Smash HiFi have released the video to ‘Blacklights’ taken from their album Order More Disorder.
Blacklights are Leeroy, a former keyboardist and rave dancer of The Prodigy, and Marten Horger, a Stuttgart native who’s grown up embedded in the German drum ‘n’ bass and techno scene. Together it’s an electric combination, and makes for one of the most incredible dance-oriented acts we’ve heard this decade.
“Marten’s focused on electronic music, and me more growing up rock and indie is a combination that just works,” says Leeroy, who is talking to Gigwise from his studio he’s worked with Horger at since moving to Stuttgart to focus on Smash HiFi full-time.
“I started working with Marten when I was living in England but long distance collaboration was just so slow, we only got it together every six months or so. It got to the point I was pretty sick of England, I’ll come out for a year, see how I get on. Five years later we’ve finished the album and we’re rocking, ready to play some shows.”
“It took us way longer than we thought it would,” concedes Horger “I’ve been making dance tracks for all my life, technically it’s the same thing in terms of producing but actual songs as opposed to dance bangers is totally different, I had to learn that.”
The patience to push for their most ambitious album of their career, that’s largely self-produced, has paid off. The body of work they’ve come out with is extraordinary – the beats tastefully arranged and full of rock ’n’ roll attitude and don’t lean on any commercial dance cliché’s. There’s a lot of live elements to it, too. Jim Davies who played in The Prodigy and Pitchshifter has laid guitars down with which Horger has effected to sound like synths to fit into the electronic soundscape succinctly. Fans of early Prodigy will be delighted with what they discover here.
The album is an interesting collage of genre. There’s collaborations with London grime kids The Legionnaires, American soul singer Kym Mazelle, Freestylers’ MC Sirreal. But the one that seems to have led to something more permanent is that with Lexie Lee and Ka aka Yung Coconut. The former is a female rapper born in Jamiaca, raised in California who paved her way into the music industry with dancehall and hip hop. The latter is a relatively unknown German rapper.
Of the two rappers, Leeroy says: “We met them half way through making the album, we feel they’re the strongest point. When the four of us get together it makes magic, that is the core of what we’re doing now.”
The latest single, ‘Blacklights’ showcases the two rappers ability well, as their involvement is the centre of the track. Lexie Lee’s input is most dominant, whilst Ka adds a verse in the middle that has the feel of German reggae band Seeed somewhat. Leeroy and Horger encouraged both artists to write their own lyrics and as such there’s real feeling in the delivery.
Although the thrust of the song is fairly energetic, the melodies have an understated darkness and are reminiscent of some of the minor tones you’d associate with The xx. Like the human mind, it’s full of light and darkness, and shows these songs translating their deepest darkest thoughts into sound, and it’s thrilling to hear.
As for future movements, Smash HiFi take to the stage at Le Bikini near Toulouse, France, which is one of the best venues in Europe. They play album tracks, and apart from the drum track, everything is played live from their decks. It gives them the opportunity to lead some insane wig-outs and meander away from the structure of their songs and launch into passages of music that will have the crowd relentlessly dancing until the early hours. Don’t miss them live.
Originally published here