What sort of music was present during your formative years?
My early influences in the mid 80’s were bands like Joy Division, R.E.M., The Fall, Velvet Underground, and The Clash. From there I started listening to different genres of music from Soundtracks to 60s French Pop to Speed Metal. I like select cuts from almost every genre.
What inspires you to write music?
Some of my earliest memories involve music. I’ve always been infatuated with it. To me there is nothing more exciting than writing and recording. Music is the most powerful art form.
What equipment and software (if any) do you use?
The list is too long to name, but I use a mix of analog and digital recording devices. No limits on instrumentation, but I mostly use live drums, analog synths, and manipulated and obscure samples.
Did you follow any sort of consistent writing process for Mystery Crash?
Every TRS-80 song is approached differently. The writing process is experimental, so there is no preconceived notion going in to it. That’s why I really enjoying making electronic music now as opposed to the indie rock type tunes I wrote in bands in the past. You never know what you’re going to get and the possibilities are endless.
Why do you make the music you do?
Because electronic music is experimental, I find it more inspiring. There is nothing I enjoy more than that moment of discovery where something clicks. It’s a rush that I’m addicted to.
Would you rather record in a home studio or a professional studio? Why?
TRS-80 just recorded at Sony Studios in Santa Monica on August 18th. It was a really great session that will be appearing on Sony Connect in a couple weeks, but felt a little odd in the process since we do not normally record in a traditional manner where the engineer says “recording” and than the band plays through a song all at once. But it’s good to approach recordings differently. Makes each one more unique.
What a professional studio has to offer is a good live room, nice microphones, and a guy who helps you out (the engineer). They also usually have free coffee and tea and an attractive young receptionist. The downside is that it costs a lot of money to make a recording and you’re time is very limited.
With home recording an artist has the luxury of time and convenience. The fact that I can wake up in the middle of the night and record a track still blows my mind. The empowerment of artists to record their own work is the biggest thing to happen in music since the invention of the guitar. The downside is making a quality recording is really hard to do. Experience and technical know how are essential if you want something that’s as high of caliber of a recording that came out a professional studio.
I learned audio engineering as an intern at Chicago Trax Recording studio (owned by Ministry and R. Kelly at the time) in the early 90’s. My stories from there could be a whole different article, but that’s where I was first introduced to digital recording. After seeing it in motion for the first time, I never looked at music the same. Now the studio IS the instrument.