TurboWave is the metal crossed with electronics style that Seattle band, Dual Analog describe as their musical sound. They very recently released their debut album. Lust, Worship And Desire, so there seemed no better time to talk to the two originators of the group, Chip Roberts and Kurtis Skinner, about their turbowave genre, origin story and of course about the new album.
Dual Analog, welcome to the Onyx rabbit hole of reality versus the Id. We hope you will enjoy your flight with us as we traverse dimensions.
You are from the Seattle scene in Washington. What is the alternative scene like there?
Chip: The most popular original groups are metalcore or singer/songwriter acts, but there’s a growing goth/darkwave scene coming up. The climate in the Northwest lends itself to dark, brooding music. Unfortunately, the “Seattle scene” of the early 90s kind of typecasted this whole area it has taken a while to move past that as a city. It’s been almost 30 years now, it’s time to move on!
Let us clear something up. You describe your musical style as turbowave. One of the Onyx cats is called Turbo as well, however he does not write music in the style of new wave, industrial and metal (though he does disappear for large lengths of time so who knows). Can you explain your style a little more?
Kurtis: Personally, I like to branch out to different genres to see what I can do and what will work. A “Dual Analog” song to me would have drum machines and/or acoustic drums, some guitar, vocals, and various synths, as well as possibly some orchestral and sound design elements.
Chip: Saying it’s “synthwave metal” puts us in a difficult spot, because if it’s not synthwave enough, people get uppity. Similarly, if it’s not metal enough, people get uppity. We knew it had to be a “wave” genre of some kind, but we didn’t want to paint ourselves into a corner. Plus, “turbo” makes me think of the Judas Priest record, which incorporated heavy metal guitars with keyboards and drum machines.
Kurtis: We just like to combine interesting grooves and melodies into a more or less traditional song format.
Chip: The songs off of “Lust, Worship, and Desire” comprise just one portion of our catalog; we have lots of different kinds of songs from danceable, gothy affair, to straight up pop. We wanted something that hadn’t already been defined so that we could stretch out a bit.
What were Chip Roberts and Kurtis Skinner up to in the Seattle music scene before joining their collective super music powers together?
Chip: We were playing together in Perfect Zero, but I was also playing or subbing in cover/tribute bands in the area. I played lead guitar in a Prince tribute, which is how I met Libby B.; she sang backup. I was also playing the casino circuit with a female fronted funk/RnB cover band.
Kurtis: In addition to Perfect Zero, I was and still am composing for various independent films, mostly shorts.
We gather the name Dual Analog, has something to do with the fact there were two members originally in the band, so how did you guys become involved with each other and create this project?
Chip: Kurtis and I have known eachother since elementary school. We started our first “band” in 7th grade, broke up in high school, and then reformed in college. We played in Axis of Symmetry and Perfect Zero, both of which erred were melodic death metal. After playing the Northwest metal scene for a few years, we found, if you were a metal band, that there wasn’t a ton of room for innovation; it’s very black and white. We put out an EP with Perfect Zero before dissolving the band; it had just become too much compromise and damage control. However, Kurtis and I still wanted to work with eachother, and we were sitting on some very strong material for what would have been the second Perfect Zero record.
Kurtis: Right after Perfect Zero ended, we got together and discussed how we each wanted to go forward musically. We had the same ideas of what we wanted to make, and so the beginnings of Dual Analog started.
Can you tell us who else is part of Dual Analog?
Chip: Kurtis and I are the primary songwriters and recording musicians. All of the instrument parts you hear on the record were written and recorded by the two of us, but we have some of our backing band members helping out on harmony vocals throughout the record. The live backing band is Sarah Anne Campbell on drums, Lindsey Ferrari on backup vocals, Libby B. Franklin on backup vocals, and Alika Madis on guitar. Sarah and Alika do live backups as well; it’s a really powerful and strong group of players.
Lust, Worship And Desire is your debut, after releasing six singles. Did you feel it was time to put out an album or was it planned this way?
Chip: We had an EP written, tracked, and sent off for mixing, but the person we sent it to for mixing and mastering flaked on us. During that waiting period, we wrote a number of songs that we were excited about, so we decided to shelve that EP and just make a full album of all-new songs.
I have to say I really like the mix of modern electronics with vocals in Golden Temple. Do you have a favourite track off the album?
Chip: I like every song on the record, and they’re all a little different from one another, which I love, but the song I’m the most proud of is the title track “Lust, Worship, and Desire.”
Kurtis: I like some more than others, but I’m very happy with “Among the Living”. It’s also one of my favorites to play live.
Four of the six singles made it onto the album….what happened to Neon Dreams and Wasteland?
Chip: “Neon Dreams” was more of a soft open that we put out to give people a sample of our new project. Originally, I had it arranged with acoustic drums and 7-string guitars, but we decided to do just the electronic version as a single. We had floated the idea of putting out the heavy version for the album, but it didn’t really fit with the rest of the songs musically or lyrically. Live, that song always goes over really well, especially with the guitars added. “Wasteland” was kind of similar in that we thought about putting it on the album, but it just didn’t fit with the rest of the material.
The album has a premise or a storyline running through it. Can you tell us about the boy and his search?
Chip: After receiving an unsolicited kiss from a, seemingly, complete stranger, he sets out to become actualized sexually. Taking the affection as the one thing missing from his life, he devotes his existence completely and utterly to attaining physical perfection and achieving enlightenment through sex. He practices asceticism, studies the ancient, lost art of lovemaking, and worships the goddess who gave him a taste of what he was missing before disappearing. I liken the concept to a “coming of age” story.
It is said that this is an ideal based in Buddhism, and is this a lesson learnt?
Chip: Now, that would be a spoiler.
I also noticed that a lot of the synths create chiming bell like sounds. Was this a preferred addition or a way to tie in the karmaic storyline?
Kurtis: I can’t speak to the storyline, but for me the bells add an interesting organic element and has contributed to how we define “our sound”.
Chip: In terms of whether the sound is intentional or incidental, I think it’s a chicken or the egg scenario. Certain songs need a certain sound, and certain sounds bring a certain song. I’ve always felt that every song we write has a “setting,” some kind of visual backdrop that pops into your head when you hear it. Songs like “Among the Living” or “Pantheon,” for example, feel like a Tibetan monastery. “Dynasties Behind” makes me think of a hot summer afternoon in Angkor Wat. When a certain setting comes to mind, I just go with it and the rest comes together pretty quickly.
There seems to be an 80s retro feel to the music, especially with the synths and the vocals. Would you say this is the era that influenced you the most?
Kurtis: I listen to a lot of modern electronic music, which has a lot of 80s influence in it these days, so I think that’s more what I was going for – a modern version of these types of sounds.
Chip: In previous projects, I always sang tenor. That kind of voice works at times for this kind of music, and you can hear it in a few songs on the record, but the rounder, more baritone flavored vocals just kind of found themselves into the sound. It wasn’t a foresight driven decision to say “I’m going to try to sound like Depeche Mode” or “I’m going to make this one more like Duran Duran,” it’s just that the music lends itself to that kind of vocal style. As we got more organized and focused, I had to get back into voice lessons. As I learned more of the proper technique, my voice just sort of naturally changed. It was kind of odd since I had always tried to sound more like Sebastian Bach than Roland Orzabal, but I like the way my voice sounds now, and I can still sing like Bas when I want to.
What music and bands inspired you to get into the music world?
Chip: KISS and Bon Jovi were the two biggest ones starting out.
Kurtis: Chip was basically the first person to introduce me to music, so KISS and Bon Jovi, but also AC/DC and Guns n’ Roses.
What bands/acts do you listen to now?
Kurtis: I’m all over the place, so this is always a hard question for me. Rufus du Sol is one of my favorite bands right now, but also Above & Beyond, Porter Robinson, Lane 8, This Will Destroy You, Lights & Motion, Halestorm, Dance with the Dead to name a few.
Chip: I’m listening to whatever my girlfriend has playing in her car. Lately, it has been mostly Wu Tang Clan and LaRoux. I’m getting into some Fates Warning right now and also stumbled across this obscure New Wave band called “Zee,” particularly their album “Identity” from 1984. Sounds kind of like Dead Can Dance, but poppier.
If you met Buddha on the road would you ask him the meaning of life, kill him or have a beer with him?
Chip: A cup of tea.
Kurtis: I would ask what he was doing sitting on the side of the road.
What is in the future for Dual Analog?
Chip: Hitting the promo as hard as we can and lots of meetings with promoters. We have a video for “Into the Unknown” coming out in May, then we’ll be shooting another video for the title track “Lust, Worship, and Desire” around late July.
Kurtis: Also, tons of new material, we have no shortage of ideas. There will be a lot of music coming from us for the foreseeable future.
Thank you for astral travelling with us today. Glad to see no one became motion sick or became spiritually lost.