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Beyond the Game with EA Artwerk's 'Ladytron' and 'Hadouken!'

16 February 2011

We recently had the opportunity to interview two bands signed to Electronic Arts' Artwerk music label. Ladytron, who is featured on the FIFA 11 soundtrack, was formed in Liverpool, England in the summer of 1999. The new wave electro band has four full studio albums under its belt, with a fifth currently cooking in the oven. The second band we spoke to, Hadouken!, was formed in Leeds, England in fall 2006. Featured on the soundtracks of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, EA Sports MMA, and The Sims 3, the gaming-crazed rockers of Hadouken! have put out two albums, with a third set to debut in spring 2011.

We have a bunch of Ladytron and Hadouken! stuff to give away, so stay tuned for that soon. In the meantime, check out releases from Ladytron and Hadouken on iTunes: 604 (Bonus Version) by Ladytron and Oxygen by Hadouken. Our full interview with both bands is available below.

How did your involvement in the gaming business (i.e. relationship with EA Artwerk) come about? How has having your music in EA’s games affected your band?

Reuben (Ladytron): We're signed to Nettwerk who set up Artwerk with EA. Luckily for us it means we are constantly in touch with new developments in the gaming world which gives us an added dimension to releasing music. It's like there's live music, listening to music on your stereo or portable player and now music within a gaming experience.

James (Hadouken!): Quite simple really, our management sent them a copy of our second album, they liked it and thought that our tracks would suit some of their games so we went from there. It's been a great opportunity for us to reach out to new fans who might not otherwise of heard of us so we're really happy about it.


Mira Aroyo (left) and Helen Marnie (right), Ladytron's dual singers

What do you think of the current generation of video games? Of motion gaming experiences like PlayStation Move, Kinect, and Wii Motion Plus?

Reuben (Ladytron): All very exciting developments but really still screen-based experiences. I'm interested in seeing what will come beyond using a screen - like 3D and more immersive technologies.

James (Hadouken!): I've not actually been able to try out any of the new motion gaming systems yet, and I've only played Wii a few times in the past. On a technological tip, I'm completely behind these advances and I think it's great how the way we engage with games is being pushed forward - but I also think there's a line. I recently read a blog by a skater ranting about Tony Hawk's 'Ride' - his thoughts summed things up pretty well. He said that, as a skateboarder, you play skateboarding video games to do all of the tricks & get all of the big air that you can't actually do in the real world. I thought that this was pretty on the money. Basically, it's all good so long as I don't have to become a military sharp shooter to enjoy FPS games in the future!


Hadouken! - OXYGEN [Official Music Video]

What’s your favorite game (or, equally interesting, favorite game soundtrack)? Why?

Reuben (Ladytron): Legend of Zelda on the Super Nintendo. Always has been my favourite - and has an amazing soundtrack.

James (Hadouken!): I think Goldeneye on the N64 is probably a favourite of all time just because it gave the most hours entertainment I've ever had from a game. As for soundtracks, I've always thought the Streets of Rage tunes were ace.


Ladytron - Runaway [Official Music Video]

If you play games regularly, which one have you been hooked on recently?

Reuben (Ladytron): I'm not a gamer. I spend all my time traveling, making music, taking photographs and reading books. Last game I was hooked on was Legend of Zelda.

James (Hadouken!): Lately I've been totally hooked on Battlefield Bad Company 2 - and I'm not just saying that because it's an EA release! I'm a big fan of FPS games & pick up most war-based titles, irrespective of era. Medal of Honour and Black Ops were great, but I'm a bit of a geek for realism. The multiplayer is incredible, and the way that gravity affects the way the bullets fly over distance is a recipe for smug sniping headshots from miles away. You can find me on BFBC2 Vietnam hardcore maps pretty often at the moment! The other guys are playing a lot of Fifa 10 and Dead Rising 2.


Hadouken's hair defies the laws of physics

What do you think about the recent decline in sales of music games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band? Do you think that represents a lack of innovation in that sector of game development?

Reuben (Ladytron): They should have released Synth God. They didn't listen.

James (Hadouken!): I didn't know that was happening but the 'real guitar' that they're making (have made? - don't know if this is out yet) for Rock Band 3 seems like an interesting innovation. The idea of being able to learn a song on the game and then step away, plug in to a real amp and actually be able to transfer those skills to the real world is awesome, I would have loved it when I was learning to play. It would also be nice to see a game that encourages people to be creative in writing music, rather than just learning to play other bands' songs.


The ever-classy Ladytron in full form

Are you a fan of the chiptune/8-bit music scene? Has it influenced any of your own music?

Reuben (Ladytron): Yeah, I really like being able to use old technology in a digital environment, especially when you can modify it to create something brand new. I'm not bang up to date with what's happening right now but we've used 8-bit sounds in our music in the past. We used a circuit-bent Speak & Spell on a couple of tracks too.

James (Hadouken!): We are aware of those artists and some of them are doing interesting things and have some cool sounds but it's not something we're into in a big way. There are some lo-fi 8-bit type sounds on our first record but I think it's just a coincidence that those sounds sounded good to our ears rather than any attempt to align ourselves with that sort of scene. I think it would be a bit limiting for what we're trying to achieve.


The members of Hadouken! on the dark side of the moon

Tell us your best gaming story.

Reuben (Ladytron): I once pretended to be ill so I could stay off school and do the whole of Zelda on one life in one single day.

James (Hadouken!): "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 organization 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 whom had been bought by the organization 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!'

Adam Hunter, Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding decided to forgo their careers in legal law enforcement and put their lives on the line. They are without weapons, but each possesses great hand-to-hand combat abilities. Take them into the heart of the city and battle the most dangerous wave of bad dudes and chicks ever assembled. Make the city a place where people no longer have to walk the Streets of Rage!

Reuben, what separates your upcoming studio album from your previous work?

Reuben (Ladytron): New levels of atmosphere. Time and space.

James, how did you guys settle on Hadouken as your band name? What other names did you reject before you arrived at Hadouken?

James (Hadouken!): We just though it sounded suitable for our music and it was quite different to most other bands who were around at the time. We rejected A LOT of terrible names which in retrospect are far too embarrassing for me to tell you about.

So, honestly, who’s the Street Fighter champ? Or are you evenly matched?

James (Hadouken!): We don’t really play [Street Fighter] all that often to be honest. We’re all pretty bad, when we were in Australia we organized a Street Fighter competition, the winner got tickets to the gig and got to play the band at the game, he beat us all with only one hand, which was pretty embarrassing.

How is the third album coming along? Any idea when it will finally drop?

James (Hadouken!): Really good thanks, I’d say we’re about half way through the recording process and we’re hoping to get it released before the summer. It’s a bit less angry than For The Masses and a bit more euphoric, we think it’s going to be a great record for the summer festival gigs so we’re really looking forward to getting out and playing those.

Thanks to Reuben and James for taking the time to answer our questions!


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