Monday, 20 June 2022

Dual Analog

“I have my impatience to thank for my music career” according to Chip Roberts member of the band Dual Analog.  Into music from a young age due to films like Detroit Rock City and Wayne’s World, and what Roberts describes as a “ healthy heaping of 80s slasher flicks” he sung in a choir and wanted to form a band so girls would like him.  Deciding to play guitar and getting tired of waiting for his friends to take up an instrument, and after some unsuccessful dealings with flaky singers Roberts decided to not only play guitar but also sing.  Roberts met fellow Dual Analog band member Kurtis Skinner at school.  They grew up together and attended school together from elementary school all the way to college.  In the seventh grade the duo formed a band, had a falling out in high school and eventually got together in college to form Axis of Symmetry, a melodic Death Metal band.  

When they had finished school the duo moved to Seattle and created Perfect Zero a more refined band still playing melodic Death Metal.  After putting out an EP, Roberts and Skinner decided to leave Perfect Zero and write music as a duo that was more keyboard based.  This marked the formation of Dual Analog.  The band name was chosen according to Roberts because “It was simple, easy to remember, could be abbreviated, had an 80s nostalgia flair, and was a video game reference via the dual analog joysticks in the PlayStation controller”.   Also serving as a source of inspiration for the bands name was a recent purchase by Skinner of a Behringer Deepmind as he began a foray into analog synthesis.

Dual Analog explores themes such as feelings of inadequacy, lack of belonging and self doubt while still at times acknowledging  themes of hopefulness through their music.  “If something is absolutely ripping me apart I put it to music and suddenly the pain isn’t there anymore” Roberts explains.  

When describing their music the duo use a term they coined themselves, Turbowave.  Dual Analog’s music is heavy with keyboards, synthesizers and drum machines which makes their music seem like synth wave however they add a unique addition of traditional metal guitars.  Roberts describes their music as “its new wave, but turbo charged with heavy guitars and elements of industrial and world music.”  With both new wave inspired  and hard rock, heavy metal elements their music is “wave” and “turbo’ because its turbo charged.

Being a Buddhist and having an interest in Asian culture, art and architecture as a field of study Roberts says that these influences and interests bleed into Dual Analog’s music but also its aesthetic.  For the bands newest album Roberts did a mock up of the album artwork involving a man looking up at a statue of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy and the embodiment of compassion, encircled in a yellow halo.  Although the artist wasn’t able to completely create what Roberts had envisioned , his input resulted in an album cover he likes so much he explains “ I’d love to get it blown up and hang it on my wall”.

The creative process for the band typically starts with an idea that one of them has.  Skinner usually brings a bunch of parts that the duo work together on to structure a song.  Sometimes Skinner will just arrive with a complete song that the duo then edit or rearrange.  Flow and pacing is a big part of the process for Roberts as well as a good groove and chorus.  When the duo have an arrangement they are happy with, Skinner will send stems which consist of bass, drums, keyboards and sound design elements.  Roberts then adds his own drums, and guitars with the addition of the guitars usually being last.  The guitar is a utilitarian addition to composed pieces serving as a texture or to fill sonic space that the synths are not in.  Robert’s songwriting technique is slightly different from Skinners.  “I’ll have a song written from beginning to end” Roberts says.  The duo then combine Roberts guitars and drums with Skinner’s keyboard before Roberts adds the vocals.  Not until the song is structurally satisfying do they actually add the vocals. 

According to Roberts playing to a live audience is “even better then a chocolate bar or an orgasm”. A self confessed class clown growing up Roberts loves the stage where all eyes are upon him.  The band enjoys hearing the power of the live drums, twin guitars, vocals and harmonies as the tracks fire off when performing live.  In the early days of the band Dual Analog relished having fun and playing for people.  Now as they have become more popular they often see people in the crowd singing along with songs that they wrote which is a cathartic experience.  One particular live experience saw Skinner just play one note on a keyboard for a sound check which set the whole crowd screaming in excitement and anticipation. 

The future for Dual Analog involves an expansion of their sonic palette.  The band would like to play “some of our more goths, dancey and even old school hip hop/breakdance flailed tracks” according to Roberts.  They hope to expand the clubs in Seattle they play at as well as perform in Portland.  They have had interest from San Antonio, Salt Lake City, Denver and Vegas.  The band also welcomes fashion and makeup endorsements.  

For anyone not familiar with the music of Dual Analog the band says “if you enjoy the aggression and impact of heavy metal, but also like the pop and danceabilty of 80s music, you’ll like what we are doing.

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