Interview with Gregor McMillan of Dead Boy Robotics ahead of their gig at Mad Hatters in January.
Last time we spoke to Dead Boy Robotics it was 2012, with a visit to Inverness imminent and a new album to promote, it was about time we caught up with them again.
You described your debut album as having an “80’s film soundtrack feel” certainly to our ears it feels as if that influence has not been lost entirely, but how do you think ‘New Cells’ sits along-side your debut?
New Cells feels like an evolution in sound and direction to us. If you listen to our debut, which was two guys with a laptop and a couple of synths, then listen to New Cells, which is us playing guitars with a real drummer, you can tell they’re sonically different, but also have similar elements.
There’s a smattering of synth laced throughout New Cells that connects the debut to the second album, and where the debut was dark and claustrophobic, New Cells is a dark wide-open space. Both could be described as cinematic, but used to score two totally different movies.
The new album was mastered across the Atlantic, what was the significance of this in the context of ‘New Cells’?
We didn’t set out specifically to have our album mastered in New York. When looking for somewhere to have the album mastered, we went down the usual route of looking through the liner notes of some of our recent favourite albums.
One album we were listening to consistently last year was Hyperview by Title Fight, and although we sound nothing like TF, we really liked the sound of their record. So we emailed the mastering company, who just happened to be located in New York, and they agreed to master our album.
You wrote about your passion for vinyl recently, do you think this impacts on the sound of Dead Boy Robotics? Is there any news on the vinyl release of ‘New Cells’?
Our record collections are very important to us. If we’re hanging out in each other’s flat, it normally involves supping whisky whilst listening to whatever records we bought that week, and discussing the merit of Prince’s love of a velvet suit or Stewart Copeland’s use of delay on high hats in the Reggatta De Blanc album.
We’re definitely going to do a vinyl release this year, however as we’re just three guys working full time jobs, funding every single part of what we do ourselves – from recording and mastering to the fuel to get us to and from practices and gigs – we’re just not sure when.
Putting a physical record out can take its monitory toll on the band, and when we do something, we don’t like doing it by halves. So you can fully expect a gatefold 180gm coloured vinyl with a gold foil cover coming your way at some point on 2016.
What are the first three songs that will have to be somewhere on your set-list when you play Inverness?
We tend to open the set-list with recent single Echo, followed swiftly by Bathysphere, since they’re in the same tuning. Usually, we drop Arrival third to keep the momentum up. Playing these three songs warms us up nicely and helps to iron out any sound or level issues on stage, and also get rid of any nerves.
It is a long drive up the A9, who picks the tunes for the road and what acts get the most airplay?
In light of recent circumstances, we’ll probably be listening to a lot of Bowie on the drive up the A9. We’re pretty relaxed about who choses what goes on the stereo, so the road tunes can range from anything from Michael Jackson to the Blood Brothers. There’s also an extensive 80’s Spotify playlist full hits that gets cranked on the stereo when we’re driving!
You have announced a splattering of dates (of which Inverness is the first) so far for 2016, how is the New Year panning out?
2016 is panning out pretty well so far. We’ve got a London show at The Old Blue Last in the diary for February, and we’ve been asked by Netsounds to play Brew at the Bog in June, which we’re very much looking forward to.
Dead Boy Robotics play Hootananny on the 16th Of January, Free Entry.