With industry-wide CD sales decreasing like a waistline on The Biggest Loser, the Chemical Brothers have figured out a way to maximize profit—with live shows, and more specifically, live shows with a heightened focus on high-production visuals, with input from none other than Adam Smith.
When we were told that this was not the Adam Smith who fronted the 18th-century Scottish enlightenment with economic brio that made heads spin (“Put your invisible hands in the air!”), we were forced to change our line of questioning, when we met up with Ed Simons this past weekend, after the Chems headlined Electric Zoo on New York’s Randall Island.
Instead, this Adam Smith is The Brothers’ visual designer, and has been with the Chems since the early 1990s, a couple centuries after the death of that Adam Smith.
“Adam Smith has always provided the visual backdrop for us since the first show we did,” Ed Simons told us. “His expertise and ambition has grown over the years. For us, the initial reason to use visuals was [because] we were told by people at EDM shows that the artists are just standing there twiddling knobs. With this album [Further], as opposed to before, we put together a live set, instead of just taking three or four songs from the album and saying, ‘Can you make visuals for these?’
“Usually, our albums have lots of guest vocalists on it. We took away the collaborators, and you can consider Adam [Smith] and the visuals as the collaborator on this album.”
Wonder how John Kenneth Galbraith would have solved the music industry crisis…