You're not too cool to dance. Really. You may think you are, but you're actually just a little scared. Which is OK.
James Murphy, on the other hand, ain't scared.
"I like to go out dancing. I like to make dance music. It's fun," he says matter-of-factly. "[It's] kind of normal."
Murphy is the creative force behind LCD Soundsytem, making what's been dubbed as "dance music for hipsters."
He made a name for himself with his first single, 2002's "Losing My Edge." The 12-inch combined the robotic pulse of the drum machine with the rattle-slap of live drums, a variety of synth noises and Murphy's flatly-spoken, jaded hipster diatribe that questions the new batch of cool as Murphy grasps for his own by claiming, "I was there."
The b-side, "Beat Connection," brought in some funk bass and cowbell as Murphy unemotionally laments New York scenester-ism as "the saddest night out in the U.S.A.," where nobody comes undone or gets any play.
The mostly autobiographical lyrics made both songs ironically compelling, while the live instrumentation was also inescapably propelling.
Murphy grew up in Princeton Junction, N.J., a small town whose main attraction is a train station. Murphy sought refuge from boredom in the college town's Princeton Record Exchange and found salvation in the punk rock amongst the vinyl stacks.
During the '90s, Murphy played in New York-based punk bands Speedking and Pony, and worked as a soundman and DJ before forming Death From Above Records with Tim Goldsworthy in 1999. DFA currently houses Black Dice, The Juan Maclean, Delia Gonzalez and Gavin Rossum and LCD, and used to be the home to disco-rockers the Rapture before they moved on to Universal.
Murphy and Goldsworthy frequently get tapped for remix requests, producing cuts for Le Tigre, Junior Senior, Fischerspooner, UNKLE, N.E.R.D., Nine Inch Nails, Chemical Brothers, Gorillaz and more.
They've got a knack for mic placement and recording techniques that not only affect the sound, but also where it hits your body and how it feels.
With LCD, Murphy followed "Edge" with a couple more 12-inches, just enough to whet appetites before finally releasing a self-titled full-length this past January. While perhaps not as exciting as his singles, the album finds Murphy more expansive, taking on the Beatles and Brian Eno right along with Daft Punk. Critics and fans loved it, although some said Murphy too blatantly wore his influences on his sleeve.
"I make music because I love music, and I make music that's about music, to a certain degree," he says. "I like to have an argument with contemporary or past bands and bring back what I like about music."
And he'll keep on arguing, as long as girls and guys shake that ass at the shows. And they do.
On paper and in studio, LCD Soundsystem is basically James Murphy. On tour, it swells into a full-on jam band that more or less reinterprets the material as Murphy, looking very much like a soundman, sweats up front.
Earlier this year, he toured with U.K. dance import and blog sensation M.I.A. This time around, a sponsorship by major game-corp Playstation has allowed him to up the ante with a dynamic stage set-up that includes visual effects.
Dance music and a light show. You're thinking it sounds like a rave, and raves are so blasé.
Loosen up. Your dance moves suck nearly as much as your art-mullet, and that's OK.
LCD Soundsystem plays with the Juan Maclean at House of Blues, 9 p.m. on Oct. 14. $20. 619-220-TIXS.