Swing Shift: Pendulum

Published in Billboard Magazine


Concertgoers beware: Pendulum has swung into the United States for its first headlining tour. The 15-date trek began Oct. 1 in Boston and runs through Oct. 25 in New York.

For the band’s leader Rob Swire, the chance to introduce its breakneck brand of aural dynamite to American audiences is nothing short of a dream. But it’s not something that has been keeping him up at night. “Cracking the States? We don’t focus on it,” says Swire, an Australian whose laid-back demeanor befits the stereotype. “The U.S. is a pretty tough one, especially for a band coming from the U.K.”

Like many of his compatriots before him, Swire, originally from Perth, Western Australia, downsized his life and relocated to the United Kingdom. That was in 2003. Two albums down the line, and Pendulum is fast becoming a phenomenon in the United Kingdom, where sophomore album “In Silico” opened and peaked at No. 2 on the Official Charts Co. albums list in May.

The U.S. story, where the band has signed with Craig Kallman at Atlantic Records, has been built in part thanks to a slot in the dance tent at Coachella 2008. A slew of synch deals have since landed, which has seen Pendulum’s tunes crop up on “CSI” and “Smallville,” while the track “Mutiny” accompanies a nationwide TV campaign for LG’s new Dare handset from Verizon. Three Pendulum tracks will also appear on EA’s “Need for Speed” game. In the States, the album’s top placing was No. 16 on Billboard’s Top Electronic Albums chart.

Interest has also surged in Swire’s home country, where “In Silico” rose as high as No. 9 on the albums chart. Pendulum’s tunes even appear as a regular sound bed on Australia’s long-running TV sports compendium, “Wide World of Sports.”

But it has been the switch from small indie label Breakbeat Kaos to Warner Music that has tipped the scales in the group’s favor. “It was a bit of a shock, moving over from a fairly underground and badly organized drum’n’bass label. It’s quite refreshing to find the major labels are just as badly organized,” Swire says with a laugh.

The North American trek is sprinkled throughout a tour that takes in Europe and runs well into the new year. “Then we’ll see if we can write a third album on the tour bus,” Swire says.

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