Brothers in Mind: The 7 Brightest Collaborations in the History of The Chemical Brothers

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During his 30-year-old musical career, the cult British duo of The Chemical Brothers managed to work with a lot of star vocalists, musicians, music video makers, and directors. Each of them contributed to the history of the project. On the eve of the long-awaited Kiev show The Chemical Brothers at the IEC on June 15, we chose 7 of the most remarkable creative collaborations in the duo's career and remembered the history of its creation.

Michel Gondry

Favorite director of all the hipsters of the world began his career as a video maker. Prior to his notable debut in a big movie with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Gondry shot a couple of dozen iconic clips for artists ranging from RHCP and Daft Punk to Massive Attack or Bjork. Among them were The Chemical Brothers. For the "brothers", the famous Frenchman shot several clips at once, including ideally symmetrical Go and the last one for today Got To Keep On.

It is worth especially to highlight his video for the atmospheric single Star Guitar from the album Come With Us (2002). The simple and at the same time original idea of ​​the video won the hearts of everyone! Due to meticulous editing, Gondry managed to synchronize all the sounds of the track with the objects that arise outside the window of the traveling train. The train itself runs in the south of France, between the cities of Nimes and Valence. Gondry admits that as a teenager he often traveled along this route and managed to learn it by heart.

Richard Ashcroft

Girls all over the world remember well the childhood favorite film “Brutal Games”. The cult youth melodrama was imprinted in the memory thanks to the excellent soundtrack, where Placebo and The Verve with the tenacious orchestral melody of Bitter Sweet Symphony stood out in particular. Their main hit The Verve recorded in 1997. Three years later, the band’s frontman Richard Ashcroft released a great but commercially unsuccessful solo album. About one of the most talented vocalists in the history of Brit-pop began to speak as a "hero of one hit." The idle lifestyle of a musician added fuel to the fire. By 2002, critics had already given up on Ashcroft, desperate to wait for new big releases.

It was at that moment that The Test happened. Epic, monumental, alien work of Richard in collaboration with The Chemical Brothers. The single broke into the first place of the British dance chart and quickly earned a cult status thanks to an incredible psychedelic video in which a girl in the womb watches a light show performed by jellyfish … And this is only the first minute of the video. The Test is a full-fledged trip, in which Ashcroft's characteristic vocal literally hypnotizes the listener. With this track and the leader of The Verve, and the "brothers" themselves have reached one of the most important peak points in their careers.

Adam Smith and Marcus Lyal

An important element in the overall ecosystem of The Chemical Brothers project is their incredible, exciting live shows. Giant screen, projections of dancers, robots, lasers and carefully thought out lights. This is one of the best live performances in world music today. The creative duet of Adam Smith and Marcus Layal is responsible for the production of The Chemical Brothers. They work together with the "brothers" for 25 (!) Years. We started together in the early 90s on raves in Manchester. At a time when The Chemical Brothers were just preparing to release their first album and were known only in narrow circles of British party-goers.

Since then, Adam and Lial have set up 7 different shows for the duet, updating the concert program with the release of each new album. One of them – Further (2010) – they are fully screened, removing the video for each of the tracks on the album. In their free time, each of them is engaged in their own projects. Adam makes movies and TV shows, and Marcus makes stunning light installations for advertising and municipal projects.


Bernard Sumner

Virtually every album of The Chemical Brothers (with the exception of the debut one) adorns a whole series of star collaborations. During his career, the electronic duo managed to record joint compositions with almost all the prominent rock frontmen of the 90s and zero. Among them are Noel Gallagher from Oasis, Beck, Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream, Kele Okereke from the Bloc Party, the Klaxons group and The Magic Numbers.

It is difficult to choose the best from this list. As recognized by The Chemical Brothers themselves, the most significant for them was the joint work with the idol of youth – Bernard Sumner, a member of the cult groups Joy Division and New Order. Together they made the Out of Control rave manifesto for Surrender (1999). Simons and Rowlands met Bernard at one of the festivals. They were very worried and thought out a welcoming speech for a long time, standing at his van. But when they did enter, Sumner did not even glance at the guests, throwing over his back: "Hush there, you are stopping me from watching TV!" When Bernard managed to convince, The Chemical Brothers were overjoyed! The single Out of Control is one of their best songs today.

Dom & Nic

Behind this signboard lies the directorial duet of Dominic Hawley and Nick Gofri. Like the directors of Smith-Lial, these guys have been in the same boat with The Chemical Brothers since the beginning of their careers. Back in 1996, Dom & Nic made one of the first videos for the song “Setting Sun” for “brothers”, and a year later they made a breakthrough with a video for the main hit of all time, Block Rockin ’Beats. The work was awarded a nomination at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Eight years later, Dom & Nic conquered this peak. They won the MTV VMA Award for Best Video 2005 with The Chemical Brothers Believe music video. In total, Hawley and Goffey shot as many as 9 clips for the "brothers". Among them is the memorable The Salmon Dance with a talking fish in an aquarium, Hey Boy, Hey Girl with X-ray effect on the dance floor, The Test mentioned above and quite fresh Free Yourself is a whole mini-film about the robots rising.

In addition to working with The Chemical Brothers, the directorial duo is known for the clips for Robbie Williams, Faithless and David Bowie. Their record has a prestigious Golden Cannes Lion award for the best ad for the Nike brand.

Kate Gibb

The general image of The Chemical Brothers in world pop culture would not be what we know it today, without the visual content of the designer and artist Kate Gibb. This amazing woman works wonders in her small office in north London! It is no coincidence that Apple, Virgin, EMI, Nike, Hermes and entire publishing houses, from Le Monde to The Guardian, are among its clients. Kate has her own special recognizable handwriting: vintage collages in color inversion with appliqué elements inspired by Andy Warhol and Kandinsky.


For The Chemical Brothers, Kate Gibb has developed their corporate logo, the cover of several albums, booklets of vinyl releases and art photos. Especially distinctly Kate’s handwriting is recognized in the work on the Surrender (1999) and Come with Us (2002) releases.


The main find for the experienced in The Chemical Brothers sample of 2019 is the young Swedish electro-pop diva AURORA, the only guest vocalist in the last (ninth) album No Geography. The gentle, delicate voice of the singer enters into an interesting contrast with the powerful massive synth parts, which gives the whole album a slight psychedelic effect.

AURORA itself, in an interview with NME, admits that she loves the music of The Chemical Brothers: "In general, I only listen to their tracks, Enya, Leonard Cohen and heavy metal." The girl leads a long-standing friendship with the main sensation of 2019 – Billy Aylish. And collaborates with her brother Faynnes, also a musician and sound producer. Already on June 7, AURORA will release a new album, with which they are predicting the status of one of the main discoveries of the year. Expect a pompous electro-pop with folk elements. The Chemical Brothers have already managed to wish their young protege good luck. With luggage from the new tracks together with AURORA, they just recently went to the eponymous No Geography Tour.




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