What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
My musical journey began at 15 years old as a self-taught alt-rock drummer and eventually a shoegaze-inspired guitar player. I’ve always muddled around with improvised songwriting both on 4 track cassette recorders as well as multiple DAWs, but until recently I never had a clear focus, and kept the music to myself. 2 years ago my friend/former bandmate/producer Jonathan Lim invited me to improvise live electronic music with him at a monthly event in Washington DC called Betamax Video Club. It was there that I was first introduced to the genre of synthwave, which led me to co-write a pile of synthwave tracks (35+) for our live performances, and eventually led me to my current incarnation as a solo synthwave producer under the moniker Iterations. Jonathan and I have also formerly formed the synthwave duo “Velocity 128” and we continue to perform monthly at Betamax Video Club, as well as a handful of other gigs. It’s taken a while, but I’ve become synthesizer obsessed, and use a combination of drum machines and live drums for my releases.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
My previous release “Linear Source” was really an effort to quickly throw together tracks for commercial sales for use in movies, etc. My current release “Cathode Rayguns” was a concerted effort to get down and dirty with the synths, and start exploring my interests within the genre in a more natural way.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Two words- Post-Punk. I still consider myself a drummer first and foremost. In the handful of bands that I’ve been a member of, that was always my contribution. That said, Jimmy Chamberlin from the Smashing Pumpkins was a profound influence on the way that I play. You won’t hear those influences in my synthwave releases, but in my yet to be released shoegaze instrumental works that preceded my dive into the synthwave genre. As a guitar player, Andy Bell from the band Ride is a big influence, though I have yet to introduce my guitar to my synthwave productions. As far as their use of synthesizers and effects, there is no one I’d rather listen to than Stereolab and Ulrich Schnauss to get my analog fix.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
Around age 11, my older brother introduced me to post-punk music. Siouxsie & the Banshees, The Cure, Ride, Depeche Mode, Catherine Wheel, etc, were all huge influences that I still listen to today. I like to describe my music as “Post-Punk Soundtrack Synthwave.” I feel like anyone that grew up listening to post-punk music will get that, and hopefully get something out of listening to my releases. I don’t want to make music as a gimmick, I want to make music that makes me feel something.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Music – Catherine Wheel “Ferment”– Smashing Pumpkins “Siamese Dream” – Ulrich Schnauss “A Strangely Isolated Place”
Movies – Star Wars ESB – Jurassic Park – Transformers The Movie (1986)
Books – Jurassic Park – The Lost World – The Hunt for Red October
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
I love to improvise, so for me performing live is an exciting opportunity to see how far I can push myself creatively in realtime without sounding terrible.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
I used to play drums in a band called 23RainyDays, back in 2003 we opened for the Violent Femmes on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the Capitol building. The show was being taped and broadcast up to a big concert screen, with occasional closeups. At the time I used to play electronic drums out of convenience (not preference), and I played barefoot at that. There were multiple closeups on my bare feet playing, as well as when I dropped a drumstick in the 95 degree Washington DC summer heat.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
“Static” on the Cathode Rayguns EP is pretty unique to me. It really started out with this boring/raw bass line that was very dry, simple, and repetitive. I added a simple beat using LinnDrumm samples, then committed to seeing how hard it would be to make it into something with a soundtrack feel. If you have the patience to get through the opening, you can see where I go with it.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
I will continue to release Post-Punk Soundtrack Synthwave singles and EP’s, with the possibility of an LP. Additionally I will release my “real” instrumental shoegaze music (real drums, guitars, etc) that I recorded in 2016-2017 as an EP.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
How did you come up with the artist name “Iterations?”
I began using the word Iterations around 1996, at first naming every track I worked on as “1st Iteration,” “2nd Iteration,” and so on. Eventually I decided to just call myself “Iterations.” My obsession with the word began with the book Jurassic Park. The book is divided into 7 chapters; First Iteration through Seventh Iteration. It’s the concept that you are repeating a process, and making changes to that process over time, and hopefully improving!
Photo credits: Van Ngo
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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