The Japanese Popstars are having a whale of a time at the moment. Between remixing everyone from Beyonce to Editors and a hugely successful tour of the festival circuit during the summer, they released their first live album We Just Are: Live. Totally Dublin caught up with one-third of the Popstars, Decky Hedrock, to have a chat about festivals, future plans and making unashamed, stadium-filling electronic music so strong it knocked Zane Lowe out (thank Christ).
The live album is fantastic. Can you tell us about the concert it was recorded at?
Over the summer months we recorded a load of our live shows all over the world. We were trying to capture the essence of what it’s like to come and see us live and we wanted to give a piece of it back to the fans that enjoy coming to see us. We ended up selecting one of our most special shows which was in our home country when we played Oxegen. We had an amazing crowd of over 8,000 people going for it. The response was excellent and the home crowd made that gig very memorable for us. It was the perfect choice!
You’re currently touring quite extensively; what’s the plan for after the tour? Is there any new material in the pipeline?
Our live album has just dropped and “B.C.T.T.” is coming out on single, so we’ll be touring those over the next few months too. Our remixes of Benny Benassi featuring Iggy Pop, and The Editors are also hitting soon so we are excited about those. We’ll be doing some shows in the likes of Canada and France before the end of the year and trying to finish off the next album which is very exciting. That’s got an early 2010 release.
Do you prefer the production side of the creative process, or is all your music made with the live performance in mind?
We are a live act first and foremost, so to be able to release something that identifies us as just that – as well as producers or remixers – is hard to do. All of our tunes are written with the live show in mind. Being a live act is special, the three of us all come from DJ backgrounds, and lots of people are DJs – so this is something we can share in our own way with everyone.
You’ve worked with people like Groove Armada in the past; do you have any intentions to collaborate with any other musicians?
Yes, some of the tracks on our next album will be collaborations but I can’t say much more on that now. We are really excited by them though!!
You have quite a few gigs lined up in America and Canada; how has the response been to you across the Atlantic? Is the crowd at an electro gig in the States very different to a European crowd?
We can’t wait to go back and rock out over there. The dance scene still seems very new and they are still accepting it in a lot of the states. The response has been great and America is a very, very big place, so it can be tiring travelling to the different places. We’ve been lucky to have a great US agent who has gotten us super shows; we are playing Halloween with MSTRKRFT who are one of the biggest dance acts in North America and Canada. We’re playing with them in their home city of Toronto, so that’s going to be outrageous!
Where has been your favourite place to play live so far?
Oxegen ‘09 was probably my highlight, but we’ve been really lucky over the last 6 months to have some amazing experiences. Playing to over 20,000 people at Exit Festival in Serbia was surreal; rocking the socks off Fuji Rock was a major dream come true, and shows like Rockness where we gathered at the start maybe 20 people to 5000 people in 30 minutes was amazing. The best country was probably Japan – they just do it right over there. But I think just bringing our music and experience to new people in different parts of the world is a highlight in itself.
Japanese Popstars play live at the Button Factory on the 18th November, and DJ Tripod on the 11th December. Can’t be bothered getting off your couch? Their live album’s out there now.
Words: Lucy Watts