Excerpt from the interview:
METROLAND have a manifesto: a conceptual band, consisting of Passenger A and Passenger S, bringing synthetic sounds from the ‘underground’, highly influenced by KOMPUTER and KRAFTWERK. Certainly the capital letter ‘K’ is highly resonant in their sound but in many ways, as the single ‘Enjoying The View’ indicates, METROLAND are perhaps more textural, a ride through an electronic landscape, layered with authentic warm sequences, robotic vocals and uniquely vintage drum machines, all designed for the commuter world.
With METROLAND, we never started out that way nor did we plan to create a concept album, really. METROLAND, as a band, was not even founded in the true essence of the word; it kind of derived out of a creative, musical frustration.
In our former musical career, which lasted already for 20 years at that point, we felt that we reached all that could have been achieved. There were very, very few ambitions to fill and no more goals to achieve.
Another reason was the boundaries that we were setting ourselves. While making music and experimenting with sounds and ideas we got frustrated as so many good ideas would not fit in with our former works and policy. Hundreds of arrangements and melodies were rejected due to this limitation. But we kept on going, creating songs, making arrangements, carefully watching not to throw everything away.
At a certain moment we created a baseline with a rather sinister feeling about it and we were struggling yet again with the question “erase this: yes or no?”. We went for “no” and started working on it, this time with no boundaries. Some weeks later we picked it up again and a second and a third track turned out in the same idea.
metroland-01After many sleepless nights and loads of conversations on how to proceed with our musical creativities, we concluded that some of the demo-songs we had now made were too strong to leave untouched. Still, they could not be hosted under our former project, so the first step towards the new band ‘METROLAND’ was taken.
The name METROLAND itself comes from the UK-band KOMPUTER, who used it as the name of a remix of their song ‘Looking Down On London’ (coincidentally, this remix happens to be Passenger S’ favourite piece of music).
Still, at the point where we decided to head for that different musical direction, we did not even talk about any concept to fit all those arrangements. It was much later, when we picked up some nice samples from the underground, that we started working towards the end result where we are now with our conceptual album ‘Mind The Gap’. The combination of METROLAND as a band name and the first track (pun not intended) ‘Mind The Gap’ triggered us much further than we ever thought possible.
We were already used to working around a concept, which we feel has been one of our very strong points, but with METROLAND we took this conceptual idea to the hilt and beyond. Result is that our album ‘Mind The Gap’ is all about metro systems, the Tube, commuting and transport in general. The samples, the artwork, the titles….they all breathe the same concept. As you can read, this amazing ride that brought us up to where we are now didn’t just happen overnight.
The full interview can be read at the Electricity Club – right here >>
METROLAND – ‘Mixing The Gap’ EPCD
Out now is a brand new video from the Kraftwerkian Belgian duo Metroland. The video “Harry Beck” (in a remix by Növö) is dedicated to Harry Beck, an English engineering draftsman best known for creating the present London Underground Tube map in 1931.
Original version taken from album Mind The Gap
Remixed by Laurent Boudic under Növo
Edited from EPCD Mixing The Gap
Video edit by HC Carbo
Harry Beck (real name Henry Charles Beck), is a name you most likely will not know, even though a great deal of us have already been using his creation or have seen alternative versions of it.
Neither did we know Mr Beck, but at the time when we were figuring out what to take as art for the album we went on the internet looking for some interesting pictures. It is there where we stumbled upon Beck and his ‘creation’.
Harry Beck was an English engineering draftsman best known for creating the present London Underground Tube map in 1931. This map seems so common to every one of us these days, but in the early 1930′s it wasn’t. The company of ‘London Underground’ was initially skeptical of Beck’s radical proposal — it was an uncommissioned spare-time project, and it was tentatively introduced to the public in a small pamphlet in 1933. It immediately became popular, and the Underground has used topological maps to illustrate the network ever since.
Beck had the idea of creating a full system map in color. He believed that passengers riding the trains were not too bothered about the geographical accuracy, but were more interested in how to get from one station to another, and where to change. Thus he drew his famous diagram, looking more like an electrical schematic than a true map, on which all the stations were more or less equally spaced.
Knowing this, we were sure it was a nice idea to pay homage to such an interesting character, which eventually inspired us, convinced no one has ever done this before. So we looked for more information, films, documentaries, whatever we could find on Harry Beck. And from a shipload of information, we distillated that sample that to us seemed the essence behind the complete story: ‘form followed function’. At the same time we decided to take this slogan as the essence of our project and album.
This song was the last addition to the album. It was first intended to be part of a download EP, but the final result was so good that we both decided that Harry Beck deserved a spot on the album.
As for the remix, we asked Laurent Boudic from NÖVÖ again, as he already delivered us a true marvel of ‘Theme For Metroland’. The result is stunning: a surprising remix which brings you back to the late 80′s when the famous UK electro label Mute Records released their limited 12inches. They always contained that sort of remixes that had a hint of the original, still containing enough interesting other sounds on top. Massive rework, great style, but what else would you expect ? Laurent is Belgian as well !
Out tomorrow is the debut album by the Kraftwerkian project Metroland. Based in Belgium the duo, Passenger A and Passenger S, the band will see their debut album “Mind the gap” released in 2 different versions, a normal CD format and a double CD box set featuring 11 remixes executed by the likes of Komputer, Celluloide, Franck Kartell, Keen K, Növö, Sophie Watkins, etc.