The Beat Down

LCD Soundsystem doesn't need turntables-- just a big, banging bell

"I just don't see the point of being in a rock band," New Jersey's John Murphy says. "I love rock. I was raised on rock. But especially now that there's so many bands, it's just been reduced to an effort of ego; to 'Let me tell you how I feel.' I get bored of watching people talk about themselves."

Murphy is a successful, in-demand producer, the prime mover behind the acclaimed indie dance act LCD Soundsystem and the co-founder of the trailblazing techno-trash label DFA (Death From Above) Records--home to Black Dice, the Juan Maclean and, of course, LCD Soundsystem. So it's surprising to hear him talk so disparagingly.

"I make dance music, or disco," Murphy explains. "And dance music isn't really about anything. I can tell if it's working: 'Are people dancing? Yes.' Then I've achieved my goal."

LCD Soundsystem hit the ground running in 2002 with the fiercely funny dance-floor banger "Losing My Edge." The record, a delicious sonic train wreck of cheap electronics, recycled beats and plenty of noise, was the blueprint for what would become Murphy's mission: making music that "isn't really about anything"--except dancing and the occasional knowing smirk.

"I like percussion," Murphy says. "It makes you boogie, and it's funny. And I like being the big, giant dude with nothing to do, standing in the middle of the stage, banging on a bell."

 
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