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June 3, 2015Feature

Marcus Lambkin, also known as Shit Robot, is part of one of the most influential communities in electronic music. Eric Davidson speaks to Lambkin about how his relationship with James Murphy and how Death From Above was forged

Passing through phases, Marcus Lambkin eventually settled on the music that would form his career. He left behind being a skinhead “little-shit from Ballybrack” to get into breakdancing. This is where he discovered Kraftwerk and Yellow Magic Orchestra and his love for electronic music began to blossom.

“I used to go and see bands a lot, then I was out one night and someone suggested we go to an after-hours club and that turned out to be Sides. I think Martin McCann was DJing that night and it was amazing. It was there that I re-hooked up with Johnny Moy, who I had known years before and that was the end of me.”

After some lessons from Dublin’s pioneering DJs and a bit of digging in the record bargain bins, Marcus was off to New York City. It would be here that he’d meet a group of people that would turn out to be some of the most influential musicians of their generation.

“I met James Murphy before DFA started.” Marcus explains. “We ended up sharing an office space in New York in this amazing building owned by a mutual friend, it’s actually where the DFA Studio is today. We started hanging out and chatting and hit it off in regards to music. He introduced me to some great rock bands and I showed him good dance music and that’s where it all started.”

James Murphy’s original idea for Death From Above was that it would be an institution in which a group of friends could hang out in and create. It was within this little group of talented comrades that Marcus would hone his skills.

“Obviously as things went on and LCD Soundsystem got successful everyone started to spread their own wings, but the core of artists still remained really close. My best friends in the world, besides my friends at home, are people on DFA.”

Out of all the DFA collaborations Marcus was involved in he’s adamant that working with James Murphy himself was the most rewarding.

“My first rough cuts were embarrassing, so with James being heavily involved in production early on I ended up learning a lot. Although it wasn’t just the production that he helped with. He just knows how to make a song sound good. For example, he was originally supposed to sing the lyrics on ‘Losing my Patience’, but Hot Chip were playing in New York that night and James suggested that Alexis Taylor would be perfect for the track. So we went to the show and asked him and he came down the next day and did it. Having that vision for the record was amazing.”

It was also through LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy that Marcus procured his unique DJ moniker.

“When myself and James used to DJ in Plant Bar we used to call ourselves Shit Robot. That name comes from James always making fun of my raver background. Because I was a ‘very serious house DJ’ he used to always threaten to come into the DJ booth with a ‘I’m with Marcus’ t-shirt and white gloves doing a really shit robot dance.

“It wasn’t until I made the ‘Wrong Galaxy’ 12” that James rang me up about the name. I was going on tour with LCD and he was doing up the posters and he asked “are you going to be Marcus or Shit Robot?”. I thought DJ Marcus Lambkin sounded like some German minimal thing. I sort of jokingly thought Shit Robot was a great name and I could change it later.”

Marcus never changed the pseudonym and now Shit Robot is not only one of Ireland’s finest electronic music exports, but also one of the most respected names on DFA.

Shit Robot’s new album ‘What Follows’ is available here. The official Irish launch takes place in Tengu on May 28 with Hidden Agenda. Click here for more information.

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