Since their arrival in Columbia from Clemson a couple of years back, We Roll Like Madmen have continued to refine and allow their sound to evolve even as their trademark lush, slightly disturbed soundscapes remain defiantly central. 2014 saw 2 EPs that tugged in different directions, the hip-hop-laden of The Kids Must Die sitting alongside the more cerebral, searching Hermetic Vol. 1.
"Needy AF," their latest single from a still-unannounced LP that is likely to see a 2016 release. We chatted briefly with Madmen's Jordan Young about the new single and what direction the group might be headed.
So tell me about this new record. How does it evolve from what you did with your two EPs from last year, the hip-hop oriented The Kids Must Die and the more cerebral Hermetic Vol.1?
Both EPs helped hone our personal sound. TKMD involved a lot of artist friends and reflected on the state of the cultures that have influenced our music. Hermetic was more about introspective soul searching, something we had to do on our own. The next record makes use of that combined growth--the songs are more personal, and we’ve reached a point where we can really run with the ticks and weird shit that make us ‘us’. We’ve found our footing. We’re ready to start going new places with our people.
Your music always seems to produce a distinct tension between pop and abstract soundscape, warm dance vibe and dissonant dystopian ruptures. What exactly makes a tune a WRLM production?
That tension is really the defining element of a WRLM production. The best pop music is surprising and the best experimental music is relatable. Our goal has always been to push people to recognize the malleability between them. We’re after this marriage between mind and body… you should be able to cry and dance at the same time.
“Needy AF” in many ways seems like it has a few more organic elements than your songs typically have, with those prominent handclaps and close-to-piano keys in the intro, yet you also delve into a dubstep-ish sort of drop in there too. Are either of those progressions indicative of the rest of the record?
We feel like “Needy AF” is the most condensed example of our hyperactive arrangement and sound design tendencies. The record is diverse like past releases, but it abandons a lot of our old approaches in favor of charting fresh territory. There’s not a single strict genre track, and there’s more fluidity in our sound overall. A lot of surprises are in store for the people who have been listening since the beginning, and for fresh ears, well they get to experience our journey all at once.