You may recognize their signature dead smiley face logo and if not, you’ll see them stuck all over fixtures surrounding Union Square after their show at Webster Hall last night. These 4 guys: Matt, Nick, and brothers Tony and Josh, make up the electro-rock band, Modestep. A little over 3 years in the making, with a European and UK tour as well as a full-length album under their belts, they finally made it over to the states! We were lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with these London gents, as they share some interesting and somewhat bazaar info with us.
DB: Where did the dead smiley face come from? Does it mean anything?
MS: Josh used to draw it on his walls when he was living in student accommodation at university. When we started Modestep, we needed to create a logo and that was the first thing he drew. i guess it has just stuck with us!
DB: Your first single was released in 2011 and debut album in 2013. Any reason for the big gap?
MS: We were doing 300 shows a year on average, all across the world. It’s very difficult to find down-time while being constantly on the road. It took us a lot longer to write than we had planned. Also the label wanted to make sure that it was released at the right time so we had to wait for them to be ready too.
Their album “Evolution Theory” was definitely worth the two-year wait for us. After it was released on February 11, 2013 we could not get enough. Hearing these jams performed live as they should be, such as “Praying for Silence”, “Freedom”, and “Take it All”, blew the album versions out of the water.
Starting off on their rock band side with “Leave my mind,” they immediately transitioned into a dirty Dubstep remix of Benni Benassi “Satisfaction” to get the crowd going nuts. Almost as nuts as Josh was the entire show! That kid has some serious stage presence.
DB: How did you discover/develop your style.
MS: We didn’t have much time to discover or develop our sound as the first track we ever made had quite a bit of success in the UK and online. It was then a case of working backwards. We had no idea who we were as a band, which is why our album is called “Evolution Theory”. After writing the album we began to find our feet as artists, and the album was our journey. We feel that we have only just found our identity and sound. And it will all become apparent in album 2.
We have to say, we love how everyone has been going back to the roots of EDM by dropping Prodigy’s “Fat of The Land” songs. However, with an entire band to back it up, this one tops them all. “Smack my bitch up” started the mosh pits and we were getting pushed every which way. But it didn’t matter, because we were going to crazy to care. Little did we know, we got to join them at their favorite type of show.
DB: Do you prefer individual shows or festivals? Why?
MS: Both are incredible, but I would have to say that our individual shows are more fun for me. There is a certain atmosphere you get when you are in a packed out, sweaty club with an obnoxious sound system, that you don’t get anywhere else. Although saying that, it’s also pretty amazing to see thousands of fans singing back the words to our songs at festivals!
Although this is not the most crowded we have seen Webster Hall, we could tell it was packed with the most dedicated Modestep fans New York has to offer.
DB: What was your most memorable show or moment at a show?
MS: I would have to say Reading Festival last year was a personal highlight for me. It was the first festival that we went to as kids, and had some of the best times of our lives there year after year. It was incredible to come back and play on the same stage we had seen so many incredible artists play on over the years.
If you have seen any of their absurd videos, you may recognize a repetitive face.
DB: What’s up with that one white guy in all your videos? Is he a good friend or something?
MS: We only met him on the day of the “Feel Good” video shoot. He is literally the funniest guy I have ever met in my life. He’s one of those guys that doesn’t even have to say anything, he can make you laugh with his facial expressions alone! After his incredible performance in the “Feel Good” video, we knew we had to try and include him in as many videos as possible!
Lucky guy huh? Now lets talk Modestep Future.
DB: Are there any artists that you’d like to collaborate with?
MS: Absolutely loads! Obviously the big guys like Noisia, Skrillex and Nero but there’s loads of people we are feeling at the moment that we would love to do tracks with such as Culprate, Bar9, Skism, Trolley Snatcha, Barbarix and Trampa! We plan to put out a collaborations EP at some point this year, so watch this space!
Oh please!! With big names like that, we cannot wait for it!!
DB: What are some of your favorite tunes right now?
MS: We recently just toured with Koven who we think is making some of the best bass music around at the moment, check out his new single “More Than You” it’s an absolute monster! As well as that we have just signed Document One to our label, and they are currently working on tonnes of new material, but obviously their classic tunes like “Clap” and newer stuff like “Forgive Me” are always getting played out by us!
DB: Any solo side projects going on?
MS: Nick has a Korean Pop side project that he is quite involved in. He runs it along side Modestep. He plans it so that both albums drop at the same time, and which ever does better he will choose to stay with.
DB: Pre/post show rituals?
MS: We do have one ritual, but it’s a secret. We all put our hands in the middle and say something all at the same time. I can’t tell you what it is, or i’d have to kill you.
DB: Tell us something interesting about you guys that someone wouldn’t know otherwise.
MWe bought Nick off eBay after typing “fastest Chinese guitar player” into the search bar.
We weren’t sure of they were joking about this but after the band member intros:
I guess you really can buy people off of eBay! Haha! Well, maybe UK eBay.
After finishing with a slower jam “Saved the World,” the crowd proceeded to chant “One more song! One more song!” The boys delivered and returned to the stage to rock out with their ever-popular “Sunshine.” One cool and unusual thing Josh made us do was crouch down on the floor and all jump up on his count of 3. It was effective and a perfect end to such an amazing and anticipated experience. Although it was only an hour set (we’ll blame it on the fact that it was a Wednesday night) the guys made up for it by greeting fans at the merchandise booth, snapping a few group photos, and signing everything in sight including a daily beat sticker and our fan fan.
Can you spot him?