† CRAVEN † - 'It Lives' | An Interview
If ever there was a perfect interview to conduct on Halloween night then this my friends is it. Not only is he/it/that a magnificent Dark Synth Musician but he's also Irish and a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic but in the best possible way!
Darksynth from Ireland, Inspired by the occult, 1980's horror movies, the smell of rotting latex and Alice Cooper he's been terrorizing us all for over 2 years now and we just can't seem to get enough.
As an Artist he has come such a long way and with an Album, E.P & European Tour under his belt we couldn't be prouder of what Ireland has spawned. At a REALLY safe distance I thought I'd interview this industrial Freak show to find out whether there really is method in his madness...read on!
Tell us a little about you, where you’re from and how you got started in Music?
I was born in 1887, My father was a circus ringleader so I grew up surrounded by entertainers. My first job was a stunt double for a horse but after that my job was making the drum sounds after each joke a clown would make during his act. Ba dum dum tss. Ya know that? That was me. That in its purest form was my start in music.
How has your sound developed over the years? & has the current market been of any influence in that?
Initially I was inspired by all the great synth acts Carpenter Brut, Gost, Pertubator, Dance With The Dead all the usuals but then I wanted to try and mix these spooky 80's retro sounds with a more heavier industrial sound so as time slowly progresses the whole act itself is turning into a heavier industrial synth sound. I’m just trying to escape the neon grids and palm trees a bit and keep things fresh. Go over the edge of that grid.. maybe crash the car into a palm tree and drive it off a cliff on the way.
How would you describe the music you make?
Audible nightmares. I try to make each track fit in with a weird horror movie scene in my head. Some of the songs I try make them sound like you're being chased by some random crack head in a field with a chainsaw but slightly more melodic. How has your 2020 been? With the Gig situation how have you managed to stay reasonably sane? 2020 has been an absolute mess of a year.
I had some really cool shows booked that were cancelled or postponed. I was especially looking forward to my first UK show at The Resistanz Festival in Sheffield but that has been moved forward a year. Lately I've been trying to branch out with online streams and borderline comedy sketch videos and even some really serious 100% educational family friendly tutorials too… I’m working on putting out some more weird shit before the year is out but we’ll see.
Who are your influences in music today? Who did you listen to when you were growing up?
My influences today have changed and grown since I was younger. Being a teenager in the 1800's there wasn't too much to listen to, Mozart was already dead and Yankee Doodle was a big hit back then but we had to ride on horseback for five hours to the nearest village in order to hear it sung beautifully by one of the locals in his shed. Then he died in the horrific horse and cart crash of 1909 so that was the end of that.. Lately though my Spotify playlists range from Ice Cube to the worst cheesiest pop punk you can imagine, with a subtle dash of some random German guy banging on his toilet with a pipe that he recorded on his phone.
Tell us your best and worst gig experience?
One of the greatest gigs I had was in Budapest on the European tour with Priest. I do a horror bit in each show right in the middle of a song where I ‘’cut’’ out my tongue. On this particular night after cutting out my tongue I was waving the fake one around the stage and it flew right out of my hand straight towards some poor dude's head. It was magnificent. The show was amazing and this moment made it a million times better.
One of the worst moments I’ve had was actually funny enough the same show where there was confusion with the stage times and I arrived onto the stage in full gear an hour early. I walked out onto the stage all psyched up waving a fake arm around and ready to go only to be informed after a few minutes of awkward silence that I was nearly 40 minutes too early.
Is there anything new you’re working on currently that you’d like to share a little bit about?
I have a remix of something special coming out towards the end of next month. Maybe December… I will have an official date soon enough. Keep your eyeballs extra peeled. ..Actually peel out your retinas and send them to my PO Box and I'll fry them for breakfast. Then after the retina eating it’s back to finishing up album number 2 for its release next year.
If you couldn’t make the great music you are making today what would you be doing?
I would be back washing horses at the circus, shoplifting tea bags and selling bags of carrots door to door. Who would you like to play you in a movie of your life? The dog that played Lassie. I think he was called Pal. He’s a spooky ghost dog now but I think we could work with it. Or Dog The Bounty Hunter. Stick a sack on his big blonde mane and we are rolling.
What sound do you love the most?
My most favourite sound on the entire planet is the sound of the snare drum on Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal. It's perfect. I could easily listen to that snare alone being banged off my crusty face for the next 100 years.
What’s next for you as an artist?
To finish up the second album, get it released and then covid depending.. tour more. The live shows are where all of this music really comes to life and to me it's such an important aspect. It's a whole spectacle that goes hand in hand.
Favourite Movie and why?
The original Funny Games. It’s one of the most frustrating but amazing pieces of cinema you will ever see.
Who or what got you into the Synth scene initially?
After going to see a Carpenter Brut show with a friend of mine it really sealed the deal for me about wanting to create this type of music. I was already messing around with electronic music and then after that I realized I could do it by myself and could dictate every aspect of the music,visuals, artwork unlike being in a band where everything is a democratic decision. It all came along at the perfect moment in time.
I didn't have to depend on when people could make it to rehearsal or if they could make it to play a show as everything that I needed was right there in front of me on my laptop that is really freeing. The Synthwave sound attracted me because of the horror aspect of it, all those great old horror movies have such amazing suspense filled synthy soundtracks. I like making weird creepy shit and Synthwave is such a perfect fit for making spooky tunes
How do you feel about the popularity of the Synth Genre as a whole and the new Generation of Producers who keep evolving?
I love it, you often see on the forums and such that Synthwave is dead blah blah or hey that's not Synthwave because you used a drum sample that came after September 1980 whatever. It's not dead. The sound is always expanding and everyone who has started off in that little tiny box of ‘’Synthwave’’ seems to be becoming more and more explosively diverse with every release and to me that is really exciting.
What type of Hardware/Software do you use, do you have a preference?
I use Ableton Live and all my synths are vst plugins played with a midi controller and also the guitar is running through a vst plugin chain. I recently acquired an ableton push controller to incorporate into the live shows just to make playing the electronic end of things a bit more live. As standing there static behind a keyboard can be a bit stiff and boring for me.
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