SURGERYHEAD - 'Lord of a video wasteland' | An Interview
It was a Saturday Night 28th January 2017…
As I made my way to the Voodoo Lounge Dublin, I was stupidly excited to see Carpenter Brut live and in glorious techni-colour for the first time EVER. I hadn’t heard of the support before that night and having looked at social media on the way saw it was ‘Surgeryhead’ and hadn’t an idea what to expect. This particular event space is dark and cavernous and proved a perfect backdrop for what I was about to witness.
The stage darkens as the sounds of shuddering bass envelope the room, as I lifted my gaze there stood a macabre figure with bandages wrapped around his face and head. I was transfixed..
What was unleashed upon the audience that night was a glorious hellscape, a symphony of sounds and beats stitched together with a metaphorical dirty needle that slayed all in its wake. Visceral and compelling within 15 minutes I knew I needed to get to know more about this guy. The dark theatrics continued when Carpenter Brut took the stage but I’m sure he must have said to himself “Merde! Comment diable puis-je suivre ça!!” but he did and as I dragged myself through the burning embers that was the roof of the room that night every nerve and fibre of my being felt electrified!
Surgeryhead is an Irish musician from Co. Cavan dripping in “filth and neon” and in an obvious quest to cover things Dark Synth interviewing this fiend was high on my agenda…take a look!
How has your sound developed over the years? & has the current market been of any influence in that?
I feel like I've finally started to get a handle on that “synthwave” sound, finally, after 6 years of doing this. But now I'd like to fold back on myself and figure out what the hell i was doing with that “witch” track and try and tap back into that. Probably won't be able to but that'd be nice.
How would you describe the music you make?
Heavy, movie soundtrack inspired electro & dark ambient
How has your 2020 been? With the Gig situation how have you managed to stay reasonably sane?
It's fine. I just put out Vile Candy (Devil Sounds) part 1 which was pretty cool and people seem to like it. I spent the first quarter of 2020 working on my new short film Hitchhiker which will be coming out shortly. I barely play gigs as it is. I only debuted my first new live set with live guitar and keyboards and stuff (I was Djing before this due to lack of time and resources) there last summer.. I was going to take a break from producing for a while to put together a new live set and work on the game dev project i've got on the go, but now I'm just sequestering away and working on my miasma of current projects. I'm still working my day job too so i'm just too busy to have the luxury of losing my mind.
Who are your influences in music today? Who did you listen to when you were growing up?
I grew up listening to a lot of stuff... Video game soundtracks downloaded from Napster mainly, but also like bowie, abba, ZZ top, Thin Lizzy, as I got older I got more into thrash metal and movie soundtracks, especially italian horror movie soundtracks and old school industrial like Skinny Puppy and NIN. I'm obviously really into the darksynth stuff right now.
Is there anything new you’re working on currently that you’d like to share a little bit about?
This Devil Sounds trilogy. Vile Candy was my attempt to make “just a bunch of bangers”, which I felt like I might have been incapable of. Part 2 is going to be a collection of unreleased soundtrack and ambient work, it's going to be really long, too, ha. Part 3 is going to be more bangers but more experimental. A bit of death metal, a bit of breakbeat, more of that gritty video wasteland sound, more vocal tracks too. So it's a weird disconnected trilogy, it's more of a magical/occult operation then a coherant artistic statement.
Do you have a day job? How do you balance this with the passion for creating the great music that you do?
I'm a video editor. It involves a lot of screen time and i fear that it may be doing a number on my ocular health. I used to be pretty good at balancing things- going to work, coming home, doing a bit of yoga and squeezing in some art time, but now it's getting tougher. I get home and I don't want to stare at screens or do yoga or anything. I go for walks and play video games. I'm trying to find a good current of energy i can tap into again.
If you’re having a bad day what do you do to make yourself feel better?
Psychedelics if i have them. If I don't- video games and sugar.
What’s next for you as an artist?
Quite a lot. I am currently writing a book called CROM CRUACH which is a horror novel/epic poem type thing, I've been posting it chapter by chapter free to read over on my patreon. Last summer I finished a book of short stories, all of which are also readable on my patreon, and I'm just holding off until i can afford to commission the artwork I want to put it out. I'm about to drop a Tabletop RPG game book called SQUISHY! Which is a quick start, rules lite horror game system. I'm about to put out the next short film, HITCHHIKER on my youtube channel.
After that, there are a couple of other books i have on the docket to write, I want to put out the demo for my big ambitious game project WRETCH, and then take a break from that to make a short horror game, and start trying to finally go for making a feature film.
If you could collaborate with anyone else on the scene who would it be and why?
It'd be cool to do a collab track with Electric Dragon, and it'd be nice to work with Scattle on something again.. Maybe Deadlife? It'd be nice to get the chance to do like a Perturbator or Carpenter Brut remix too.
What type of Hardware/Software to you use, do you have a preference?
I use reaper and my favourite synth to use is Synth1. Serum is pretty cool too.
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