Back in the late '90s, James Ford and Jas Shaw were studying biology at and philosophy respectively at Manchester University, while crafting strange electronic music in the spare room of their shared house. Fellow student Simon Lord, a folk-influenced singer-songwriter, caught wind of the duo's sonic experiments, and along with bass player Alex MacNaughten they formed the band Simian.
It was around the time when a lot of bands were starting to combine traditional songwriting with electronic sounds in the spirit of Broadcast and The Beta Band. Simian did quite well. But not quite well enough to justify the major label deal they'd signed. James and Jas found themselves playing as a conventional rhythm section in a touring band, which isn't what they set out to do. Even though they realised it would be a terrible cliché for Simian to split in the middle of a long, hot US tour, Simian split in the middle of a long, hot US tour.
In order to sate their love of electronic party music, James and Jas booked themselves DJ dates while touring with Simian. They'd finish a gig and then run off to play electro records to small, sweaty rooms full of people who often seemed to be having lots ...