The Mastermind Behind Munich Syndrome Talks About His Music and New CD
ROBOTIKA – MUNICH SYNDROME – SYNDROME SOUNDS MUSIC
Emotionless. Neutral. Repetitive. These are some of the words often described when referring to electronic music and yes this holds true when it’s not done right. The trick is to start with a basic theme and then build on that thought. The end results when an artist is on the proper path are delightfully limitless. Munich Syndrome surely knows how to ‘get it right’ with every release thus far.
On Robotika, the multi-talented David Roundsley, takes his alter-ego Munich Syndrome’s fourth release to an opportunistic new level with a slightly pop-ish direction, breaking new ground for his sound and a new concept for this artist. The most exciting development for me was the incorporation of more beats into this release. From beginning to end it came off as a fresh encounter, even though I have been well exposed to his other works.
The future of music, or I should say music portrayed in the future has always been of an electronic nature as far back as the 60s. Munich Syndrome seems to have captured that essence first presented by pioneers such as Jean-Michel Jarre, Giorgio Moroder, and Kraftwerk, while effortlessly leaving a modern taste. Roundsley has perfected a hybrid of New Age and Synthpop with just the right amount of vox vocals to compliment the carefully tuned electronic orchestrations with the Robotika project.
I was going to breakdown the individual tracks, but Robotika truly is an entire event in itÅs whole. I will mention my favorite selection “(I Do) The Robot,” which is absolute heaven while driving on an open highway. For some reason it brought to my mind the line dances on Soul Train. I close my eyes and I can envision the couples strutting their stuff in those wild 70s outfits and yes frequently doing the Robot Dance.
I had an opportunity to gather some information from the ‘man behind the curtain’ and I am pleased to share this with our readers:
Gaysonoma: David, in reviewing your releases there is a definite display of growth. What part of this do you feel has been your greatest stepping stone and why?
David Roundsley: Thank you. The area I have become much more comfortable with is voice manipulation. If you look at my releases chronologically there wasn’t much voice used on Sensual Ambience, and
jumping up to Robotika, there is a vocal element on every track.
I think the voice is a very powerful tool, but not being a singer having the ability to introduce the vocal component was very important (but challenging) to me. I’d like to build upon that and go further with the next release.
Gaysonoma: Being a one-man army must take its toll, how long does it take to complete a single track?
David Roundsley: It depends on how you clock the beginning and end. I’m continually writing in my head, but the only things I jot down are lyrics when they come to me. If I don’t document something the moment I think of it, odds are it’ll be gone.
Once I sit down in the studio, even if I have a very specific melody or beat in mind, once I start assembling the track, often it either goes in a completely different direction, or it becomes another song altogether.
I’ll get the base down and think it’s ‘there,’ but if I put it away for a few days, or even weeks, I end up tweaking it quite a bit and hopefully improving upon it. On average a song will take about four weeks total. Some have taken months though.
Gaysonoma: Which instrument to you find the most difficult to control or make do what you want it to do?
David Roundsley: This would be two-fold. The voice in conjunction with sampling. I’d like to have more mastery of sampling. There are two types of people in terms of learning. One being the type to thoroughly read instructions, watch tutorials, etc., the other being the type to just jump in and start pushing buttons. Sadly, I’m the type to just want to push buttons, let things rip, and see where they lead.
Gaysonoma: Of all your influences which artist has had the biggest impact in your current direction with Munich Syndrome and which piece of work do you admire the most of theirs?
David Roundsley: I will say the past few years I’ve been listening less and less to other artists. I went through a period where I’d be crushing on an artist or song and it would inform what I was doing on some level. With Robotika there was next to zero thought about anybody else’s style or trying to fit or match up with any current trends. Robotika addresses my own feelings of alienation. I’ve never sought groups or organizations to join, and none have reached out to me, so I’m kind of left to my own devices, so to speak.
Gaysonoma: Robotika has a slight dance feel to many parts. Was this intentional? How has it been received by your closest fans?
David Roundsley: Yes, there was intention to bring up the BPM a bit more throughout the album. I was also aware of writing it as a whole (even though I know few people listen to an album in it’s entirety). I purposely wrote some songs to as counterbalance (going from Assassins to Medicated) to the pace.
As to how it was received by fans, I’m not really sure. The last two albums were bootlegged very heavily in Russia, but this one was totally off the charts. I was getting pages and pages of sites that suddenly had the album every time I did a Google search. I’m going to take that as approval on some level.
Now being four albums out, I’ve found a curious trend in terms of plays and sales. When I release a new album the one that preceded it suddenly starts getting a lot of attention. I guess I need to release another album to see where Robotika actually stands!
Gaysonoma: With Electronica ever so present in popular alternative, hip-hop and dance music these days, what landscape do you envision Munich Syndrome heading to next?
David Roundsley: I have no real feel for where Munich Syndrome fits in regards to current music genres or trends. Or where it’s going. Robotika was the first album done as a cohesive whole (with the exception of one song that was written a few years earlier). I didn’t think about where it would fit or make any attempts to adhere to a current trend (dub step comes to mind).
I find that no matter how much I plan or think I know where things are going, once I sit down in the studio, the process takes on a life of it’s own and songs often go into a direction I never envisioned. When an album is complete I’ll think ‘where did that come from?’
It was great to get a little sample of the working process from David Roundsley of Munich Syndrome and numerous thanks to him once again for his comments. Robotika is quite a moving occasion for your ears. I highly recommend the use of headphones for this CD to capture all the textures and layers of sounds. It’s a future trip thatÅs well worth the time invested. To learn more about David Roundsley and Munich Syndrome please visit www.munichsyndrome.com.