Elite Gymnastics never puts a foot wrong with his dreamy industrial trance, but now the Minneapolis-based James Brooks is cleaning up his sound. The new song 'Andreja 4-Ever' moves away from the beats-focused 'RUIN 1-4' into a fuller, more melodic sound, with an elegiac pop hook and a downtempo house beat reminiscent of Saint Etienne's 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart'. "[The] lyrics are about a broader set of emotions", Brooks reflects on his Tumblr of the song which nods to Swedish drama LILYA 4-EVER as well as feminist writer Andrea Dworkin in its title. If 'Andreja 4-Ever' and their recent Sky Ferreira remix are anything to go by, the forthcoming Elite Gymnastics record looks to be the most exciting thing to happen to DIY pop since Grimes picked up a Roland Juno G. We caught up with James to find out more.
I don't think anything could be better than hearing Rihanna sing something I wrote. I remember reading an interview with Will Oldham where he talked about how intense it was to hear Johnny Cash sing 'I See A Darkness', and to hear Rihanna sing something I wrote would probably be that heavy and emotional
…the story behind your band name?
It's a reference to a Whitehouse lyric about the most popular Google searches among pedophiles - which are apparently "Russian Orphanages," "Ruthless Babysitting" and "Elite Gymnastics". I named the band Elite Gymnastics because the more successful it becomes, the less pedophile-y stuff shows up when you Google the phrase. The purpose of the name is to pay homage to Whitehouse and to fuck with paedophiles.
…your dream music video?
Making videos is kind of hard. Most videos aren't really very good. Grimes' videos that she directs/conceptualises herself are amazing, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's videos are amazing, 2NE1's videos are amazing, Hype Williams videos are amazing, but most videos now are just kind of whatever. My dream video would just be one that people watch most of the way through before clicking out of the YouTube tab to something else.
…at the top of your shitlist?
Anyone who has ever made fun of the way Adele looks. She's beautiful, period. Guys sitting around snickering and making fat jokes makes me want to strangle someone. Didn't Karl Lagerfeld call her fat once? Fuck Karl Lagerfeld.
…your favourite type of candy?
The ones that you can get at dispensaries in California.
…the artist that you'd love to cover one of your songs?
Rihanna. I don't think anything could be better than hearing Rihanna sing something I wrote. I remember reading an interview with Will Oldham where he talked about how intense it was to hear Johnny Cash sing 'I See A Darkness', and to hear Rihanna sing something I wrote would probably be that heavy and emotional.
…the movie you wish everyone knew about?
Survive Style 5+. It's a Japanese-language film that's really beautiful, funny, violent and gentle. It's totally amazing and I haven't run into that many people who've seen it.
…your most hated musical genre and why?
I don't think the genre of a song has any bearing on whether it's good or worthwhile. Like, George Michael had that album 'Listen Without Prejudice', and I admire that concept. He was pretty ahead of the game musically with a lot of things on that album.
…your worst vice?
Sometimes I romanticise vice as a concept, but I don't really think people's vices are very romantic or interesting. I don't think that knowing someone smokes cigarettes or buys shoes or drinks to excess really tells me anything worthwhile about them as a person.
…the cartoon/anime character you'd most like to swap places with?
Sometimes me and my friends try to figure out which Sailor Scout we are most like. Grimes thinks she's like Sailor Jupiter, Blood Diamonds is probably Sailor Mars, Unicorn Kid might be Sailor Mercury, and I'm probably Sailor Moon. Nobody is Sailor Venus because Sailor Venus doesn't really have a personality.
…your favourite website?
The Hairpin, and maybe Rihanna's Twitter and Instagram accounts. Those are really good. There have been a lot of Rihanna tweets that made me squint with joy.
…are you listening to RIGHT NOW?
'Say You'll Be There' by the Spice Girls.
…the thing you'd save if your house was on fire?
Are there cats in the house? That's the first priority. If there aren't cats in the house, why aren't there cats in the house? Why am I living in a house without cats? That sucks almost as much as being in a fire. I might as well just let myself burn to death.
How would you describe your music?
Demonstrably the work of someone who likes both Whitehouse and the Spice Girls.