Dual Analog….A DeClunk Q & A

Hello Dual Analog…. welcome to the DeClunk universe

Please give us a description of your surroundings, just so we can be a little snug together during the Q & A.

In my office/studio in North Seattle, flanked to my left by racks of guitar preamps and effects processors from the 80s, surrounded by Japanese artwork and images of Buddha while the rain falls outside in the courtyard.

Can you tell us the make up of the band, who does what etc. and how it came together?

Kurtis and I grew up together, we went to school from elementary all the way through college. Starting around 7th grade, we started playing in a band, had a falling out in high school, then got back together in college to form a melodic death metal band called Axis of Symmetry. When school was done, we both moved back to Seattle and formed Perfect Zero, which was the same type of music, but more refined. We put out an EP and then decided to part ways with the rest of the band and continue on as a duo writing music that was more keyboard based, which is how Dual Analog came to be.

In the studio, Kurtis handles the keyboards, mixing, and sound design. I handle the guitar and vocal parts, as well as drum programming.

We knew from the outset that, for live purposes, we wanted to have the power of a full band. I write with two guitar players in mind, playing two distinct parts in concert with each other and whatever the synths are doing. In addition to that, I write vocal parts with lots of harmonies and drum parts which tend to incorporate both acoustic drums and samples. Based off of this, we hire out the best musicians we can find in Seattle to bring these parts to our live show. Kurtis then handles keyboards and some bass guitar, while I do lead vocals and split guitar duties with a hired gun.

How come the name Dual Analog? Were there other names in the hat?

Kurtis had recently begun his foray into analog synthesis with the purchase of a Behringer Deepmind. That, and us being a two-person band at the time, the name “Dual Analog” just made sense. Plus, it’s a video game reference via the dual analog joysticks in the Playstation controller.

I just remember Kurtis coming over one morning to work on music and I had pitched the name to him. Later, we met up at a show and he said “I like the name Dual Analog,” so we just went with it. I think I may have had the name “Sol Runner” or something like that, but beyond that, I don’t recall if any other names were tossed around.

We love a scoop here at DeClunk so please tell us something about Dual Analog that is yet to make it out there to the public domain.

We’re putting out a new single the first week of August; just a standalone song without a video. It’s super gothy and danceable.

Your sound is described as Turbowave. What does it mean? Sounds fast!

The elevator pitch goes like “Turbowave is a genre which combines new wave and heavy metal with elements of industrial and world music.”

We have a heavy use of keyboards, synthesizers, and drum machines in our music. We also add in the traditional metal guitars in a lot of our music. On paper, you could call it “synthwave metal,” but since synthwave is its own genre with its own tropes, and metal is its own genre with its own tropes, this put us in a position where, if we didn’t conform to those elements, people would inevitably get salty about it.

At the end of the day, it wasn’t “synthwave” enough to be synthwave, and it wasn’t always “metal” enough to be metal. It was new wave inspired with hard rock/heavy metal elements, so “wave” was appropriate, and “turbo” just makes sense. It’s new wave, but turbocharged with heavy guitars and elements of industrial and world music.

Tell us about the song ‘Into the Unknown’ and the accompanying video. It looks like lot of care and thought has gone into the look.

The song “Into the Unknown” was written by Kurtis, then we worked together on the structure. He just had keyboards and some basic drums, then I came in and added more drums, guitars, and of course vocals.

It took some time initially to come up with these parts, because the 1 is on the off-beat. As a vocalist, this can make it challenging to find something that doesn’t clash rhythmically with what’s underscoring the melody. The same applies to the guitar parts, which have a very unusual cadence to them; if I attempt to slow it down and show what I’m playing, I can’t do it and my brain melts.

I find when a song pushes me in these ways, we tend to get really good results, which is why we chose “Into the Unknown” as our third video track. It always goes over well live, too.

Lyrically, it’s about the ritual and practice of, in layman’s terms, getting showered, shaved, dressed, made up, to go out in hopes of meeting someone who wants to go home with you. However, ultimately, deep down, you’re starting to lose hope and recognizing the futility in the entire exercise, concluding that maybe there’s a cosmic, spiritual force at play barring you from finding love.

Or something like that.

The worst thing that a record or video can be is stale. We try to give every video its own distinct visual flair, while still retaining the fundamental turbowave aesthetic of the band. “Among the Living” was big and bombastic, with a sequenced light show and large stage set, so rather than trying to top that in scale, we thought it prudent to be more subdued; the buzz term was “back to basics.”

From there, we opted for a motif harkening towards Japanese minimalism, and worked with a new production team, HempFilms, to provide a different touch to the cinematography.

Sarah, our live drummer, had chosen the color palette, while I worked to conceptualize the visual centrepiece of two lovers engaging in a failed tryst while silhouetted against a shoji screen.

The UV reactive makeup was something I had been wanting to do ever since our first video, and since this was to be a darker set, it was the perfect time to try it out.

What about your debut album, released in early Spring. Is there a thread running through the songs?

It’s part coming-of-age and part path to enlightenment. The theme centers around accepting a life devoid of love and affection, having that reality shattered when you receive some seemingly at random, then losing yourself trying to achieve it again.

If you could have any band/artist in the world to come on as your support act what would you choose. You are allowed dead people and money is no object!

Oh, just a bunch of dead people. That would be a big draw. “I hear they have animated corpses opening for them. I have to see this.”

How rock n roll is your rider?

At least 10 rock and roll.

We saw The Rolling Stones cavorting about at the age of 78 last week. Can you see yourselves doing that?

I’m personally looking forward to it, and with the advancements in medicine by then, 78 will look like 48!

If we came to your neck of the woods for a weekend where would you take us? You are the Entertainments Committee!

I would probably take you down to Seattle’s International District in for some authentic Sichuan food or dim sum, followed by a show at one of the many great music venues we have here. We have some of the best tribute bands on the West Coast, so whether it’s Def Leppard, Motley Crue, INXS, Billy Idol, The Cure, we’re bound to find a great show.

Any bands/ artists that we should check out?

2 Libras have some great, catchy stuff and are a lot of fun to watch live.

Thanks for taking the time with DeClunk. See you out there doing your thing soon.

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