When electro-pop act Ladytron first broke out of their scene in Liverpool four years ago, they reminded us that you could capture international attention with vintage synths, new-wave flair, and Gary Numan's back catalog. In support of the quartet's newest record, Light & Magic, a couple of Ladytron's members are embarking on solo DJ tours of the U.S. Keyboardist Reuben Wu will be DJing in Seattle at the Baltic Room's five-year anniversary on November 27, playing sets that, according to Wu, "have never been played in dance clubs before--ranging from Sonic Youth [and] Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds soundtrack to more contemporary electronic music and old funk."
Speaking from his New York City hotel room, Wu chatted with me in a friendly, matter-of-fact way about his current take on electronic music--and why the world needs another DJ. "We are a band; I'm not trying to represent myself as a DJ act," he says. "This is just an opportunity for us to play music that has influenced us and to have fun." For DJ culture snobs out there, the biggest issue is usually with some Johnny-come-lately who isn't even mixing live and train-wrecks records as if playing for some kind of bad high-school dance. Wu, who was a DJ before working with Ladytron, responds, "For me, it depends on the situation. In Europe I tend to play more techno, which involves mixing, but in the U.S., I tend to play more classic jams, and when those are pitched up to match beats, the crowd thinks it sounds too different."
When pressed about being lumped in with the current wave of retro "electro" bands, Wu is quick to distance himself and Ladytron. "To me, there is just good and bad music. The marketing of 'electro' has done a good thing, though--it has heightened the profile of this type of music."
Wu gives off the sense that he is an artist comfortable with the fashionable hype that surrounds his band, and that he appreciates his present relationship with music for what it is. He states plainly, "My aim is to get people dancing and to make them lose it, in a good way." NICOLAE WHITE