Below is our interview with Vincent Vocoder Voice.
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PART 1 - THE INTERVIEW
What is your earliest musical memory and what pushed you towards perusing a career in the music business?
"I was played Wagner's 'Ring Cycle' when I was in the womb. Perhaps that stuck with me, though I've experienced no latent anti-Semitic feelings bubbling up just yet. I've just started reading Schopenhauer (criminally late); in the preface the translator states that Schopenhauer considered music 'the genuine art and the sound of being', and 'in the playing of music and listening to music all our senses, including the sense of the mind, are attuned to the bad and good fortune of living'. I think I've always felt this on an intuitive level. I certainly didn't get into it for money, as there isn't any: nowadays everyone expects all music for free, and there are wolves in a hundred directions looking to rip musicians off. It's always been more or less pay-to-play in the UK and, unfortunately, I can't see things ever being any different. Perhaps worse."
What kind of records where on around the house when you were younger and would you say that these records still have an influence on your songs today?
"The eighties… Phil Collins. Dire Straits. Talking Heads. Early U2. The Police. I feel, as a general rule, that pre-nineties popular songwriters tended to write with greater humility, self-awareness and vulnerability, whereas now it's all peacocking and arrogance: 'if you can't handle me, you ain't man / woman enough'. The pop song has become clichéd and emotionally impoverished, whereas I can still feel something beyond simple nostalgia listening back to a lot of pre-nineties popular music. In that respect – I suppose I could sum it up as their 'integrity' – growing up on those sorts of records probably helps me to resist the trend for glossing over anything cool kids would consider pretentious or 'OMG, TMI!' Basically, they taught me to not give a shit about being cool. And irony, 'homage' and flippancy is for cowards."
Where did the name Vincent Vocoder Voice come from?
"About seven years ago I was struggling with the realization that some part of me is always sadistically ready and eager to point out the flaws in every single dream, joy and relationship I will ever have. Something in me was taking great pleasure in showing me the self-serving, greedy component behind my every nice deed or kind word; how doomed every romantic relationship I would ever be involved in would be; the hypocritical fault lines between my 'morals' and my actions; that I am doomed to strive for some mystical 'complete happiness' when it is fundamentally unattainable because I am a human being. And 'Vincent Vocoder Voice' just came into my head. It was in the manner of a mystical revelation except, rather than the comforting gold light of hearing the True Name of God, it was more like having cold oil poured over your brain by a Philip K. Dick-esque demiurge."
How would you describe the sound of Vincent Vocoder Voice?
"A psychological big crunch."
You have released one album to date. The album cover certainly stands out. What is the influence behind this and why did you choose it?
"I wanted something simple, stark, striking. A mask caricaturing human sorrow and horror staring down a black void seemed fitting. It's also a nod to the Tajitu. The blocks of black and white. I am, at heart, a Taoist. Vincent Vocoder Voice is a Taoist album."
The opening track of the album is called ‘How Dare Anyone Anything Ever’. This features a spoken word vocal. Where does this vocal come from and why did you incorporate it into the tune?
"I assume you mean the sample? It's an excerpt from Carl Jung. I felt it summed up the revelation I described above, this entity, with a squeamish kind of accuracy."
The penultimate track on the album is called ‘MEMEMEMEMEMEMENOW’. What is the influence behind this song and what is it about?
"It begins with the selfish, the present, the pettiness of the now. As the song progresses we zoom out from our human lives in space and time, until, from a cosmological perspective, all human suffering is rendered trivial and all human achievement meaningless. We face inevitable annihilation as individuals, then as a species, then as a concept. Heat death. Though it may appear that I'm just sadistically torturing the listener, I'm really trying to instil the correct perspective of what it means to be a human being, and through that understanding - though initially painful to grasp – acceptance, and peace."
Any live dates coming up?
"Sticky Mike's (Brighton) on January 29th. Then a tour of the south February 24th – early March."
Any new songs in the pipeline?
"There will be an EP out very soon."
When can fans expect the next official release?
PART 2 - THE QUICKFIRE ROUND
"Lennon, I guess."
"The Paper Chase."
Favourite new band?
"Clarence Clarity, Kins or Cold Crows Dead. Sorry, couldn't pick just one."
"Off the top of my head, and for sheer personal influence, Madonna by And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead."
Vinyl, CD or download?
When you press shuffle on your iPod, what is the first song that comes on?
"Don't Go to Pieces by Hope of the States."
Favourite TV show?
"I'll go for Deadwood."
Who would play you in a film of your life?
"Some poor bastard with bent bones."
Hope you enjoyed this feature on Vincent Vocoder Voice! Check out our previous feature on Mayfield!
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