The Whip

The Whip make visceral dance music that sends crowds into a frenzy. They’ve been described as everything from Electro House to Dance-Punk and have headlined festivals across the world including in China. They’ve remixed bands such as The Editors and Hadouken!, and their music has been used on tv programmes, ads and video games. The Whip have released their second album, Wired Together, produced by Jagz Kooner, and the single Secret Weapon is a Mixmag as well as a fan favourite. Their live gigs this year range from Sao Paolo to Somerset. We took some pics of them flamboyant, resplendent and killing it at Club NME’s Halloween Ball and talked to them about their amazing sound.

Oldham, Greater Manchester
Southern Fried Records / Razor and Tie / Kitsuné

Whipping It

The Whip told us how they got together to make music that “makes our tails wag” and about playing the massive Modern Sky festival in Shanghai, China.

Basically we just make the music that makes sense to us, just an incorporation of different elements like live instruments along with analogue synths and then working with producers in the studio manipulating those sorts of raw sounds as well. We just kind of make the music that makes our tails wag at a particular time. Dance punk’s not too far away.

We like the rhythms of dance music, a lot and we just try and incorporate all our strengths into those songs you know, live bass and live drums and beat breaks, just try to fuse it all together.

With the new album a lot of the songs were written while we were busy, when we were out touring the first album and a lot of the songs are just about those experiences that we had together, you know, like the highs and the lows and long days, long time away from home, late nights, sleep deprivation, excess in every meaning of the word. Basically just documenting us going through that crazy time that we were all experiencing for the first time together.

The band has toured Japan, the US, Australia, are off to Brazil soon and had an amazing experience at the Modern Sky festival in Shanghai and Beijing, China.

It was really great, we’d never been out there or anything so we didn’t know whether people knew us. And we got out there and we were playing to, like, ten thousand people and people were singing and they knew about the album and we were quite surprised because we just don’t get the feedback

When you actually visit there you can see firsthand just how different it is. When we were doing the soundcheck at the festival, all of a sudden, instead of the security guards coming in wearing high vis vests it was like some military operation, arrived all in uniform, but they were actually kind of soft at heart, kind of dancing a little bit here and there, and taking a little cigarette break. You could see them letting their hair down a little bit.

The guards weren’t the only ones to let their hair down. At another Chinese festival, Strawberry, the singer from Chinese band Da Bang came on stage and started stripping. The band weren’t sure if that was allowed! They had no idea what to expect from their fans, because of rules about the internet.

You don’t get social network sites like we get, like Facebook and Twitter, that’s banned. It’s amazing to see the people who are hearing our music over there without knowing them, because you don’t have the opportunity to chat with them online in these places.

Something that was pretty strange about China was that you couldn’t buy alcohol on the festival site till 8pm. We weren’t drunk but we were sat around the festival having a beer, everyone else around must have been sober.

They joke that some of their best gigs are when half the crowd is in the gutter! The band have been together for six years and are very close, says Fee.

Nathan and Bruce worked in a music shop in Manchester together for a bit and originally they weren’t going to get a drummer in at all, they were just getting Nathan in, but me and Nathan have known each other for years and Nathan was like, you’ve got to ask Fee because he knew that I’m really into dance music and stuff. So we did a rehearsal and it worked. Dead good, and that was it.

They didn’t want a drummer who would do loads of fills, and Fee has been dubbed the human metronome. Nathan takes up the story.

We just knew straight away. It wasn’t like months of trying to get it tight or anything, it was literally the first rehearsal just sounded really good.

Bruce gave Fee a bit of direction though!

I remember singing and going ‘Hit it harder, Fee’ and then it got to the stage after about half an hour where I was just going ‘Harder!’ I remember screaming ‘Harder!’

After a handful of rehearsals they were gigging, and touring followed. They’re careful with their gear though.

They’re careful about taking their gear along though.

We’re quite particular with what we’ve learned from years of touring, to keep our vintage stuff at home as at first we were taking all our vintage stuff on the road with us, taking old basses and old guitars and vintage synths. You start to get repairs, and then you see them getting dropped, flight cases or not, from a great height by baggage handlers.

You see it out of a plane window and it’s like, ohhh!!

Now they take high quality newer kit on the road such as Moog, Fender, Yamaha. See the side panels for more on what they play.