If I had to make you a list of music that I listened to the most since I started this fucking insane journey of vacationing in your hell, this album “Melanie Griffith” would be very close to the top of the list. Everything about this works perfectly, the album is brief but accomplishes so much in that span that it will leave a permanent mark in your emotional landscape. What I find so challenging in writing this blog is seeing so many incredibly talented musicians who aren’t getting the recognition they deserve, and others who pimped friends, gamed people and knew how to play the game become sponsored post blog darlings. So, if you see me take the time to conduct an interview with an artist, and format this shit, and do all of the manual computer stuff it requires to make this shit happen, please realize that I am trying to make a statement, that I feel from the pit of my damaged soul that this artist deserves to cut through all of the background noise because they have achieved clarity in their vision for what they create, and have made a fully realized contribution that will be valuable to you and I feel enhance your life. If justice were served this article would kick off a chain of events making this incredible songwriter a nationally recognized part of world of bands who are buzzed about on sites like Pitchfork.com and the like, but I would say lucky for us it is not everyone’s goal to be cool, and parade around like assholes who act like they are better than normal people, and we’re fortunate that some artists just care about making something amazing. This is that rare artist, without career ambitions, who may never put out another album, but the impact it makes on those who hear it, will always remember it and share it with as many people as they can. The album is FUCKING AMAZING AND STILL A FUCKING FREE DOWNLOAD. TAKE MY ADVICE AND GET THIS SHIT NOW!!!
A SECOND BEAUTIFUL GIFT IS ALSO BEING OFFERED TO YOU IN THE FORM OF A 14 TRACK MIX CRAFtED by PICOBOTS.
Can you give my readers a brief history of Picobots, and can you tell me a little bit about your digital arts work and projects?
I’ve been writing and recording music since I was a teenager, but I started out using only guitars, piano, and drums. I adopted the name Picobots in my 20s when I bought my first synthesizer and started recording electronic music. At first, I just wrote guitar songs and added electronic elements over the top, but gradually my interests changed and synthesizers became my tool of choice. Picobots is also just a broader umbrella name that I use for all of my solo creative projects, so I also design video games and do graphic design work under that name.
What inspires your sound most, who were your biggest influences when you were writing Melanie Griffith, also, what is the story behind this concept?
The biggest influences on me while I was writing and recording Melanie Griffith were film and film soundtracks. I grew up in the 1980s, so I’ve been lifelong fan of the films from that time period. Everything from John Carpenter to John Hughes. But this album was born specifically out of digging much deeper into the films of that era—deeper than I was capable of going as a kid. Netflix streaming, by the way, is an invaluable tool in this regard.
The seed was planted for Melanie Griffith late one night when I discovered the 1984 Brian De Palma film Body Double, starring Melanie. The movie poster is what initially drew me in; it’s this amazing, quintessential slice of 80s art, with a partially undressed woman being watched by a creepy silhouetted voyeur through mini blinds. I was blown away by the film. It’s such a bizarre, richly passive-aggressive film—De Palma made it as a response to critics who dismissed him as a Hitchcock rip-off—and I fell in love with it. I was inspired almost immediately to write “Mini Blind Silhouette.” But perhaps more importantly, I fell in love with Melanie Griffith’s performance. She’s not the greatest actress in the world, but there’s something undeniably memorable and unique about her, and I think there’s a bit of magic in that. Oddly enough, before I saw Body Double, the only other Melanie Griffith movie I had seen was Pacific Heights. I had never even seen Working Girl or Something Wild. So I decided to dig into her back catalog, and I uncovered a bunch of gems like Fear City, Cherry 2000, and Stormy Monday. These aren’t cinematic masterpieces by any stretch of the imagination, but I had a lot of fun watching them. Cherry 2000 inspired me to write a second track, and it was at that point that I decided maybe that was the beginning of a concept album.
Beyond that, other 1980s films and soundtracks were a big part of my media consumption while I was writing the album, so all of that was definitely an influence on the music too. There are some incredible synth-driven film scores from the 80s that have been totally lost to time. For every soundtrack that has been properly saved and acknowledged, like Escape From New York (John Carpenter) or To Live and Die in L.A. (Wang Chung), there are 20 amazing film scores that are completely out of print or were never even available in the first place.
Can you tell me a little bit about recording the album as well?
I recorded the whole album at home using Ableton Live. The synthesizers are a mix of my Minimoog Voyager and a bunch of other VST plugins that emulate vintage analog synthesizers, like Korg’s PolySix and and Arturia’s Jupiter-8V. The guitar I used is an old Ibanez RT450 that I’ve had since I was 16. The vocals were recorded with a Rode NT1000 and a Shure SM57 using an RME Fireface UC audio interface and preamp. The drums were programmed using samples from vintage drum machines and processed samples from real drums. The descending sound at the beginning of “Someday, Tess” is a circuit bent Speak & Spell. The chorus vocals on “Mini Blind Silhouette” were performed by my wife Haven, and the saxophone solo on “Palache Motor Lodge” was written and recorded by David Erdelyi, a Bay Area saxophonist. I mixed and mastered the album myself, with plenty of patient advice and guidance from Dennis Mortensen (@LSUGproducer316).
Can you tell me about some of your current favorite artists in any medium?
As far contemporary music goes, I absolutely adore John Maus. We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves is a masterpiece from start to finish. The Caretaker’s album An Empty Bliss Beyond This World, is one of the most beautiful records I’ve ever heard. Nicolas Jaar’s album Space Is Only Noise is incredible too. I also love Kelley Polar. Love Songs of the Hanging Gardens and I Need You to Hold On While the Sky Is Falling are two of my all-time favorite albums.
If we’re talking about music from any era, then it goes without saying that Depeche Mode (especially pre-Violator) and the Human League are two of my absolute favorites. Likewise Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder, and Vangelis. Duran Duran too. My tastes are pretty diverse though. You’re equally likely to find me listening to, say, Love’s Forever Changes or the Zombies’ Odessey and Oracle as you are one of the aforementioned artists. My formative years were spent obsessing over every note on the Beatles’ records, so I definitely have guitar-driven pop running through my veins.
Can you give me an example of a song or piece of art you consider perfect?
Wow, that’s such a difficult question to answer. There are so many perfect songs, it’s basically impossible to choose one. I’ll try. A song that immediately comes to mind is XTC’s “Yacht Dance.” Lyrically perfect, ingeniously constructed from songwriting perspective, masterfully recorded and produced by Hugh Padgham, and one of my favorite bands of all-time operating at the height of their powers. Andy Partridge should be hailed as a songwriting genius on par with Brian Wilson or Lennon and McCartney.
A few other songs I considered, off the top of my head: The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” and Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” Grab a pair of headphones and listen to either one of those songs as if you’re hearing it for the first time. You’ll be blown away.
If I were to vacation in your hell what should I expect to find there?
[Laughs.] Good question. Maybe me performing live on-stage. I have terrible stage fright.
Have you had an experience with the supernatural that you’d be willing to share?
Many years ago, my wife and I moved into a beautiful old Victorian house that was built in the 1890s. It was an incredibly well-maintained large 3-bedroom house, and the rent was almost too good to be true. The landlord, who lived on the premises, was a really friendly person—I still count him as a personal friend—but he also had an odd, haunting way of speaking. Imagine a soft-spoken, understated Dracula-esque character. I think his demeanor, combined with the old age of the house, must have put us into a receptive state, because the first night we spent in that house we both sensed of some sort of spiritual presence, even though neither of us typically believe in anything of that sort. In the middle of the night, I awoke with the feeling that there was a young girl standing right beside my bed, and I jolted forward in bed but found nothing. It was disconcerting, but I didn’t think anything of it until the following morning when my wife said that she had felt the exact same presence: a small girl standing in the room.
If you could collaborate with any artist living or dead who would it be?
I would love to have been in Berlin with David Bowie in the late 1970s. I’m not sure it would get much cooler than hanging out in the studio with Bowie and Eno.
What are some of your favorite films, and a favorite line of dialog from a film?
Blade Runner and Alien are science fiction masterpieces that I can re-watch any day of the week. Tran Anh Hung’s The Scent of Green Papaya and Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love are both pure perfection. Vampire’s Kiss might be the funniest dark comedy I’ve ever seen, so you could pick just about any line of dialogue from that film, especially one of the lines where Nicolas Cage intentionally weaves together that brilliant muddled pseudo-British/California accent. For audio geeks, Coppola’s The Conversation and De Palma’s Blow Out are top notch. More recently, I’ve been incredibly impressed by Kelly Reichardt’s work—Night Moves and Meek’s Cutoff were both phenomenal.
Can you describe your most emotionally moving moment involving music? Or, the moment of live music that has had the greatest impact on you?
I have those moments all the time with recorded music, but transcendent live music experiences are more rare for me. That being said, I do remember one live show in particular that really left an imprint on me. I saw Pan Sonic, the since-disbanded Finnish experimental electronic duo, in Chicago back in 2006 on one of their rare US tours. If I’m not mistaken, as it turned out, that was their final US tour. I was absolutely destroyed by their live set. For anyone with an interest in electronic music—or even just sound in general—experiencing Pan Sonic live is a must. I hope they reunite and tour again one day. There was one moment in particular where the most powerful low frequency sine wave I’ve ever heard was coursing through the room, and it created this indescribable vibration that everyone just became a part of. It was a magical moment, among many at that show.
Some are saying this is the greatest era to exist as a musician, others say it’s the worst, what has your experience been like?
That’s an interesting question. I think I have to come down on the side of this being the greatest era for musicians, because of the democratizing nature of technology. After all, I wouldn’t be having this conversation with you if it weren’t for the relatively recent ability to put together a reasonably polished album in the comfort of our own homes; Melanie Griffith, in spite of its 1980s sound, is largely the result of modern technological advances. We no longer need a pile of money to record in a studio to create something that sounds pretty good. The Internet has also enabled us to share our creations with the world without the need for a larger record label and/or distributor. So it’s easier to create music now, and it’s easier to share music, and I think those are both good things.
Of course, the flip side is that, because of digital distribution, the market is more saturated than ever, which makes it difficult to stand out. And you could also say that the quality of recordings has dropped because of home recording techniques. Additionally, musicians who really want to earn a living making music seem to be finding it more difficult than ever. I’m not personally interested in making money from my music, so that doesn’t affect me, but I empathize with the people it does affect. Still, ultimately, I think everyone should be creating and sharing things all the time, whether it’s music or film or mathematics or design or engineering or whatever, and the digital age is making it easier for everyone to do those things, so I think that’s pretty awesome.
Have you ever been to a psychic, would you be willing to share that experience if so?
I’ve never been. But there was a place in my old neighborhood in San Francisco that always caught my eye when I walked past it. It was open late, and the proprietor was always burning candles and incense outside of her open door even at 11 p.m. or midnight. I’ve since moved away from San Francisco, but next time I visit I should pop in and ask if I’m destined to move back there one day. I miss it a lot.
Do you feel things happen for a reason, do you have an experience that would be evidence of this?
I don’t. I think there are too many horrific things in this world for me to accept that there’s some reason for any of it.
If you could revisit one place you’ve already visited in your life, where would it be and why?
Definitely Tokyo. It’s an incredible place where I found something interesting everywhere I looked.
For More Info Visit: www.MountainFighting.com