Nathan Gray (solo, Boysetsfire)
SPB: Can you like a musician whose politics you disagree with?
Nathan: Can you? Yes. Should you? Well, that is up to the individual. There are many hymns that I rather enjoy, but do not agree at all with the content. I am also not a huge fan of limiting ones musical experience due to questionable lyrics or ideology. What would the world of classical music be without the brilliance of Richard Wagner, and how would we possibly even have envisioned the amazing forward thinking paths that Black Metal has taken, if we were not first inspired to take the golden bits, and leave the shit. In short, "you could learn a lot from a dummy."
Tyler Forsythe (Axis)
SPB: What was your first musical instrument? How old were you?
Tyler: I started playing bass when I was 11 and it was the first instrument I had ever really had an interest in playing. My older brother had already been playing for years so it was somewhat easy for me to feel motivated to learn. He brought home an old P-bass copy that got left at his practice space along with his old amp for me to plug into. The next few years of my life were spent not really doing or caring about anything else because all I wanted to do was learn how to play my favorite Rage Against the Machine and Blink-182 records from front to back.
Francis Beringer (Caustic Casanova)
SPB: Do you get nerves before you play a show?
Francis: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I used to get nerves before every show, now it happens only once in a while. There are different kinds of nerves - the "no one is here" nerves, the "there are so many people here" nerves, and the "the microphones/monitors in this venue do not work" nerves. For me, those nerves manifest themselves in tightness and stiffness in the hands for the first song, but that goes away once we get going. When we're on tour and have been playing for weeks I rarely get phased by anything or nervous before a show.
SPB: It seems like there would be a temptation when working within the world of cyberpunk to make soundtracks to situations presented in pre-existing games, books, or movies. Do you find yourself doing that, or do you try to represent your own imaginary worlds and situations with your music?
Neon Shudder: The name "neon shudder" was actually taken from William Gibson's novel Neuromancer ("Beyond the neon shudder of Ninsei" was the line) so right from the start I was definitely rooted in cyberpunk media/imagery with my vision for this project. If you go all the way back to my first EP the track “neurohexazine” was greatly inspired by Michael McCann's gorgeous Deus Ex: Human Revolution soundtrack. Listening to his soundtrack, and artists like Danger and Buck-Tick, I knew I wanted to do something that had a real “cyberpunk” feel to it, but I didn't want to base my work around other people's creative endeavors.
I didn't specifically set out to make a “soundtrack” to anything, but it was always in the back of my mind to explore something original musically. For a long time I had a cyberpunk/post-cyberpunk story I wanted to write but had no idea how to really execute it. Eventually when deciding what to do with my first full-length album I realized this could be my outlet for that story. I'm currently working on an EP titled O-8015that will be released on 10/13/15 centered around a corrupted android who becomes dangerously obsessed with their human counterpart, but not in a way you'd expect. Each of the 5 songs will have corresponding art and story components that come with the EP. After that I'll be working on Cadence, a full-length 20 track album with matching chapters and art just like O-8015. I don't want to give away much of the plot just yet but it explores massive fictional city of Cadence and people inhabiting it. It will be set in the same universe as the O-8015 EP. Seeing as my music is mostly instrumental I'm hoping this can add more substance to my work beyond dark synths and pounding drums.
The real temptation with the music is to stay safely within the boundaries of synthwave. I really enjoy the genre but it's easy to get caught up wanting to be the next Perturbator or Carpenter Brut: to find something that works and keep repeating the formula. I definitely admire those artists a great deal but I've been trying to slowly push away from the genre and do something a little different, and a little more “me.” Hopefully this really shows in O-8015 and Cadence.
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