After the success of 2012's EP "Synonyms for Hope" and a body of remix work that has drawn praise from reviewers on this site, we thought it was time to have a chat with Australian act Blast Radius :

Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Last year's EP "Synonyms for Hope" has made quite an impression on a few of the staff here, very successfully blending elements of electro industrial with trance and distorted guitars. What was it that led to the pair of you ending up playing together, and what roles do each of you fill in forming the Blast Radius sound?
Lachlan: - ''No worries at all, thanks very much for having us! Blast Radius was originally my solo project. It all started circa-2007; when I got my first proper synth and decided to get serious. After developing my sound and direction for a few years, it got to about late 2010, and I just felt like my synthwork didn't have the power I wanted. I needed some extra oomph and something different. Ryan's my best mate, played guitar, and we'd played around with recording together already, so I asked him if he'd like to join Blast Radius.

My part in the Blast Radius sound is essentially the groundwork - chord progressions, groove, and flow. I keep the clockwork of the track meshing nicely. Ryan's also much quicker at writing and improvising leads than I am. If I'm stuck, he gets me started again.'

Ryan: - ''My role in forming the Blast Radius sound, about half the time, is to expand on what Lachlan has already written, producing a much larger sound that has a greater impact on the listener. Although there's many times when this role is reversed and Lachlan will expand on song concepts that I've come up with.''

I think that one of the defining features of the Blast Radius sound is the constant evolution throughout each track. There seems to be very little in the way of traditional concepts of structure. Is this a conscious decision, to keep the music progressive at all times?
Lachlan: - ''I don't so much decide to make things *progressive*, as much as making sure everything flows. I find verse-chorus-verse becomes stale, fast, when you don't have vocals to back it up, and whenever I've gone for a straight structure like that, it sounds shit. I can't execute it. I can't escape the feeling that it's repetitive, boring, and that I'm just not trying hard enough! I think it's harder to keep things interesting when writing instrumentals, and it's that challenge and room for experimentation that I like so much about them. Being able to write a track with three or even four main sections and having it still relate nicely is something I love doing. '

Ryan: - ''I approach each individual track we write as a story. Therefore, it allows the tracks we produce to contain multiple ideas that are able to be linked together giving a clear beginning, middle, perhaps a lead section, and end, but still maintaining the constant evolution that you're talking about. As long as it still works as a coherent piece, the structure can be changed around from the norm.''

You're known for producing long, powerful trance inspired tracks, especially when remixing other artists (Psykkle - Massacre the Loved [Aftermath Remix] for example). What influence does the trance scene have on the Blast Radius sound? Are there any particular artists or labels within that genre that you find yourselves drawing influences from?
Lachlan: - ''Ahh, trance was and is my first love. I grew up listening to it, and it still constitutes about half of my music library. It's the major influence on the harmonies I inject into my synth lines. Above & Beyond, Activa, Andy Moor, and lastly a Melbourne-based trance producer who goes by the name of Sonic Element are my core trance inspirations. When it comes to remixes, though, it's all about what suits the feel of the track we are given. Psykkle's Massacre The Loved had female vocals, the right kind of riffs, and was 130 beats per minute. Perfect trance material.''

Ryan: - ''To be honest, trance was not as much of an influence on me when producing these tracks with a trance sound, but rather artists such as Mindless Self Indulgence or Bring Me the Horizon who incorporate synth and samples into their mixes, accompanying the heavy and choppy guitar riffs they use more frequently. That's why I threw the chugging metal riffs into that Psykkle remix to give it some grit! It often depends on the track - if it's a trance-inspired song, Lachlan will tend to write more of it, and if it's a heavier, metal-style track, I'll compose the backbone of the song. We work to our strengths.''

A question now for Lachlan: Your synths are 100% hardware-based, which is becoming less common in this era of soft synths. Is this a deliberate decision that you have made, to resist software-based sound design? Do you think that the benefits or limitations of hardware have a defining impact on the Blast Radius sound?

Lachlan: - ''I must admit I smiled a bit when this question came up. When I was first starting out, before Blast Radius, I had a Yamaha PSR-275 keyboard (beast!) and was just using the straight General MIDI library to make songs. After a year or two, I decided that I wasn't getting the most out of my keyboard - I had all these voices on it that I couldn't use because I was hamstrung with General MIDI. So, I went to audio, plugging into the back of my computer and recording through that. I got a new computer about the same time that wouldn't accept my serial MIDI cable, so, I ran with audio!

I taught myself music production completely from scratch and through trial and error. I didn't actually know what a soft synth was or how it worked until about 3-4 years ago, by which time I'd already become quite adept at working purely with audio. I figured that a point of difference was no bad thing, and I'd certainly say that the hardware setup has a defining impact on our sound. It's the knowledge that there is virtually nobody with the same setup and suite of sounds as you that keeps me firmly in the hardware realm. I find hardware much less fiddly to work with, I'm used to it, and I still use no MIDI. It's idiosyncratic, but sound setups are always a matter of preference, right?''

And now a question for Ryan: Your guitars often provide a lot of the power behind a Blast Radius track, without ever seeming like the sound is drifting towards straight up industrial rock. How do you approach writing and recording guitar parts for a particular style of music that tends to fall outside of what guitarists would generally consider to be within the bounds of rock or metal, for example?
Ryan: - '': I think that the reason that the guitar we record for our tracks never reaches that industrial rock or standard 'metal' sound is because we rely heavily on melody rather than typical guitar chord progressions. There are obviously chord progressions within our tracks that do produce a powerful sound, in particular the track Imperfect, but most of our tracks are written with layering of multiple melodies as well as use of heavy delay, reverb and effects on the guitar tracks. I might write a line that's not all that complex in itself, but when combined with a couple of the tricks mentioned above, it has a real power to it.'

Your EP "Synonyms for Hope" was very well received in its review on this site. Do you have any plans for a follow up recording?
Lachlan: - ''Do we ever. Synonyms for Hope was a collection of tracks that Ryan and I created as we were finding our feet, and learning how to write together. After remixing and exploring for six months, plus contributing some keys to Cryogenic Echelon's new collab album... it's time for us to craft something bigger. It's a while off yet, but believe me, it's coming, and it'll be a full-length. ''

Ryan: - ''Lachlan's right. The next release will most definitely be a full-length recording with every single bit of musical talent we have thrown into it! You can most likely expect an album that will not stray too far away from the signature Blast Radius sound, it'll still be recognisably Blast Radius, but it will most definitely sound different to anything that we have done before.''

Any plans to take your music onto the stage? What could we expect from a live Blast Radius show?
Lachlan: - ''I laughed when I saw this question, and Ryan'll know exactly why! We've had plans, and fielded questions, on the topic since mid-2011. It's just a struggle for us to find the time to convert our tracks into workable live versions and rehearse them. My one-eyed hardware views don?t help! This year I'm hoping we'll be able to do it. You can expect that we'll do it properly - playing as much live as we possibly can, with some stage presence thrown in.''

Ryan: - ''Lachlan and I both have work and university commitments to attend to, so time is definitely a constraint that impacts heavily on us in terms of live practice and organising live shows. Therefore it is most likely if we do perform any live shows in the near future they will be few in number, but most definitely an energetic show.''

Finally, tell our readers something about living and writing this type of music in Australia. Anything.
Lachlan: - ''Writing industrial music in Australia... the first thing that hits you is the isolation - but not in a bad way. Being away from the "nerve centres" of industrial culture in the US and Europe has allowed us to develop our own style much more freely than we might have been able to otherwise, and has lent the scene a really friendly and cooperative vibe.
Here, I'm just a bit unusual, not being as entrenched in the "culture" side of it, but over there, I'd probably be regarded as a straight-out industrial fraud. For instance, I've only heard bits and pieces, or never heard, many of the artists that a lot of industrial musicians and fans today worship - Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, :wumpscut:, and Depeche Mode, to name but a few. I based my definition of industrial music on Frank Klepacki's soundtrack work and Rammstein, initially. Is that blasphemy to the purists? Probably.
I'm not ashamed to admit it though, because while I've since delved into industrial music with more vigour, it's looking outside the "INDUSTRIAL" box that has made us into the electronic music weirdburger we are. I still have trouble describing what we do; "industrial/progressive" is about as close as I can get. I think I can say that we'd like to close, firstly, with a congratulations to the reader for making it this far down the page. You're a trooper, and I salute you. Secondly, all of the bands, people, and organisations - including Brutal Resonance, who've been very positive about what we do - that support us deserve a big thankyou. And lastly, a massive thankyou to Ryan for joining Blast Radius, and g racing us all with his magical riffwork and input. Can't thank you enough mate."
Blast Radius interview
March 14, 2013
Brutal Resonance

Blast Radius

Mar 2013
After the success of 2012's EP "Synonyms for Hope" and a body of remix work that has drawn praise from reviewers on this site, we thought it was time to have a chat with Australian act Blast Radius :

Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Last year's EP "Synonyms for Hope" has made quite an impression on a few of the staff here, very successfully blending elements of electro industrial with trance and distorted guitars. What was it that led to the pair of you ending up playing together, and what roles do each of you fill in forming the Blast Radius sound?
Lachlan: - ''No worries at all, thanks very much for having us! Blast Radius was originally my solo project. It all started circa-2007; when I got my first proper synth and decided to get serious. After developing my sound and direction for a few years, it got to about late 2010, and I just felt like my synthwork didn't have the power I wanted. I needed some extra oomph and something different. Ryan's my best mate, played guitar, and we'd played around with recording together already, so I asked him if he'd like to join Blast Radius.

My part in the Blast Radius sound is essentially the groundwork - chord progressions, groove, and flow. I keep the clockwork of the track meshing nicely. Ryan's also much quicker at writing and improvising leads than I am. If I'm stuck, he gets me started again.'

Ryan: - ''My role in forming the Blast Radius sound, about half the time, is to expand on what Lachlan has already written, producing a much larger sound that has a greater impact on the listener. Although there's many times when this role is reversed and Lachlan will expand on song concepts that I've come up with.''

I think that one of the defining features of the Blast Radius sound is the constant evolution throughout each track. There seems to be very little in the way of traditional concepts of structure. Is this a conscious decision, to keep the music progressive at all times?
Lachlan: - ''I don't so much decide to make things *progressive*, as much as making sure everything flows. I find verse-chorus-verse becomes stale, fast, when you don't have vocals to back it up, and whenever I've gone for a straight structure like that, it sounds shit. I can't execute it. I can't escape the feeling that it's repetitive, boring, and that I'm just not trying hard enough! I think it's harder to keep things interesting when writing instrumentals, and it's that challenge and room for experimentation that I like so much about them. Being able to write a track with three or even four main sections and having it still relate nicely is something I love doing. '

Ryan: - ''I approach each individual track we write as a story. Therefore, it allows the tracks we produce to contain multiple ideas that are able to be linked together giving a clear beginning, middle, perhaps a lead section, and end, but still maintaining the constant evolution that you're talking about. As long as it still works as a coherent piece, the structure can be changed around from the norm.''

You're known for producing long, powerful trance inspired tracks, especially when remixing other artists (Psykkle - Massacre the Loved [Aftermath Remix] for example). What influence does the trance scene have on the Blast Radius sound? Are there any particular artists or labels within that genre that you find yourselves drawing influences from?
Lachlan: - ''Ahh, trance was and is my first love. I grew up listening to it, and it still constitutes about half of my music library. It's the major influence on the harmonies I inject into my synth lines. Above & Beyond, Activa, Andy Moor, and lastly a Melbourne-based trance producer who goes by the name of Sonic Element are my core trance inspirations. When it comes to remixes, though, it's all about what suits the feel of the track we are given. Psykkle's Massacre The Loved had female vocals, the right kind of riffs, and was 130 beats per minute. Perfect trance material.''

Ryan: - ''To be honest, trance was not as much of an influence on me when producing these tracks with a trance sound, but rather artists such as Mindless Self Indulgence or Bring Me the Horizon who incorporate synth and samples into their mixes, accompanying the heavy and choppy guitar riffs they use more frequently. That's why I threw the chugging metal riffs into that Psykkle remix to give it some grit! It often depends on the track - if it's a trance-inspired song, Lachlan will tend to write more of it, and if it's a heavier, metal-style track, I'll compose the backbone of the song. We work to our strengths.''

A question now for Lachlan: Your synths are 100% hardware-based, which is becoming less common in this era of soft synths. Is this a deliberate decision that you have made, to resist software-based sound design? Do you think that the benefits or limitations of hardware have a defining impact on the Blast Radius sound?

Lachlan: - ''I must admit I smiled a bit when this question came up. When I was first starting out, before Blast Radius, I had a Yamaha PSR-275 keyboard (beast!) and was just using the straight General MIDI library to make songs. After a year or two, I decided that I wasn't getting the most out of my keyboard - I had all these voices on it that I couldn't use because I was hamstrung with General MIDI. So, I went to audio, plugging into the back of my computer and recording through that. I got a new computer about the same time that wouldn't accept my serial MIDI cable, so, I ran with audio!

I taught myself music production completely from scratch and through trial and error. I didn't actually know what a soft synth was or how it worked until about 3-4 years ago, by which time I'd already become quite adept at working purely with audio. I figured that a point of difference was no bad thing, and I'd certainly say that the hardware setup has a defining impact on our sound. It's the knowledge that there is virtually nobody with the same setup and suite of sounds as you that keeps me firmly in the hardware realm. I find hardware much less fiddly to work with, I'm used to it, and I still use no MIDI. It's idiosyncratic, but sound setups are always a matter of preference, right?''

And now a question for Ryan: Your guitars often provide a lot of the power behind a Blast Radius track, without ever seeming like the sound is drifting towards straight up industrial rock. How do you approach writing and recording guitar parts for a particular style of music that tends to fall outside of what guitarists would generally consider to be within the bounds of rock or metal, for example?
Ryan: - '': I think that the reason that the guitar we record for our tracks never reaches that industrial rock or standard 'metal' sound is because we rely heavily on melody rather than typical guitar chord progressions. There are obviously chord progressions within our tracks that do produce a powerful sound, in particular the track Imperfect, but most of our tracks are written with layering of multiple melodies as well as use of heavy delay, reverb and effects on the guitar tracks. I might write a line that's not all that complex in itself, but when combined with a couple of the tricks mentioned above, it has a real power to it.'

Your EP "Synonyms for Hope" was very well received in its review on this site. Do you have any plans for a follow up recording?
Lachlan: - ''Do we ever. Synonyms for Hope was a collection of tracks that Ryan and I created as we were finding our feet, and learning how to write together. After remixing and exploring for six months, plus contributing some keys to Cryogenic Echelon's new collab album... it's time for us to craft something bigger. It's a while off yet, but believe me, it's coming, and it'll be a full-length. ''

Ryan: - ''Lachlan's right. The next release will most definitely be a full-length recording with every single bit of musical talent we have thrown into it! You can most likely expect an album that will not stray too far away from the signature Blast Radius sound, it'll still be recognisably Blast Radius, but it will most definitely sound different to anything that we have done before.''

Any plans to take your music onto the stage? What could we expect from a live Blast Radius show?
Lachlan: - ''I laughed when I saw this question, and Ryan'll know exactly why! We've had plans, and fielded questions, on the topic since mid-2011. It's just a struggle for us to find the time to convert our tracks into workable live versions and rehearse them. My one-eyed hardware views don?t help! This year I'm hoping we'll be able to do it. You can expect that we'll do it properly - playing as much live as we possibly can, with some stage presence thrown in.''

Ryan: - ''Lachlan and I both have work and university commitments to attend to, so time is definitely a constraint that impacts heavily on us in terms of live practice and organising live shows. Therefore it is most likely if we do perform any live shows in the near future they will be few in number, but most definitely an energetic show.''

Finally, tell our readers something about living and writing this type of music in Australia. Anything.
Lachlan: - ''Writing industrial music in Australia... the first thing that hits you is the isolation - but not in a bad way. Being away from the "nerve centres" of industrial culture in the US and Europe has allowed us to develop our own style much more freely than we might have been able to otherwise, and has lent the scene a really friendly and cooperative vibe.
Here, I'm just a bit unusual, not being as entrenched in the "culture" side of it, but over there, I'd probably be regarded as a straight-out industrial fraud. For instance, I've only heard bits and pieces, or never heard, many of the artists that a lot of industrial musicians and fans today worship - Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, :wumpscut:, and Depeche Mode, to name but a few. I based my definition of industrial music on Frank Klepacki's soundtrack work and Rammstein, initially. Is that blasphemy to the purists? Probably.
I'm not ashamed to admit it though, because while I've since delved into industrial music with more vigour, it's looking outside the "INDUSTRIAL" box that has made us into the electronic music weirdburger we are. I still have trouble describing what we do; "industrial/progressive" is about as close as I can get. I think I can say that we'd like to close, firstly, with a congratulations to the reader for making it this far down the page. You're a trooper, and I salute you. Secondly, all of the bands, people, and organisations - including Brutal Resonance, who've been very positive about what we do - that support us deserve a big thankyou. And lastly, a massive thankyou to Ryan for joining Blast Radius, and g racing us all with his magical riffwork and input. Can't thank you enough mate."
Mar 14 2013

Julian Nichols

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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