Perturbator – interview

Photo by Johan Barbarà. You can also check out our „I am the Night” and „Dangerous Days” reviews via the almighty Google Translate.

I have to tell you you’ve got some solid fanbase in Poland. My „I am the Night” review is one of the most popular articles on this blog.

Oh, I would’ve never expected that to be honest. Thanks Poland, you guys are awesome !

Ok then… What is your favourite 80s film and why is it Blade Runner?

Well Blade Runner is one of those movies I can watch five times in a row and I just remember why I love it so much. It’s an incredibly gorgeous movie with so much details put into it, a surnatural soundtrack and an overall unforgetable mood. Everything about this movie is so well put together and each time I go back to it always feels like a new experience. I find it quite hard to explain actually.

I can easily tell from your albums you must love all those dark, grimy futuristic visions shown by Ridley Scott or Paul Verhoeven. What do you think about sterile, minimalistic, iGadgets Apple-like visions from new movies?

– I’m not really into it. Just my personal tastes. I tend to find a lot of beauty in those dark and moody visions of the future as seen in movies like Blade Runner, Akira or Escape From New York, and I can’t find the same beauty in something that is supposed to look „perfect”. Not only in movies, I feel like the more we will go toward a „minimalistic” approach to our surrounding, the more we’ll lose the human aspects of things, little imperfections that somewhat makes something unique for example. Technology, emotions, art, everything about life is complex, and I embrace this complexity.

I read somewhere that before Perturbator you were a guitarist in some death metal band. What the hell…?

– Haha, yes, it was called I The Omniscient, it sounded more like „prog” metal than real death metal and we were all around 17 years old or something. You can still find our first and only EP on the net pretty easily by the way. You’ll tell me if it’s any good.

It’s pretty cool, even if not exactly my cup of tea. I passed it to our more metal-oriented reviewer though, and she was pretty enthusiastic about the cover and drums, also she was impressed with its professional sound and writing (considering it’s just an EP).

I’m glad she liked it!

Your songs are like nothing else on the so called „retro wave” scene. They’re so complex, multi-layered, sometimes even just epic: like the closing title track from „Dangerous Days”. How long do you work on them? Is it like you work on something and put it on hold for some time, then work on something else, next go back to the older track with some new ideas…?

That’s exactly how it happens, man. Basically I just put some tracks away for a moment, and go back to it whenever it feels like I’m in the right mindset. Inspiration often strikes at unpredictable times so when I want to capture an idea or an emotion, I need to do it quickly before it fades. I’m quite hard on myself in the writing process for that matter, and there’s an incredible amount of Perturbator tracks I delete every week or never finish when I feel like they won’t work.

There’s almost no spoken movie samples on „Dangerous Days”, which were „I am the Night” sign of recognition. …Why?

Two reasons: The first one being that I learned a lot about copyright issues concerning movies samples use. Some legal stuff you’ll read are just plain fucking scary, not kidding. The other reason would be that I thought it was time to make the „Perturbator universe” something that could stand on its own, not simply relying on pop culture references.

What’s the basis behind your use of samples? Do you have some favourite films with some catchy phrases you just plan to use in your music or do you work on your tracks first and just then, at some point, an idea comes to your mind like „oh, that ‚Network’ sample would fit here like a glove!” (it obviously does, by the way)

Well Often times I just watch some movies, a line comes up and I just think „This would just be perfect in my next album”. But I’m extremely picky with samples nowadays. So it mostly depends on the sample itself, like it has to be complementary with the music and fit the overall theme I’m going for.

Time for some ‚men talk’… How do you do that with women?! I mean… Isabella Goloversic, Greta Link – they are so perfect for your music, their vocals are so moody and sensual. How do you find them? Do you compose your songs with particular vocalists on your mind?

When it comes to vocalists, I only work with people I know and admire. Mostly because I like to put my entire faith in the vocalists skills and creativity. Isabella, Greta Link, Le Cassette are all extremely talented singers and, luckily for me, good friends of mine. Most of the times I like to make the track just for them. „Hard Wired”, for example, was meant to be a „Naked Tongues part 2” right from the beginning. It’s hard for me to have the same chemistry with singers you’d normally hire after hearing their demos or something. And it often ends up with awkward results.

Have you ever thought about taking the Mike Oldfield road, kinda like his „Crises” album, where you would make a whole record full of vocal tracks after Naked Tongues, Desire or Minuit manner?

Yeah definitely, this has been going on in my mind for awhile actually. The only drawback is that vocal tracks takes so much time to do. And patience is not my strengh, haha. Also I’d have to find other vocalists along with my go-to ones to make it feel more diverse and interesting.

You seem to be good friends with Dead Astronauts. Their EP is just another record I play to death lately – you made remixes of all its tracks and now they’re on your latest record. I have to say: the moment where Hayley’s vocals come in with these ethereal synths… I listen to lots of this female electro things, you know… And I just can’t remember when I heard something THAT tailored to fit.

Haha well yeah, what can I say? Dead Astronauts are just awesome. I always loved the „duo” vocalist thing they’re going for, and I can’t seem to find anyone else doing it better than them. They also have that particular New Wave / Cold Wave way of writting music which I’m really fond of. It was great working with them on Minuit and I’d do it again anytime!

As far as I know, „Dangerous Days” is your first album to come out in physical formats. Tough thing, I know, but what’s the situation with music like yours on the market? Are there any labels interested in promoting the so called „retro wave” – like i.e. witch house has its Phantasma Disques, there’s Tri Angle and so on – or bandcamp and soundcloud are the only hope for 80s syntheziser nerds? Is digital distribution even eighties enough? 🙂

There’s definitely a couple of cool influential labels that are getting interested in this music, which is awesome and opens a lot of possibilities for some of us. Yet I believe that it’ll take quite some time to get this kind of stuff on mainstream media level, probably because most people still think we’re all just Kavinsky’s ripoffs. But fuck it, really. I don’t mind. I’d ten times rather stay in my current position than sucking dicks to get a vevo account.

Have you ever considered playing live? I suppose it would probably be one of those „some dude with a MacBook” kind of shows… How would you make it exciting?

Well I’m doing my first DJ Set this October at the Euroblast festival. And working on live shows too, so yeah there will definitely be Perturbator gigs soon. One of the hardest part of it is actually making it interessting. My thing is music, I’m not a good showman. So I figured I’d rely on crazy visuals and live drummers etc… But yeah. These stuff costs a lot. So chances are my first live shows are going to be pretty boring. We’ll see. As long as people enjoy the music anyway…

…and you won’t forget about Poland, right? 😀

Of course I won’t! We’ll have a beer and hang out in Bieszczady churches.

You have just revealed you’re involved in Adam Wingard’s new movie, „The Guest”. What’s the story behind it? Have you done some new music for it or would it just be some already released song featured somewhere?

Yes, my first step in making it into movies soundtracks. „The Guest” is about a soldier named David who invites himself into the life of his dead friend’s familly. Turns out David is not the perfect charming man his attitude suggests and, well, shit hits the fan. Adam Wingard said that the movie itself was very inspired by the classic „Halloween” and „The Terminator”. You’ll hear one of my already released tracks „Vengeance” in it.

In my „I am the Night” review I stated that if Nicolas Winding Refn ever considered doing something like cyberpunk version of „Drive”, your „Desire” should play in the opening titles like Kavinsky’s „Nightcall”. What do you think about working on movie soundtracks? Is there any chance we’ll hear your original score one day?

If it’s a movie that rings with me, of course. I’d be down anytime, scoring movies is actually what I was aiming for when I started Perturbator. But nowadays it’s actually hard to find people that are interessted in an all synths soundtrack even though flicks like Beyond The Black Rainbow, The Guest or Drive are a proof that it can still work perfectly with today standards.

A little bird – probably the one from Rutger Hauer’s shoulder – told me there’s something going on with you, CD Projekt RED guys and their „Cyberpunk 2077” upcoming cRPG. Is it still on? Because, you know… There’s no one else I would definitely want to hear in this game.

The only response they gave me was that they haven’t decided about the soundtrack yet and they will contact me if they need something from me. That’s all I know for the moment !

Speaking of games… Do you play any modern titles, indie or AAA, or just 80s old school?

A mix of everything, I like all sorts of games. For example, when I’m not doing music I’d play GTA V or Contra 3 depending on my mood, haha. I have a soft spot for the Fallout, Metal Gear Solid and Silent Hill franchises though.

My blog is called „You haven’t heard that one before”. Could you tell us about any artists you like we may haven’t heard before and we should check them out like… right now?

Check out the french synth duo called The Hunt 😉

Thank you very much, I wish you all the best with your next projects!

– 1000100111101

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rajmund

Lokalny Ojciec Dyrektor, gramatyczny nazista, ejtisowy cyborg, wcale nie hipster. Jarają go szczególnie cyberpunki, rudości, macki, ejtisy i szeroko pojęta elektronika. Bez muzyki umiera, w ciszy wariuje, a jak jeszcze w pobliżu nie ma wi-fi...

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