DAT Politics came alive after the dissolution of
Tone Rec, an experimental electronic act that produced several records
for the Sub Rosa label. Compared to the atmospheric output of their
previous incarnation, DAT is like a barrage of karate kicks to
the face. As the group has matured, their music has turned from weird to
weird-and-damn-catchy, wedding digital noise with hummable melodies and
indisputably danceable rhythms. Their latest, Mad Kit, exudes the
influence of compatriots Justice, marking their most accessible
and dancefloor-ready record yet.
I spoke with the members of DAT through email as
they embarked on their North American tour.
simple: Name something interesting and/or bizarre about each member of
We are all
mt: Fair enough!
interview some time after the release of Plugs Plus, Claude
remarked that you don't know how to write "songs" in a traditional
sense. Has this changed at all?
We grew up
with noise rock and minimal electronica; the
noisy sound from our early releases is probably related to that. But we
love pop culture and we always wanted to inject that into our
productions (music and images). We also tried
to create a kind of hybrid music, a mixture between those pop influences
and a noisy underground background.
Mad Kit contains all the elements which
were already in our music, but we spent almost a year to record it,
which is a lot for us. We tried to clean up our productions. We really
wanted the tracks to be more readable. We had this goal from the
beginning to create pop music, to concentrate on simple tricks like the
efficiency of the chorus or the beats. But it's
true that our last releases are definitely more pop!
Twisted pop probably, but the
influences are pretty much the same from the
beginning - conscious or unconscious,
everything is melted down to create our own
your motivation to make the music more "poppy?"
Was this a reach-out to the audience, or does
it reflect your own changing tastes?
started to do music together, we were not
aware that the music industry
has so many rules. Once you have a tag it's
very hard get rid of it. We had tracks which
didn't fit into to the Tone
Rec project, so we thought that it would be easier for everyone
to create a new name, concept, etcetera...
There were different people involved as well.
I think we also get bored easily; we don't
like too much to do the same track over and over.
The project started
off instrumental, then we had guests singing on it and now we're
singing ourselves. We always try to evolve.
Listening to your early Tone Rec work (Thugny - Trugny in particular),
it's clear I'm listening to a completely different band. How come
things have become so much more "accessible"? Do you ever dream
of going back to more atmospheric,
Tone Rec was
a different project. There
were also other people involved. We created
DAT Politics 'cause
we wanted to do something else. The experimental scene at the time was
not so open-minded. We
just wanted to open the doors and break the fire walls. Maybe, as we
like soundtracks, we might one day create a new project dedicated to
more atmospheric music, yes!
ever go back and listen to the old Tone Rec material? What do
you think of it now?
It's funny that you talk about that, cause
we just spent few days in NYC last week and a good friend of us played
some Tone Rec tracks...
That was kind of weird and also good 'cause
there were a lot of details that we didn't remember.
We're not ashamed of them. Maybe nowadays we would do it
differently, but that sounded right at the
time for us. It also brings back a lot of
still unconventional, Mad Kit is a very dancefloor-ready album,
bolstered by melodies and rhythms influenced by the electro scene
(especially the "Own Thing" duo). Does this relate to the sort of
the music you listen to on your own? Are you
all ardent Justice fans?
I think that
Mad Kit is the album which is closest
to our live set. On stage, we always tried to play with this wild, rough
energetic aspect of our sound. For the records, we are creating songs,
but when we have to perform them live we also want to give something
else to the audience, something even more energetic and crazier. So
don't expect to get the track exactly in the same version as on the
album. We really like to keep this techno noise part, it helps us to
stay away from the routine. It's funnier as well! I think that Justice
definitely brought something fresh in the scene! We like the digital
noise aspect of their music and especially their "Water of Nazareth".
noise element is fairly integral to the DAT
Politics sound. I think it gives your music a
welcome edge. What do you think of music that is basically pure noise?
We were more
into noise music back in the days, but I
particularly like it when it's mixed up with other elements as well.
People like Sonic Youth, Boredoms, My Bloody Valentine were very
important for us when we started to do music,
and they also had some pop influences. We were also fans
of electronic music like Kraftwerk or S-Express and soundtrack music. So
we always had this desire to bring all those elements into our music.
"Magnetic Attraction" and "Own Thing (Part 1)" are two of Mad Kit's
strongest tracks. Are there any songs on the record that are
particularly dear to you? How come?
song is "Freak
It was the first song we did for this album
and one which didn't change too much from the beginning
to the end version. I also
like "Bad Dream Machine", and "Own Thing
Part I" which I find catchy. But it's really
strange and subjective to speak about your own
music that way, cause you know all the tiny details and you can picture
how it was made and everything...
note, did the you guys use a different method to making Mad
Kit than you have on past albums?
yes, this time we spent about a year to record the whole album. Usually,
when we decide to record new music, we just
lock ourselves in our studio and work every
day on it. This takes place
over a few months -
max 6 months.
For Mad Kit the process was
would work for 2 weeks together,
and then each of us kept the tracks to be able
to listen to them. And two weeks later we would
meet again with new ideas.
This process took place over a year.
It was good to have some time off.
It's funny to think that our early
recordings were made in a very short time.
For instance, "Villiger"
was recorded live and "Tracto Flirt" was made in one week...
recent material provides a fresh take on dance music, earlier DAT
Politics records - Plugs Plus, for example - seem to wed melody
and experimentation in a much freer manner. Even pop songs like "Pie"
are wilder than anything on your more recent records. Are these
liberties a thing of the past? How do new fans react to older records,
and do you ever go back and listen to them?
that, in some ways, we're more aware about our accoutrement and stuff,
and we know how to use it better.
In the past we didn't care
that much about the production and we also
allowed a big space to "mistakes". I think that we continue to
include this aspect in our music but we also want to evolve and
try not to use a kind of recipe. The fans'
reactions could be different, it really depends on their background too.
We have people who totally understand that evolution. Some new fans who
easily got to our old albums, and discover a
new sonic world. And some who just like the new tracks... There is no
typical fan. We play mostly in front of a very young crowd nowadays, and
now they really have their own eclectic way to listen to music as well.
happened to Ski-pp?
been in standby for a while now.
It was funny somehow to be on the other side,
like choose other artists, take care of the
distribution deals... Managing a label is a
tough job as well, and as we spend a lot of time on
DAT politics, we couldn't really work on that other activity as
well as we wanted to. We keep the platform and name for our design
think there will be more Ski-pp releases in the future? Do you guys
still have a fair amount of inventory left over?
I don't know. Maybe we'll do another label one
the DAT Politics aesthetic sense tends towards collages between digital,
photographic, and hand-drawn elements. How important is visual art &
design to the band, and why do you think this style recurs so frequently
through Dat Politics record covers and Ski-pp releases?
As we all
come from visual art, we always created our cover design for DAT
works like flyers or stickers; even band pix.
The sound and the visuals
come together. It's a kind of global package.
But, I think that we totally create our
music the same way as we do our design. We
like to mix - make a link between stuff that
we like - to create something really
different. We like to use eclectic references, and we don't want them to
be too obvious. Our world is always cryptic and nerdy.
the world does DAT Politics seem to be most popular?
We played in
South America recently and people seemed to be really into our music.
Japan has always been a very good place for
our music too. I think that we have a solid base of fans spread out
over the whole world!
DAT-globalization be attributed mainly to the internet?
internet was really important for us at the time and it's even more now!
For instance, I
wouldn't be able to talk to you right now without it.
the response to Mad Kit been so far?
was good! We started
to play the new live set in February
of this year, and we
are really amazed about the reactions!
doesn't surprise me at all! Are there any plans to put out Mad Kit on
yet, which is a pity, but the music industry has been suffering from
the internet, too,
and vinyl is still expensive.
current music makers do you admire?
I got back to old school
hip-hop like Grandmaster Flash.... Gaetan is really into
But we all love stuff like Rye Rye, Sebastian
or the new Peaches' album.
you do when you're not making or playing music?
movies, partying with our friends, taking pictures....
music a full-time job?
Yes it is!
When we're not on tour we do music, or take
pictures or design stuff for DAT Politics, or write lyrics...
mt: Last but not
least: What is your favourite colour? Why?
Tout Bleu! Listen to "Plugs Plus ! :)
conducted by Michael Tau
published July 1, 2009
POLITICS ON MYSPACE