Glitch Black - Our Binary Overlord | An Interview
Say what you will of Glitch Black but few match the visceral impact and pure theatrics he exudes at every performance.
Glitch is the brainchild of Seattle based Danny Bourque whose energy and sheer dynamism literally radiates with every track he produces. It's fair to say that his music isn't for the faint of heart but I rather get the impression he'd have it no other way! The complexities on which he solders his hard hitting tracks together have not gone unnoticed which have garnered him a legion of fans the world over.
With the recent release (July 9th) of his Studio Album 'Mechanical Perfection' I got a chance to interview the self styled "apparition from inter-dimensional hyperspace"..take a look!
Tell us the inspiration behind the name ‘Glitch Black’?
Glitch Black is essentially a play on the term "pitch black". When I first started this project in 2013, some of the very first tracks I uploaded to Soundcloud were 100% chiptune (these have since been removed). Because of the analog quality of vintage game console sound hardware, I thought it would be fun to play with glitch effects within the chiptune genre while maintaining an overall dark mood. To put it simply, the name "Glitch Black" would represent the dark glitchiness I was imagining. Even though I didn't stick with pure chiptune, the name endured and is still going 7 years later - with the occasional glitch here and there.
What is the creative process like for you? How long does it take to lay down a track?
When it comes to writing and composition, every song begins with me sitting down to an empty project with several of my favorite VSTs already loaded and ready to go. Every song comes to life through sheer experimentation in the moment. I might start with creating drumlines or I might start with live-playing a lead melody until I hear something that works. Once I like the sound of something, I set it down as a layer and build up from there, adding each musical layer one by one.
Following this method, sometimes I write songs that continuously change from start to finish. Other songs will have 3 or 4 distinct sections that I'll repeat with variations later in the song. So there's no one way to approach things; it really just depends what feels right for each song. I've learned that no matter how great I think a track may sound after working on it for hours, when I come back to it the next day I often find a list of things that need fixing. This means I may start a song that I'm ultimately not satisfied with right away, only to come back to it weeks or months later to finally finish it.
Of your entire musical journey to date what has been the standout memory for you?
The standout moment for me was the night of September 22, 2017. It was my birthday, I was playing live for the very first time, the venue was the New Orleans House of Blues, a bunch of my friends were there, and I was opening for Perturbator. It's been hard to top that.
Your known for your theatrical stage presence in the form of the bright LED costume you
wear…it certainly adds an edge to your performance which the audience love...Did you create the costume yourself? Was it inspired by anything in particular?
The only parts I can claim making are the cape and a portion of the mask. I gave the mask a custom paint job and added the glow wire myself. Meanwhile, the chest and arm armor were specially made by a talented Russian artist I found on Etsy.
From the release of ‘Inter-dimensional’ back in 2014 to your newest release titled 'Mechanical Perfection’ how do you feel your sound has developed overtime?
Musically, I've been slowly adopting a heavier, more mechanical sound with each album I release. I feel like I'm drifting farther from what most would consider "Synthwave" and closer to something more, for lack of a better term, cyberpunk. But even that doesn't seem like the right label for every song on this album.This album also has the fewest songs and shortest overall runtime than any other album I've put out - but I see this as a positive. The fat is more trimmed than previous Glitch Black releases so I'd like to believe what's left is leaner and stronger for it.
If there was 1 thing you would change about the music industry what would it be? Why?
It would of course be nice if artists were compensated better for the shows they play and the streams people listen to. Unfortunately, most artists don't have much power in changing this.
Who have been your musical inspirations overtime and have they been of any influence?
The first music I became obsessed with during my childhood was of video game soundtracks. I remember using a cassette tape recorder to make my own mixtapes of level music from games like Mega Man 3, Mega Man X, F-Zero, and GoldenEye so I could listen to them anywhere. My very first purchased CDs included the score for Star Wars by John Williams, the score for Chariots of Fire by Vangelis, The Planets by Gustav Holst, and both volumes of Danny Elfman's Music for a Darkened Theatre.
Since then, other favorite artists include Jean Michelle Jarre, Wendy Carlos, Daft Punk, Orbital, Hans Zimmer, and Ennio Morricone. There are certainly tons more but I can't possibly list them all here. What inspires me the most is music that achieves a kind of grandness of scale, has a fast exciting pace, uses synthesizers effectively, and generally has a dark no-nonsense feel.
What is a day off for Glitch Black like or is there such a thing?
The robot armour always needs repairs, so there aren't many days off. But really, there's always a new technique or software to learn (whether it's for music, visuals, interactivity, etc.) so there really isn't any end to the creative exploration that is Glitch Black.
In your entire discography which track are you most proud of? Why?
I've now produced over 100 tracks across my 8 albums, so that makes this question particularly tough. If I really had to pick one, it would be Death Spiral from the album of the same name. I've used this track to end almost every live show I've played. There's just something about how energetic yet evil it sounds to me. It always succeeds in giving my shows that final crazy explosive moment before the end comes crashing down. It even caused a temporary mosh pit to form at a show in Los Angeles once. So even though I don't know if it's my best track, I've definitely enjoyed it the most.
Can you tell us a little more about any current or future projects you’re working on?
With Mechanical Perfection finished and released, I'm spending time back on the visual side of Glitch Black again. There's lots of new software and techniques to learn and discover and I enjoy creating new things along the way. Most of my visual work can be found on my website
Tell us a little more about your current release ‘Mechanical Perfection’, how long did it take
to pull together?
I started working on the songs that would become Mechanical Perfection soon after releasing my previous album Age of Machines in January 2019. And then once I decided I wanted to go on tour later in that year, the pressure was on to get several new songs completed and ready for performing live. I ended up performing three new songs on tour that now appear on Mechanical Perfection. I also relocated across the country in early 2020. So even though many songs were started in Baton Rouge, most were finished in Seattle. All Glitch Black songs have been created from start to finish on the same ever-aging PC using FL Studio
I’m guessing a lot of events for you were shelved much like other musicians, have you any
plans to tour/gig in 2021?
I'm still waiting to see how far the calamity that is 2020 will play out. Until we all see how far this road goes, I've postponed any plan making.
Any message for your fans?
The human race seems to be doing a good job at finding ways to end itself without my help lately. My hope is that enough fans survive this mess to make the world worth conquering again one day. Hang in there, humans!
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