so much in a musical way,” the guitarist explains. “What influenced me was this tense moment that we’re living in. I moved here right at the end of the calm period [Brazil was experiencing], just as all the agitation, the restlessness, was beginning. No one who’s lived [in São Paulo] in the last two or three years can say they haven’t been affected by the [political] tension hanging in the air. So that’s really reflected in my expression; the video shifts from violence to pleasure very quickly.”
The video moves through São Paulo, showcasing the city’s classic haunts and unfamiliar spots alike: from the Minhocão highway, Radial Leste Avenue, the famed Hotel Oriente and karaoke bars on the border of the Glicério and Liberdade neighborhoods, and to Guarulhos, a city just outside of São Paulo, where a daring ride on a motorbike ensues. “I wasn’t connected with that scene—that move was one that Fernando introduced,” recalls Hunt. “One of the first scenes we shot was at this place in Guarulhos. It’s another one of the things I really like about the video, because it ends up painting a faithful portrait of the moment we’re experiencing in São Paulo. It’s cool to show people [who aren’t from here] what’s really going on.”
Concerning the band’s forthcoming album, Hunt said that the tracks are currently being created remotely, which is the normal dynamic for the band. “We share ideas and files, and then we meet in the UK to record and finalize everything. Most of our career has been like this. It was only different back when the band was first starting out; that’s when we’d compose face to face in rehearsals. But it’s even easier to work [remotely] like this. We’re used to producing that way.”
Jim Abbiss, who won a Grammy for his work on Adele’s 21 and was responsible for Ladytron’s breakout record Witching Hour (2005)—which is famous for the classic single “Destroy Everything You Touch”—is handling the production for the new record. Hunt had partnered with Abbiss on the production for the comeback record for Lush, the prominent English shoegaze group, back in 2013, so there’s a great chemistry between the two. “We’ve worked with him a few other times on top of Witching Hour,” Hunt notes. “We did some singles together—the first one was ‘Blue Jeans,’ from our second album, and I remember we all loved it. He’s done some pretty big stuff. I really like working with him.”
Ladytron’s new record doesn’t have a title yet, but they're planning to record it between May and June in the UK. It’s the next part of the band’s journey, which has already seen the rise of its individual members’ careers: Helen Marnie (on vocals and synthesizer) has already released two solo albums; Mira Aroyo (on vocals and keyboards) has been featured in various collaboration projects; and Reuben Wu (also on synthesizers), who now lives in Chicago and has an outstanding career as a photographer.
You can watch the video for "The Animals" below: