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Photograph by SSG

Band of the Week: Don't Wait Animate

Strumstep pioneers who fuse indie and dubstep as they perform live to create a genre all their own.

The band from London who wouldn't look out of place in a Benetton advert Don't Wait Animate meet up with us at The Haggerston to discuss why exactly they have decided to merge two genres of music together. They talk candidly to Dazed about their love for computer game soundtracks, their unhealthy obsession with Streets of Rage 2 and why to show appreciation for their music you should dance or punch someone in the face... don't worry they aren't violent, just enthusiastic, well meaning folk, whatever you do though, don't save over their computer game positions...

Dazed Digital: You describe your sound as 'Strumstep', what exactly does that mean and where did the phrase come from?

Don’t Wait Animate: One of our fans came up to us quite inebriated one night after our set and screamed at us "strumstep" stupefied, we accepted the term. It is a response to the sound and atmosphere we create using a live band we merge dubstep with indie, borrowing the beats, the breaks and wobble bass from dubstep. However much we are influenced by dubstep we still retain indie sensibilities, an indie heart if you like, most of the recorded tracks retain that kind of vibe.

DD: What problems do you face in terms of not quite belonging to either musical genres, is their love from both sides?
Don’t Wait Animate: The main problem is getting booked! Promoters don't know where to put us because our live set is so different to our recorded songs. We have been placed alongside many different musicians, with a varying degree of success, regardless of response we are able to feed off the crowd - if they hate us we want to play to them more! Our live performances are appreciated by both our indie contingency, and our dubstep connoisseurs, which are particularly into the tracks we haven't laid down - they tend to work better live.

DD: Do you feel there has been an influx in groups who take reference from a hybrid of sounds to create their own musical genre?
Don’t Wait Animate: It's happening more and more, peoples tastes are so diverse now. The question; 'what sort of music are you into'? Is a taboo nowadays and is punishable by public thrashing. It's a postmodernist world, form and genre are dying a slow death.

DD: Do you think this is linked to the internet opening up the world to different sounds or something else?
Don’t Wait Animate: The internet not only supplies copious amount of porn to the male population, its broadened peoples taste too. However, the ease in which you can create music with accessible software and inexpensive instruments is massive. The early garage scene is a good example of people's subvertive drive to expand musical genres, picking up fans via word of mouth and the good old-fashioned pirate radio station.

DD: Where do you seek inspiration?
Don’t Wait Animate: We are a multi-ethnic group in every sense of the word, our drummer Tak is really into his Afro-jazz to which he dedicates his legendary 'switch up' on his kit. Bex (Synth) like the rest of us was into grime and speed garage growing up, Nathanael (Guitar/banter) was known to dabble in a little country, folk and computer game soundtracks. The lead man, Joe (Guitar/vocals) was into his satanic-death-rock, whilst our bassist Edd was into Christian-rock-pop - as you can imagine, we get confused and brutalise each other at practice.

DD: Who do you admire musically and why?
Don’t Wait Animate: The guy who composed the Streets of Rage 2 sound track on the Sega Megadrive! We suspect that he actually traveled back in time from music-electro-zen-paradise and gave us a grimey glimpse of the future. Absolute genius! We also love Starkey and Burial both of whom created two amazing albums that I guess have inspired us to experiment into the dark emotive side of dubstep - nothing on Streets of Rage 2 though!

DD: What would you like the listeners to hear and feel when they play your music?
Don’t Wait Animate: We want listeners who hear us make a movie in their heads and play our soundtrack to it. When people come and see us live we want people to feel the music and loose themselves in the atmosphere and bass. We want people to be moved to the point where they dance or punch someone in the face.

DD: How important is a conscience in your music reflective of today's political and economic climate?
Don’t Wait Animate: Our songs are an embodiment of our anxiety about what's happening to us. We make music for the people who are forced to vote for the lesser of two evils. For the lost working-class, for the people without a voice but ears that can hear music nonetheless, for the homeless guy in the front row at our show and for the people who can't afford to pay their council tax but somehow manage to go out and get smashed every other night. Our music  explores the effects of the climate on the real people. However as Tak says 'It doesn't matter – I know its gonna be alright'.

DD: What are your up and coming projects?
Don’t Wait Animate: We are just working on our EP at the moment making the finishing touches. Although It's constantly getting tweaked by Joe (Guitar/Vocals) So due to OCD it may never be fully finished. Whilst were recording were also looking to work with other artists. Were speaking to a few Mc's and Dubstep DJ's at the moment. Maybe the Outhere brothers will co-lab with us? There vocals are second to none. So if your reading this Outhere Brothers... you know what to do.

DD: When you close your eyes and think of the future what do you see?
Don’t Wait Animate: "What was once a happy, peaceful, productive city, full of life and activity, has fallen into the hands of a secret criminal syndicate. The leader of the syndicate has somehow managed to keep his identity a secret. The organisation soon absorbed the city government (anyone can be had if the price is right). They even had the metropolitan police force in their back pocket. Looting, random violence and destruction are rampant. No one is safe walking the streets, day or night...

As the chaos continued at full strength, three young police officers tried to establish a special attack unit. They were repeatedly turned down by their superiors, most of who had been bought by the organisation or were too afraid to make a stand. One day, when they could no longer stand by and watch their city being demolished, they quit the force!" (Streets Of Rage Prologue)

New material is due out early July check myspace for further details.