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James from Hadouken!
Background information
Origin Leeds, England, UK
Genres Grindie
Years active 2006–present
Labels Atlantic Records
Kitsuné Music
Website Official website
James Smith
Alice Spooner
Daniel "Pilau" Rice
Chris Purcell
Nick Rice

Hadouken! are an English grindie band. They originally formed in Leeds, West Yorkshire after James Smith and Daniel "Pilau" Rice met at the University of Leeds. It was here they began their own record label, Surface Noise Records.[1] After forming the label, Smith began writing and demoing the first Hadouken! tracks. In February 2007, Hadouken! self-released a two song limited edition vinyl, a double-a side of "That Boy That Girl" and "Tuning In". The former gained popularity after the video made it to number one in MTV Two's NME Chart.[2]




Band formation (2006–2007)

Hadouken! were formed in Leeds in October 2006 by singer, writer and producer James Smith, alongside his girlfriend,[3] synth player Alice Spooner, guitarist Daniel "Pilau" Rice, and drummer Nick Rice.

They played their first gig at the Dirty Hearts Club in Southend on September 16, 2006.[4] They played their debut London gig the following week at the notorious Another Music Another Kitchen night at Proud Gallery in Camden. They recorded demos and spent their first six months playing gigs predominantly in Leeds and London. In December 2006, Hadouken! recruited bass player Chris Purcell. Their name is taken from the name of a special attack in the Street Fighter franchise games.

The band first began getting noticed more widely in 2006. It was 2007 though, when success properly came to the band. In January 2007 Mike Skinner of The Streets gave the band one of their first radio plays, he played future single 'That Boy That Girl' on BBC Radio 1 whilst guest presenting Zane Lowe's new music show, describing the band as 'a great new band.' In February 2007 the band released what is said to be an internet phenomenon,[5] described as "a savage, snarling work of genius", by NME.[6] single double a-side "That Boy That Girl/Tuning In" through the band's own label, Surface Noise Records. A video was also made for the track by friend of the band Bobby Harlow, which charted successfully in the MTV Two/NME chart. The latter, "Tuning In" appeared as a remix on Kitsuné Music's compilation album, Kitsuné Maison Compilation 4, titled "Tuning In [H! Re-rub]". The remix also was used as a b-side on the 10-inch single from Kitsuné Music, released on 7 May 2007.

Hadouken! played as a support act alongside Example and Professor Green for Plan B throughout his February/March 2007 tour. Before the tour, Hadouken! produced a remix of Plan B's "No More Eatin'". The remix can be found on the band's secondary MySpace account, "Hadouken! Remixes".

Liquid Lives was released as the band's second single release on 25 June 2007.[7] The song received moderate airplay on MTV2, and charted successfully in the NME Chart Show. The band released a new video for the track, as well as an exclusive live video recorded as part of "MTV2 Live". "Liquid Lives" marked Hadouken!'s first move into the UK Singles Chart, reaching #36 on 1 July.[8] In June 2007, the band completed a full UK tour supported by Electro/Punk band Does It Offend You, Yeah? and rapper Example.

The band played a number of festival slots over the summer period. They played at the Summer Sonic Festival in Osaka, Japan on 10 August, and the Reading and Leeds Festivals alongside fellow other acts including the Klaxons and New Young Pony Club on the NME/Radio 1 Stage on 24–26 August.

Not Here to Please You and Music for an Accelerated Culture (2007–2008)

Their third single, "Leap of Faith", was a digital only release on 12 November 2007. The song was taken from their Not Here to Please You mixtape. The mixtape or EP includes the bands remixes of Bloc Party and Plan B and a new remix of a Bolt Action Five song, as well as some older songs that have been re-recorded. The mixtape was released on 12 November 2007 and was only available in USB format.

Throughout September, October and November 2007 they played a UK tour with support from fellow Leeds band Shut Your Eyes and You'll Burst Into Flames as well as Manchester based The Whip, The Ghost Frequency and Late of the Pier. The tour coincided with the release of "Leap of Faith" and their new mixtape Not Here to Please You.

On 7 January 2008, Hadouken! were guest presenters on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio1 show. On the show Hadouken! referred to previous single 'Leap of Faith' as an experiment and suggested the album would draw more on their dance music influences, comparing it to The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers.

On 22 January 2008, it was posted that "Game Over" will hopefully be the first single, it has also been stated that only one track from the album will have live drums. On 17 February 2008 the band released the first studio recording from their upcoming untitled album, the track titled "Get Smashed Gate Crash" was released on the bands MySpace.

On 3 March 2008, the band announced the albums title (Music for an Accelerated Culture), as well as details on the promo track for the album Get Smashed Gate Crash, as well as NME publishing the music video, and announcing their new fan-club Aerials which allows fans to get hold of the album before it is goes on general release, obtain exclusive material, attend exclusive gigs and as long as you ordered the album before 30 April, and much more.

Second album 'For the Masses' and present work (2009–present)

In mid-2009, the band recorded their second studio album, For the Masses, in Holland with drum and bass producers Noisia. They described the new album as being different, both lyrically and musically, and posted frequent updates via their Twitter account.

Hadouken! also produced and composed two songs for Japanese Technopop singer Meg. The two songs, Freak and its b-side Toxic were released on the single release of Freak on 11 February 2009.

The band also remixed the Sugababes single, Get Sexy.

In August, the band confirmed the release of the M.A.D. EP, which contained 3 brand new tracks and 3 remixes of the track M.A.D.. The EP was released digitally in September. The band's second studio album, For the Masses, was released on 25 January 2010.

The band unveiled their new single, Turn the Lights Out on 10 November 2009 on their MySpace.

On 25 January 2010, Hadouken! released For the Masses, which reached #17 in the UK album chart on the week of its release.

The album is to be followed up by a new mix of future single Mic Check.


The band have suffered some criticism from journalists about their grime influences who suggested the band display their grime influences in an ironic manner, therefore allegedly making somewhat of a mockery of the genre. However, James Smith, the band's singer, was once a producer for grime label True Tiger Recordings known as 'Venom' or 'Dr Venom' and has regularly stated his genuine passion for the scene.[9] Dr. Venom's most successful release was 'Not Wise' feat. Carly Bond & Faction G which spent two weeks at the top of the official UK Garage charts in 2004. When they were guest presenters on BBC Radio1 on the 7 January 2008 the band played a number of grime and dubstep tracks that rarely receive airplay at such times.

When asked his thoughts on Hadouken!'s use of grime influences by RWD magazine,[10] rising grime star Ghetto defended the band, stating "...My mum told me as a kid, Imitation is the best form of flattery. So it feels like we’re getting somewhere now. People are hearing the music. Get involved. If you’ve got something creative to add to the scene who am I to tell you No."

Lyrical themes and style

The band's name comes from a special move—a throwing fireball attack called "the Hadouken"—in the Street Fighter video game. They incorporate techno into their sound and samples from Nintendo Game Boy sounds.[11] Hadouken!'s songs deal with subjects such as binge drinking, youth culture, the commercial appropriation of underground music, relationships and debt.[12]

Band members

During live performances both Daniel and Chris occasionally play synthesizers/keyboards during some songs.

Stefan Abingdon, formerly from the band The Clik Clik, occasionally sang backing vocals for some songs on their 2009 tour.


Year Album details Peak chart
2008 Music for an Accelerated Culture 12
2010 For the Masses
  • Released: 25 January 2010
  • Label: Atlantic Records
  • Format: CD

Unreleased tracks

Song Title Information
Hadoukestra Early Recording - Unreleased
Superstar Early Recording - Unreleased

Awards and nominations

Hadouken! have had some success at the BT Digital Music Awards, where they have received two nominations in the Best Electronic Artist/DJ category in 2007 and 2008, winning the 2008 award.

Year Nominated work Award Result
2007 Hadouken! Best Electronic Artist/DJ Nominated
2008 Hadouken! Best Electronic Artist/DJ Won


  1. ^ "FAQ - Who are Surface Noise Records?". Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  2. ^ "Hadouken! That Boy That Girl (college video 4)". Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  3. ^ "Hadouken! Interview". Popjustice. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  4. ^ "Hadouken! Celebrate 1st Birthday & Reveal Album Release". Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  5. ^ "Hadouken! Thank The 'Internet Phenomenon'". Retrieved 2007-06-30. 
  6. ^ "Band Page". Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  7. ^ ""Hadouken! to release a limited edition 7" single"". Retrieved 2007-06-27. 
  8. ^ "Hadouken Chart Positions". Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  9. ^ Hadouken Blog Post: Hot Topic
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Sonic boom!". Tim Jonze, The Guardian, 9 December 2006.,,1966534,00.html?=rss. Retrieved 2007-05-14. 
  12. ^ NME Albums of 2008 Feature
  13. ^ "UK chart". Chart Log UK. Retrieved 15 Nov 2009. 

External links


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