Brooding London dance collective ponder the triviality of existence with spacious disco-pop and a heap of nonsensical whimsy
On a quest to tackle the banality of life through absurdist office funk, Stats are a band rich withÂ authenticity and the key to unleashing your inner child. Emerging in 2014 with EP Where Is TheÂ Money, Statsâ€™ social commentary on the obscenity and hilarity of day-to-day life drawsÂ comparisons to the likes of Talking Heads and LCD Soundsystem, with the pleasant assuranceÂ that each track will have an intoxicating groove-heavy quality to ignite a surrealist excitement.
Consisting of Ed Seed (vocals), Duncan Brown (guitar), Stu Barter (bass), Nicole RobsonÂ (keyboard), Iso Waller-Bridge (keyboard) and John Barrett (drums), the band are incapable ofÂ ignoring the unoriginal characteristics of our lives. Musically, Stats are very much a collective, yetÂ itâ€™s clear that the project is the brainchild of Seed. Using his experience in banal office jobs, Seed,Â like every great storyteller, taps into the basic psyche of humankind, conveying tales relatable toÂ the masses. Yet Seedâ€™s musical journey has been a remarkable influence for Stats, one that theÂ average office worker canâ€™t relate to.
Seed was asked to join La Roux on tour before going on to be the guitarist for British popÂ sensation Dua Lipa. Both experiences proved to be invaluable, but his time with La Roux sparkedÂ the realisation that he could create contemporary DIY art-pop that embraces the theatrics andÂ glamour of the 1980s. This creative template runs through the core of Statsâ€™ latest single, TheÂ Family Tree, a delightfully sarcastic and infectious 80s synth-pop track that follows an exaggeratoryÂ wedding fight.
As Dua Lipaâ€™s guitarist, Seed toured the world playing an array of shows, living a contrastingÂ lifestyle to one surrounded by four office walls. While touring, Seed became a father and his worldÂ drastically changed. The disparity between working for pop stars and waking in the dead of night toÂ comfort a child could not be more surreal, but this return to domesticity inspired Seed and co. toÂ write debut record Other Peopleâ€™s Lives.
The unpredictable and sometimes fear-inducing nature of reality prompted Seed to take a stepÂ back and reflect on where he stood in relation to others, which subsequently helped the creation ofÂ Other Peopleâ€™s Lives. â€˜The world encourages me to experience my life as a narrative, a story inÂ which I am the lead character, going on a journey, moving towards the discovery and realisation ofÂ an authentic selfâ€™, he confesses. â€˜Other peopleâ€™s lives are presented to me as coherent, relatableÂ stories, full of passion and travel and wonder. But my story makes no sense. It is full ofÂ contradictions and formless subplots, and I barely feel like the same actor from one day to theÂ next, let alone find any meaning in it.â€™
The recording process was a staggered affair, primarily due to the singerâ€™s intensive touringÂ responsibilities. Almost two years ago to this day, Stats seized a gap in Dua Lipaâ€™s touringÂ schedule for a two-day session at RAK Studios in London. The six-piece embraced spontaneity,Â launching into a series of lengthy, unstructured live jams that would form the raw material of theÂ record. â€˜We picked a tempo, and sometimes a simple starting idea, and played off the top of ourÂ heads for ten to thirty minutes,â€™ says Seed. â€˜Later I listened to the full recordings, cut out the bestÂ moments, and structured them loosely into songs.â€™ Seed explains that the cut-and-paste styleÂ enabled them to capture the moment of inspiration, â€˜the special energy of six people losingÂ themselves in what theyâ€™re doing, and somehow synchronising into something unplanned.â€™
Statsâ€™ two days of jamming resulted in around twenty songs. As Seed returned to touring, heÂ started breaking his bandsâ€™ sessions down before stitching tracks back together, weaving aÂ narrative between each section. This gathering process took around a year to complete, withÂ certain tracks coming together at different speeds. Whilst the basics of Lost It took under an hourÂ to finesse, I Am An Animal took around a year.
â€˜Other peopleâ€™s lives are presented to me as coherent, relatable stories, full of passion and travel and wonder. But my story makes no sense. It is full of contradictions and formless subplots.
Other Peopleâ€™s Lives is a compelling reflection of humanity, domesticity, routine, love, loss and fatherhood, an album Seed states is â€˜about realising that my life story is full of holes.â€™ However, for something that mimics and picks apart the events in our lives, the record itself is bursting with life. The tongue-in-cheek dancefloor hit Raft is an electric stomp, rejecting the desire to be in control. Both escapist and instantly sobering, it completely contrasts the cult-like presence of Rhythm Of The Heart, a stalking single emblazoned with ominous chanting vocals. With similarities to Hot Chip, it is a striking example of Statsâ€™ cut-and-paste production. The technique also flows through the glitchy, funk-filled There Is A Story I Tell About My Life, an ode to the 90s rave scene. Expressing post-modern thoughts of the self, the single follows Seed on a winding path of self-destruction atop an electronic beat and synth line that glisten with ecstasy.
The recording process appears to have been a calming influence for Seed, an escape toÂ somewhere more freeing. â€˜I find meaning when I lose myself,â€™ he states. â€™In the moment, itÂ dissolves into unity with those other people: lying in bed with the person I love, dancing, caring forÂ a baby, standing in a stadium crowd, drinking, reading, and playing music in this band. DanceÂ music is unity music, music you can rely on and lose yourself in, for all those situations.â€™ Luckily forÂ Stats, they can make brilliant dance music. The title track of Other Peopleâ€™s Lives is psychedelicÂ yet blissfully primal, reigniting the rave culture of Groove Armada and The Chemical Brothers.
The emotion that Seed is trying to relay towards dance music is ever-so-apparent in Statsâ€™Â standout single Lose It, a thumping and addictive pop hit that builds to staggering heights, with anÂ infectious chorus and a killer synth line for the finale. A single for the rave fanatics, it maintains aÂ sincere connection to the bandâ€™s DIY roots, and the humdrum observations of modern lifeâ€™sÂ mundane characteristics are sharp and witty. The shimmering synth lines, glistening melodies andÂ skipping beat project a euphoria that looks back towards David Byrneâ€™s absurdist lyricism. A wryÂ smirk in Seedâ€™s vocals caresses his desire to ignite joy amongst the masses in a surefire anthem.
Although there is a clear comparison between Stats and the likes of LCD Soundsystem, thereÂ remains a compelling contrast. Whilst James Murphy religiously obsesses on making serious yetÂ expansive indie-dance anthems, Seedâ€™s primal desire is to create something joyous for theÂ everyday worker. Describing the record as â€˜a trippy experience for grownupsâ€™ the bandâ€™s ability toÂ capture the disconnect between reality and fantasy is applaudable. I Am An Animal drags thisÂ disconnect to an absurd extreme. A return to childlike simplicity, it captures the moment ofÂ domestic sublimity, spotting yourself naked in the middle of the night whilst being hit by the sheerÂ unlikelihood of it. Leaning towards the ridiculous, it remains oddly addictive with its primal chant-like vocal delivery and pulsating synth line.
Once you get into the groove of Statsâ€™ music, there is no coming out. Their addictive sound bordersÂ on the obscene, a quality heard recently in the likes of Parcels and Jungle. On occasion, theyÂ travel back to times less complicated, when music was made solely to be enjoyed. Yet at its coreÂ lies a very intelligent mind in Seed, who has engineered each track to perfection. The musicÂ rewires your brain on each listen, embedding itself until it is impossible to ignore.
Stats are a modern band, capturing the very essence of the now, the fleeting, the fickle and theÂ forgotten, yet they find themselves stuck in the present day, refusing to be trapped and left behindÂ in the past.
Stats' debut album, Other Peopleâ€™s Lives, will be released through Memphis Industries on February 15th 2019.