Bleed Electric Interview
So, Chris, tell us a bit about the origins Bleed Electric: where are you from and how did you start?
Bleed Electric started as a solo side project of mine during studio down days. At the time I owned and ran Screamadelica Studios in Cardiff Bay and before I knew it I had an albums worth of tracks. Shortly afterwards Silk and Siege came to the studios to record a mix tape with me. After their session and a day or twos thinking I met up with Silk to discuss the idea of getting together and doing something together. Bleed Electric as it exists today is the result of that meeting.
Who are your members and who does what in the band?
The members are Chris "MUG5" Maguire, Dean "S-Tradamus" aka Silk Fortt and Leon "Siege" Hassan. Initially when we first got together I was doing all of the production and melodic vocals, with Silk and Siege doing the rapping parts but, as we spent more time in the studio and growing as a band all the lines of what we did blurred as far as the genres that we surf. Nowadays we all work on production, we all rap, we all sing. If someone wants to do or try anything they do it. If someone works on a beat, they show it etc. One of my favourite things about Bleed Electric is the lack of boundaries we work with.
You also do the artwork for Bleed Electric. Can you explain your process for transferring the musical soundscapes into painted pictures?
I do artwork for quite a few bands and artists and the process is always the same. I literally listen to the song(s) on loop the whole time I work on the artwork. As such, I ensure that every idea contained within the finished artwork is completely inspired by the music you hear. Of course it is still my visual interpretation of it but it works really well. When I do stuff for other bands, sometimes other members of the band other than the songwriters think it doesn't suit the vibe of the band, or it is too dark for them when, in fact, usually I am pretty much spot on and it takes the songwriter to make the other members realize this fact. I'm never scared about what I am doing visually when I work this way as it is what I am hearing... I can't help it!
To people who haven’t heard Bleed Electric, how would you describe your sound?
Future fresh. What does that mean exactly? It just means we are doing stuff that will still sound good in years to come. For example, This Is My Masterpiece was recorded, produced and mastered in 2010, a whole two years ago and it sounds just as relevant and current as anything else that has been released in 2012. Our music is written and created for the people with special ears, the people that can look past the surface and pick out all the subtle intricacies that are included in every single Bleed Electric track, realizing the legitimacy of the tracks that lie below its exterior.
What are the main influences on Bleed Electric's music?
Well everything. I mean, some of our tracks have been mixed with Death Metal and all sorts of everything else. Influences come in the shape of The Beatles, Nirvana, Between The Buried and Me, Kanye West, Eminem, Dr.Dre, NWA, Public Enemy, Lil Wayne and a gazillion others that if named would cause us to be here all day! Our influences are like our music.... genre-less and open to everything.
Who are you bumping on your iPod at the moment?
Right this second is ‘White Electric’ by Battles, coming up is ‘The Truth is In The Dirt’ by Karen Elson and ‘Your Body Is a Machine’ by The Good Natured. Previously I listened to ‘Slip On Through’ by The Beach Boys, ‘Tribute’ by Tenacious D and ‘Rock With You’ by Michael Jackson!
I understand 2 of your members are in Cardiff and you are in New York. How did that affect the writing and recording process?
Everything we are releasing was done in the largest part two years ago while I still owned and ran Screamadelica Studio in 2012. This is My Masterpiece is the last of the major releases from this. I will be working on a Z-Sides album though that showcases some of the tracks we never ended up releasing, think of it as a bow to wrap up the Bleed Electric of old and to welcome in the Bleed Electric of new. I would expect we will record some new material in 2013. Depending on how it goes you know? Might even see if we can record our follow up in the same studio that is now owned by someone else. That might make for some interesting stuff.
This Is My Masterpiece is a very bold title for a record. Did you ever worry that this might be too confident a statement so early on in your musical career? For instance what if the next release is even better?
It's a title track. The EP isn't so much a masterpiece as it is the name of a song on it. That song discusses the current state of the world as it stood in 2010. It discusses Armageddon, the lack of planning for seven generations in front as the American Indians have always done - instead being replaced by a I want it, I want it now and I don't give a fuck how it affects my kids or their kids attitude - and how all of that will result in global warming and the near desolation of mankind as has happened in the past. I mean how come we never learn huh? As such, for us, at that time that song was our masterpiece. It had our most complex beats, timing, musical changes, drum patterns etc. It was also the first song where we all sang instead of rapped and is one of lyrically richest in terms of topic in my opinion. If we get another masterpiece we might just do as Kanye has done and call it This Is My Masterpiece.
How has the response been so far to This Is My Masterpiece?
The response has been polar opposites. People are either loving it or hating it. Some people have given it 9 out of 10 and one guy gave it 1 out of 10!! Whatever though, it's all relative, that guy clearly had no idea about what it was we were doing with his only reference point to rap being Fred Durst (eek). In honesty, we're really just making the music here for ourselves, making music that we are proud of and can listen to, if others latch on and get it and enjoy it too that's freaking awesome... if not, that's cool too - I still dig it and I've got great taste ;)
Any plans to tour or play live?
Plans yes. But plans of grandeur. I only want to do it if we can go live band. I have already figured out the logistics of being able to play guitars and bass and having them trigger synths. Same with the drums. Just need players and a shit ton of money so we can all get in the same room and make it happen. When it does eventually happen it will be freaking awesome though, I've already visualized it.
What else is in the pipeline for Bleed Electric and for you as an artist?
For Bleed Electric out imminent plans are to release a Z-Sides album early 2013 showcasing all the stuff we never released in the current incarnation of Bleed Electric and then to record a debut album in 2013. My imminent plans are to get back into producing music more... the past two years I have focused on art, design, video and motion graphics A LOT and I am itching to get back into music. Just need to get an NYC studio together and start from there. Watch this space...