Electronic Conversation about Robot Music
When I heard about minimalist/down-tempo electronic artist Matthew Curtis’ (aka Second Act Overture) plans to release an EP named Robot Music, I was excited. Not only because the diverse electronic soundscapes that SAO creates are excellent, but because the theme of robots fits his sound so very perfectly. From cold, slow-moving pieces to glitching, beat-happy songs, the theme just seems to fit. Even more exciting, the EP will be free and available online (with a host of other material) at secondactoverture.com. I caught up with Matt online, as should be expected for an interview about Robot Music, and talked with him a while.
IndieC: So Robot Music is coming out – what’s going to be on it?
IndieC: I know there’s some remixes and such
saoverture: Well it’s going to be three original tracks. “Abiogenesis”, “Yes? I’m Synthetic!”, and “Broadcasts”. Then I’m also letting people know about a remix done by Lucy Daystarr of “Broadcasts”. The other two remixes I’m keeping secrets until the release.
IndieC: so it’s another EP? Was it designed with an EP in mind?
saoverture: Yeah. And this one isn’t even the last one planned before I focus on a full-length. Haha.
IndieC: Do you like putting out EPs more than albums, or is that just the way it played out?
saoverture: Well I feel like with EPs I have a lot more freedom to move around and to change styles. I can focus on one theme, release it, and move to another concept. Each EP so far and set for release have a central theme which is a lot harder to accomplish with a full length album.
IndieC: what’s the theme on this one?
IndieC: just the general idea of robots, or is there a central musical theme like on Ode to Strings?
saoverture: It’s actually a concept EP (if there is such a thing) about a specific event in my life. It’s been a major focus point in my mind for some time and I felt it was time to have closure. What better way than to release it as a collection of songs?
IndieC: that’s awesome.
IndieC: I love concept albums….I think they’re a really unique listening experience
saoverture: Me too. I think it can express ideas a lot better than individual songs with individual agendas.
IndieC: Do you think that you’ll do a full concept album when you get to focusing on a full-length?
saoverture: Probably to some degree. It should be a lot easier to, since I plan to focus more on the lyrical aspect of music when I start the writing process for a full-length.
IndieC: You’re going to add vocals to your music?
saoverture: I already have a few songs with vocals, they just haven’t gone through the full post-production process yet.
IndieC: So are you doing a lot of promotion for Robot Music?
saoverture: I haven’t left my computer in days it feels like. New music video, new website, remixes, podcasts, etc. Oh, and I have a video game being produced as we speak, haha. I got to see a few graphics and it looks mighty fun.
IndieC: Video game?
saoverture: Yeap, featuring the Robot Music robot and a few Second Act Overture songs.
saoverture: You can never over-promote.
saoverture: I take that back.
IndieC: what do you think has been overpromoted?
saoverture: I refuse to see any movies being promoted by Myspace.
saoverture: But Myspace gets on my nerves in general.
IndieC: that’s a bold statement for an artist who spends a lot of time promoting online
IndieC: I agree, generally; but still
saoverture: Yeah, it’s a necessary tool, and the problem is they (the owners) know that.
IndieC: what do you think about virb?
saoverture: I doubt they’ll have much success, but I’m still rooting for them. Out of all the sites for music promotion, I vote Purevolume.
IndieC: even though they cater to artists more than fans?
saoverture: Especially since they cater to artists. Music shouldn’t be how many friends you have, it should be about creating art and finding like-minded people. If you could do that with social networking sites, that’d be great, but all you get with those are spammers and bands with 33000 “fans,” 98% of whom have never even heard of the band.
IndieC: So that’s the goal of all this promotion: to find like-minded people?
saoverture: Personally, my goal is to find three or four people who are inspired by my music. I want to make music that people, even if it’s just a few people, find moving.
IndieC: So how ‘big’ do you envision SAO getting, in your wildest dreams?
IndieC: If you’re more concerned with real interactions and affectation instead of numbers
saoverture: I’d like to be big enough to have a proper tour. Then I’d go around to every city with fans of my music and we’d get trashed and party (in that order).
IndieC: it doesn’t get much more DIY than that
saoverture: Haha. I’m really happy with where I am now. I would like to tour, and I would like to meet like minded people. That’s it. Good Charlotte can keep the fame and money.
saoverture: Oh and I want to meet Chris Corner.
IndieC: Who’s Chris Corner?
saoverture: Singer for the Sneaker Pimps for their second and third albums. Also he has a side project called IAMX. Above all others, he’s my musical role-model.
IndieC: That’s really cool.
IndieC: How has he influenced your sound?
saoverture: The Sneaker Pimps are what got me into down-tempo/trip-hop music. Also their devotion to an ever-changing musical style has influenced my decisions as a musician.
IndieC: Very cool.
IndieC: so you said you’re happy with where you’re at as a musician – you don’t have any big aspirations of having this as your primary career?
saoverture: I wouldn’t want to be a musician for a living. I do however enjoy making a living around music. My dream career would be owning a venue or a label, but not being a musician.
IndieC: Unless you’ve got any other things to add or ask me, I think we’re pretty much done on this interview.
saoverture: Just that everyone needs to watch the new music video and download the EP (it’ll be free, so why not?).
-Interview conducted by Stephen Carradini