It was a true pleasure getting to know more about Canada's own Dance artist TechnoHazard!
Where did you grow up?
Good ol’ Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, eh!
What influenced you to get into music?
A lot of things. When I was a kid, I had fun messing around on my grandmother’s organ which had all these buttons that played these drum sounds and chords—that was so cool! On my father’s side, I had many uncles who played guitar and I remember sitting between them and their friends while they jammed away on the front porch of my Grandparents place. So, I was certainly surrounded by music from both sides of the family. In the late 70’s, one of my uncles got into electronic music and bought all these analogue synths (like the korg ms-20 and an arp 2600). The wires, the blinking lights, how they mesmerized a ten-year-old. Six year later, my parents bought a piano for my sister but I started banging away on it, creating my own compositions (it was easier than learning someone else’s song). A few years after that, my Uncle let me watch his place and gave me carte-blanche the use of his bedroom studio—all those wires and blinking lights hooked me in!
What is Electronic scene like in Canada?
I believe it still needs maturing, but it’s healthy and steadily growing. A greater number of music fests are now featuring electronic acts such as Ottawa’s Bluesfest (over the past few years brought in Tangerine Dream, Tiesto and Skrillex), the Shambhala festival in Salmo, BC. and the Mutek in Montreal to name a few. This is definitely helping the genre thus encouraging more venues to participate. Currently, my home town still has a very limited number of stages that host live electronic acts so it’s a little difficult to gauge the local “scene” (there are only 19 active local artist on the Reverbnation.com’s (Electronica charts). Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver is definitely more dynamic but overall Canada is relatively small. Geographically, it’s slightly larger than Europe but only has 1/24 the population size so it does make it a challenge to support the music style domestically. I’m giving it my best!
You compose and produce your own music.
What is in your arsenal of music equipment that helps you create?
I first started my “bedroom” studio back in 1996, so a lot of stuff has come and gone. Currently,
I’m using Cubase as my main Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and a plethora of virtual synths along side my Virus B, Korg X5-DR and Roland XV-5080 hardware. In ’96 I did start with Emagic Logic as my DAW (until Apple bought them out), and I have repurposed it on a Macbook Pro for eventual live use. Maschine (mikro) has definitely helped my beat-making workflow. I continue to abuse my Virus B synth—there’s nothing like having tactile knobs and blinky lights to amuse oneself. I’m still nostalgic with Propellerhead’s Rebirth RB-338—the software that gave rise to the Technohazard project! Despite the above, there’s nothing like playing on my off-tuned piano which is still my main creative outlet. NO buttons to distract me, NO plugins to crash the DAW, NO wait time for the o/s to boot…Just sit down and let it flow ;)
What is your process for creating music?
It varies. I generally play the keyboard with a piano-sound and just free form away. When a melody strikes me, I’ll flip over to my Access Virus, and get a base-line going to build from. There are times, I’ll lay down a beat and jam away to that. Then there are story ideas which provoke imagery to write a soundtrack to. On-line research was required to create the narrative for my track “Reactor 3” which focused on our responsibility in using nuclear power in view of the Fukushima power plant tragedy.
Once I have a skeleton made up, I will listen to it hundred(s) of times to work in the meat and grey matter. It’s not uncommon for me to freeform a dozen takes over the framework to pick out my favourite parts and incorporate them into the final arrangement. So, my process is really quite organic for a style of music that seems so calculated and predetermined.
Have you in the past, or would you in the future consider producing other music genres?
Yes, I have done other genres–just ask my family and friends about my private Christmas album.
I have had the opportunity to underscore a pilot “edutainment show”, which was never aired, that included cues and a main theme (non-electronica). Orchestral underscoring is another important venture on my list but that may have to wait until my fingers blister from tweaking those filter knobs too much!
Who do you listen to in your private time?
You mean, outside of my own stuff? lol. Well, I do listen to a few streaming i-radio stations (Digitally Imported, Radio IO, indie stuff on Reverbnation) but I don’t keep tabs on the playlist.
From my private collection, it’s mostly made up of film scores (Williams, Poledouris, Goldsmith, Kamen, Silvestri, Elfman, Goldenthal, Davis etc.) and classic electronic staples (T-Dream, Jarre, Vangelis, Kraftwerk, Klause Schultze, Synergy etc.).
Others include Astral Projection, Air Liquid, Phutureprimitive, Juno Reactor, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Sabath, Cooper, Art of Noise, Cybotron etc. Above all, I will often go back to the influential beginning by dimming the light, reclining the chair, and breathing the “Oxygène” supplied by Jean-Michel Jarre.
How do you see Electronic music changing in 10 years?
I see it becoming more immersive and interactive. Kraftwerk has already incorporated 3D visualization into their show. Plastikman (Richie Hawton) had an iphone app that streamed content synced to stage events to the participating audience. I just hope it doesn’t go too far and have everyone looking down at their phones the whole time. Will the music change? As with all styles, it will evolve. There will be some retrospective styles that will emerge (like the sounds of the 90’s) but how it’s going to sonically change in 10 years, I can’t say for sure. Sound design will probably take some radical departures with new forms of digital manipulation and this may steer the genre back to a more experimental flavour.
Tell us about your latest project.
Figuring out how to perform live, beyond just pushing a few buttons can be challenging; considering how most of my tracks were programmed beyond my ten fingers. I’ve managing to flesh out some tracks with sustainable keyboard parts--even if that means automating some instrument changes. As I master this, visuals will ensue to accompany my performance. Outside of the above, I’m always working on new tracks—musical sketches--but only a few of those will ever make it to final production.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I intend to do more local shows and am excited to be working on a digital EP anticipated to be released in late fall.
Copyright Hardcoremix.com 2014