For anyone who’s never experienced it, what is Despacio?
‘It’s a night where James Murphy, my brother Steph and I play vinyl-only from open-to-close, on a bespoke DJ soundsystem. But that doesn’t explain how magical it is. It’s so far out of the realm of normal DJ culture that it makes no sense whatsoever.’
What makes the soundsystem special?
‘It’s the loudest disco soundsystem in existence. It could physically crush you with its volume, but we don’t use it that way. We just ensure we have an incredibly high quality sound. It’s all analogue and the amplifiers are built into seven speaker stacks around the room which makes a really beautiful Stonehenge of sound.’
Are there any particular challenges that come with DJing as a trio?
‘Steph and I are brothers so we’re much more in-tune with playing after each other. We could do it blindfolded. With James it’s more an adventure because we never know what he’s going to come up with. And that’s the challenge.’
Who’s got the bigger record collection?
‘Well there are two of us. So, obviously ours is bigger.’
Have you ever been on an epic hunt for a record?
‘Between James, Steph and me, we have so many records to choose from. It hasn’t necessarily been about finding a record we don’t own, it’s about finding records that would fit the particular theme and making them work. In the case of The Roundhouse gig, what we’ve done is found records loosely related to ‘‘the jungle’’ – percussive sounds, animal noises – and we’ve started to remix them so they sound good on the Despacio system.’
Are you going to be playing any actual jungle music?
‘No! No ‘‘jungles riddims’’. Actually, we might! But the theme is the actual jungle.’
What else are you doing around the theme?
‘We’re decorating the Roundhouse to look like a jungle as well.’
What's your favourite jungle animal?
‘The baboon, because we’ve got a record where someone repeats the word ‘‘baboon’’. I love it.’
What’s the wildest night out you’ve had with James?
‘There was one time in Paris when I had two glasses of wine, which means I got drunk – I get drunk if I smell a glass of wine – and we were in a revolving restaurant.’
Does James have a signature dance move?
‘Yeah, he shakes his head as if he’s drying his hair.’
Like a L’Oreal ad?
What's your favourite LCD Soundsystem track?
‘‘‘Someone Great’’. It’s just The One. It combines brilliant songwriting with brilliant production. It’s emotional but it’s danceable.’
Do you obsess over the details of Despacio?
‘I hate to admit this as it’s super-nerdy, but all the records are labelled by bpm and arranged accordingly. Also, every record is cleaned – we’ve got a record vacuum.’
Are you ever tempted to head into the crowd and dance, and just leave the others to it?
‘We do it all the time! We did a Despacio show in Hammersmith a while back, and we just went into the crowd and handed out tangerines and pasties to everyone, because it was 2am and they were hungry.’
Can we expect similar crowd appearances at the Roundhouse?
’Perhaps. Maybe you’ll see us coming out of the jungle.’