Tag: Gunship

LEBROCK Interview

Hailing from sunny Peterborough, LEBROCK describe themselves as “a retro cinematic experience”.

Shaun Phillips and Michael Medows pride themselves on their rockier edge to achieve their take on the synthwave sound.

The duo first came to wider attention with their debut independent release ‘Action & Romance’ in 2017.

They have been touring their recently remastered second release ‘Real Thing’ with DANCE WITH THE DEAD. Playing the next Outland live presentation prior to the Easter weekend with DANA JEAN PHOENIX and KALAX, The Electricity Club caught up with the duo to talk all things LEBROCK.

With two albums under your belt, LEBROCK have truly established yourselves within the synthwave scene?

We think LEBROCK have managed to build up a decent following within the scene, but there’s still a long way to go for us before we can say we’re truly “established”.

If you look at the likes of the big hitters like THE MIDNIGHT, GUNSHIP, DANCE WITH THE DEAD etc and what those guys are doing, then you realise there’s still a lot of work to be done.

What attracted you to adopting this sound with your more rock oriented backgrounds?

The mixture of the retro aesthetic and nostalgic feel of the music was something that appealed to both of us. We were both 80s kids so always liked the idea of bringing elements of that sound back into the music we were doing.

You stress that your take on the retro magic is different than the others, however…

This is probably due to our tracks having more of a “band” style or feel than maybe some of the other artists in the genre. A little more lose and rough around the edges and not so polished. The vocals are also very distinctive with their “rocky” sound which helps set us apart from a crowd a little.

LEBROCK pride themselves on the fact that real instruments are used and you’re the “real” musicians.

We don’t think we’ve ever claimed to be “real musicians”, in fact, the only “real” instruments used in our songs are guitars, everything else you hear is programmed, much like anything else you would hear in the scene.

Aren’t you afraid that other artists from the genre could take that as a suggestion that they aren’t “real musicians”?

Not at all, as we said previously, we’ve never claimed to be “real” musicians so don’t see why any other artist would have that opinion. Our music doesn’t contain anything more organic than any other artist within the scene.

Does it mean you aren’t synth and keyboard fans?

We’re huge synth and keyboard fans. These elements can be heard in every single track we’ve written and are the backbone of our music and writing.

You’re like the rockier version of GUNSHIP, would you agree?

To a degree, maybe. We both utilise vocals in our music more than a lot of other artists and GUNSHIP like to mix a lot of hybrid stuff together, especially cinematic style elements and guitars which we sometimes dabble with in some of our tunes.

How do you feel about how the Synthwave form is developing, or not?

Its popularity has obviously exploded recently which we think is great for everyone involved. Whether it will go super mainstream or not remains to be seen, but we’d be happy for it to do so.

We think for it to succeed new artists need to adapt the sound and help it move forward, grow and evolve. The 80s are a great reference point, but getting bogged down too much in relying on it could hinder its evolution.

Sitting comfortably alongside KAVINSKY, CARPENTER BRUT, KALAX or PERTURBATOR, are you proud of your achievements to date?

Yes, when we first started LEBROCK, it was just a bit of an experiment, it was never meant to be a full time project. Both of us had been in numerous bands before and just decided to try and write a few retro style tracks based on our new love of this scene.

If it wasn’t for NewRetroWave picking up ‘Call Me’ and helping us gather the support we have now things maybe a lot different. Fast forward a couple of years and we’ve released 2 EPs, signed a record deal with FIXT Music’s new label FIXT Neon, collaborated with some of our favourite artists and just completed a full European tour. It’s pretty crazy.

The synth revival hit more than expected with the likes of ‘Drive’ and ‘Stranger Things’…

‘Drive’ kicked the whole thing into a new gear for sure and when ‘Stranger Things’ came out, it certainly seemed to push the retro scene into people’s living rooms who perhaps wouldn’t have been interested in exploring it before. This in turn helped people discover the music and that’s always a positive for a growing scene like this one.

And the girls are doing it too, Canada’s MECHA MAIKO had a superb debut last year, featuring the amazing DANA JEAN PHOENIX…

It’s great to see the girls doing their thing within the scene and producing great music. Dana has been around since the beginning so is definitely a female pioneer within the scene. Aside from that, the female voice is brilliantly suited to synthwave / popwave and there’s a good selection of tracks out there that showcase that perfectly.

Across both your albums, you have a number of instrumental tracks, would you class those as more “cinematic” pieces?

They’re more just straight up synthwave tracks than cinematic pieces. I think there’s probably more cinematic elements in some of our vocal tracks, ‘Juice’ for example has a whole cinematic sequence which starts around half way through.

You’re touring extensively this year, are you showcasing any fresh material?

Yes, we will be showcasing a new track at our upcoming shows.

You’re going to be performing in London again in April, opening for DANA JEAN PHOENIX, what can people who have not seen you live before expect?

Energy. We like to try and bring a little something extra to our live shows. Having two members definitely helps that. A lot of artists are going it alone, so it’s a struggle to sometimes get out from behind a laptop or keyboard / DJ equipment and really go for it.

Being a duo it allows us to step in front of all the equipment a bit more and try and give the audience a performance.


The Electricity Club gives its sincerest thanks to LEBROCK

Additional thanks to Alicia Lovewell at FiXT and Stuart McLaren at Outland

‘Action & Romance’ + ‘Real Thing’ have been remastered by FiXT Neon and available digitally direct from https://lebrock.bandcamp.com/

LEBROCK appear at Zigfrid von Underbelly of Hoxton in London on Thursday 18th April 2019. Presented by Outland, the event also features DANA JEAN PHOENIX + KALAX – tickets available from https://www.wegottickets.com/event/462089

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Text and Interview by Monika Izabela Trigwell
12th April 2019

GUNSHIP Dark All Day

A trio consisting of Dan Haigh, Alex Westaway and Alex Gingell, GUNSHIP found their niche audience with the lovers of vintage gaming, flicks and sounds of the golden synth era and all things neon.

Their first ‘Gunship’ album, alongside the now famous animated quasi films made by the trio, created a stir enough for the band to collaborate with none other than JOHN CARPENTER.

‘Dark All Day’ is their second offering to wow audiences who favour the rockier take on synth, and the eponymous single certainly hits the spot.

With the punchy rhythm, sexy sax, courtesy of the one and only Tim Capello and enticing Dolores O’Riordan-esque vocal of the super sassy Lauren Henson aka Indiana, this truly ecstatic combination raises the bar and then some, accompanied by a clever video that mixes anime with real life red rain dancing.

‘Woken Furies’ introduces the electrifying atmosphere like an arcade gaming parlour meeting vintage SOUNDGARDEN… no wonder it feels like ‘Black Hole Sun’ when it’s dark all day!

The teenage dream fades as ‘When You Grow Up, Your Heart Dies’; a perfectly candied MECHA MAIKO style number. The sounds of DANA JEAN PHOENIX reverberate all over this one, making it a very retro track, leading into the heavier synth of ‘The Drone Racing League’, complete with stunning arpeggios that make it ‘Stranger Things’ worthy. ‘Rise The Midnight Girl’ brings an alternative feel with a more grungy sounding vocal, the sublime use of percussion and clever sequences. Feeling edgy, introverted and unguarded, preparing for ‘Trasher’ with its droning, mantric, truly trashy sound, incorporating a true likeness to AZZIDO DA BASS’ ‘Doom’s Night’.

From one explicit track to another, this time joined by the fabulous Kat Von D, who took her singing career to another level featuring on IAMX’s last opus and dropping by to grace his live performances during the ever successful ‘Alive In New Light’ 2018 tour. This time Kat with her ‘Black Blood Red Kiss’ serenades in a GARY NUMAN stylee, over a super cool dark romance, which could be the best track on ‘Dark All Day’. Wanting another twisted love story? She gives it here in bunches.

‘Time After Time’ brings back the memories of teenage nostalgia in a more than capable cover of Cindy Lauper’s classic. Not a fan of covers? This may as well change your mind; the version is superb and quite ERASURE-esque at times too!

With DURAN DURAN amalgamated with TEARS FOR FEARS on ‘Honour Among Thieves’, this reverberates with the classic feel of the leg warmers era, and ‘Symmetrical’ freshens up the senses with a crisp vocal and some youthful musical delivery.

Stella Le Page, also known by the name of Beau Corbeau, features on the perfect synth ballad ‘Art3mis & Perzival, while the kingdom of ‘Cyber City’ is reined with sheer power before ‘The Gates Of Disorder’ close.

What a follow-up to GUNSHIP’s debut long player! These guys certainly know how to spice things up with the choice of vocalists and artists who have been invited to collaborate on this production. It’s a grown-up, eclectic mix of good old synth and hard graft. Not as rocky as expected by the first single, and even more demure in places, it’s simply stunning.

There’s enough material here for two albums, and it can feel a little bit too long, with the listeners having the tendency to switch off at track 11, but there’s never enough of a good thing, right?


‘Dark All Day’ is released by Horsie In The Hedge in CD and digital formats

https://www.gunshipmusic.com

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Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
5th October 2018

GUNSHIP featuring TIM CAPPELLO & INDIANA Dark All Day

Ever wanted to chase down the flesh eating zombies? Look no further but the latest animation from GUNSHIP, who have been bringing back post-apocalyptic horror nostalgia with the freshness of today.

GUNSHIP’s 2015 release of their eponymous album was eagerly received by the lovers of vintage gaming, films and sounds of the golden synth era and this Autumn is bringing the release of a follow-up long player ‘Dark All Day’. And here comes the first single, sharing its title with the record’s name.

The trio consisting of Dan Haigh, Alex Westaway and Alex Gingell collaborated with John Carpenter on their music video for ‘Tech Noir’, and are widely known for releasing too cool for school flicks which accompany their rock meets synth creations.


For ‘Dark All Day’, GUNSHIP proudly announced “the undisputed king of ’80s sax joins us to blow his horn — Mr Tim Cappello himself, reprising his role from the movie ‘The Lost Boys’ some 30 years later!”. Cappello made sax sexy by performing sans shirt for Peter Gabriel, Carly Simon and Tina Turner, amongst others and his extended solos on ‘Dark All Day’ bring back the feelings of the good lost days.

As if that’s not enough, GUNSHIP fortifies this one with Lauren Henson aka Indiana as well. Indiana has had a top 20 single with ‘Solo Dancing’ and her haunting Dolores O’Riordan-esque voice is widely recognisable and she certainly doesn’t disappoint on ‘Dark All Day’.

Gentle versus harsh, gracious versus pungent and sexy versus disgusting is what both the song and the video burst with. The zombies attack; they’re being decimated, animation style, and finally the band themselves get drenched with blood looking rain, where Cappello does his amorous sax thing and the scantily clad Indiana dances in the wetness of the red… what’s there not to love!?

The release of the follow-up to ‘Gunship’ LP can’t come quick enough, but for now let’s channel our inner geeks and enjoy ‘Dark Long Day’ in its glory. The album is set to feature vocals from Kat Von D who worked previously with IAMX on the ‘Alive In New Light’ opus and Una Healy from THE SATURDAYS, the girl group known for consistently mining the Vince Clarke catalogue during their hit heyday.


‘Dark All Day’ is available via the usual digital platforms and taken from GUNSHIP’s forthcoming second album also named ‘Dark All Day’ released by Horsie In The Hedge on 6th October 2018, pre-order direct from https://gunship.tmstor.es

https://www.gunshipmusic.com

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Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
25th July 2018

THE RISE OF THE SYNTHS The Official Companion Album

“The natural way of the cultural wave: we generally experience that musical and cultural trends shift from an outstanding position within public opinion to near utter rejection, refusal and ridicule, through an ever-shortening period of time. However, if that period of time is extended, to often several decades, we can witness a renovation, a new heightened recognition – the rebirth of the wave. Through today’s global reach, powered by the internet, cultural waves and fascinations can resurface and manifest themselves, with an even much bigger fan impact than the original source.”

And so The Synths rise, to combat the ordinary, to get ahead, to prove that this isn’t a mere revival; it’s a continuation of the trend started a long time ago, a trend which has been bubbling away in the hearts and minds of many, the army of the underground, which is now unleashing its machines to show the world their supremacy.

‘The Rise Of The Synths’ is the definitive documentary about the electronic music of its mainstream heyday, the nostalgia of those years and the memorable atmosphere created by the likes of GIORGIO MORODER, EDGAR FROESE and JOHN CARPENTER.

The project, backed up by hundreds of modern synth music composers, alongside the daddies of electronica, is a journey in time from its origins, through to the most successful time for synth, into its grunge fuelled denial and the big comeback thanks to the newly discovered social media and its important role in propagating of new music.

Anyone can be an artist these days, the day job is one thing – but why not tinkle on your synths and computers in your spare time? And with the digital outlets sprouting up like mushrooms, anyone can have a chance to hear your music. nostalgia lives through, be it with the lovers of vintage games, computers, equipment, or clothing, to those who just can’t forget the musical excitement upon hearing what synthesisers could do.

JOHN CARPENTER loved the fact that “when synthesisers were first introduced into music, (he) could get a big sound with them, (…) like an orchestra.” And that’s why many got inspired into making fresh sounds which would be impossible to achieve otherwise.

The machines never sleep and 2011 saw ‘Drive’, with its magnificent synthy soundtrack, win the festival’s Best Director Award for Nicolas Winding Refn at the Cannes Film Festival. The movement continues with the superb Netflix series ‘Stranger Things’; not only showcasing the life in provincial America in the Reagan-era, but also a deliciously electronic score, full of analogue goodness straight from the onset intro, which is impossible to skip.

‘The Rise of the Synths’ continues that trend, with numerous lovers of analogue and digital from all around the globe, joining forces to stand against the ordinary and to prove that machines rule. They rule big…

Kicking off with the perfect arpeggios by CHROME CANYON on ‘Deckard Returns’, the compilation promises a perfect listening experience from the onset.

GUNSHIP with ‘The Vale Of Shadows’ takes the reigns next, presenting the London trio of Dan Haigh, Alex Westaway and Alex Gingell; the group have had a very successful release under their belt with the 2015 eponymous album.

POWER GLOVE are best known for writing the soundtrack to the retro-futuristic video game ‘Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon’; here, the two Australians plate up ‘Fatal Affair’; a futuristic flick with a twist. ‘Makita’ by GENO LENARDO imagines the machines picking up their weapons and marching against the enemy, all with industrial elements of fear inducing qualities.

Naming his project after the ‘Top Gun’ icon, COM TRUISE aka New Yorker Seth Haley has gathered a substantial following with his “mid-fi synth-wave, slow-motion funk” and here he presents his quirky ‘Idle Withdrawal’.

While DANIEL DAVIS is ‘Lost In Love’ with a melodious pop song, ROBERT PARKER is chasing his ‘Silver Shadow’, and WAVESHAPER are on a ‘Mission To Remember’. If it ever rains for CODE ELEKTRO, it has to be ‘Black Rain’. The drops of arpeggiated downfall descend upon the simple melody, creating an atmosphere of suspense and dread.

But there’s nothing like GERMAN ENGINEERING on ‘The Osbourne Effect’, an experimental Kraftwerkian with the elements of the glorious instrumentals DEPECHE MODE used to provide in the day. The magnificent ‘Triage’ by GIORGIO MORODER, who is joined by RANEY SHOCKNE, passes almost too quickly, before the heavy ‘Night Stalker’ by CARPENTER BRUT appears; the Frenchman wrote music for video games ‘Hotline Miami 2 : Wrong Number’ and ‘The Crew’.

JOHN BERGIN introduces his guitar heavy ‘Crash & Burn’ and calming ‘Fleshman’, both as if taken from a video game. ‘Dead Of Night’ by LA based DANCE WITH THE DEAD could have easily been used in the likes of ‘Footloose’ and is very ‘Eye Of The Tiger’.

LAZERHAWK takes over on ‘A Hero’s Journey’ with filigree synths and cinematic landscapes; Garrett Hays is a founding member of ROSSO CORSA and a very successful electronic producer with a considerable success during the days of MySpace.

OGRE ushers in the era of ‘Rebar (Prologue)’, from Exeter, UK, Robin Ogden is a composer, producer and sound designer. MEGA DRIVE open the ‘Stargate’, a cleverly put together track of sci-fi design, while VOYAG3R closes the album with ‘Appearance Of The Mysterious Traveler’.

Many other artists were involved in the production; music makers from Sweden, Denmark, Spain and Canada joined numerous composers from the US and UK, all to aid the cause and strengthen the position of synth worldwide.

It seems like the trend is catching. The mighty synth has risen and it’s hitting with revenge and its revenge is sweet.


‘The Rise of the Synths’ is released by Lakeshore Records, available as a download or cassette from https://lakeshorerecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-rise-of-the-synths-official-companion-album-2

http://theriseofthesynths.com

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Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
16th December 2017