Festival faves The Egg are back with a new album(en), ‘Something To Do’ — their first for eight years. The live dance music band, based around twins Maff and Ned Scott, who were bootlegged by David Guetta a few years ago for his breakthrough hit ‘Love Don’t Let Me Go’, have been taking advantage of the EDM explosion in the US of late, and have been welcomed enthusiastically into the US ‘jam band’ scene.
“They love the idea of every gig being different, building a bit like a DJ set,” The Egg tell DJ Mag. “We can chuck in all sorts of stuff with video triggers, our own cartoon characters…”
The Egg have never done things the conventional way. Twins Ned and Maff had “naked hippy parents” and tell DJ Mag a funny story of their parents taking them out of school in Bristol when they were kids so that they could all go to the first Womad festival 30 years ago.
“At the festival, we were walking along the main drag with our naked parents, we were clothed, when our whole school class turned up on a cultural day out that they had sprung on them,” Ned says. “What was weird was that no-one talked about it afterwards, I guess they were all a bit freaked out.”
Inspired by illegal raves in the Oxfordshire countryside, The Egg started making their own live electronic psychedelia-tinged music — and playing lots of festivals, dressed in white suits with images projected onto them. They signed to China Records, home to people like Morcheeba, and released the ‘Albumen’ album, and later, in 1998, ‘Travelator’.
They basically continued in the same vein throughout the noughties, winning a legion of fans at festivals with their live and semi-improvised sets, until a certain Mr David Guetta entered their lives. Guetta bootlegged the remix of The Egg’s ‘Walking Away’ by electro house don Tocadisco, and the track went stellar. “Everything went nuts,” the guys recall. “I mean, well done him for capitalising on it, but he didn’t really do much to it. Tocadisco’s remix of us was already an underground hit — Guetta basically took off Sophie Barker (Zero 7)’s vocal and added Chris Willis.”
Guetta promo’d it in Miami, and it was soon Pete Tong’s Essential New Tune and zoomed into the UK Top Five. “It opened doors for all of us,” says Maff, signalling that the guys didn’t block the release in the end. “We actually played the same stage at Glastonbury that year (2006) and nearly got onstage with David for a ‘The Egg vs David Guetta’ foam fight for a laugh — he didn’t know — but it didn’t happen, which was probably a good thing. When you’re a bit twatted, these things sound a really good idea.”
The incongruous pairing has benefited both parties, yet it’s taken a while for The Egg to craft a new album (their fourth, the follow-up to 2004’s ‘Forwards’). “It has been quite tortuous, yes,” Maff admits, “in different locations, aeroplanes, hotel rooms, live recording loops. We've been touring a lot too, so recording has been quite bric-a-brac.”
Ned starts talking about the word ‘play’ being the same as what children do together. “That's what ‘Something To Do’ slightly relates to,” he says. “Me and Maff have something to do together, but it's music now, rather than Lego — although it’s not that different really, and in fact has similar colours.”
Coming across in places like a punk-funk Pink Floyd on DFA, or cosmic psyche rockers Spiritualized jamming with Crazy P, ‘Something To Do’ has more vocals than previous Egg albums. Ned’s vox evokes a quintessential observational Britishness in parts — like some acid house Ian Dury. ‘Electric City’ (featuring German electronicist Ulrich Schnauss on keys) starts like a Siouxsie & the Banshees single before unfolding into a vocodered Air muzak ditty, while ‘Fire’ is about being by a campfire at a festival at 6am. “Ned’s boots got burnt once or twice around a fire while he was wearing them,” Maff laughs. “He didn’t really feel anything until the rubber had melted.”
The guys aren’t about to give up playing at or going to festivals in a hurry — or sitting by fires at 6am, either. “It’s cool how fires make you stare into them and give out negative ions electrically — like breaking waves, waterfalls — which make you feel good,” Ned ponders. “Old cathode ray tube TVs do the opposite, giving off positively charged electrical ions which aren't so good for you, especially when switching off.”