Phoenix Always Rises: I have a hard time classifying music (as evidenced by my initial email to you). How do you define Mangadrive? I think it would be hard to put you into one genre, since your music encompasses so many different sounds.
Mangadrive: If I could get away with just calling it “Energy Music” and leaving it at that, I would. People expect a relevant name and on the business end of things we have to label it something to fit in catalogs. With healthy doses of Psytrance and Techno in the music, I’ve just been calling it Psytek. I’m not going to fight about it though. Even that doesn’t describe absolutely every song or remix I’ve released.
Phoenix Always Rises: You have a new album coming out soon called Mechafetish. What has the recording process been like for this album?
Mangadrive: During the writing and mixing I’ve had Gundam , Evangelion or something similar on a screen behind me playing and muted out. Now and then I turn around and if it’s working with the screen, and it’s working for my idea of pace , then it’s working for the album. That should help explain the energy and mood I’m gunning for on the tracks. These songs break and bend and sometimes the action might cease to build into something else completely. It’s not all dark, angry and doom and gloom either. It’s just a different type of musical expression this time and I hope people enjoy it.
Phoenix Always Rises: What were some of your inspirations for this album?
Mangadrive: Early Juno Reactor, Early Astral Projection and any music that actually tells stories in the songs. I’m not really shooting for these awesome set full of club bangers that fits neatly into DJ sets. I want you to feel like you are in mech suit for an hour, but the environment will change. I tried to put some of the songs in a desert, a jungle or floating out in space, because my favorite albums usually do that. I’m usually being motivated and getting all these awesome mental pictures, not sitting in a passively strict dress code club eating pharmaceutical paste.
Phoenix Always Rises: Do you have a release date for it yet?
Mangadrive: November 2012 if all goes well. I’m going to do a Kickstarter (or one of these similar fundraising sites) in October-ish so people can get some mechalion T-shirts , stickers and other fun stuff with their album if they so wish and it will help me pay for all the fantastic art, mastering and other essential album release fees.
Phoenix Always Rises: You also have another project called Gheists. How would you say this project differs from Mangadrive?
Mangadrive: Mangadrive is like watching an anime full of plot twists and ridiculously large weapons. Gheists is more like being fed ruffies and locked in a closet with Slenderman.
Phoenix Always Rises: What artists influence you?
Mangadrive: Recently? ∆AIMON, C/∆/T, Access to Arasaka, Mind.In.A.Box, Modulate, Memmaker, Swarms, Protest the Hero, Astrix, Prometheus, Xenomorph and more..
All-Time? Prodigy, Juno Reactor, Astral Projection, Anthrax, Cubanate, The Shizit, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Deftones, GZA/Genius, Underworld, cut.rate.box and more..
This is one of those “this could be 8 more pages” long type things. I’d have to give credit to way more than would really fit. So take all of this with a huge grain of salt.
Phoenix Always Rises: One of my favorite songs of yours is your remix of Anglespit’s “Grind”. I’m a huge fan of remixes in general because I always find it interesting to hear an artist give their take on a song. Who would be your “dream artist” to remix and why?
Mangadrive: Juno Reactor. I’ve remixed and worked with a few people that still blow my mind as to even meeting them in the first place, but I think doing a remix for them would be kinda like that guy in the park shooting basketball getting to shoot hoops with Lebron to me. Their music is beyond special to me.
Phoenix Always Rises: Another remix I enjoy is Cyanotic’s remix of your song “Like Lambs to Slaughter” (featured on Cyanotic’s “Gears Gone Wild: Spring Break Edition). How did they come to remix that song?
Mangadrive: Sean was assembling material for the album and I ended up sending him a bunch of stuff, but he was intent on remixing stuff at the time. We wanted to do a collab but neither one of us had that kind of time then. He laid down that awesome remix and we both agreed it was cool enough to use for GGW. Another release I was honored to be a part of somehow.
Phoenix Always Rises: I think a live Mangadrive would be a really cool experience. Do you have plans of touring or doing any live shows in the near future?
Mangadrive: Nope. I like playing around on the computer and making beats. That’s what I do. If someone wants to mail me a blank check, a laptop, life sized mecha replicas (would prefer fully functional), a screen to project Gundam on, and wants to line up some shows? I’m all about that level of stupid and stupid it would be.
Phoenix Always Rises: At several points in the song Reborn.And.Rewired there is a sample that says “Nobody fuckin’ changes. Nobody is reborn. It’s all bullshit. It’s all fuckin’ lies!” That sounds so familiar, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out where it’s from. What is it from?
Mangadrive: Clue: “I want to play a game”.
Phoenix Always Rises: Where would you like to see Mangadrive in 5 years?
Mangadrive: In more video games and even movies. I’m not really worried about being a “rock star” but putting sound to imagery is what I’ve always been fascinated with. Most of the music that has really inspired me has come from games, game soundtracks or movie soundtracks… even movie soundtracks based on games (MORTAL KOMBAT!)
Phoenix Always Rises: What advice would you offer to aspiring musicians?
Mangadrive: Don’t take this shit so seriously. It’s meant to be fun and even inspiring. If you want to be all professional and run a business then go to a tech school or open up a Subway. I’m tired of credibility whores running around masquerading as creative people. I want to hear music. I don’t wanna your bullshit over the top of your music. I’d like to think that a lot of people agree with this, but that’s going to be subject to taste. Some people like deep artistic movements with a lot of purpose and reason that goes completely outside of the music. If that’s your angle, then I suggest you lay in front of bulldozers. Not because they might be bulldozing important buildings or trees, but because seriously.. I don’t want to hear your bullshit over the top of your music. Make me care about your songs, not your blog or obsessive need to remind me of everything that sucks about industrial music on Facebook.
Phoenix Always Rises: What advice would you offer to someone who has an interest in making electronic music but has no idea of where to even start?
Mangadrive: Buy a synth. A real one with knobs and stuff you can tweak and just play the shit out of it. I think that’s a better foundation than learning through a computer because it gives a better interactive input and gets you thinking more about the musical process. I’m not a hardware snob by any means, but I feel like actually playing synths before I had these insanely good sounding plugins on a computer gave my music a little something something extra. I won’t say an advantage and I’m not saying my music is awesome.. just suggesting that a human needs to input the music into the computer and let it process the information. If the computer is doing all the work, then your music is a bit automated and people will recognize that and they will hear the computer more than they hear you. Took me a while to realize that, but I’m starting to get it.
Phoenix Always Rises: I see you post a lot about games on Facebook. This may be a bit of a dumb question, but is it safe to say that video games are a big influence on your sound? If so, what game or games would you say are your biggest influence?
Mangadrive: Video game soundtracks are kind of in a weird place musically, but I’m definitely one of those people that will listen to them as they would “normal” music and jam out just the same. Sometimes even more so. People like Akira Yamaoka, Nobuo Uematsu, and Kenichiro Fukui just to name a few are a huge part of my interest in doing music that sounds very “video game”. I like my electronic music to sound electronic, and while other acts really embrace the more organic sounds I’m happier with a balance of the two more recently. I’ve done tracks like “Credits” from Artifice and even remixed Mega Man as a direct homage to this kind of thing. As far as a game soundtrack being my biggest influence.. I’d have to say that Einhander was a very special game to me. Not only was the game responsible for my still and always current addiction to “shmups”, the soundtrack was just this insane mix of angry German sounding techno that was a bit away from most of the stuff being heard in games at the time as original programming, especially in a Square game who at the time were releasing a lot of JRPGS full of really symphonic arrangements. More recently you have the soundtracks to Mushihimesama Futuri that directly influenced “Pink Bullet Curtain”. So yes, video games are incredibly important to this project in multiple ways. I even “play test” a lot of tracks with video games going to try to make sure the flow and energy is right. Not so much on Mechafetish, because it’s meant to be something a tad different, but there will probably never be a mangadrive album without at least one track that is about shooting everything on the screen.
Phoenix Always Rises: I’m not much of a gamer (aside from hidden object, puzzle games and the old school Ultima games, before they went online), what game would you say that even non gamers should try at least once?
Mangadrive: It’s sad but out of all these questions, this actually took quite a while to answer, and I’m still not so sure this is the right answer for a lot of reasons. I’m going to go with Civilization though. Mainly because you can play this game from multiple perspectives. It’s based on actual real world history and facts, and it’s just plain interesting to see what would happen if Genghis Khan had lived long enough to get nuclear weapons and kill everyone. I’ve played this series since the early 90′s when it came out and it just never gets old for very long because it never plays the same twice. It’s always installed on my computer in some form. Most recently Civ 5 with Gods and Kings , which I actually stopped playing to do this interview
Phoenix Always Rises: Any final words for your fans?
Mangadrive: Thanks to all of the people supporting these releases and the project in general. I hope you all will enjoy Mechafetish!
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