After years in the making here at last is Illumination, the fully realised debut album from Melbourne’s favourite psychedelic indie-electronic adventurers Miami Horror. With Illumination, Miami Horror has delivered on two years of teeth-cutting live shows and an ever escalating wave of buzz that’s made the group bonafide blog darlings the world over. But what’s most amazing about the grand arrival of Illumination is that the roots of the record stretch back countless moons to when Miami Horror began as just one synthesizer-obsessed producer huddled over a laptop in a bedroom-come-studio and the album itself just a spark waiting to be lit.
The afore mentioned synth tragic was, and let’s face it still is, electronic young gun Ben Plant, who kick started Miami Horror out of a love of Roland keyboards and French house, landing himself on Pitchfork’s hot-list overnight and copping a barrage of high profile remix requests from the likes of Datarock, PNAU and The Presets.
Yet it was while Ben was punching out 2008’s epochal Bravado EP that Miami Horror took off in a completely new and different direction. Characteristically wanting to flex his creative muscle and avoid the limitations of being stereotyped as simply a dance or electro act, Ben rewired Miami Horror’s genetic makeup, deputising the talents of Josh Moriarty, Aaron Shanahan and Daniel Whitechurch to form a new live band persona of Miami Horror, a whole new beast immeasurably more exciting than before.
“It started out that I didn’t want to have any guitar on the album besides a little funk guitar or disco bass,” Ben grins while explaining the turning point for Miami Horror’s evolution. “But then Josh came in and started playing all these other parts that sounded amazing. Paired with what I was working on, nobody was doing anything like it, so I knew we had to turn those sounds into a live thing and just go wild.”
It worked. Since the switch, Miami Horror has launched into dizzying new stratospheres, their well-polished chops as a group making for some unmissable sets at Australia’s biggest festivals, and that’s not to mention some A-list support slot call ups for everyone from Phoenix, Friendly Fires and La Roux to a hand-picked hook up from Lily Allen.
What has the journey been like leading up to your debut LP ‘Illumination’?
It has been an endless mind boggling experience, inspirational and life changing. Over the two years that we've been heavily focused on finishing this album, tastes have changed, ideals moved forward and band members come and gone.
Illumination has been two years in the making, was there any specific reason it took so long complete?
It was always going to take a long time for several reasons.. The main one being that you want to get a debut record right, this means throwing away perfectly good songs and writing many new ones, many hours of perfecting every mix etc.
Now that is has been released into the world have you been happy with the initial response from both the media and your fans?
Yes, it is practically ideal. We haven't had any bad feedback on the album yet. I think the average rating has been 4 stars. It seems a lot of people are interpreting the album exactly as we intended, which is something along the lines of being 'well balanced'.
The new album doesn’t appear to be as club focused as some of the earlier material that you were known for. What was your thought process with the album?
Well that stuff is all pretty old now and with all original material the aim was to make something more classic and original as opposed to trend focused like with the remixes I was doing.. This was even more so the case with the album. I decided to focus more on experimentation and making our own sound as opposed to remaking something we were into. Also, it probably has a lot to do with how our tastes have developed over the last two years.
Do you have a favourite track from the album?
At the moment it is probably Echoplex, Johanna from MAI has a great voice..
You have an impressive reputation for delivering beautifully produced music video’s to accompany your releases, how heavily are you involved in the creative process for these and do you have a favourite video?
We try to be relatively involved in the process however its really really hard to see your vision come through. Often the director or production company can completely reinterpret the original idea into something totally different. Which has always generally come across well anyway, however It would be great to one day really have a clip turn out exactly how I/we imagine..
What is the most important lesson “life in a band” has taught you?
Be friendly and open to everything, I like to be critical of things but bands like Phoenix are amazing musically and also are amazingly genuine people. It would be good if everyone was more like this, less bitchy and judgemental. After all, that kind of behaviour only makes you less friends and has a negative impact on your future. So play nice.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
You were recently toured South America, any highlights or stories you would care to share from the trip?
The gig in chile was one of the best we have played in ages. We played to 1,500 people in a huge dome with quite a high stage.. At least 20 girls throughout the show managed to clamber onto the stage and desperately attempt kiss members of the band. We've never had a reaction like it. They also knew all the songs which was a great surprise..
You are playing at the national Summadayze festival in January, what can your fans expect from your performances?
Well we'll be playing most of the songs of the album, so it will be the first tour in australia we've done since the albums release. This is great because it means everyone will actually now know the songs and hopefully really get into it.
:: QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS ::
Who or what is your favourite…
DJ :: Jean Pierre
Live act :: Tame Impala
Record of the moment :: Tame Impala- Innerspeaker
Gadget :: laptop
Food :: Asian
Restaurant :: Cookie
City to play in :: Santiago, Chile
Saying :: Make it happen
Piece of advice :: Make it your own.
Way to relax :: Listening to new music, writing music..
TV Program :: Curb Your enthusiasm/Bored to Death
Movie :: Logans run
Website :: wikipedia/textfiles.com