Australia’s Bag Raiders aim to add something new to the dance music scene…
First things first – what’s with that name – Bag Raiders? It suggests a certain criminal element.
“Yeah, like robbing old ladies at train stations,” laughs Jack Glass, one half of the upcoming production duo, from his home in sunny Sydney. “We were making a mix CD and we were sharing a studio with all these other DJs and we’d just take records out of their bags to make the CD so we called it Bag Raiders and the name just stuck.”
That was four years ago. These days Bag Raiders can afford to buy their own records. The duo made their name remixing tunes for Aussie dance luminaries such as Cut Copy and Sneaky Sound System, but managed to break through on their own terms when they infiltrated Triple J’s 2009 Hottest 100 list – traditionally the domain of white, male rock – with their sublime floor-filling tune Shooting Stars.
Bag Raiders are about to give the dance music scene a proper shake-up with a debut album that showcases their talent for creating synth-driven, ambient electro which blurs the boundaries between banging tunes and ear-caressing pop.
Glass and his Bag Raider cohort Chris Stracey met at Cranbrook School in Sydney. Both were in the school orchestra. Glass played percussion and piano while Stracey played violin, clarinet and guitar. “We played a lot of instruments to an OK level which is pretty good because it means we have most things covered,” he says. Still, influenced by experimental electro put out by record labels Warp and Ninja Tunes, the two had abandoned “real” instruments by the early noughties and “started mucking around” making music on their computers.
Early Bag Raider tunes like Turbo Love, and Fun Punch borrowed heavily from Daft Punk and were spun regularly at cutting-edge Sydney club Bang Gang.
“For a while it was the best party you’d ever been to and all your friends would be there. We started make little bootlegs of funk music and edits of tracks and we’d just hand them over to our friends who were DJs there,” Glass said.
Their career took off soon after when they remixed remixed Sneaky Sound System’s I Love It and Cut Copy’s Far Away.
”It was the first time we did something that we could feel proud of,” says Glass.
“It takes a while to get good enough to make something that you won’t hate in three to six months time!”
For their debut album, Bag Raiders left the heavier techno sound behind.
“We just got really interested in songwriting – that was the idea, to do an album where the writing came first, whereas earlier stuff was a lot of techno music that we just made for clubs.”
The pair have also done their fair share of DJ-ing and were ranked number 11 in dance website inthemix.com’s 2009 poll of Australia’s top 50 DJs. However, Bag Raiders see themselves primarily as producers. ”We love DJ-ing, it’s awesome, but we’re not the world’s most skilled DJs – we’re not going to be doing any Armin van Buuren eight-hour beatmixing sets
in the near future.”
What they will be doing is plugging their album, which Glass describes as “kinda poppy – I’m not ashamed to say that.”
“There are songs made for the club, songs made for the car and songs made for the lounge as well. We tried to make it as varied as possible so you could listen to the whole album – dance music records are often so one dimensional. No one wants to listen to 11 club tracks in a row … unless you’re in a club.”
» Bag Raiders self-titled debut album out February 13 through Modular.