If you have not heard of Eric Archer stop now. Check out his site ericarcher.net, specifically the devices, and then come back to this. Eric is a prolific designer/builder in Austin, Texas with a knack for composing eyecandy that sounds as good as it looks. He is a unique creator with a passion for analog circuits with descrete logic controls instead of microcontrollers. His BBoT and ABoT creations are probably best known for their dazzling led lightshow and mind blowing sonic properties, which Eric employs either by himself, or as half of E-Squared or Bodytronix.
His work with Bleep Labs on the Andromeda Mk IR linkable sound modules, which are often used in Handmade Music Austin learning workshops, is as impressive as his circuits that convert light to sound or those that can generate complex visuals to be viewed on scopes or even plotted on paper.
I actually found Eric’s work through photos on Flickr, and followed back to his own site.
He seems to have a pretty full schedule, but he found some time to answer some questions for an interview.
Continue reading Experimental Electronic Artist – Eric Archer Interview
My friend Mike recently had a chance to interview Marco Benevento for his blog: Time to Play B-Sides, while Marco was on a tour stop promoting Me not Me Album in Iowa. I also had a chance to catch the trio in Minneapolis the night before and was very entertained even though there was minimal amount of circuit bent device noise in the set. Some toy samples were played back via Boss RC-50 pedal and the two custom instruments on the piano were a bent Yamaha keyboard mainly used for an Organ sound and an Atari Punk Console built into a pedal case used during a Dub style jam. The rest of the experimental sounds were achieved via a contact mic on the soundboard of the Grand Piano running through a chain of pedals to a small amp. Marco would frequently tweak the pedal settings as he was playing live giving the piano extra presence. Great show never to less. Check out the interview!
Interview By: Rodney Clark
I’ve known The Circuit Ben Reaction now for a year and keep in touch through the net. I know he’s crazy about bending like most of us, but when you take that kind of love and multiply it by two…well, it’s just wrong…or um…WRONGBOT! I sent a few questions to Ben and Luke of Wrongbot to satisfy my curiosity and well…to get some new info up for all of us bored kinds to read…
Q: So Wrongbot might sound like a new name to many of the circuit bent fans, but actually one of the founding members is Circuit Ben, from The Circuit Ben Reaction. Could you tell us who else teams up in this project and how you both decided to get the music flowing?
Luke – Wrongbot is the collaborative moniker for Circuit Ben and Cruel Hand Luke. We became aware of each others existence through Myspace and our mutual love of circuit bending. This was a couple of years ago. We met in person outside of the local convenience market. Ben approached me and said ‘I know you from the internet’, at first I was scared but with further explanation it turns out that Ben wasn’t some kind of stalker with a penchant for picking-up hairy men but a like minded toy molester. After a few months of intense weekly 12 hour+ bending sessions we decided to make more of it. We laid down some improvised bent jam and thus, Wrongbot was born.
Ben – It was a bit strange I admit, but I was excited to find an experienced circuit-bender within walking distance of my house, and from past experience, they’re normally pretty agreeable folks – I’ve never met a bender that I didn’t like.
EDITORIAL INSERT: When I first met Ben, it was a bit weird too…not psycho stalker crazy weird but, he was trying to get me to let him crash on my floor of the hotel/apartment we were held up at for the weekend at Bentfest in Minneapolis. He was a wiry (yet mellow if you will) British dude and I…just a bit shy usually of folks I don’t know. I’m always a bit standoffish at first, but after a little conversation with Ben the weekend turned out to be all Eraser and Tiziana, DJ Tendraw, Circuit Ben, Igloo and myself, the whole time…felt like we was all brothers from other mothers. We went thrifting and we went on a Radio Shack “Shock” and so on and so on. Great Weekend! Ben’s a good dude, solid in-fact!
Q: I know Ben has traveled across the pond to visit us here in the States twice just to get a show…are you two playing out? Or do you have any gigs you plan on doing as Wrongbot?
L – It would be awesome to bring Wrongbot to the US and beyond. Currently, we have a couple of gigs lined up in the UK, but it’s only a matter of time before we spread our circuits further afield.
B – Yes, If you book us, we’ll play. (we’d write a sign to hold while we stand at the side of the freeway, but we’re too busy), book us, we’ll turn up. we promise. So far we have played one show at Leeds University Union and our next is in Leicester on March 14th.
Q: You were recently on a few compilations as part of the Free download series hosted by Getlofi.com and Curated by Tiger Claw Records. What if anything was the response to the tracks you had on the compilations?
L – The feedback I’ve got is a heady mix of bewilderment, fear and gentle humoring, which is the desired effect really.
B – I’ve had the same, I usually blast my friends for a few minutes, and get the same old blank looks, smiling and nodding. I guess that just means we’re going to have to make people dance.
Q: Are the two of you in the works together as far as any cool or unusual circuit bent builds?
L – Oh, that’s classified information, but we do have some crazy schemes in the ol’ brain box. All will be revealed in due time.
B – We are particularly interested in the resistance of the flesh. We know many benders might not have experienced it yet, but flesh is nice. Wrongbot is fast developing it’s own vast repository of web content, as we are documenting every bend we do. We feel it would be churlish for us not to share this information in the near future, so we’re currently constructing a site featuring our progress. Launching May 1st.
Q: We talk on Getlofi a bit here and there about Austin’s beard and mustache (Creme DeMentia), Luke looks like he’s been growing a set of comparison too…is Luke inspiring any hair growth on the facial region upon you Ben?
L – Haha, Everyone should have a ‘stache at some point in their lives… even women.
B – Yes, normally I have some sort of Abe Lincoln thing going on, but I had a shave both times I came to the states, in an effort to appear smarter for your lovely, (if a little stern) immigration people.
Q: What are your influences such as early music growing up from both sides of Wrongbot?
L – Like most people, I was very closed-minded with music whilst growing up. If it wasn’t metal, I didn’t want to know. Now, thankfully, I can draw influence from a wide range of musical genres and not just Iron Maiden. The main bands that have stuck with me beyond adolescence are Bjork, Faith No More, Nine Inch Nails and Beastie Boys. They feature regularly on my play-list. As do the likes of Battles, Billy Nayer Show, Tom Waits, Two gallants, Man or Astroman, Modified Toy Orchestra, anything Mike Patton-related… and I’ve been loving Free-Music Fridays on Getlofi. The quality of bent music just keeps on getting better..
B – I was lucky enough to have two older sisters who were competing to see who could play piano “better” when I was a kid. I tried a few lessons when I was five, but that didn’t work out beyond teaching me that hitting things made fun noises – I subsequently broke every key on that thing with a hammer. A few of the things from the past week’s play-list – Odetta, The Velvet Underground, Groundhogs, Syd Barrett, Burning Spear, Urusei Yatsura, The Yummy Fur, Cornelius and The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.
Q: Do you see any of these influences in your music today?
L – To some extent, everything is an influence. Music past and present, organic and mechanical sounds, a shoe in nextdoors’ washing machine… music and rhythm is everywhere but really, I’m just a slave to whatever sound comes out of the toy I’m using.
B – I never really got the influence thing, I’ve made several conscious decisions to throw music away because it sounds like someone else, but that has always been an accident, I think other musicians are an influence on attitude more than musical style/content – like having a case of the “Lou Reeds”. I think the biggest influence would be the Kaseo brothers (original spelling.)
Q: Are you guys planning on doing a full length anytime soon as Wrongbot, or will we only be getting samples of tasty things from the two of you?
L – Well, it’s a little from column A and a little from column B. One thing is for sure though, expect something!
Q: Anything else you want to add?
B – Yes, we would like to announce the birth of Ladyfunnel!, a three-piece girl band featuring three very new circuit-benders, who are also working print and video journalists and photographers. Wrongbot will be featuring them on our site to showcase our finished creations, coaching them for live performances, and using them to demonstrate how we intend to teach novice benders from scratch. We felt their was room for a bit more glamor in the bending world, and of course for us geeks, meeting more girls is always a bonus, so when we were asked to create some noisemakers for Ladyfunnel, we thought about it for about a minute. 😉
…and lastly our warmest thanks to all the benders and hackers at home and abroad, who continue to make life interesting for each other. Without all the free information available out there, circuit bending just wouldn’t be as fun. To the future! Thanks for the interview! Keep up the BENDS!
Pete Edwards from CasperElectronics.com just got a couple of new interviews posted. One is from WNYC an NPR affiliate with Brian Lehrer.The other one is a video Interview for 2 Player Productions as part of New York electriCITY Series Episode 1. Both very well done and worth checking out. Enjoy.
NEW YORK electriCITY from 2 Player Productions on Vimeo.