From inter-dimensional hyperspace comes an apparition that tore itself from the frayed fabric of the universe. Clearly this being doesn’t belong in this world. He is Glitch Black. He makes music to keep this dimension from falling apart. Combining retro synthesizers with a modern fast-paced tempo, Glitch Black creates darkly energetic music that both excites and terrifies.
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born and where are you now?
I was born in Wisconsin but grew up in Louisiana. I went to undergrad college in San Antonio, Texas and then returned to Louisiana for graduate school in New Orleans. I’m currently living in Baton Rouge.
What is your music style?
Generally speaking, my music is electronic with influences from video game soundtracks, vintage synthesizers, and film scores. My music falls into the niche genre Synthwave, best known as a re-imagining of music from the 1980s. Some artists in the genre embrace the 80s faithfully by using authentic hardware from that era, while others use these nostalgic sounds only as a starting point for their own musical experimentation. I fall mostly into the latter group since I’m not trying to fully embrace 80s authenticity. I tend to favor a more aggressive, fast-paced style that feels a bit more modern. Other niche genres I arguably fall into include darksynth, cyberpunk, industrial, and retro electro.
You just released your seventh album on January 18 this year called Age of Machines. How has it been doing and how does it feel?
Age of Machines has received a very healthy response on Bandcamp in the little over one month it’s been out so far. It managed to rank as the #1 best-selling album in about a dozen categories for multiple weeks after its release. And judging from the positive feedback that several supporters have left, it feels good to know my music is resonating with people.
How long have you been producing this style of music?
I uploaded my first song as Glitch Black to Soundcloud in October of 2013 and released my first full album to Bandcamp in December of 2014. Since then, I’ve released a total of 7 albums. This is my first and only ongoing music project, so I like to think that each album release marks another stage of development in myself as a musician.
What are some musical gadgets you use for a live performance?
I use a 49-key midi controller keyboard that allows me to play various VST instruments live throughout my set. The VST instrument software runs on a laptop which I also use to feed synched visuals to a projector screen behind me. For local shows I send my visuals to 6 additional screens, configured into two separate stacks of three vertical screens. Each vertical stack is placed on either side of me so that I appear framed by screens. All the visual renderings shown in the monitors (apart from movie clips) are made by me using Cinema4D, OctaneRender, and After Effects. Most of these visuals can be seen on my TUMBLR PAGE.
Your perform with a complex custom led suit, how did you put it together?
My first-ever live show was booked just a few months before I’d have to perform (opening for Perturbator at the New Orleans House of Blues in September 2017). In a very short period of time, I needed to research what it took to play live in a venue, decide how to break my songs apart to actually play them live, memorize those songs, and formulate what my act would look like visually. Having never played live before, it was a lot to figure out at once. From the start, I knew I wanted to have multiple screens of visuals on either side of me while wearing a Tron-like glowing costume. I started to research programmable LED lighting and Raspberry Pi solutions for my costume, but concluded I simply didn’t have the time to master something I’d have to learn from the ground up while also learning to perform my songs. So instead of making my own armor costume, I found a costume design on Etsy that looked very close to what I had in mind already. I ordered the suit made according to my measurements and have been using it ever since. Later on I added a mask to my costume, which I customized with a special paint job and added glow wire to the edges. My costume’s most recent addition is a cape which I handmade myself with a sewing machine.
Where have been some of your best live shows and why?
My best live show experience by far was in Rhode Island at the 2018 NEON Retrofest. As a three-day festival dedicated to Synthwave, it was a chance to meet lots of other synth artists from around the world in person for the first time. In addition to getting to meet so many artists and fans, the festival supplied what seemed like hundreds of arcade cabinets all set on freeplay for anyone to enjoy. It was a true celebration of all things 80s and it was very cool to be a part of.