“I’ve been fixated on this idea of putting the music into a video format that makes the viewer seem like they’re cutting into some budget, almost cable-access TV channel, complete with its own adverts and programmes, just as news investigative reports. I’m a bit of a film buff as well – being in a world where we’re constantly around this sort of thing, even if you don’t watch TV, we’re constantly seeing these kind of segments in our social media feeds and what we digest online.”
Ahead of a performance at Vancouver’s Verboden Festival starting Friday, April 13th an interview was conducted for the Canadian music/arts website Ion Magazine. Read on!
Of the reviews that have popped up so far for The Outsider in the Mirrors, the latest full-length release from Glasgow-based darkwave solo project Soft Riot, none are quite as awkward as a YouTube clip from a bespectacled, “self-employed electrician, TV repairman, and part-time paranormal researcher” named Bob Hatchett. After explaining to the camera that he lives next door to Soft Riot synth-manipulator Jack Duckworth, Hatchett admits that he hasn’t actually heard his neighbour’s new record, but deadpans that he can often hear Jack practicing through the walls of his workshop— He adds, self-aware, that these same sounds will soon be added to the very video you’re watching. Instead, he gives his impressions of the on-the-nose album art, which features Duckworth’s face framed in a mirror. “I think he looks a bit sad, don’t you? Or maybe thinking about something very deep, or important,” the reviewer notes dryly, adding of the introspective nature of it all, “Heavy stuff!”
Thing is, Hatchett looks suspiciously like Duckworth, as well as Derek Laser, a wry evening newsman who occasionally pops up in Soft Riot videos. Over a Skype call with ION, Duckworth explains that while he’s busily self-promoting his third LP, issued through the Possession Records imprint he recently started with a couple of friends, he’s the first to poke fun at his own artistic ambitions.
A new interview is up now for the Japanese online website, Cold Experiment. This interview was conducted somewhat recently and covers a lot of topics, including a lot of things relating to the music and the creative process as well as films, directors, architecture and top five records (well, at least the first top five records that came to mind at the time).
Thanks to Takuya at Cold Experiment for the opportunity and Nao Katafuchi for the translation, as well as friends, labelmates and fellow musicians mentioned in the interview. You can read it in both English and in Japanese.
Thank you for accepting the interview this time and congratulations on the release of the new album and the start of the label. First of all, please tell us the concept of Soft Riot and your career so far.
And thanks for talking to me! The concept for Soft Riot has shifted over the years. It officially started back in early 2011 but I had been messing around with it casually for years before that. It was something I experimented with on the side while I was playing in other bands. I moved to the UK from Vancouver (Canada) in late 2007 and a few years later I started reviewing all the little sketches I had been creating over the years and focused my attention to getting them into some form of a release. This resulted in the original “No Longer Stranger” EP which was a digital-only release in early 2011 (later re-released as an LP in 2013).
The original concept worked with a more cinematic, minimal electronic sound — very much on an atmospheric dystopian sci-fi slant. I had a particular sound I was going for, down to how I inflected my voice for the project — making it like a hushed narrator observing things going on in the world.
A new interview is up on the US music website, Ghettoblaster. It was done with Tim Anderl, who has done a couple of other interviews with Soft Riot over the years. Here we cover anniversaries, humour, re-location and Fleetwood Mac vs. Antioch Arrow.
Glasgow, Scotland’s Soft Riot is the stylised musical alter-ego of JJD. Canadian by birth and an ex-resident of London and Sheffield, now based in Glasgow, he has over twenty years of hard fought and won dues paying under his belt, and myriads of experience playing in various post-punk and synth-punk bands. He has been crafting the sound of Soft Riot since the early turn of the decade, releasing a slew of albums across a multitude of labels and touring obsessively around Europe and beyond.
With The Outsider In The Mirrors, his sixth full-length, he has found a new home for his sound on Possession Records, a fledgling Glasgow imprint he founded with Claudia Nova (aka Hausfrau) and Andy Brown (Ubre Blanca). The Outsider… is a consolidation of all the stylistic elements Soft Riot has pursued in the past; manic propulsive energy, infectious, off-kilter dynamics, pulsing, elegiac synth washes are amongst the records many sonic palettes.. Comparisons to musical kindred spirits like John Foxx, DAF, early Depeche Mode, Fad Gadget and Virgin-era Cabaret Voltaire would be analogous, but JJD is defiantly fusing these basic references into something highly idiosyncratic and personal.
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with JJD to discuss the journey that led to his recent release.
Recently a video interview was done with André Savetier, a European synth/post-punk music writer who has recently started a new video series called The Wave Of Things. This interview was the first in the series, which provides an interesting approach to discussing music that artists in the synth/wave scene create in a more candid fashion; coming across more like a conversation than a more standard question-and-answer written interview. You can check out the first episode below: