Pendulum Swings Back: Rob Swire Talks Monster Collabs, New Album Rumours & What It All Means For Knife Party

Perth drum ‘n’ bass outfit Pendulum are among Australia’s biggest music exports. Forming in the early noughties, ambitious frontman Rob Swire, Gareth McGrillen and Paul “El Hornet” Harding moved to the UK. They debuted with 2005’s album Hold Your Colour – a crossover phenom. The group would go on to introduce heavy metal influences.

Alas, drum ‘n’ bass purists regarded them with suspicion. Pendulum feuded with Goldie.

Pendulum last issued Immersion in 2010. After touring solidly (including North American dates with Linkin Park), they slipped into hiatus. Swire and McGrillen became absorbed in their electro-house project, Knife Party. (Oh, and Swire worked on Rihanna’s ‘Rude Boy’!!)

In fact, Pendulum foreshadowed the visceral hybridisation of EDM (Swire’s current antipathy to it aside). In 2016, the band made a live comeback at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival (also one of Avicii’s final DJ appearances) in tandem with Knife Party. Now, they’re F.I.N.A.L.L.Y. headed back here for a homecoming tour (!!!)

There’s been chatter, on and off, about a fourth Pendulum album. Later this month they’ll drop a remix set, The Reworks, having already aired Noisia’s take on the ‘Hold Your Colour’ title-cut (Moby recasts the early ‘Vault’). Music Feeds cornered Swire to find out what’s next.

Music Feeds: Pendulum’s Australian tour has caught people by surprise – although you’ve performed consistently internationally since 2016’s Ultra Music Festival and even played Perth as DJs in 2016. What prompted the renewed activity in the first place?

Rob Swire: It’ll be good to get back to Australia for some shows – it’s been eight years since the last tour so was long overdue. We never really thought we’d come back until we played Ultra. But there was a voice inside my head telling me we should come home at some point.

MF: Around 2013 you sounded ambivalent about Pendulum’s future. What reinvigorated your enthusiasm for the project?

RS: Our management raised the question, and then Adam [Russakoff] from Ultra convinced me that it was a good idea [to perform]. Not very romantic and, if it was left up to me, I might not have. But making Pendulum music is still something I’m excited about. We’ve completely revamped the live show, so hopefully you should hear us sounding better than ever.

MF: The last Pendulum album, Immersion, dropped in 2010 – and in recent years there’s been talk of a fourth. What is happening for the band on the studio front? Will there still be another album?

RS: We’ve been working across The Reworks, a collection of 13 of our singles remixed by some of our really good friends, with no rules: we gave everyone free rein with the tracks. We’re working on some bits in the studio at the minute and, with any luck, we’ll have something out this year. No promises, though.

MF: In June you’re dropping The Reworks, that remix album, with input from names like Moby and Skrillex. Which remix blew you away the most?

RS: Probably [Canadian heavy metaller] Devin Townsend’s remix of ‘Crush’. He’s an idol of ours and I was so excited that he’d agreed to do one. But the Skrillex remix [of ‘The Island Part 1’] was also very cool – super-heavy and musical. It’s a new sound from him that I think people will be excited about.

MF: With Pendulum back in play, what does that mean for Knife Party? After all, you have a Knife Party remix of ‘Blood Sugar’ on The Reworks.

RS: We’re still working on bits in the studio and we’re touring. It’s still just us, sitting in a room, or our own studios, writing random stuff until we hit on something that we love. I tend to get sick of whatever I was doing last, so it’s nice to be able to constantly bounce between the two.

MF: What can you tell us about the Pendulum show you’re touring this winter? And who’ll be touring as part of the live line-up?

RS: There’s the four of us now and we’ve approached everything a bit differently this time. Unfortunately, [MC Ben] Verse [Mount] had commitments outside of the band that he wanted to pursue. But the silver lining of it is that it’s given us a chance to let the music come across by itself without interruption. We’ve also revamped the technical side of the show, too. So as well as making it easier – and cheaper – to travel, audiences should be able to hear a massive boost in sound quality.

Pendulum’s ‘The Reworks’ will land on June 29th.

You can find more info on Pendulum’s headline Australian tour after the jump.

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