The club lights are low. The dance floor is a sweaty blur of shadows. You can feel the blood and adrenaline surging through the crowd. There’s a band on-stage and they are telepathically connected to the audience—making bodies bounce like it was a feat of mind control. This is Moving Units and this is their natural element: unadulterated grooves and constant motion.
Moving Units have bottled this chemistry since their self-titled 2002 EP debut. When Blake Miller first started writing demos and recruiting band mates to help expand his vision, the idea of fusing dance music and indie rock was practically alien. Leading the way along with groups like The Rapture, Franz Ferdinand, The Faint and Bloc Party, Moving Units were at the vanguard of bringing body-rocking grooves to scythe-edged rock and roll. They pioneered a brand of “Dance Punk” that exploded into clubs and radio stations across the globe. “Back then, no one danced at shows in LA. People were trying to play it cool,” Miller says.” We wanted to shake things up and make people boogie.”
Tastes have changed. Members have joined and left the band. But the locomotion inspired by their music remains immutable. Credit the ease with which Miller has merged into contemporary dance culture. A DJ himself, Miller’s remixes with Steve Aoki and Le Castle Vania have earned tons of spins worldwide. “I’ve never abandoned the concept that a live band can turn out a hot dance party,” Miller says. “It’s about conveying that energy and allowing people to have a visceral and euphoric connection.”
April 8, 2016 sees the release of the band's 4th LP, Damage With Care. Miller considers it their most engaging, aggressive and visionary work since the classic Dangerous Dreams LP dropped over a decade ago. The perfect soundtrack for channeling urgent impulses and anxious adventures on a post punk millennial dance floor. 10 explosive tracks that wind their way up your spine and into your hearts and minds!
With Damage With Care, Miller says he wanted to invoke a naiveté and passion he felt when he wrote the first LP over a decade ago. Fashion always plays a part when it comes to Moving Units and you can feel it in the groves… everything from Alexander Wang, Vivienne Westwood, Warhol, Basquiat and even Patti Smith's Just Kids biography found ways to influence the look and feel of Damage With Care. With tracks like “Opposite of Rhyming”, Moving Units plaster their past all over the record, while songs like “Wishful Thinking” and “Fragile Magic” melodically wind their way to the dance floor with hooks you can’t shake. “There is a satisfying balance of raw punk influences from the 70’s and 80’s, as well as sexy bass lines and hi fi production value throughout” says Miller.
The live show has always been a crucial aspect of what Moving Units is all about. Miller describes how things have evolved live: “This spirit has remained constant over the years, however, our production has continued to evolve considerably. I've begun to utilize playback as a way to enhance the production value of the live show. Drums, bass, guitar and vocals are our most essential instruments. Playback production has enabled us to create an environment in which the crowd is engaging with us as live musicians while key production elements are being triggered in the mix. We're blending the excitement of electronic instrumentation and studio fx with the raw appeal of acoustic rock instruments.”
There is a generational experience at Moving Units performances these days and Miller believes dance music and rock and roll resonates with people of all ages. “It's so primitive and organic. I also think kids are attracted to the rebellious attitude and open minded atmosphere our music cultivates. We're having fun riffing on fundamental concepts innovated by our favorite rock and roll, punk and dance music recording artists. And I think our fans respond to that sort of authenticity and humility. I believe music is bigger than the musician. It has a life of its own. And music fans love to share music, so it doesn't surprise me to see new faces at our shows. It's rad!”
Moving Units have called Los Angeles home and Miller has always had a love hate relationship with the city… “LA has changed radically. The indie music scene was a tiny bubble in 2002. Not a lot of variety and certainly not a lot of hype. The exact opposite has occurred here since then. Obviously LA has emerged as a new mecca of American youth culture. Music, fashion, cinema and art are all mediums blowing up in this city and influencing the global scene. LA is everything you dream a city could be and everything you dread a city can become. LA don't play, so love it or leave it; that's what I say”.
When talk turns of things to come, all Miller can say is: Blow minds with the new album. Tour constantly, anywhere and everywhere. Celebrate life. Repeat!