Volt 9000 has been making music and steadily releasing it throughout their career, garnering attention within the scene. With the release of their latest album "Timeshift", they have not only managed to capture my attention, but have been awarded my respect and praise (if that really counts for much). Luckily, I was also able to lock down an interview with both Cory Gorski and Andrew Dobbels, the head honchos of the project, and discuss their history and their new album.
You've both been steadily releasing music since 2010 and have gained recognition in the scene since then. However, since our audience might be new to you, introduce yourselves and the project that you're involved in.
Cory - "We're Cory Gorski and Andrew Dobbels of Volt 9000, a sort of electro-industrial sound-designy dark pop electronic band. I'm based out of Toronto and Andrew is in Portland Oregon. We have four albums out now with a fifth about to be released on Artoffact Records. Our sound palette ranges from retro 8-bit, all the way to acoustic instruments, depending on the album and song. Regardless, it tends to be structured yet broody and weird music that will hopefully leave you humming a song or two."
When was it that you started to play music and what type of instruments did you pick up? And, since then, did you ever really think you'd be getting into electro-industrial?
Andrew - "I've been "playing" music most of my life. As a little kid I made weird noises with my mouth, grabbed a cheap Yamaha keyboard with a harpsichord preset and plonked away at it... Really I did all I could do to provide myself with an outlet for the sounds in my head. Learned the basics of playing piano, guitar, and drums too. I was always looking for weird sounding stuff as a kid, and my standards were pretty low so I ended up listening to stuff like Rammstein thinking that was what I liked. It wasn't until I was thirteen, started using Reason 3.0, and my brother introduced me to stuff like Skinny Puppy, KMFDM, Circle of Dust, and Firewerk. That made me really think of getting serious about music and making it."
Cory - "I don't play any main instrument but have a background in sound engineering and multimedia. I've always been into the arts but never had a stream-lined goal."
Where do your main influences lie? I'm not strictly talking musicians or bands, but I mean anything from art, television, movies, books, etc.
Cory - "Depends on the album and where we're at. For example the primary influence for the first two albums were 1980's and 90's kids TV commercials and toys. I spent a good month just browsing through retro toy commercials on YouTube which was a total trip; to go back to those wacky carefree days of being a kid in the 80's and 90's. I tried to capture that feeling with music.
Since then, it's become much more diverse. Although we've developed on those same melodies and ideas, we've also matured the concept as we didn't want to be pigeon-holed. Conopoly took obvious inspiration (or at least references) from board-games. Albeit the subject matter of that album is quite dark and disturbing. Most of that was inspired by obvious corporatism. Most of the albums we've done so far have used the whole "darker aspects of society seen through the eyes of a child" concept. Although we're starting to evolve away from that as well. The new album wraps around a different concept."
You are a two man group, and I'm wondering where you two met and when discussions regarding Volt 9000 started.
Cory - "I met Andrew on an internet site called Something Awful Forums. I really wish we had a cooler story, but I can't lie. He did a remix for me, and it blew me away. I assumed he was a professional remix artist or experienced producer and asked him how much he charged for remix work. He replied that he was just a 19 year old dude in his parents basement. I immediately asked if he wanted to join a band and foolishly he said yes."
Andrew - "That remix of American Machine (as heard on Mutronix) was the beginning of our partnership!"
And, beyond that, when did the band actually come to fruition?
Cory - "It originally started in 2010. The first two albums are me alone, and Andrew joined the band right after."
What was the first thing you two put out as a band, and how was it received?
Cory - "The first thing Andrew and I both put out together was Mutronix, the 3rd album. It was well received although we basically just threw it online without physical copies or much promotion. Although I'd like to think it opened up the sound and style to a whole new territory and gained us a
Andrew - "Mutronix was a lot of fun. It was like we were testing each other's limits and learning to trust each other's judgments since we couldn't be looking over the other's shoulder at all. I would like to think it was well received by those who have heard it. About a third of it was remixes of older V9K songs, so it seemed like an inbetweener; moreso a preview of things to come than a cohesive, complete work of art."
With you both being involved in the same and having numerous released under your belt, has everything always been smooth sailing? Or have you butted heads in the studio more than once?
Cory - "We've been in a few fist-fights, yeah. I once smashed a DX-7 over his head for telling me the mix sounded too muddy. No... seriously though, not only are we both very easy going, but we live in different cities. We give each other plenty of room to breathe physically, emotionally, and artistically. When it comes to experimental music, you need breathing room."
Andrew - "The geographical distance has been a huge factor in our respective creative processes for sure. He and I are both patient and understanding people who recognize that life gets in the way pretty frequently. The worst it's ever gotten is that I've been unable to send him back pieces of work for months for whatever dumb reason. We've never really had creative differences."
Your latest album, "Timeshift", will be releasing in June. But, in more exciting news, this will be the first album that you'll be releasing on Vinyl. Why did you want to release your material on vinyl? Was there anything specific bringing you to do so?
Cory - "The album carries a bit of a nostalgic style, but with modern technique and presentation. Vinyl both represented what we are doing at the moment in regards to that, and also gives fans something to collect and hold."
Andrew - "I think the majority of listeners are more interested in digital distribution for the sake of convenience (and money). The vinyl serves more as a collectible piece than a listening medium."
You've been compared to the likes of Ohgr in the past, but now your sounds have matured and it seems as if that comparison is becoming all but null and void. How do you feel being compared to Ohgr, and how has your music changed to get away from that comparison?
Andrew - "We've definitely begun to trail away from the ohGr-esque. I feel like it was a great comparison for Mutronix especially, but I think Cory can agree with me when I say it's important that we develop and evolve independently and not hitch a ride on the already solid work of others just because it's been proven to be successful."
Cory - "Definitely. I mean, it's very flattering. We've outright stolen some of Mark and Ogre's production tricks in the past, make no mistake. However we also want to grow as artists and become our own thing. There are certain production effects we have purposely cut out from our music and are now trying our own tricks. I think it's more apparent with our new release. They are obviously a big influence, especially on the first few albums."
Via Storming the Base, your lyrics have been described as "...questioning and suspicious...". What exactly does that mean? Do they invoke listeners to think, are the purposefully vague, or is it something different?
Cory - "I wouldn't know, because I didn't write that! Funny how Artoffact Records described it that way. Of course it's designed to make people think. If the topic isn't something that keeps me awake at night, then it's not worth writing about."
Now, when it came to "Timeshift", it has also been stated that the album was written, mixed, and mastered for Vinyl. How was that different from recording your previous material?
Cory - "Well, mainly some of the technical production. Mastered for vinyl, yes. Though I wouldn't say it's something "written" for vinyl or any medium... more that it fits nicely into that category by design."
And do you have any live shows planned for "Timeshift"? Even further, do you have anything else planned for the future currently that you could tell us about?
Cory - "We will be opening for Encephalon in Toronto on May 30th and also playing Terminus in July."
Lastly, I thank you for your time, and I am looking forward to seeing you both progress in your future endeavors!
Cory - "Thank you kindly!"
Andrew - "Thanks for having us!"
We will never be the state's poster child band, nor do we want to be, but after a decade of hard work we have a solid following and I am very grateful for that. It seems like every gig we play we make new fans who actually stick around and that is a rare thing anymore. We have reached across genres locally and have built ourselves a dedicated and very diverse crowd here.
Pittersplatter, Jan 07 2014
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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