As debut albums go, The Chemical Brothers’ Exit Planet Dust takes some beating – from the big beat stylings of Leave Home through to the psychedelic masterpiece Alive Alone, it set the tone for the duo’s later work, with Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons showing no signs of slowing down after more than 25 years in the game.
Released on this day (26 June), in 1995, the album was in part a response to the growing presence of Britpop in the music mainstream; Pulp’s Common People had just neared number one, while Oasis, Blur and their ilk were mainstays of the pop charts.
As Ed told Muzik magazine shortly before the album’s release, “Nobody from the dance world has come up with an album to reflect these times. Why is that? Why is it left to a group like Oasis to express the way that young people want to go out and get battered every weekend? That’s what The Chemical Brothers are about”.
The album is also a masterclass in sampling artistry: a snippet of Kraftwerk’s Ohm Sweet Ohm opens the album, Song To The Siren nods to Dead Can Dance, and In Dust We Trust borrows from the Beastie Boys.
Check out this rare interview with MTV Party Zone’s Simone Angel, recorded at Tribal Gathering 1995, which took place the month before the album’s release, where the (clearly sober!) duo discuss their name change (from The Dust Brothers), the politics of sampling, and their next move, a possible David Bowie remix.
“We’re just too scared of him,” Tom explains. “He’s too much of an imposing figure to go for lunch with, to sort it out. […] It’s a bit scary meeting an icon, just like that.”
Happy birthday Exit Planet Dust!