In 2005 I was like most Adelaidians, making my annual pilgrimage to the Wayville Showgrounds for the Big Day Out and excited to see the likes of The Beastie Boys, Chemical Brothers, Regurgitator, Powderfinger – I could go on – the set list was amazing. There I was amongst the usual crowd, when I stumbled onto a relatively unknown band called Le Tigre combining electro-punk with lo-fi beats for an amazing sound – my mind was blown.
So here I am now in 2011, still a Le Tigre fan – so how did it not know about MEN?
MEN featuring JD Samson from Le Tigre, is a Brooklyn-based band that create solid electro-dance beats, and although similar to Le Tigre, are still pretty unique in their own right.
Having released their first album ‘Talk About Body’ in February last year, 2012 see’s them release their second full length record, with critics praising them for the energy of their live performances and the radical potential of the dance beats they create.
The bands lead singer and Le Tigre alumni JD Samson explains why their music has such potential.
“Dance is an environment where bodies move. People move together within safety and for a common goal [such as] enjoyment…it’s important to remind people that within this body [of] energy you can actually have radical thought. Why shouldn’t we all move together toward political change” JD says.
Putting their money where their mouth is, MEN are committed to ensuring they influence that change, for the better, in environments people can relate to, meaning a dance club or festival is the perfect place to reach people.
“[Our] content is usually political or conceptual. We speak of economy, desire, struggle, and equality. And the juxtaposition of dance with brain power and a call to come together is what makes us special” she says.
That “special” quality and unique sound has lead MEN to collaborate with a stack of talented artists in their own rights including Cobra Starship and Santigold, plus touring with the likes of The Gossip and Peaches and playing massive festivals like Coachella and Melt Festival.
But the group is certainly not letting their success go to their heads. Not only were they nominated for a GLAAD Media Award (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) for their work in promoting and raising awareness for full equality in the LGBT community, the group has decided to release their upcoming singles and subsequent full length record themselves, as well as to self-manage their career.
“We have had a rough time the past couple of years trying to figure out the best plan to release our music and manage our careers. The industry has changed so much since Le Tigre was performing and to be honest it was a huge surprise for me” JD says.
“At this point, we decided to stop giving other people our money and try to do it ourselves so we can actually get paid for our work”.
Whether or not this self-management works is yet to be seen, but MEN feel they’re ready to take on that challenge, and hopefully help change the music industry, steering it towards being about creativity and passion rather than the almighty dollar.
“We’ll see what happens, but we won’t be able to blame anyone but ourselves” she says.
Either way MEN are certain that this change and their continued role as activist’s and artists will bring them closer to their fans, and that these feelings of equality will create a revolution in the music industry and in their own lives.
Adelaide fans will be able to feel some of that closeness when MEN bring their electro beats to town, playing the Adelaide Festival of Arts free venue, Barrio Club, at Hajek Plaza at the Adelaide Festival Centre on March 4.
So what’s their plan for 2012 aside from their record release?
“Hopefully some art gigs all over the world” mentions JD.
“We like to sit somewhere between art and commerce so it’s great for us to work both systems to reach as many people as we can.”
– Suzanna Parisi