Sydney, 4 October 2007. MTV's The Lair
Left to right: Szekeres, Stricker and Vendetta
|Genres||Alternative dance, synthpop, electronica|
Midnight Juggernauts are an Australian band from Melbourne, Australia, composed of Andrew Szekeres, Vincent Vendetta, and Daniel Stricker. The band has been described as anything from 'prog dance meets cosmic film scores', to 'slasher-flick disco' to 'deadpan landscape'. It is hard to define the band's sound as all the instruments are played live through a range of samplers, pads and various acoustic instruments. Following the release of numerous 7" and 12" singles, and limited edition EPs, the band released their debut album, Dystopia. After playing festivals and headlining tours worldwide during late 2007-2008, the band finished working on their follow up album The Crystal Axis, touring around its release mid-2010 at festivals and headline shows around the globe. After a few years break the band released a third album Uncanny Valley in mid-2013. Members have also collaborated with various artists including Kirin J Callinan, Justice, Solange and Sebastian Tellier. The group also runs the label Siberia Records, through which they release their own music and others including Kirin J Callinan and Forces.
The band was formed in 2004 by Vincenzi Vendetta and Andrew Szekeres who met in school. They were later joined by Daniel Stricker in late 2006 who had met the two whilst playing in various groups over the years. In early shows the band had many different names and the lyrical content changed from show to show – one time when playing above a Chinese restaurant using the name of items from the menu in the lyrics of a few songs. The band have been noted for their more eccentric approach having come from established creative arts backgrounds, and remain heavily active in various experimental audio-visual projects.
EPs and vinyl
Following a self-titled EP featuring "Raised By Wolves" in 2005, and the EP Secrets of the Universe in 2006, the band started to quickly gain a following in and out of Australia with the song "Shadows" becoming a hit in clubs and on the Internet. It was originally released as a 12" on friends label Cutters and re-released on Institubes in 2008 along with a host of limited edition vinyl. It and other songs were also featured on many compilations including Modular's Leave Them All Behind, FBI’s Kill Your Idols CD, Kitsune Maison, !K7's DJ-Kicks, Cut Copy's FabricLive.29 and a Christmas compilation with Institubes. It was on this Christmas compilation that then French up and coming act Justice (who were also on the compilation) heard the band and declared them their new favourite act, later inviting them to tour with them around the world.
In August 2007, the band released their debut album Dystopia in Australia on their own label Siberia Records debuting at #24 on the ARIA Charts. Although not yet released overseas, some of its songs were being played on UK and US radio stations thanks to the many vinyl releases on different independent labels and many compilations, along with support from other artists. Because it was not yet released, the band's music such as "Shadows" was being played on BBC Radio 1, as "Tomorrow Today" on Modular Records which was incorrect. It also received reviews not only in Australia but in the US and UK (before its release) as well stating Dystopia was an "euphoric hammering together of Krautrock grooves, psychedelic flights of melodic fancy and post-Justice grindy synth noises", and being declared album of the year in 2007 by Pedro Winter in XLR8R magazine
In October 2007, the band were invited to tour with Justice around North America, leaving their mark on the CMJ Festival playing with !!!, Holy Fuck and Klaxons across the UK and Europe. They then returned to Australia where they played the main stage of the Big Day Out festival alongside acts such as Rage Against The Machine, Björk and Arcade Fire.
2008 began with the band inviting M83 to tour with them on a league of sold-out shows in Australia. It then saw the band release Dystopia with additional material in April and May internationally. To support the release of the album the band toured the world performing on their own headlining tours and many festivals including Coachella, Fuji Rock, Glastonbury, Primavera Sound, Latitude, Bestival, Route du Rock, Electric Picnic, Lowlands, Pukkelpop, Lovebox, Summercase, Alive, Montreux Jazz Festival, Eurockeenes, Hove and Rockness.
The Crystal Axis (2008–2011)
After Dystopia the band located to a beach house on the east coast of Australia to work on new music, having collected a lot of ideas while touring for the previous 2 years. After experimenting with a range of analogue gear and new digital sounds, a fresh batch of songs were written with a more 'prog' / 'layered' sound - working with a lot of ambient layers. The band then entered a range of studio's with engineer Chris Moore (TV on the radio, yeah yeah yeah's, yeasayer), and started tracking the new record .
Fresh out of the studio, they were then asked to perform at a range of festivals in Buenos Aires and Australia (Splendour in the Grass) and also a tour supporting the Flaming Lips, road-testing new material including early versions of 'Vital Signs' (then called United Illuminations), and 'This New Technology' - allowing the songs to further develop. As a preview to the new album, the band released the This New Technology EP, and an accompanying 500 copy 7" through Acephale Records, featuring the single This New Technology, a radio edit and remixes by The Emperor Machine, Memory Tapes, Juan Maclean and Babe Rainbow, also performing in New York at the CMJ music festival. Returning home, the band (who were self-producing their new album) went back into the studio to finish mixing the rest of the record.
2010 started out with performances at the Falls, Big Day Out and Golden Plains festivals. The band then created 'The Crystal Axis' (not only the name of the album but a physical construct / a world surrounding the album) which they built (using all the synthesisers and instruments from the recording) with the help of Melbourne artist Dylan Martorell and lights from MPH. They also created a video around this construct, an idea from the band executed with the help of Krozm.
Just prior to the release of The Crystal Axis the band played a handful of sold-out shows previewing the new record in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Zurich, Edinburgh, Santiago, Brazil and more. The Crystal Axis was then released on 28 May 2010 in Australia with international dates following between July (UK) and September (August in the USA, with a 12" double vinyl on Acephale/Siberia Records and September in Europe).
The Crystal Axis won 'Best Independent Dance/Electronica Album' at the fifth annual Australian Independent Record (AIR) Awards. They received their second award in this category, after winning in 2007.
The rest of 2010 was filled with European and Australian festival dates such as Calvi on the Rocks, Montreux Jazz Festival, Exit Festival, Lovebox, Benicassim, Splendour in the Grass, and Parklife.
Uncanny Valley (2013)
The band took a few years break where they returned to focus on various experimental audio-visual projects. Eventually they started writing/recording sessions in a converted church in the French Loire Valley. They then released a music video anonymously, hidden under the guise of a Soviet pop band from the early '80s. This Russian shot video unattributed to Midnight Juggernauts remained hidden behind this pretense for many weeks. It was eventually recognised as a new Midnight Juggernauts track, later announced as upcoming song Ballad of the War Machine. Their album Uncanny Valley was released soon after in mid-2013.
The band toured with Tame Impala and are preparing for more shows behind the album throughout 2013.
- Dystopia - Siberia/Inertia (SIB002X) (4 August 2007) AUS #21
- The Crystal Axis - Siberia (28 May 2010) AUS #20
- Uncanny Valley - (14 June 2013)
- Midnight Juggernauts - Independent (May 2005)
- Secrets of the Universe - Siberia/Inertia (SIB001) (June 2006)
- 20,000 Leagues (2007)
- Shadows EP - Siberia (2008)
- Into the Galaxy EP - Siberia (2008)
- Surplus Maximus EP - Siberia (2010) (bonus CD issued with album The Crystal Axis as 2 CD limited edition release
- "45 and Rising" 12" - Cutters (CUTTERS002) (May 2006)
- "Road to Recovery" - Siberia (16 July 2007)
- "Shadows" 12" - Siberia (21 February 2008)
- "Into the Galaxy" 12" - Siberia (29 September 2008)
- "This New Technology" - Bandroom (2009)
- "Vital Signs" (2 April 2010)
- "Lara Versus the Savage Pack" (2010)
- "Ballad of the War Machine" (2013)
- "Memorium" (2013)
- "Raised by Wolves" from Midnight Juggernauts EP (2005)
- "45 and Rising" from Secrets of The Universe EP (2006), directed by Krozm
- "Shadows" from Secrets of The Universe EP (2006), directed by Krozm
- "Road to Recovery" (2007), directed by Krozm
- "Into the Galaxy-Original" (2008), directed by Krozm
- "Tombstone" (2008), directed by Krozm
- "Into the Galaxy-New Video" (2008), directed by Dir. Rozan & Schmeltz for Surface 2 Air (Partizan)
- "This New Technology" (2009), directed by Special Problems
- "Vital Signs" (2010), directed by Krozm
- "Midnight Juggernauts live at Bataclan in Paris" (2010), produced by Grandcrew.com
- "Ballad of the War Machine" (2013), directed by Vincenzi Vandella
- "Memorium" (2013), directed by Vincenzi Vandella
- The Presets: "Down Down Down" (2006)
- Dragonette: "I Get Around" (2006)
- Electric Six: "Future Is in the Future" (2006)
- K.I.M.: "Wet N' Wild" (2006)
- Damn Arms: "The Cormorant" (2007)
- Sébastien Tellier: "Divine" (2008)
- Cansei De Ser Sexy: "Left Behind" (2008)
- Cut Copy: "Hearts on Fire" (2008)
- Johnny Cash: "Port of Lonely Hearts" (2008)
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- Carr, Michael. "Kirin J Callinan To Release Debut Single, "She"". Musicfeeds.com.au. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
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- Holmes, Kevin. "Midnight Juggernauts' "Memorium" Traces The Evolution Of CGI". thecreatorsproject.vice.com. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- "Photos: Justice / Midnight Juggernauts :San Diego, CA; 10/07/07". Pitchforkmedia.com. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- "Rob Da Bank tracklisting". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
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- Winter, Pedro. "Best of 2007". Xlr8r.com. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- "Bio 2008". Emimusic.at. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- Macfarlane, Richard. "DiS does the BigDayOut". Drownedinsound. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
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- Juggernauts, Midnight. "BIG DAY OUT 2010". Bigdayout.com. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- Digital, Dazed. "Midnight Juggernauts' Crystal Axis". Dazeddigital.com. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- "Australian Independent Record Labels Association". Ausindies.com.au. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- Cahill, Mikey. "Juggernaut just keeps rolling on". Herald Sun. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
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