Lee Rous of the Plump DJs is a very down to earth person who doesn’t like to mince words. He’s very modest in his achievements, and very thankful for the lucky breaks thrown his way. Having had the very glamorous job of waiter, especially compared to partner Andy Gardner’s box factory job, before the two met and began making music, neither had any idea they would transform the dancefloors of the world.
“I don’t think we were ever arrogant enough to believe we were going to succeed in what we were doing,” Rous begins. “You can just hope people like what you do when you get in the studio. We count our lucky stars every time we get another gig – it’s the best job in the world and we’re lucky to be doing it.” But he’s not saying it’s easy. “This summer has been giving me a good ol’ punch up to be honest,” he laughs. “We’ve been touring massively all this summer, and been trying to work in the studio when we can, but I think me and Andy are feeling the heat a little bit at the moment. We’ve been doing lots of gigs and it’s wearing us down a little bit, but it’s all for good, and we’re looking forward to getting stuck into our artist album and having a little bit of a chill out at the end of summer.”
When not touring, the pair have been in the studio, recording some new material and preparing for their latest mix CD, Saturday Night Lotion. “All the records we’ve done since Eargasm are all dancefloor tunes”, Rous explains on why a mix CD rather than a full artist album. “They’re just uncompromising dancefloor records we’ve really enjoyed and road tested for the last two years. Bearing that in mind, and thinking about what an artist album is – an artist album to us should really reach beyond the dancefloor and be a bit more personal. I think we really wanted to provide a dancefloor album, so slipping other artists on this album from the Finger Lickin’ label seemed to be quite a natural thing to do. Those artists are really influential to us,” he adds.
Rous thinks DJing and production go hand in hand. “I DJed before I knew how to work the studio,” he states. “It is absolutely lovely making a nice record in the studio, it’s a superbly creative process and such a great feeling once you finish a track. You get so excited about having the opportunity to be playing the record to people. But then again you need to play the record to people to get the full effect.” Wondering if there was any chance the pair would go the way of Adam Freeland or Freestylers and get a band together to perform, I was surprised to hear they prefer the DJing thing. “We’re don’t really have the inspiration at the moment to take the Plumps live, we really enjoy the simplicity of DJing, of playing records and providing a soundtrack to the evening, and we find it works really well. We’re learning about what makes people dance and get in the studio and putting that to practice. I think when we make another artist album you could see a lot of experiments that are quite unusual to what people think the Plump DJs are, but we’ve got no real ambition to do a band thing at the moment.”
Saturday Night Lotion is also the name of a new pheromone based scent aimed at the clubbing market, and all the promo material about it claims the Plumps are the ‘obvious choice’ for the face of the cologne. “I’m not really sure what that was all about! Rous proclaims innocently. “It’s a funny website though. Not really sure why I was the ‘obvious choice’, maybe I’m just an ‘obvious’ person,” he laughs.
The pair had just finished performing the Glastonbury festival, playing with the who’s who of dance music. Booked to do three sets over the weekend, it seemed the English Summer had other ideas. “We tried to do 3 sets, one for this breast cancer organisation, but unfortunately their tent got struck by lightning and got washed away in the rain. But the other gigs went really well, we had a great time.” Another festival they really enjoyed was Field Day in Sydney in 2003, which they still count as one of their best gigs to date. “Yeah, Field Day 2003 was such a momentous occasion for us, a first realisation of our goal of wanting to get breakbeat heard at such a large scale,” Rous says fondly. So, when are they heading back to Australia? Rous wasn’t sure about playing Field Day this year, but did hint they boys would make it down to Adelaide for the Big Day Out.