Scandroid has recently released The Darkness, with 6 brand new tracks. A perfect occasion to chat a bit. Check out the interview.
Headphones For Robots: Who is Scandroid? A Celldweller twin or the opposite?
Scandroid: Celldweller & Scandroid are more like 3rd cousins. There is some relation there, but far enough removed that they are clearly not brothers. The purpose for creating Scandroid to begin with was to give me a place to explore the sound of the bands I grew up on. Celldweller is the metal side of that coin and Scandroid represents the New Wave sound.
HFR: How did you start making music? Could you tell us a bit about your influences?
S: I got my first drum set when I was 13 & that was all I needed. With very little outside influence, I self-taught drums, guitar, bass & keyboards. I just made a lot of bad music to start figuring out how to combine sounds and make it something that resembled the sounds I was hearing in my head.
Influences were pretty eclectic. My grandfather’s great passion was listening to music, and he filled my head with the sound of 70’s & 80’s electronic music, classical, gospel & rock. From there I grew into metal as a teenager, cutting my teeth on bands like Slayer and Testament. I eventually grew bored of the “band” paradigm of just guitar, bass and drums and ventured out. I discovered Depeche Mode, The Cure, Duran Duran and cataloged that sound in a back drawer of my mind to eventually come back to when the time was available.
HFR: You have just released The Darkness, a 6 track EP. What differentiates your new release from your previous Scandroid albums? How did you approach writing the songs for this EP?
S: The theme and tone of this album is conscientiously different from any other Scandroid release. The Darkness is actually part of a full upcoming album The Darkness & The Light; I wanted to explore not only the lyrical theme, but definitely the musical theme of The Darkness, relating the sound to the classic movies I grew up on – Blade Runner, Terminator, RoboCop etc.
HFR: You notably introduced old school heavy metal guitars in the track “Phoenix”. Was it a wish to free yourself from synth-driven tracks?
S: Well by nature, I’ve always been 100% free in creating my music. I’ve never cared about the restrictions and limitations of a “scene” and have always done my own thing. “Phoenix” was simply me going back to those old Judas Priest and Iron Maiden albums and thinking “I want to write a song that I wished I could have written when I was a kid, decked out in cheesy metal studded wristbands with a “Screaming for Vengeance” patch on my jacket.” I just wrote a song that 13-year old me would have been headbanging to in the 80’s.
HFR: On the EP, you managed to have your tracks remixed by Volkor X, 3Force, Hexenkraft and Lazerpunk. How did the collaboration started? Did you give them instructions?
S: Remixes & collaborations usually just start with a simple email seeing if there is any interest there. I was excited to have all of these guys bringing their sound and flavor to my songs. I don’t give remixers guidelines, but simply let them do what they do and they all did an awesome job!
HFR: Could you tell us a bit about your “go to” equipment? What do you use when writing a song and which are your favorite instruments?
S: I generally use mostly hardware synthesizers because there is certainly a sound that can’t be replicated with software. Besides, it’s way more fun for me to twist a physical knob and dial in a sound on a physical object than get carpal tunnel mouse-clicking on a VSTi. My favs have been my Roland Juno-106 & Juno-60, Kawai R-100 Drum Machine, Korg Mono/Poly & PolySix, Sequential Circuits Prophet 600, and DSI OB-6.
HFR : Many of our readers produce music too. What is the best advice that you could give them?
S: Make music!!! I’ve been in places where I’ve been almost intimidated to make a song, so I would find things to sidetrack me as a denial-mechanism. Update plugins or “I can’t make this song unless I have a new piece of gear…”
The best thing to do to perfect your sound and your craft is keep writing and releasing. I made many albums early in my musical career that sounded terrible, mainly because I had no formal training on recording, etc. I don’t like the sound of these albums at all, but almost daily I see posts of people still talking about how important those albums are to them. By making those albums, I began to learn what my mistakes were and that has gotten me to where I am now AND I was fortunate to build a loyal fanbase along the way. It’s ok to make mistakes, just keep producing, learning & growing.
HFR: Do you think Synthwave will last? evolve?
S: I have no idea. I do think it HAS to evolve to survive. I don’t listen to much of it, but as I cruise Spotify looking for artists to potentially sign, I’ve certainly noticed that the market is flooded with so much music that pretty much all sounds the same. I think the people that will transcend the genre are the ones that are doing something original and taking risks. Creating their own sound. My label FiXT Neon has signed a handful of artists that I believe are doing just that. Going beyond just the instrumental vibe of the 80s and onto writing well-produced songs, with vocals & other elements that break them out of the typical mold. I do hope overall that we see some great artists evolve from synthwave roots and keep the spirit of the greatest decade alive.
HFR: Will you play your tracks live? If so will we have the chance to see you performing in Europe?
S: I just had twin boys & have another baby on the way. I’m also relocating to Los Angeles so my life is all sorts of chaos right now. I really had a fantastical notion that I would tour as Scandroid, but I think it’s pretty unrealistic anytime in the near future, if at all. I do think it’s more important for me to continue to create new music and release new songs and albums, reaching the whole world with the sound, so that is my focus for the immediate future. IF I do tour as Scandroid, Europe will definitely be on my itinerary. 🙂
HFR: Do you have other projects? We heard the EP is the first part of something…
S: As far as Scandroid is concerned, The Darkness is the first part of a full length album The Darkness & The Light in 2019 I plan on releasing The Light which will finally be followed up with the full album The Darkness & The Light.
In addition to that I’m working on a brand new album for my metal/electronic project Celldweller, and occasionally writing new tracks for my industrial/metal project Circle of Dust & my analog/ambient/experimental project FreqGen. I like to stay busy. 🙂
HFR: Last words?
S: For the fellow producers and people looking to make music a career – keep at it, and remember that you don’t need the validation of a scene to succeed. Make YOUR sound and you will find YOUR audience. The world is a big place and there is room for everyone. To those who listen to my stuff, THANK YOU for the support and thank you Headphones For Robots for taking the time to interview me!