Almost a quarter of a century after they formed, Ladytron are still reaching new audiences. With their 2002 hit ‘Seventeen’ having gone viral on TikTok, the electropop futurists are back with their first album in five years, the swaggering ‘Time’s Arrow’. Quite the journey it’s been, too. Prepare for a bumpy but exhilarating ride

When Ladytron first loomed out of the shadows at the dawn of the 21st century, they sounded like all of pop’s cancelled futures coming back to haunt a moribund musical age. These four sharp-suited mop-tops from Liverpool fused elements of mod and glam, northern soul and post-punk, goth and disco, noise-rock and techno, 1960s girl groups, 70s new wave and 80s synthpop into a single stylish package. After the overwhelmingly white, male, English, guitar-jangling nostalgia fest of Britpop, these postmodern retro-futurists felt refreshingly new – English/Scottish/Chinese/Bulgarian cyborgs from another dimension.

With their kohl-eyed Cold War chic and androgyne aesthetic, Ladytron were also achingly cool. Dressed in identical dark uniforms, they somehow balanced military/industrial severity with sleek catwalk glamour. They looked like performance art terrorists, the Prada-Meinhof gang, the house band in ‘The Matrix’. They were the Android Abba, the K-pop Kraftwerk, The Inhuman League.

Daniel Hunt, Ladytron’s chief architect and main songwriter, talks a good line in critical theory, name-dropping situationism accelerationism, pop-cult icon Mark Fisher and much more. But looking back almost 25 years, he shrugs off suggestions that Ladytron emerged from any kind of conceptual hinterland. Their striking image, he insists, was more anti-style statement than art school manifesto.

“It was more organic than that,” says Hunt. “It wasn’t studied. It wasn’t like we were paid-up situationists or anything, but there was a certain enjoyment in challenging the norms of how things were presented, how shows were presented. So I always felt a bit frustrated that the uniforms were misinterpreted as some kind of glamorous fashion statement. It was more like, ‘Let’s just give people absolutely nothing to go on’.”

Ladytron in 2023 are a very different animal to their late 1990s incarnation. For a start, all four members now live in various parts of the globe. Hunt is based in Sao Paolo with his Brazilian wife and baby daughter, while band co-founder Reuben Wu lives in Chicago (with a blossoming photography career to promote, he has also stopped giving band interviews – which is why he doesn’t appear in this feature), singer/keyboard player Helen Marnie is in Montrose, Scotland and Marnie’s fellow vocalist and synth player Mira Aroyo lives in London. All four have side projects and other careers, and three of them have children. Their albums have become increasingly rare.

So much has changed. And yet the band’s new long-player, ‘Time’s Arrow’, feels like classic Ladytron, from propulsive synth-rock bangers like ‘The Night’ and ‘Faces’ to the spangled lushness of dreampop anthems ‘Misery Remember Me’ and ‘We Never Went Away’, all topped off with a gritty, crunchy, swaggering electro-glam title track. This is Ladytron at their most epic, cinematic and darkly romantic.

But ‘Time’s Arrow’ has had a turbulent gestation. Adding to the problem of Ladytron living in different hemispheres, the album also fell victim to the pandemic. Hunt and Marnie began recording in Glasgow in early 2020, when the virus was a minor news story. Two days in, with the dawning crisis resembling the opening scene of a dystopian disaster movie, they cancelled the sessions. By the fourth day, as entire countries started to lock down, Hunt rebooked his flight home to Brazil.

“I had to buy a new ticket, the only ticket I could get,” he recalls. “And I was basically on the last flight out.”

Even a year later, as vaccines finally became available and travel restrictions eased, Hunt found himself stranded in Brazil under ex-president Jair Bolsonaro’s lethal Covid policies.

“Bolsonaro was blocking the vaccines,” he fumes. “It was just demented – 5,000 people were dying every day. Other places were getting better, and we were getting worse. We were thinking about getting out. It was really quite desperate.”

After two years of false starts, existential angst and cancellations, Ladytron finally managed to reconvene and finish ‘Time’s Arrow’ in Liverpool, which has a certain satisfying symmetry. Looking back, Marnie is not sure how deeply events shaped the sound of the album.

“I don’t think it had a negative effect,” she says. “I guess the only thing is that once you get going you really want to keep going. And there was a little bit of uncertainty. But we knew we would always get it finished because we had all the material. In some respects, it gave us a bit more time to think about what we wanted to do with the songs.”

‘Time’s Arrow’ feels like a warm and hopeful album, although Hunt says key themes include “the cataclysmic collapse of cultural memory” and “the impossibility of living in the moment”.

Living in Brazil has made him more aware of the luxuries we take for granted in wealthy western democracies.

“Because I live abroad now, I’ve become conscious of the fragility of all this comfortable stuff that surrounds us,” he says. “I appreciate it more than I used to.”

For Mira Aroyo, who wrote the title track, ‘Time’s Arrow’ is more midlife meditation than apocalyptic virus chronicle.

“I guess we are in a reflective part of our lives,” she says. “And we’ve always liked science fiction and scientific concepts. The title comes from this idea that you can’t reverse time, it just moves forward.”

Time may face inexorably forward, but occasionally the plot loops and the past haunts the present. History does not repeat itself, but it sometimes rhymes. Back in 2021, during the making of ‘Time’s Arrow’, Ladytron scored an unexpected hit when ‘Seventeen’, a former single from 2002’s ‘Light & Magic’ album, went viral. Out of the blue and unknown to the band, this sleek blast of moody discotronica suddenly became a TikTok sensation as a global teen army began performing DIY dance routines to its earworm groove.

As none of Ladytron are on TikTok, they mostly found out through younger friends, nieces and nephews. This spike gathered momentum, with ‘Seventeen’ even crashing the Top 10 streaming charts in some countries.

“It was eerie,” says Hunt. “‘Seventeen’ was a big track in 2002, but it wasn’t this massive.”

Aroyo suggests the song’s coolly sardonic lyric, a feminist critique of a creepy patriarchal system that treats young women as disposable commodities, strikes a deeper chord in our post-#MeToo age.

“Maybe it speaks to younger women listeners,” she muses. “It was written about a certain industry, but now it goes beyond that. It was written in an age when there were no selfies really, but it somehow managed to translate into an era when the selfie means a lot. It’s such a strange one to wrap my head around. But the numbers have also gone through into Spotify. I think we’ve got a whole other audience who are not even aware of what Ladytron is.”

For Hunt, ‘Seventeen’ has now been fully co-opted by its fans – an audience-created artwork.

“This song doesn’t even belong to us anymore,” he says. “It’s self-aware and has gone off on its own. I imagine that a lot of those people assumed it was the new record. It was fascinating. And it didn’t really stop, to be honest – it’s still going on now.”

Ladytron emerged from 1990s Liverpool in an era predating not only TikTok and selfies, but also downloads and streaming – that strange limbo period when the old-school music industry was dying and the new online model was still waiting to be born. Hunt and Wu were too young for Eric’s, the city’s legendary post-punk club, which closed down abruptly in 1980. Even so, they felt a kinship with Merseyside’s rich history of experimental, occult, psychedelic and underground sounds.

“We felt more connected with the Eric’s generation than we did with what has come since,” reflects Hunt. “There’s a certain education in spending time with people who are a bit older, who introduce you to records and stuff. Maybe not so much today, but in the early 90s, Liverpool had quite unusual musical tastes.”

Arty misfits in a city dominated by superclub dance music and retro guitar rock, Hunt and Wu launched their own club nights, label, studio and bands. But they continually felt out of step with the city’s mainstream scene.

“You had two strands,” recalls Hunt. “Stuff on the dance side, which was way more interesting. And then you had a guitar scene, which obviously produces amazing records, and Liverpool does it better than anywhere. But there was also this very conservative guitar rock scene at that point, which was pretty hostile to anything electronic.”

The year 1999, when Ladytron first came together, was “peak Scouse house time”, says Hunt, with superclub Cream dominating the city’s global pop-culture reputation.

“The little studio we had was actually sandwiched between a bunch of Scouse house studios,” he continues.

“Slater Street was a lot more important to the city in those days. The record shops Probe and 3 Beat were there, and it was the main thoroughfare toward the magnetic throb of Cream.”

Ladytron were barely a twinkle in Hunt’s eye when the idea for their breakthrough song, ‘He Took Her To A Movie’, came to him in the middle of DJing at a northern soul party.

“It was a Saturday night,” he remembers. “At some point, the chords, melody and hook of it just came up while I was playing. I had to tell the guy I was DJing with, ‘I’ve gotta go’. In those days, it wasn’t like we could record a voice note or something on a phone, so I ran back to the studio and put the basic skeleton of that down.”

As Ladytron were still an embryonic studio project back then, Hunt and Wu enlisted Swedish guest singer Lisa Eriksson to perform the coolly aloof, disquieting vocals of ‘He Took Her To A Movie’. A sleek, locked jewel box of mystery with a nagging, chiming synthesiser melody, it really set out their stall. Recorded for a princely £50, the song was an instant pop-noir classic with strong echoes of Kraftwerk’s ‘The Model’, although Hunt has always resisted the direct comparison.

“It was slightly tongue-in-cheek,” he admits. “But my frustration with it being compared to Kraftwerk was because, once you break down this little referential riff at the beginning and get down to its components, the song doesn’t sound like them. As I say, it was triggered by some northern soul record I was playing out.”

‘He Took Her To A Movie’ ended up becoming Ladytron’s debut single in 1999, the first in a string of NME Single Of The Week winners. Amid all the early acclaim, Hunt and Wu had already begun to develop their loose studio concept into a full group project.

After spotting Glaswegian music student Helen Marnie at Heebie Jeebies nightclub, where he was the regular Monday night DJ, Hunt approached her about joining his nascent band. There are uncanny echoes here of the classic Human League line-up, formed when Phil Oakey recruited Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley from the dancefloor of the Crazy Daisy in Sheffield.

“Well, I was working in a bar, only it wasn’t a cocktail bar and I wasn’t a waitress… but close enough!” laughs Marnie.

“We met out one night, and I kind of knew who he was because he was the DJ at a lot of the clubs I went to. And, um, Danny can say this is false, but basically, he was trying to pull me.”

Of course, a true gentleman would never enquire as to whether this supposed “pulling” bid was successful. So, ahem, was it successful?

“God, no!” says Marnie, cracking up. “And I’m sure he’s quite pleased that it didn’t happen.”

Marnie had just finished her BA in Music at Liverpool University, and told Hunt she had ambitions to sing.

Even so, she spent the next few weeks avoiding him, partly because she felt he was “trying it on… any excuse!”.

With hindsight, Hunt understands why Marnie was wary.

“The very first time we spoke, she told me she wanted to be a singer, and it seemed fated,” he recalls. “Then it took an exasperating few weeks to convince her that my intentions were honourable and to come and record some songs, which probably would’ve been ‘Playgirl’ and ‘Another Breakfast With You’. To be honest, in those days she probably had good reason to be cautious – the DJ in the club, who seems to be with someone different every time you see them, wants you to come over and ‘sing on some tracks’… yeah, right.”

Another factor in Marnie’s reluctance was her lack of confidence as a performer. Playing classical piano for her mum back home in the Glasgow suburb of Milngavie was one thing, auditioning as a pop singer for a total stranger something else entirely. But Hunt persisted.

“I kept seeing him,” says Marnie. “You know, Liverpool’s a small city. We would bump into each other almost every day. But I would try to avoid him because I was too shy to go and sing for him. So eventually he kind of tracked me down and said, ‘Look, are you gonna do this or what?’. So I went into his recording studio, which was a tiny little office with a back room filled up with crap. And yeah, I sang over one of his tunes. So that’s where it started. And then after that, Mira appeared.”

Around the same time, Hunt found Mira Aroyo through a mutual friend. Aroyo was studying for her PhD in Genetics at Oxford University, and had a sideline as a DJ and musician. Born to Jewish parents in Bulgaria, she moved first to Israel at the end of the Communist era, then to Britain at the age of 13. Her Eastern Bloc roots gave Ladytron the opportunity to create an air of mystery.

“We concocted this story when we were starting out, that we met on a train travelling through Eastern Europe,” laughs Aroyo. “Just one of those tales that bands make up when they don’t have enough history behind them. But much more boringly, I also met Danny in a nightclub. He had told a friend of mine that he wanted to form a band, and my friend said that she knew me. I don’t know why she mentioned me to him, but he came down to London and we got drunk. Then I went up to Liverpool and met Reuben and Helen, and pretty much immediately we went into Danny’s little studio and wrote ‘Commodore Rock’.”

Unlike Marnie, Aroyo didn’t sense any “pulling” vibes from Hunt.

“I don’t think he was trying to pull me, ha! I think he was concerned that Reuben might be… but Reuben wasn’t, either. So it didn’t turn into another Abba or Fleetwood Mac kind of scenario. That’s probably why we’re still around. Any friction like that dissipated pretty quickly. We probably wouldn’t be here if it was like that.”

Kitted out in matching utilitarian uniforms, made by a friend of the band and inspired by 1971 sci-fi disaster movie ‘The Andromeda Strain’, Ladytron went from studio concept to flesh-and-blood reality.

“As soon as it was the four of us, something changed,” declares Hunt. “We were actually a band rather than some loose collective project.”

After a string of EP releases on their own Invicta Hi-Fi label, Ladytron’s debut album ‘604’ was released in early 2001. Alongside ‘He Took Her To A Movie’, it featured early classics like ‘Playgirl’ and ‘The Way That I Found You’ – storytelling, mini-movie songs full of analogue crackle and sinister intrigue. The band’s emphatically warm, fuzzy sound was mostly created on vintage synths like the Korg MS-10 and MS-20, Roland SH-2 and ARP 2600 modular. They even gave their signature matching Korg MS-2000B consoles human names to tell them apart.

Ladytron still favour this grainy sound, especially in the studio, though they have gradually embraced digital shortcuts for practical ease.

“When we go on tour, ideally it’s still the old stuff,” says Marnie. “But we learned a long time ago that these things are hazardous. They’re not always easy to replace when you arrive somewhere and they’ve caught fire.”

In their early days, Ladytron found themselves bracketed with the electroclash boom alongside artists like DJ Hell, Miss Kittin and Fischerspooner – club-friendly synth acts who combined acerbic lyrics, sleazy glamour and a knowingly retro trash-punk aesthetic. In most of their interviews from this era, Ladytron firmly distanced themselves from the scene.

“For me, the interesting point was 2000, 2001,” says Hunt. “There was this vague scene that we were happy to be part of. And then suddenly the story became about how much bands were getting signed for and all this electroclash hype. It turned into this really ugly, ostentatious thing very quickly. And none of the artists liked it.”

Two decades after the hype and backlash, Ladytron have fonder memories of it all.

“Electroclash was great!” enthuses Aroyo. “We always separated ourselves from it but without that movement, mainstream pop would not be the way it is now. You would not have Lady Gaga and people like that… I think it really was a massive breakthrough.”

Hunt now accepts that Ladytron were in the electroclash gang.

“We were absolutely part of it,” he nods. “We hated the idea of being on this sinking ship and having no control over it. I look back now, and it’s like there’s a moment… I’m not even sure we got one of those again. It felt like the last thing that was completely new. If you buy Mark Fisher’s thesis, 2006 is the cut-off point. And some of those records are incredible. So now I’m proud to have been part of it.”

As the band began to take off, various members maintained side careers and academic projects. Wu was working in industrial design, Aroyo was studying for her PhD. But growing success with Ladytron “drove a sledgehammer” through any future career she might have had in biochemistry, she claims.

“As Ladytron started to tour more and record in America, my attention got diverted and I didn’t complete my PhD,” continues Aroyo. “I’ve not worked in genetics since, but it was something I tried up until 23 years ago. Unless you’re Brian May, it’s hard to come back to. I don’t really have the brain for it anymore.”

Ladytron recorded much of their second album in Los Angeles with co-producer Mickey Petralia, renowned for working with Beck, Peaches and Rage Against The Machine. Around this time they also began giving their electropop sound a more rocky heft with auxiliary drummers and guitarists. ‘Light & Magic’ featured some killer tracks including the previously mentioned earworm ‘Seventeen’ and sassy, sexy, Velvet-Underground-meets-Phil Spector beat-pop banger, ‘Blue Jeans’.

But despite attracting good reviews and famous cheerleaders, from Björk and Depeche Mode to Nine Inch Nails, Ladytron seemed cursed in their early years. Forever caught in doomed deals with shaky indie record labels, their singles kept stalling outside the Top 40. Soon after ‘Light & Magic’ was released, their US label Emperor Norton was sold to Rykodisc, then shut down. Meanwhile, in the UK, Ladytron were signed to Telstar, home of Mis-Teeq, E-17 (formerly East 17) and The Cheeky Girls.

“That actually appealed to us,” chuckles Hunt. “We thought it would be hilarious because Mis-Teeq would be our labelmates and we would get invited to their parties. But even looking and sounding like we did, they marketed us as a pop group because it was the only way they knew how.”

In 2004, Telstar went bust.

Back in Liverpool, Hunt and Wu launched a club night called EVOL. In 2005, they became founding partners in a new music venue, bar and restaurant named Korova. Besides featuring in an inner sleeve photo on the first Arctic Monkeys album, the club’s original Fleet Street location hosted shows by the likes of Hot Chip, 2ManyDJs and Friendly Fires, as well as Ladytron themselves.

But soon after Korova moved to its new address on Hope Street, the curse of Ladytron struck again. In 2010, a fire broke out in the offices above and as a result, Korova suffered major water damage and had to shut down. With hindsight, Hunt is philosophical about this minor disaster, viewing the club’s brief lifespan as “a critical success curve” that secured its lasting cult fame in Liverpool rock folklore.

“It’s so well thought of now,” he says. “People have all these amazing memories of it, regardless of it being overcrowded and the stage being too small and all these things they complained about. It’s gone down with a sort of Eric’s-level mythology. Which was exactly what we planned to do. We’re glad it ended when it did, so it didn’t go into a more mundane phase where people would start getting bored with it.”

One of the standout features of Ladytron’s early albums were Mira Aroyo’s Bulgarian-language numbers, the likes of ‘True Mathematics’ and ‘Black Cat’. Easily the band’s noisiest and most experimental work, they recall the confrontational electro-punk of Cabaret Voltaire at times. But such tracks later became increasingly scarce as Aroyo felt ever more remote from her childhood homeland.

“When we first started working together, I had been in the UK for five or six years,” she says.

“I’d lived in other countries too, but Bulgaria was a lot fresher in my mind then. All the songs felt very natural, not preconceived. Bulgarian has a very staccato rhythm and sound, so it really suited those tracks. I just don’t feel as comfortable writing in Bulgarian as much now – maybe I need to brush up a bit.”

Although Aroyo has not been back to Bulgaria for nine years, she hopes to return this summer. But after 30 years abroad, she feels like a stranger in a strange land.

“Every time I’ve gone back, I’ve been a visitor to a different kind of Bulgaria,” she says. “I’d get into a taxi and I wouldn’t know the new names of the streets. It’s an odd feeling because when you grow up in a place but you haven’t been there for a long time, you’re a bit scared of it. It’s almost more foreign than if you were going somewhere completely new.”

In 2004, Ladytron signed their first major label deal with Island for their third long-player, ‘Witching Hour’, which featured the galloping dream-rock anthem ‘Destroy Everything You Touch’ – still their biggest and best-loved song, even if it stubbornly stalled at Number 42 in the UK Singles Chart. Hunt claims Island botched the release.

“It was a disgrace, really,” he shrugs. “But we’d hit that sweet spot where it felt like the label didn’t matter. We were selling out tours. You know, we were on tour with that record for two years.”

When Island finally dropped Ladytron in 2007, they hit the ground running.

“A lot of people in the industry thought that would be the end of us,” says Aroyo. “But weirdly, that was the point at which MySpace was used quite a bit, and we realised we had an international global fanbase – much more than some massive bands in England had at the time. So we just kept touring. We had lots of fans in countries like China, Argentina and Mexico. The fact that we could continue touring gave us a reason to keep making records as well. So what label we were on didn’t really matter anymore.”

The big hits may have stubbornly eluded them, but Ladytron had broad cult appeal, gathering some high-profile fans across the musical spectrum. As well as opening for Nine Inch Nails and Björk, they remixed Erasure, Dave Gahan, Róisín Murphy and more. In 2009, multi-platinum pop diva Christina Aguilera invited Ladytron to work on her ‘Bionic’ album alongside an army of left-field collaborators including Peaches, MIA, Santigold and Kathleen Hanna.

Hunt recalls recording sessions in the studio behind Aguilera’s Beverly Hills mansion, previously owned by Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, as a fantastic experience.

“It was great fun,” he says. “She came out with us to some shows in LA. I have the greatest respect for her because of her vision for that album… she asked the people and artists she wanted to work with, rather than asking a producer to approximate what any of us were doing.”

Aguilera’s two Ladytron collaborations, the silky disco-synth ‘Birds Of Prey’ and the engagingly zippy ‘Little Dreamer’, eventually surfaced as part of the second disc and online extras for ‘Bionic’.

“The record ended up getting redone a little bit,” says Hunt. “I think disc two was closest to the original vision she had. It was really honest and brave, that record.”

Another famous fan, Brian Eno, repaid Ladytron for their Roxy-homage moniker by inviting them to Australia to perform at Luminous, a sound and light festival he curated at Sydney Opera House in 2009. In a promotional video for the event, Eno hailed the band’s postmodern playfulness:

“They’re the kind of band that really still only appears in England, with this funny mixture of eccentric art-school dicking around and dressing up and a full awareness of what’s happening everywhere musically, which is knitted together and woven into something quite new.”

Hunt recalls playing for Eno in Sydney as “doing two or three bucket list items at once”. He and Eno both have connections to the left-wing activist organisation Progressive International, and the pair communicated briefly about Brazilian politics recently. Sadly, there’s no sign of a studio collaboration so far, though Hunt admits Eno did have an indirect sonic influence on the band.

“When we played for him in Sydney, he told me that I should sing more and use my voice as a layer underneath the main vocal, as we’d already done on a couple of songs,” recalls Hunt.

“I took his advice. So, effectively, Eno is an uncredited executive producer on our last three records.”

Following their 2011 album ‘Gravity The Seducer’, Ladytron went on an extended break. As mentioned at the start, all four members scattered to new lives, ventures and families in other parts of the world. From Sao Paolo, Hunt has worked on occasional music projects, including production for the short-lived Lush reunion.

In Chicago, Wu has carved a successful sideline as both an award-winning photographer and a designer.

Before relocating to Montrose, Marnie left London and returned to her native Glasgow, where she recorded two self-released solo albums of sparkly, soulful, warm-hearted synthpop using just her surname. The first, ‘Crystal World’, was co-produced by Hunt and released in 2013. The second, ‘Strange Words And Weird Wars’, followed in 2017.

Aroyo is settled in London with her family, including two young daughters. Aside from a handful of musical credits outside Ladytron, notably with collaborative group John Foxx And The Maths and DIY synthpunks The Projects, she has a regular job developing and producing TV documentaries. Her recent credits include two acclaimed BBC docu-series, ‘Can You Feel It? How Dance Music Conquered The World’ (from 2018) and ‘My Life As A Rolling Stone’ (2022).

After eight years apart, Ladytron finally resurfaced in 2019 with their eponymous comeback album. Their sound was unchanged, but their internal chemistry was altered, with outside collaborators now more prominent. Marnie brought in Jonny Scott, producer of ‘Strange Words And Weird Wars’. Aroyo worked with LA-based writer, producer and filmmaker Vice Cooler, whose other credits include Peaches and Kim Gordon. These new team members have remained on board for ‘Time’s Arrow’.

“We had quite a long hiatus between the previous albums, and we kind of reassessed the way we work,” explains Aroyo. “Because our lives had changed significantly… we live in different parts of the world, most of us have families. We never stopped being friends, we are very much in touch with each other – it’s just that how we work has changed.”

Another crucial difference in Ladytron 2.0 has been to drop the long, punishing tours that partly led them to take a break in the first place. In their 20s, they could handle the travel and dislocation. In their 40s, with families and other work commitments, not so much.

“For the fourth album, we were touring a lot,” says Hunt. “At one point, I think we were on the bus for about nine weeks or something, then you go home for a week, then you go out again. It’s completely inhumane. So we made the conscious choice to do fewer gigs. I know that’s disappointing to audiences, but it’s not really out of any kind of selfishness or laziness. It’s for the preservation of our own health and wellbeing.”

Almost a quarter of a century since they first beamed themselves into the future, Ladytron are now a veteran cult band. Listening to some of the shiny electropop anthems on ‘Time’s Arrow’, and indeed their earlier work, it seems quite baffling that they are not arena-filling pop stars by now.

“I think there needs to be a whole other process behind you for that,” says Aroyo. “Having seen how the machinery behind the selling of pop stars operates, I don’t think we could have existed within that kind of industry. Maybe we would have been spat out a lot quicker. And just us as people, I don’t think we could have operated that way. So I think we’re very happy where we are. I guess more money wouldn’t have gone amiss, but money doesn’t come for free.”

But do Ladytron feel like pop stars? Marnie isn’t convinced.

“In my everyday life, absolutely not,” she laughs. “But onstage, it’s different. I feel like a pop star in the eyes of my audience. I don’t really have aspirations anymore to be a megastar. It’s enough for me now to hold a small room.”

With hindsight, the man who dreamed up Ladytron from a flash of inspiration in the middle of a northern soul DJ set now views their long and winding road as a positive survival story.

After decades of setbacks, near-misses, label changes and lengthy sabbaticals, the simple fact that they’re still around making darkly delicious music is a kind of victory.

“Should we be bigger? I don’t know whether we were designed to be bigger,” muses Hunt.

“But I certainly wouldn’t say I regret anything.”

‘Time’s Arrow’ is out on Cooking Vinyl

You May Also Like
Read More

The Birth of The VCS 3

How did a box of electronic bits and bobs that cost £50 lead to a boatload of drunk journalists stranded on the Thames and the third biggest selling album of all time? With exclusive access to Tristram Cary’s unpublished memoir, this is the story of the EMS VCS 3, from prototype to production… and beyond
Read More

M83: Back To The Future

Best known for his stadium-filling synthpop as M83, Anthony Gonzalez is returning to his early adventures in sound for the inspiration behind the album ‘DSVII’
Read More

Simple Minds: Natural High

Simple Minds have just put out a new album… and it’s their best since the band’s heyday in the 1980s. From the striking cover to the upbeat tunes and sometimes dark lyrics, Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill explain how ‘Direction Of The Heart’ came together, as well as reflecting on their enduring friendship and the 40th anniversary of their 1982 classic, ‘New Gold Dream’
Read More

Ambient: From A To Zzzzz

A curated snapshot rather than a definitive list, welcome to our alphabetical deep dive into the atmospheric and immersive world of ambient music. From key artists to strange concepts and beyond, prepare to see ambient in a whole new light
Read More

Factory Records: A Certain Ratio

One of the first bands signed to Factory, A Certain Ratio helped to define the label’s distinctive look and sound, from their Peter Saville-designed record sleeves to their individualistic output. 
Read More

Daniel Miller: Miller Time

Mute Records founder, musician, producer, remixer and DJ, you name it, Daniel Miller has been there, done that, got the t-shirt, and most likely signed the band to his label…