For Rave-Ready Electronic Duo the Chemical Brothers, a 10th Studio Album Is a Feat and a Challenge

Ed Simons, left, and Tom Rowlands of the Chemical Brothers perform onstage at Field Day, Aug. 20, 2022, at Victoria Park in London. (AP)
Ed Simons, left, and Tom Rowlands of the Chemical Brothers perform onstage at Field Day, Aug. 20, 2022, at Victoria Park in London. (AP)
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For Rave-Ready Electronic Duo the Chemical Brothers, a 10th Studio Album Is a Feat and a Challenge

Ed Simons, left, and Tom Rowlands of the Chemical Brothers perform onstage at Field Day, Aug. 20, 2022, at Victoria Park in London. (AP)
Ed Simons, left, and Tom Rowlands of the Chemical Brothers perform onstage at Field Day, Aug. 20, 2022, at Victoria Park in London. (AP)

Beloved British electronic duo the Chemical Brothers released their 10th album on Friday, more than three decades into their career. But does it get any easier with time?

Not according to one-half of the outfit, Tom Rowlands.

“I think it’s just more complicated” he said, speaking via Zoom from his studio in the UK. “Everyone’s got a new theory on how to do it.”

Prior to the album’s release, Rowlands and Ed Simons shared four singles from the forthcoming album, “For That Beautiful Feeling” — including their second collaboration with Beck, the track “Skipping Like A Stone.” They previously worked with the singer on the 2015 track “Wide Open.”

They also made it a point to test the tracks out on dance floors and festival fields prior to the album — “playing them (live) as we write them,” as Rowlands explains — which, in turn, influenced their studio decisions.

“I don’t know if it’s the right way to release an album,” he smiled. “I can’t quite keep up with what is the right way, but it’s how it’s happening.”

It’s working. Audiences responded well to the smattering of tracks from “For That Beautiful Feeling” that the Chemical Brothers wove into their sets this summer, no doubt drumming up excitement for the new release.

The rave-ready “No Reason” became the lead single from the record — because it felt “fresh and different” and also “really fun to play live,” says Rowlands. But really, it’s all about how he and Simons feel about the track — and sometimes if a song doesn’t go over well in front of an audience, well, that just solidifies its value to the duo.

“Sometimes something going down really badly, will just convince you of its greatness even more,” Rowlands says of this live-first tactic. “You’re like, ‘Yes. People aren’t ready for this!’”

Together since 1989, with 10 albums and countless performances across the globe, the duo has seen their fair share of the good and the bad.

Headlining the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival in 2000 is a standout — though Rowlands says it was “so massive it’s hard to get a handle on what you’re doing.”

And then there’s the bad: A very different experience during a 9:30 a.m. set in Ibiza, early on in their career that didn’t quite go to plan.

They were “the wrong people at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Rowlands recalled. “Just lots of anger and tears ... sensible people would’ve gone to bed and then have a nice juice breakfast.”

For the nighttime live music lovers, the Chemical Brothers are looking forward to getting back on the road for a tour that kicks off Oct. 26 in Glasgow. They’re eager to use stunning visuals from longtime collaborators Adam Smith and Marcus Lyall — and test drive additional music that didn’t make the record, or as Rowlands puts it: “thousands of hours of noodling.”

On tour, “you can do your lights exactly how you want and get everything really tuned to how you want it to be,” Rowlands added. “That’s really exciting for us.”

In addition to the new album and the tour, the duo will release a book in October titled “Paused in Cosmic Reflection,” authored by Simons and Rowlands’ friend Robin Turner, with their input. But as a band who are constantly looking forward, it isn’t something Rowlands is quite ready to read.

“I’m going to save it for a flight or retirement.” He smiled.



'Inside Out 2' Scores $100M in its 2nd Weekend, Setting Records

This image released by Disney/Pixar shows Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, left, and Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke, in a scene from "Inside Out 2." (Disney/Pixar via AP)
This image released by Disney/Pixar shows Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, left, and Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke, in a scene from "Inside Out 2." (Disney/Pixar via AP)
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'Inside Out 2' Scores $100M in its 2nd Weekend, Setting Records

This image released by Disney/Pixar shows Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, left, and Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke, in a scene from "Inside Out 2." (Disney/Pixar via AP)
This image released by Disney/Pixar shows Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, left, and Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke, in a scene from "Inside Out 2." (Disney/Pixar via AP)

Weekend number two was just as joyous for “Inside Out 2.”
The Pixar sequel collected $100 million in ticket sales in its second weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday, setting a new record for an animated movie in its follow-up frame in theaters, The Associated Press reported. The previous best second weekend for an animated title was the $92 million for “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” Only six movies ever have had better second weekends.
In just a week and a half, “Inside Out 2” has become 2024’s highest-grossing film to date with $724.4 million globally, including $355.2 million in US and Canadian theaters. That passes the $711.8 million worldwide total of “Dune: Part Two.” “Inside Out 2” will likely blow through the $1 billion mark in about a week, which would make it the first film since “Barbie” to do so.
The extent of the “Inside Out 2” success startled Hollywood, which had grown accustomed to lower expectations as the film industry watched ticket sales this year slump about 40% below pre-pandemic totals, according to data firm Comscore, before “Inside Out 2” came along.
The record haul for “Inside Out 2,” though, recalled past years when $1 billion grosses were more commonplace for the Walt Disney Co. It is also a much-needed blockbuster for Pixar, which after experimenting with direct-to-streaming releases, reconsidered its movie pipeline and approach to mass-audience appeal.
Now, “Inside Out 2,” which dipped a mere 35% from its $154 million domestic debut, is poised to challenge “The Incredibles 2” ($1.2 billion) for the all-time top grossing Pixar release. It could also steer the venerated animation factory toward more sequels. Among its upcoming films is “Toy Story 5,” due out in 2026.
For theater owners, “Inside Out 2” could hardly have been more needed. But it also reminded exhibitors of how feast-or-famine the movie business has become in recent years. Since the pandemic, movies like “Barbie,” “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Top Gun: Maverick” have pushed ticket sales to record heights, but fallow periods in between box-office sensations have grown longer. Ticket sales over Memorial Day last month were the worst in three decades.
Some of 2024’s downturn can be attributed to release-schedule juggling caused by last year’s writers and actors strikes. The biggest new release over the weekend was Jeff Nichols’ motorcycle gang drama “The Bikeriders,” a film originally slated to open in 2023 before the actors strike prompted its postponement.
“The Bikeriders,” starring Jodie Comer, Austin Butler and Tom Hardy, came in on the high side of expectations with $10 million from 2,642 venues in its opening weekend. “The Bikeriders,” which cost about $35 million to produce, was originally to be released by Disney before New Regency took it to Focus Features last fall.
The strong business for “Inside Out 2” appeared to raise ticket sales generally. Sony Pictures’ “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” held well in its third week of release, collecting $18.8 million. It remained in second place. The “Bad Boys” sequel, starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, has grossed $146.9 million domestically thus far.
Next week, the sci-fi horror prequel “A Quiet Place: Day One” and Kevin Costner's Western epic “Horizon: An American Saga — Chapter 1" will hope some of the “Inside Out 2” success rubs off on them.