DEAD RHYTHM BUREAU: A Salute to 90s Techno

dead rhythm bureau updated 2

Here are a few questions in reference to my new album “Dead Rhythm Bureau”, which was released in August 2014.

 

What inspired you to do this album?

I have always been very fond of dance music in all its numerous forms.  I came up with the idea of doing a techno album, something that was deliberately dated and sounded like it was right from 1994.  I still have a soft spot in my heart for all those stiff, plastic techno songs.  I liked it back then, I still like it now.

My plan is to do a trilogy of dance albums.  This is the first one in the series.  Next I will be working on a “space disco” album, very influenced by Giorgio Moroder’s “From Here To Eternity” album.  Then, I hope to do an old school freestyle/hip hop album.  Very influenced by Shannon, Information Society, New Order, that kind of thing.

What does the title “Dead Rhythm Bureau” mean?

When I first came up with the idea for this album, I thought “this is crazy.  NOBODY is doing techno music in 2014”.  It just felt like such a dead genre.  Hence the title, “Dead Rhythm Bureau”.  But I just felt like running with that.  I didn’t care that it was a very outdated and unstylish genre.  I delved into it anyway.  I just ran with it and had fun and tried not to think too much.  I imagined an office, a bureau where all the techno songs go to die in a rusty filing cabinet.  I felt like the CEO of the Dead Rhythm Bureau.  🙂

How long did you work on this?  How did you create the songs?

I started working on this earlier in 2014.  Probably back in the Spring.  I had concepts for each song…different ideas that I wanted to pursue musically.  A lot of it was improvised.  The patterns you hear coming from the drum machine were programmed, but the sequence in which they occur was done live.  I did that because I wanted it all to be very fresh and unpredictable.

All of the songs were completed in my home studio.  For the first time, I used a MIDI/CV converter to control one of my older synthesizers.  It was great to twiddle the knobs as the sequence ran!  Also, on one of the songs, I had two drum machines running in synch for the very first time.

What is the theme for this album?

There really isn’t one.  I had no interest in doing anything profound or political.  My only goal was to make people want to dance.  Hopefully I will achieve that goal!

Who influenced this album?

I had a number of influences, mostly a lot of the classic techno bands that I loved in the mid 90s.  Faithless, Altern 8, Grid.  God knows where they are now.  The biggest influence was probably Mo-Do.  I still love his songs, may he rest in peace.  I still honestly feel that his “Was Ist Das?” album is an overlooked masterpiece.  It takes real talent to make songs that simple and childish.

Could you explain some of the titles?  A few of them are rather odd.

Ha ha.  Well, it may seem like my choices of titles were very random, but believe me there was a reason for all of them.  I am very much an avid photographer.  I love it almost as much as music.  The song “Infrared” was named after infrared film.  And “Shanghai P.I.” was named after a brand of film that I really like, Shanghai.  “Menk” is named after a mythical creature that roams the frozen, isolated snowscapes of Russia.  I highly suggest you Google it.  I have also always been interested in the unexplained and cryptozoology.

What gear did you use?

A lot of my old standbys.  The beat mostly came from my Alesis SR 16.  That is such a good drum machine for techno.  If you program it right, the beats can be so clinical and boxy.  I used a lot of my classic synths.  Most notably, I dug out my Yamaha DX 100, which I actually found out not that long ago is regarded as one of the most seminal techno synthesizers.  And I couldn’t help but use my old Casio SK1.  I could have used a more modern, higher quality sampler, but the dirty and lo-fi quality of the SK1 was just right.

I hear you are making videos for some of the new songs?

Yes!  As I mentioned, my first love was always photography and video.  I am getting back into that in a big way.  I love it.  I find it just as rewarding as making songs, maybe even more so.  I hope to make a few videos.  Stay tuned!

What is it about electronically based music that fascinates you so much?

Great question.  I dunno, it was just always my thing.  I’ve always loved synths.  They are just so cool and moody and futuristic.  And precise.  I love that they are probably the most scientific instrument.  I love how you can create very distinct atmospheres and moods with it.  And I always hated limitations.  An acoustic guitar will always sound like an acoustic guitar, but with synths there are no limits to the new sounds and worlds that you can come up with.  I adore that.  They are so multitextural.

I noticed that not all of the songs have the same tempo.  Some are very fast, while others are more midtempo.  Was there a reason for this?

Oh yes.  In general, I hate albums that sound like the same song repeated ten times.  Give me variety!  I love a mix of moods.  I love when an album takes me on a journey.  Songs are like people.  They all have different stories to tell and different personalities.  So, I made sure I put on some pounding, aggressive dance tunes that were 130 BPM or higher.  But there are also some slower ones.  “The Ghost and One Million Tears” is an example.  I am very happy with that one.  It is so sensual and mysterious.

Where can people get the album?

The best place is http://garyflanagan.bandcamp.com

It should also be available at various other places online.  People can also contact me directly and I will sell you a copy, either digital or a physical copy.  My e-mail is muzikman84@hotmail.com

Also, please check out my Facebook page for all the latest news:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gary-Flanagan/111318690958

 

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