The ChemiCal BroThers
Making their UAE debut at the first of the Yasalam After Race Concerts, dance music veterans Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons are famous for being the pioneers of the British big beat sound of the mid1990s, but they remain just as relevant today. They played the Glastonbury Festival last year and released their eighth studio album at the back of 2015.
Along the way they they’ve topped the UK singles chart twice, seen six of their albums go to No1 in the UK charts, and walked away with one Brit Award (for best Dance Act in 2000), four Grammies and four MTV awards. Not bad for two lads who met at Manchester University way back in 1989.
In 1995, they released their debut album Exit Planet Dust, a record that sounds box fresh even today (the Chemicals are in fact re-releasing their entire back catalogue on vinyl in December of this year). And while they’ve taken time off in recent years to pursue personal projects, they’re both performing in the nation’s capital, and Simons is quick to point out that their 20-plus years career has lasted longer than many marriages.
“When two people are excited over something it really drives the momentum forward. Both of us at the studio feeling something at the same time and thinking, this is why we’re doing this,” he says. “It’s that shared love of music and friendship, which is the secret to why we’re still doing stuff together. We’re good friends, we make each other laugh and we have fun.”
As the years have passed, the Chemicals have also proven they’ve not a one-trick pony. Beck The indie/folk star collaborated on the 2015 track Wide Open. lorde Kiwi singer Lorde recorded a tune with them for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. Noel Gallagher Liam’s big brother and former Oasis songwriter Noel recorded two tracks with the They’re scored the soundtracks to several movies, including Hanna, a 2011 thriller starring Cate Blanchet, and Michael Fassbender’s latest, British crime drama Tresspass Against Us.
But the public’s desire to dance to those electronic hits such as Block Rockin’ Beats means their Abu Dhabi gig isn’t a one-off – they’ve got a UK tour lined up to finish off 2016, and they’re just as passionate about dance music now as they were in the ’90s. “We’re still inspired by the electronic music being made but I can’t say, ‘This is what’s taking over the world.’ We’re just taking interesting things that we’re hearing everywhere and feeding them into tracks,” adds Rowlands. “This summer there were a lot of good records out, like the new The Avalanches record, the Factory Floor album or the new Bon Iver album.” Chemicals in the 1990s – Let Forever Be and Setting Sun. Tim Burgess You can see The Charlatans frontman at What’s On’s Party In The Park this month. He’s also collaborated with Ed and Tom twice, on 1995’s Life Is Sweet and 2005’s The Boxer.