Club-Goers Unwitting Guinea Pigs In Chemical (Brothers) Testing

DJs playing potential new tracks from forthcoming album to gauge response.

INDIO, California — You may be hearing cuts from the Chemical Brothers' next album when you go out to a club — without even realizing it.

Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons have given a few potential tracks for their new disc to DJs who are testing them out on club kids.

"It's looser — rather than making everything a big deal, you do a piece of music and you get people to play it and you see if it grows or evolves naturally. And then we can take time to see if we like it." Rowlands said shortly before the duo's set at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Saturday. The club tryouts could lead to the release of a single this summer.

The Chemical Brothers have spent the last several months holed up in their London studio working on music for their fourth full-length album, the follow-up to 1999's Surrender. The process has brought with it some anxiety about topping, or at least matching, their previous work, Simons said.

"We've made a lot of music now, and we want to make a record that is as good or better than what we've done before. ... Every time, the record you made before suddenly becomes this giant thing, and you think, 'That was so good — how did we ever do it?'"

"We think that; no one else does," Rowlands added with a laugh.

The Brothers tried out a few new tracks on the Coachella crowd during their festival-capping DJ set, including "Galaxy Bounce," from the upcoming "Tomb Raider" soundtrack (June 5), and the tentatively titled "It Began in Africa" (see "Jane's Addiction, Chemical Brothers, More Heat Up Coachella").

"DJing for us is like how rock bands play acoustic — back to basics," Rowlands said. "One of the ways we look at it is it's a way to test out our music. You can hear something in the studio and say, 'Yeah, that's wicked.' Then you come out and play it and actually see what it means in real life."

The as-yet-untitled album will feature guest vocalists, but Simons and Rowlands declined to divulge any names.

Surrender featured Primal Scream leader Bobby Gillespie, Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval, Oasis' Noel Gallagher, Mercury Rev's Jonathan Donahue and New Order's Bernard Sumner.

The Chemical Brothers should turn up on New Order's first album since 1993's Republic, due in the fall.