What is a Knife Party you ask? Sounds like a rather gruesome, dangerous and painful party! Who is Knife Party is the better question. Well let’s just say it’s enough hard-hitting bass and ratcheting electro riffs to make your ears feel as if they are getting knifed – at a party!
That is one way to describe this relatively new Australian electro house/dubstep duo, founded by members of the drum and bass/rock band Pendulum. Even though — Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen have been around in the music scene since the late 90’s (the band Pendulum, has been around since the turn of the millennium); Knife Party is a great example of how an already established band can recreate itself into a fresh, new rising act!
The originating drum and bass/rock band Pendulum, founded in Perth, Australia in 2002, has always experimented with mixing other genres into their work and incorporating different styles from such genres as alternative rock, heavy metal, dubstep, industrial, hard rock and house. So this “side project,” known as Knife Party, was somewhat of a natural step for the two (out of six) Pendulum band mates.
Born and raised in Perth, Western Australia, Rob Swire first met his band mate Gareth McGrillen while attending Scotch College. Swire worked as a record producer for several local drum and bass, breakbeat and metal bands, during which he occasionally used the stage name “Anscenic.” He is also known for various recent collaborations – he recorded the vocals for the Deadmau5 track “Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff,” co-wrote songs “Rude Boy” and “Roc Me Out”, by Rhianna, as well as contributed bass guitar and backing vocals. He is obviously quite the multi-talented musical fellow.
Gareth McGrillen, also born in Perth, recalls how starting out in a strictly underground scene such as drum and bass enabled them to develop their sound without feeling out-of-place by putting guitars and other musical influences together. In an interview with Popwreckoning, Gareth explains the motivation behind moving from Australia to London back in 2003: “At the time we were in an underground dance music scene, we had just written our first song and it blew up in a huge way in the UK (the home of electronic music), so it was an inevitable move for us, Australia was too far away from everywhere else. It’s always hard to pick up and move to such a harsh place as London when you’re young, and it was a massive struggle for a few years, but the harshness tends to push you to succeed.” Gareth goes on, “We’d have not gotten anywhere if we had stayed in Australia; the move for us was essential. Australia is far too relaxed it makes me lazy, we needed to be pushed by a place like the UK where the music scene waits for nobody.”
Now back to the birth of Knife Party. In a recent interview with In The Mix, Gareth describes how the “Party” got started: “It’s really quite underground and it’s something that we can use as a creative outlet until we’re hit in the face with inspiration for the next Pendulum album,” he explained. “We launched it officially in Ibiza over [the last European] summer and it was for Radio 1.”
“Musically the project just comes from different influences. I’ve just been really gripped by two things recently; house music and dubstep. We were just throwing ideas around and using that as a vehicle for stuff that was completely irrelevant to Pendulum. These ideas went from screamo metal tracks to moombahton and dubstep and house.”
Their first EP was called 100% No Modern Talking and was released digitally through Pendulum’s record label, EarStorm on December 12th, 2011 as a free download from their official website and Facebook. It features four tracks: “Internet Friends,” “Destroy Them with Lazers,” “Tourniquet,” and “Fire Hive.” Last December they also collaborated with Swedish House Mafia to release (SHM’s) new single, “Antidote.”
Gareth describes how he feels about the Swedes and working with SHM: “Those guys are larger than life. There’s something about the Swedes, I think; if you take the top guys in the house scene and look at what you’ve got you’ll see that there’s something that really separates the Swedes from the rest. They might all fly on private jets and act like rock stars but musically they’re just amazing. They’re like Mötley Crüe for the house scene. They’ve really ‘got’ us and we get them too.”
Safe to say Knife Party has definitely struck a chord with the electro/house music fans, and their notoriety, along with their music, continues to grow! I personally had the privilege of witnessing their musical prowess at the recent LED Two-Year Anniversary party in San Diego, CA at the Sports Arena. They played along with other notable house acts such as Kill The Noise, Tommy Trash, Bingo Players, Nicky Romero, and Dirty South. As they came on stage, Gareth on the mic got the crowd going as Rob on the decks let the music do the talking – or the beating, I should say.
It was a hell of a show, with lights, lasers, confetti, inflatable whales being tossed around in a sea of people, and the crowd definitely moving and jumping to the beat! They put on a great show, and I would highly recommend anyone to go check them out!
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