Listen Up: Cicada

By Talia Last edited 130 months ago
Listen Up: Cicada


We first came across dance group Cicada on their epic remix of Editors 'Munich' but somehow our minds didn't quite realise they were the same electropop group (with the addition of Icelandic singer Heidrun Bjornsdottir) who crossed our paths and we ignored two years later. Now after their debut album unfairly sat at the bottom of our pile of CDs to listen to, their second is packed to the brink with twinkly pop anthems like Psycho Thrills and euphoric anthems like the dazzling Metropolis. Fast becoming one of our favourite albums of the year so far, we caught up with London boys Aaron Gilbert & Alex Payne.

Hello Cicada. Who are you and what are you upto?

Cicada is Aaron Gilbert and Alex Payne. Heidrun Bjornsdottir plus guests such as Tom Smith of the Editors provide vocals. We've just finished our new album "Roulette" which is released today and we're looking forward to a summer of playing live, DJing and remixing!!

Whereabouts in London are you based? What's brilliant and what's totally horrible about it?

Aaron: I'm in Earlsfield and it's great because it's quiet but only five minutes from Chelsea. There's no traffic and people here don't think the world revolves around them!

Alex: And I'm in Queens Park. It's a few stops from the West End but leafy and a bit more relaxed but with a better nightlife (surprisingly!). Downside is that generally speaking people around here think that the world does revolve around them!

Where are you from originally, what does London do better?

Aaron: I was born in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne but I've spent most of my life in London. Because we've been lucky enough to travel the world with work, we get to see London afresh every time we come home. You really can do as much or as little as you want here.

Alex: I'm a West London boy through and through.

What London location has been the most significant in the lifetime of Cicada?

Probably the studio, which is just off Kings Road. This is where we spend most of our time.

What do you reckon you sound like?

We started out making dance music with a difference and remixed some really cool, high profile records such as Depeche Mode's "World In My Eyes". Using live instruments, the next logical step was to take it live. Whilst we have our roots in the dance scene we looked to bands like Roxy Music and Blondie for inspiration, not only for their sound but also for their band ethic. It's important for us to make our electronic sound more human.

Give us your most awesome reason for why we should check you out rather than every other new artist out here?

We're lucky that a lot of people loved our first album and we've tried to take that sound forward. "Roulette" like it's predecessor, is an album you can listen to from start to finish. Tom Smith's sublime vocals on "Executive" paint a picture of a bored business man and "Don't Stare At The Sun" which is inspired by the American kids who went blind after taking LSD and staring at the sun aren't your run of the mill dance records. We've always tried to follow our hearts which I hope everybody can appreciate.

What's your favourite London venue and why?

Aaron: I loved The Cross and it will be missed forever. But we played at Koko a short while ago and the theatrical setting is something I love.

Alex: It had to be Turnmills RIP. Too many lost weekends to remember over the years. Other than that the Mason’s Arms on Harrow road is probably the best club in London on a good night although strictly speaking it’s a pub.

Can you think of an unusual London location that would be amazing to do a gig at?

We'd love to play at Sloane Square at Christmas amongst the fairy lights and it would be great to do a gig in London Fields.

What about somewhere a bit more grubby - have you ever busked?

I've always thought that Borough Market would be an interesting place to play, especially if I could be fed throughout the performance! I've never busked but I played guitar in some hotel lobbies when I was a student, not something I would recommend.

And finally what's your London secret?

Aaron: I love Azteca on Kings Road, it's small and friendly and they're just as happy playing Wham as cool latin funk and Tito Puente.

Alex: The Lebanese food centre on The vale in Acton. It is really cheap and the best vineleaves and kebabs in town!

Cicada's brilliant album is out today and we hugely recommend you take a listen! Grab a free minimix of the album here.

Last Updated 08 June 2009