Artificial Pleasure make magically glistening synth-pop that’s as slick and well-oiled as their haircuts.
Hard to pin down and even harder not to jump out of your chair and break into spontaneous dance upon listening, theirs is a sound that chops up New Order, Gary Newman, Talking Heads and Roxy Music, adds a liberal dose of Bowie Let’s Dance era, and rolls it up into a sharp pop package.
Such is the band’s confidence, it takes almost four minutes for the vocals to kick in on latest single Better Than Nothing, a six-minute epically uplifting dancefloor stomper that takes influence from the shape-shifting prog of Todd Rundgren’s 1973 album A Wizard, A True Star.
Still only a few single releases in, the band have already received a ton of support both at home and across the pond, with everyone from BBC Radio 1’s Phil Taggart to Triple K in Australia falling under their spell.
Now with the release of their new EP, Wound Up Tight on 8 December, things only look set to get bigger and better for the London-based group.
Ahead of the release, we caught 30 seconds with frontman Phil McDonnell to get the lowdown…
What was the first song you developed an obsession for?
The Animal Song by Loudon Wainwright III.
What’s the first gig you went to?
Status Quo, Wembley Arena. It’s a long story.
What’s the first instrument you ever got hold of?
Three-quarter size nylon acoustic from Albert’s in Twickenham.
What is your worst musical habit?
Playing the Hollyoaks theme tune, that or playing every song in shuffle.
What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?
Whenever I would try to show off on guitar, my uncle would make a wanker sign at me. From that point I knew to play it simple.
Where do you discover new music?
I get recommendations from friends that I trust.
What’s your favourite venue?
Klub B90 in Gdansk.
Who is your current favourite band/artist?
Lea Porcelain, no contest.
What inspirations outside of music impact your songwriting?
I see as much theatre as I can, there are some really bold and challenging shows out there that inspire you to be braver with your songwriting. There’s a lot to be taken from companies like Rash Dash and Little Bulb, those companies create really exciting shows but they’re never pretentious. I sometimes come away from from the theatre feeling more energised than I have from a lot of gigs.
I also like Graham Greene novels, they’re utterly unromantic and the characters are often out of their depth so there’s a lot of material in those characters. I like writing bold dance songs that actually focus on quite tense or morbid situations.
What track of yours best represents your sound?
Like Never Before.
What’s next for you?
The new EP Wound Up Tight is out in December and then by the new year the album should be finished.
Wound Up Tight is released on 8 December.
12 Dec – The Lexington, London