The Chemical Brothers
It was a love of dance and rock music that brought Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons together at Manchester University. Tom had enrolled to be nearer to Factory Records' fabled Hacienda nightclub, and Ed wanted to spend time in the city of his heroes -- The Smiths and New Order. This was the early nineties, a heady time for musical change in England. Emerging DJ's like Mike Pickering and Paul Oakenfold were coming back from their Ibiza holidays and trying to re-create the anything goes playlists they had experienced at clubs on the island. This blend of hip-hop, rare house, classic rock and just about anything else provided it worked became known as Balearic (named after the group of Mediterranean islands that include Ibiza). Tom and Ed loved the Balearic blending of genres and started their own similar night at local Manchester club, Naked Under Leather, in 1991. As this extra-curricular diversion grew in popularity, they took the name The Dust Brothers in tribute to the U.S. production team responsible for the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique, and started to produce their own music. Their first effort, "Song To The Siren" immediately put them on the map. Darren Emerson, Andy Weatherall and Lionrock's Justin Robertson all took notice and they soon found themselves in-residence in London as a production and remixing duo. It was here that they began their now-legendary Heavenly Social Sunday night parties -- a regular hedonistic gathering that has become over time a touchstone of electronica history credibility with more people claiming to have been than there were nights available. As their notoriety grew, the "real" Dust Brothers sent in the lawyers, so a name change to The Chemical Brothers was required and a graceful departure was fashioned in the title of their debut album Exit Planet Dust (1995). By now they were approaching Underworld levels of fame and critical appreciation, so it was no surprise when Oasis's Noel Gallagher agreed to sing on their Beatle-y "Setting Sun" release, again cementing their popularity in both the rock and dance camps, something that was underscored by their opening gig for Oasis at the Knebworth music festival, a pre-cursor to several headlining global tours. Dig Your Own Hole (1997) followed, with the inescapable hit "Block Rockin' Beats," after which there was the excellent Surrender (1999) ("The Sunshine Underground" being a standout track) and Come With Us (2002). The inevitable career review Singles 93-03 (2003) started tongues wagging about a creative block, but the beats kept rockin' with 2005's Push The Button and 2007's We Are The Night.