After the recent release of their killer blend of heavy metal and synthwave album, we had the great honor to talk to the Powernerd(s).
Check out the interview!
Headphones For Robots: Who are Powernerd? Where do you come from? Where do you live?
Paddy: We are a Synthwave project with a focus on playing live.
We are based in Vienna, although we are coming from different places.
Mark and I started it after our former project (also live electronic music)
broke up. There were some line-up changes, but that is the beauty of being
a robot. We are all looking the same! Vin, our beloved and beautiful singer is the exception, as he is human and acts as the center of our live shows.
Vin: Met those nut heads in a bar and soon realized they were robots from the future, programmed to drink endless amounts of beer. Naturally, I was fucking impressed and knew, I had to establish contact and enter their beer drinking zen program. For humanity!
HFR: How did you start making music? How did you meet? Could you tell us a bit about your influences?
Paddy: I started playing guitar after hearing Ac-Dc Live in Donington. There where these shops where you could listen to CDs, so I went to one shop after school every day and listened to it. That was my starting point. Soon after I joined a Grunge Band which evolved into hardcore punk…we toured Europe, Canada and other places…very fun times. After that I formed a 60s garage/surf band and again we played many places, this project got quite big (at least from my perspective hehe)
after that, I started studying jazz guitar and had quite some other projects. Also, I started producing electronic music.
Some years forward, and I am here with my heart project Powernerd.
M: I was 12 years old when I got my first electric guitar. This was the time of all these virtuous rock guitar players like Nuno Bettencourt, Vinnie Moore, Malmsteen and Vai to name just a few. I stopped cutting my hair and was totally into this kind of music.
I knew some guys from my school. One played drums, my younger brother bass and another one was singing. My first band was born…
I met Paddy a few years ago by chance. My hairstylist introduced us and he invited me to join a rehearsal. Since then we are drinking beer together from time to time…
Vin: I got into metal at the age of around 14. My older brother and I, we were sitting in front of the TV watching MTV when “St. Anger” came on. I wanted to switch the channel, but my brother told me “No, Metallica are cool, we’re watching this now”. Everything about it had me hooked instantly. One day I snuck into my brother’s room to look for the CD because I wanted to listen to music again. What I found was “The Black Album” and that really kicked off my interest in music. It was so intense, so creepy, so powerful. Since then I only went deeper into the rabbit hole and I soon after started my music career as a bassist at the age of 16. Inspired by Metallica, Iron Maiden and Slayer my brother and I founded our first band. I soon got into more progressive stuff like Opeth and into some really dark and heavy things like Korn or Slipknot. My brother and I have been making music together since 2006 and in 2012 founded our own Heavy Metal Band where I switched to the vocals. My connections in the scene got me to Powernerd and here we are. Nowadays I like to listen to things like Haken, Vola and Dream Theater, but just the other day Wu-Tang and Herbie Hancock were on so it’s really a mix of about everything I can get my hands on.
HFR: You have just released Far from human, a new album, on Lazerdiscs Records. What can you tell us about it? Is it a concept album?
M: Yes. It is a concept album. But I think Vin can tell you the best about the story behind.
It took us some time to finish the album since we wanted it to become as good as possible of course.
It was very exciting and the first time that we worked with Vin and also with Lazerdisc Records. But for me, every second of work was worth it and I think the result is presentable.
Vin: It’s a concept yeah and it turned out very well I think. I took a lot of time writing the story and polishing it up as well as I could. But I’m not a writer so I am very thankful that Lazerdiscs were so interested in the storyline they took it and put it together into a proper tale to read. To put it short, it’s about this scientist, Victor Carter, who works on a planet-hopping device to save mankind. People have launched a rocket with android AI into space to a planet suitable for humanity to live on a long time ago. To follow there, a couple of long-time projects are started on earth. Victor Carter is the head of one of two scientist groups working on one of those projects. A rivaling scientist party abducts and kills his girlfriend so he loses it and uses his device to travel back in time to save her. Things go horribly wrong from there and a bunch of the long-gone androids invades earth to save the planet by eradicating mankind. The original concept spans 20 and some pages, maybe we’ll release it in full length, maybe not haha. I would really love a limited edition collector’s vinyl with a 3D Cover. The idea behind the concept actually was that robots in the far future find the remains of Victor Carter’s diary after everything went south, so the songs are actually excerpts of this diary. I’d love to include a booklet in the form of the full diary with the collector’s edition, but that’s some way down the road. Let’s see how the digital release is coming along first.
HFR: How did you approach writing the songs for your new album? How would you define the place of the singer in your tracks?
P: I constantly write songs, I think that’s my true passion (besides watching Mark drinking beer) So I come up with quite some ideas and can pick stuff for different purposes.
Vin is, of course, the leading part in our vocal tracks, but we try to keep the balance 50-50 regarding vocal and instrumental tracks.
M: We are not this kind of band who meet in the rehearsal room and work together on new tracks. We all have the opportunity to record at home and thanks to the internet ideas can be sent all over the world in milliseconds.
But no doubt Paddy is our musical mastermind who puts all these ideas together and makes them become sense.
HFR: Do you play video games? Which one had an impact on you and your music?
P: Last time I played was Super Mario and Double Dragon on the Game boy, so
that was in the 80s hehehe..….for me producing electronic music is like other people playing video games I guess…
M: Unfortunately I cannot play because I become bad watching these quick movements on the screen. Although I would love to play…
Vin: I am a huge video game nerd. Started as a kid at the age of 8 with my first PlayStation. My first game ever was V-Rally. A piece of junk, but I loved it. Soon got into Spyro the Dragon, Crash Bandicoot, Medievil, Tony Hawk, The Elder Scrolls, you name it. At the moment I am reliving all my greatest memories again since it’s the time of Remasters. I’ve got all the Spyro and Crash Bandicoot remasters fully played through again, currently revisiting CTR: NF and am about to hit it off with Medievil in the near future. Top it off with some Elder Scrolls and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and I’m good. One underground a.f. game that I’ve loved was “Starship Soldiers”. Still have the CD but the damn thing won’t run anymore. Try to install it every now and then but it won’t work. A friend and I even have a dedicated video game lair, where we get all the goodies, including VR, and we meet once a week to take a full day just to play games and eat junk. Love it! Funnily enough, no video game ever impacted my music. Movies tend to have that effect on me though.
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? Do you prefer Software or Hardware?
P: I was addicted in buying synths and stuff….so that constantly changed over the years, but it seems that I have found now my go-to equipment:
of course, software is very important, I work in Reason, it’s my favorite DAW.
Hardware stuff I use constantly:
Akai S950, Roland MKS 50, Roland MKS 30, Eventide H9, Roland JD800,
my Guitar Synths: Roland GR-300 and GR-700 with their Guitar Controllers G-707 and G-505. I also have but don’t use that often: Tama Techstar, Behringer Model D, Boss BX-80, Casio FZ-1, Waldorf Q.
And of course my beloved guitars: Fender Stratocaster from 1979, Gibson SG Gothic, Ibanez RG….
M: For Powernerd I use only Ibanez guitars and for live always my RG565 and my RG770. Both from the early 90s and DiMarzio pickups. For amplification a Line6 Helix.
Vin: I used an AKG D7 silver edition for a long time. Changed to a wireless condenser mic now, though. A Rode. Plus I use a dual-input Shure In-Ear to get the FOH plus my own signal via DI on separate channels so I can turn my singing up even when I can’t communicate with the technician. Gold, I tell you.
HFR: You regularly play live shows. What does it mean for you? Will we have the chance to see you performing in France or elsewhere in Europe?
P: We are focusing on our live show, and we are working on playing as much as possible. So if we get the chance to play anywhere in the world, we try to do that 🙂
M: For me live playing means everything. That is the reason to do it.
There are just a few gigs confirmed yet for next year but I think our booking agency is working hard to put a tour together.
We are ready and would be pleased a lot to meet all of you out there.
If you are an organizer or agent and you want us playing in your town or where ever please just get in touch with us.
Vin: I love making music and I love to have a good party. Liveshows are the perfect space to unite those things. Give me a cic, give me a beer and I’m good to go!
HFR: Do you have other projects?
P: I am producing with some other synthwavers, there is some stuff in the pipeline 🙂 but I ended playing with other projects to focus on Powernerd.
M: Not at the moment… Powernerd is my one and all :))
Vin: Still active in the 2012 founded Heavy Metal band with my brother DIAMOND FALCON and working on a couple of solo things. One main vehicle is a progressive solo project that I hope to launch soon. The first 8-track album is currently at a mastering studio in Austria. I would also like to put out a solo Heavy Metal record under my name. I’ve got a couple of songs already written so I only need to record them. Maybe I’ll do an electro side project called “Electric Weazzel”. I have no songs yet, but the name is too good not to be used hahaha.
HFR: Last words?
P: I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.
M: Hope to see you all soon! Bye-bye…