First of, just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. Could you start off by giving a little information about you to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, and where you live would be pretty standard?
Hi! My name is Tufty. I'm 46yrs old (YES!! 46!) and I live in the middle of the countryside, near a small town called Ballymoney in Northern Ireland.
I'm the sole member of BIOHACKER.
How do you enjoy where you live? Is there a vibrant music community where you are? Would you say you find that your local scene influences your attitude and/or creativity?
Where I live is fine. It's quiet and rural which is cool for bringing up my two kids. The only downside is this place goes mad for Country music!! Oh fuck! They love that stuff!! lol!
All joking aside, there's always been a pretty vibrant music scene around here. There's lot's of rock/metal bands but the electronic side of things tends to be neglected. Guess that's where I come in...
What do you feel separates your music from the rest of the music in the Industrial music scene?
That's a really difficult question to answer. Maybe it's because I have no particular agenda with Biohacker. I just started this off because I wanted to write songs about things that I find cool. I wasn't even gonna share them with anybody, but then I noticed that a friend of mine was sharing his work on Soundcloud and I thought "Hmmmm?..What if..." Then the first track that I uploaded "The End Of All Things" quite quickly got over 1,000 plays and it just took off from there. Next thing you know I'm writing this for you! It's crazy!!
So to answer your question it's probably because I was unintentional!!
What would you say are your favorite themes and topics that inspire you to compose? What draws you to those themes?
I love dark science fiction, whether it's movies, stories, video games or whatever and I try hard to get that across in my music. I also like that whole "post apocalyptic" genre. As a kid I remember watching "MAD MAX" and thinking "WOW!! I wanna live there...." so through my music I kinda do!
I've always been a Nerd, even before it was cool to be one.
Industrial and Attitude seem to go hand in hand. With global war, civil unrest, injustice, and political revolution being primary musical themes that dominate your music, how do you feel nowadays about the current state of world affairs?
Where to begin..
We see the rich people get richer by the day and the rest of us struggle to feed and house ourselves and our families.
People are having to rely on food banks to feed their families, when others take 2.2 million pound super cars to get gold leaf wraps applied!! Surely this is wrong, or is it just me??
Inequality disgusts me. Racism disgusts me.
I never considered myself to be political until the last American election.
What happened there? How could someone like "that" become a world leader??
So, in his "honour" my track "HATE" was born....
What do you see in the near, and far, future for your creative output?
I just want to keep writing my music and hope that people still enjoy it. As for the future, I'd love to score a sci-fi movie or something like that.
I always felt that Biohacker tracks would be great as soundtracks, so if any budding directors are reading this and are in need of a movie score.......
When you first started making music, was there a particular sound or artistic/musical influence that you would say was your biggest inspiration to start pursuing the creative path yourself?
I suppose my biggest moment of inspiration was hearing "Pretty Hate Machine" by NIN for the first time. I'd always been a die hard metal-head and had no time for "that electronic crap" that I heard on the radio. A friend of mine had just bought a cassette of Pretty Hate Machine and forced me into listening to it. My world was changed forever. I wanted to be Trent Reznor!!
Shortly after that another mate had just got hold of a CD by a band called "Frontline Assembly" called "Tactical Neural Implant" WOW!! I totally fell in love with the entire genre.
Another life changer was seeing a local band called "IN DUST" play a gig in a the nearby town of Kilrea in about '91 or '92. They don't exist anymore (as far as I know) but their album "Nosebleed" is one of the best albums I have ever heard. If you can find a copy GET IT!!
When it comes to your musical self and your real-world self, would you say that there is a separation? Do you find yourself getting into a character or mindset when you create, or do you find your music is a representation of your day to day self?
Definitely. Biohacker has it's own lifeforce. It's dark, moody, edgy and not afraid to let you know about it! I kinda have to get into the zone. I know this sounds a bit strange, but I have to become Biohacker, because Tufty is really not like that at all!
Are you musically self-taught? Or have you had mentors along the way to help you develop?
I'm self taught and every day is a learning day!
When it comes to composing music, do you approach things with a clear vision in mind, or do you prefer to let songs feel themselves out? Do you have any particular techniques or tricks you use to keep yourself creative and consistent?
To be honest, the songs seem to write themselves! I have never sat down and said "right, I'm gonna write a song about......and it's going to sound like......." that just never happens. I have ideas, yes, but usually what starts out never finishes the same. That's the fun I suppose. Seeing what the track becomes.
When it comes to making music it can be difficult to balance atmosphere, song progression, musicality, and excitement. Do you have any tricks, techniques, or methods that you commonly use to help your music sound coherent and engaging?
Luck. HA! HA!
I like to have atmospheric intros. I like to build, I suppose you could call it tension, before the main riff blasts in. It seems to have worked so far!
I suppose an example of this is my track "Biogenetics" I particularly proud of this one....
Do you spend a lot of time crafting your own sounds? Or do you value song crafting and effects tweaking more? Or do you find it's a balance between the two? What' your relationships with presets? When you make music are you primarily a hardware or software oriented musician? Or do you do a fusion of both? Are there any particular instruments, programs, or effects that you would say are vital to you making music?
To be totally honest most of the technical side baffles me! I have a few things that I can work with, but usually I just turn knobs, and move sliders up and down until I get what I want. It also involves a lot of "I wonder what this does?" swearing and keyboard bashing!!
I'm still using an 10yr old beat up Windows XP PC that keeps having "senior moments." My guitar, I have owned it since I was 19, so you can see my level of technology is staggering!!
I do own a lovely AKAI MPK mini (thanks to my beautiful and long suffering wife!) which has made my "job" much more interesting over the last 2 years! I do get some helpful input from my nephew who understands these things a lot better than I ever will! Do you ever find it difficult to balance the creative and technical aspects of musical creation? How do you strike the balance for the need to craft and tweak your effects and sounds, in contrast to actually just getting the song itself created with structure and melody? What sort of element of creation do you prefer, the sonic shaping or the song creation?
Can I phone a friend??? :)
Do you find that when you are working on projects where you ended up learning new techniques during the process?
I'm learning all the time. Each Biohacker album or EP is technically better in both sound and production than its predecessor.
Some day soon I'll be good at this!!
Playing live shows, recording new tracks, attempting to go live the life that gives you the experiences that inspires it all... it can be difficult to balance the time. Do you have any particular methods that you use to keep yourself focused or balanced in your direction?
Getting time to work on Biohacker can be difficult. I work a full time job and have family commitments, so Biohacker has to be fitted into the spaces in between. Mind you, in 3 years I've managed to put out 3 full albums and 3 EP's, and I've got countless unfinished tracks as well...so, I get there!!
For fans who have not seen you yet, when it comes to your live show, how would you describe yourself thematically and visually? Are you an energy and audience driven band in the live atmosphere? Or would you consider yourself to be more thematic or presentation oriented?
I'm not a live act.
As I said before getting the time to work on Biohacker is hard enough, and I have been asked a few times about playing, but there's just not time to do it.
I'd love to play my stuff live. I love going to gigs, so playing one myself would be amazing! Maybe some day I'll get the chance. Who knows!! Have you had any particular moment(s) that you would like to share, that you would consider to be a crowning achievement in your musical career so far, or moments that you would say truly continue to inspire you to pursue your artistic path? What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your musical career?