First of all, my compliments on your debut EP 'Cloak Of Love'. How have the reactions been so far?
Thank you. So far the reaction has been very positive, although it seems to be the kind of record people either love or hate. It hasn't been officially released yet so we don't know for sure what most people will think.
Can you tell me how the band started?
Well, we all met a few years ago at school, and we'd been friends for a while. We talked about the idea of GT for months, pretty much without thinking it would ever actually happen. Eventually,
Michael and I sat down and wrote our first song... what ended up becoming "Ride the Steambolt", and we really dug it a lot. So we decided to keep it going, keep pushing ideas, and to ultimately see
what we could get away with. Before long, Mookie - who was Michael's roommate - joined up on vocals. It ended up snowballing into something more serious and interesting than we initially thought it would.
I understand you guys are just playing for a year now. Have you been in other bands together?
We haven't been in other bands together, though we've all been playing music for years. Hamilton was in a metal band for a year and Mookie has been in a band called The Fugue for five years and another band called Glitter Pals. This is Michael's first band, though he's been dropping hot computer jams for like ever.
What does the bandname stand for?
The band name isn't supposed to be very serious, though it's pretty appropriate. It implies something both brutal and electronic. Do you like it?
What does a Genghis Tron song got to have?
It's got to please all of us and our disparate influences. We all come from pretty different musical backgrounds. Michael listens to a lot of IDM and different kinds of electronic music, Hamilton grew up listening to a lot of grindcore and black metal, and Mookie was into a lot of abrasive indie stuff like Drive Like Jehu. At some point we all started listening to each other's influences and Genghis Tron was born. There are no rules for what has to be in a Genghis Tron song… it just has to satisfy us.
How do you guys write your songs? Is there a main composer?
Michael and Hamilton will come up with main parts and themes and then we will all fuse it together until it makes some amount of sense. Mookie then writes vocals and will often add some more keyboard parts and maybe an additional instrument like a theremin or lap steel. Sometimes the songs come really easy and sometimes it takes months to write one.
Your musical style, has it always been as it is now? Did you guys just come up with it or has it evolved into what it is now?
It started out as it sounds on the EP because we wrote all those songs within four months of starting the band. The first song we wrote was “Ride the Steambolt” and it's been evolving since then.
Where do you get inspired by for your music?
Each of us are inspired by whatever we're listening to or reading or watching at the time. For instance, “Sing Disorder” was inspired by this documentary called “Titticut Follies” about an awful mental institution in Massachusetts. The film has all these awful scenes of mistreatment and torture interspersed with these really uncomfortable patient talent shows. The mood of it was really similar to this manic and frenzied song we were writing, so we put the two together.
Since your music is pretty divers I'm wondering who your musical heroes are?
Yikes. There are a lot as you can probably tell: Coil, Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails, Boards of Canada, Prince, The Residents, Kraftwerk, Sleep, Brutal Truth, Ratatat, Wu-Tang, Converge, New Order, Carcass, Big Black…the list goes on and on.
How do you guys perform live? Three lads and a drum computer? If so, don't you miss having a drumkit on stage?
We wrote our songs so that almost everything on the EP could be replicated live. Essentially, it's guitar and two keyboards. There are some very minor instrumental parts that we can't play live (like the theremin or lap steel) due to our size as a band and those are played with our drum tracks through a computer. All the drums were programmed from scratch and are probably the hardest part of our songs to write. There's no real feasible way we could do it with a live drummer--there are too many electronic beats involved. We don't miss having a live drummer because the band was envisioned with a drum machine, guitars, and keyboards. It's not out of the question that we'd use a real drummer on a recording, but electronic beats will always be a key element of this band.
How is the (metal) scene in New York? Any promising bands that you can recommend?
Behold…The Arctopus are an amazing technical metal band from Brooklyn. One of their members, Colin, produced our EP, though that's not why we're recommending them. They're seriously one of the most mind-blowing live acts you'll ever see. Beyond metal, Ratatat is one of our favourite electronic-based bands right now. They fuse live instrumentation with a lot of electronics, so we feel a certain kinship with them.
Any plans for the future? Any chance to see you guys in Europe maybe?
Right now we're doing a short tour in the South. When we get home we're going to work really hard on our full-length and prepare for a behemoth U.S. summer tour. The plan right now is to head to Europe next winter, though it's still very much up in the air. We'd love to come though…