Share new single ‘Heartbreaker’
New album Chemical Reaction, due 26th June
Leeds-based disco-funk trio Galaxians have shared the new single “Heartbreaker”, taken from their upcoming second album Chemical Reaction, due for release on 26th June.
With their polished yet primitive high-energy pop potion, fuelled by “too much coffee and too many donuts”, Matt Woodward (drums), Jed Skinner (synths) and Emma Mason (vocals) bring a human touch to electronic music with live drums, earth-shaking vocals and gold-plated grooves, recalling the likes of Roisin Murphy, Hercules & Love Affair, Lynda Dawn and Sink Ya Teeth.
Soaring new cut “Heartbreaker” champions female empowerment and personal freedom, whilst drawing drew inspiration from bona fide divas like Grace Jones, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross and “Even Prince and his delicious feminine energy.” states Emma.
She continues, “It’s particularly special to me as the lyrics personify female liberation, that we can dance to the rhythm of our own drum and become our own saviours. I literally feel free when I listen to that track and I want others to feel the same.”
Since 2012 Galaxians have been merging two sides of their hometown that don’t often meet: dance music and the DIY scene.
For their second album, Chemical Reaction – written and recorded with long-time collaborator and producer Ross Halden at Hohm Studio in Yorkshire – the band have stripped back the music and pumped up the vocals. Emma joined the band in 2016, and with her unstoppable voice elevates the group to a fully-formed musical act. This new LP is all about her. “We just wanted to make a pop album with simple songs and let Emma shine and do her thing,” they say.
Partly influenced by the post-disco output of Mel Cheren’s West End Records, the congas and cowbell-spiced first single “Chemical Reaction” celebrates attraction in all its forms and is brought to life by Darren Pritchard, vogue dancer and mother of Manchester’s House of Ghetto, who meets a neon wonderland in the electrifying video directed by Clare Tavernor.
Classic disco themes like liberation, dancing, freedom and matters of the heart light up the album. “But also things like working in a shitty job and living for the weekend,” says Matt. “These themes of emancipation and day-to-day struggle are born of our working class roots, desire for social justice and the peccadilloes of life in the city as a musician,” adds Emma, who describes “Not the Money” as a clap back to the soul-destroying notion of ‘getting a proper job’ just to make ends meet. On the proto-house funk of “Fight For Love”, where Emma flexes her vocal chords to jaw-dropping effect, a flailing relationship is thrust into the spotlight. On the silky shuffle of after-hours jam “Work It Out”, Emma croons about a lover, her voice cast in a softer, more subdued glow.
“Heat of the City” sizzles with the essence of an urban summer—and is peppered with heart-stopping hand claps. Galaxians blend acoustic percussion with drum machines and synthesisers for a delirious aesthetic. “We really go for the classic drum machine sounds, like the Roland TR-707 and 606. It’s going back to that period of dance music when you had live drummers and drum machines that we really love,” says Matt. Additional musicians on the album include guitarist Jon Nash (Holodrum / Game Program), percussionist Sam Bell, and bass player Liam Kane.
Matt and Jed initially bonded over their love of synthesiser music. Through Galaxians, they pay homage to that ‘80s post-disco, pre-house electronic wild west; boogie, garage and basslines. “It was just a really experimental and exciting time,” adds Matt. The band emerged with EP releases on New York’s Dither Down Records and Atlanta label Rotating Souls in 2013 and 2015. The band have since supported Dâm-Funk and Tom Tom Club in Leeds, and have toured with ESG.
Looking ahead, the band hope to tour the album in less conventional venues.
“The kind of venues that we enjoy playing the most are not necessarily actual music venues. In those unconventional gig spaces, some of the hierarchy that often exists in traditional rock venues, the formality of the gig setup, fades away and it feels more like a communal or a shared thing—which is what we’re all about,” offers Matt.