This Swedish solo-project can be seen as an independent and very productive phenomenon. Consisting of David Almgren, Voide was created in 2006, but can already look back on 2 full-length albums and a single-CD. Completely self-produced, David offers an attractive form of Electro-Pop music by picking up the classic ideas of Kraftwerk mixed with the Synth-driven ideals of the glorious 80ies of acts likes The Art Of Noise or Yello. His programming and recording skills are of course new and refreshing, but maybe this is the outstanding point in David’s music? However, we like to introduce you this fine artist with this interview, which proves that David is an experienced musician, who uses well all possible resources and communities to promote his fine project…
Chain D.L.K.: Hey David, please allow me first to ask a question out of your biography. You’ve stated in it that you’ve started already 1984 to produce electronic-based music, in the first years under different monikers and music styles. Why has it taken that long, until you could reach some international reactions, why not sooner with an earlier project?
Voide: The first 8 years was exploring the world of music and my productions of this era were of less good audio quality and I’d say its best if it is not shared to spare everyone’s ears. The music that I and U.J produced in the ULDA project (about 1992 and onwards) was a lot better in quality and this was at the time when one could start recording CD-R’s. At the time before the mp3.com lawsuit of the site and the site shutdown our music was hosted there and we produced five albums and a number of singles (all self-released). None if these are available today unfortunately (I still have my copies of course), but a few songs are available on MySpace, www.myspace.com/uldaofsweden. Recently we talked about restoring and re-master these recordings for a re-release (these are all analogue recordings). This will happen hopefully sometimes during 2008. Around 2000 life caught up with me and I choose to spend more time with my family for a couple of years and I also had a very demanding job at the time. I kept playing but I never got a chance to finish anything properly, I played for recreation rather than production.
Chain D.L.K.: Since you’re that long active, you’ve seen several evolutions and progressions of the techniques to produce music. Which new things you could extract? Or are you one of those people who have the point of view, that electronic-based music has had any better days 15 years ago? Could this fact be your drive to prove your abilities to the younger people?
Voide: Hmm? It sounds like I am as old as Santa Claus – LOL. The biggest difference is clearly the digital audio revolution with the PC and the technology made available (at decent prices). I remember when we were in our teens and we wanted as many synthesizers as possible (think Howard Jones videos). Back then a proper synthesizer cost the same as a good used car (totally out of reach for a teen) and now you can buy excellent software to run on your home PC for a fraction of that cost of ONE of those old synthesizers. The great thing with this is that it brings the tools to be creative to the people and it is changing the music industry. I think the record companies either have to adapt to this or follow the fate of the dinosaurs.Podcasting is a fairly new thing in music still and it keeps growing, I think it is an excellent way of promoting new and established artists. There are some really good electronic music podcasts out there that are getting great attention from their audiences and there is still plenty of room for more well produced shows! Although I am a bit of a retro guy, I don’t think that electronic-based music had its days of glory back then, I think the days of that is now! Back then there was a limited number of artists who created excellent pieces of music, the number of artists offered and allowed to release records were very limited mostly due to the costs of the instruments and an immature market. Not many could afford a Fairlight system at that time? Today there are so many artists creating so much new and cool new electronic music, it’s a buzz out there and the internet is the melting pot for it all. Some will succeed and some won’t, it’s the choice of the people now and I think that is a great and positive change! As for proving myself, I don’t think so. I compose and produce music that I enjoy listening to and that gives me something back in return. I like music that is either an audio experience or that ittells a story; preferred both. My hope is that the music that I produce will appeal enough people to keep me going and allowing me to release more albums and songs.
Chain D.L.K.: It seems you nowadays feel very comfortable to produce all of your releases completely on your own. Why no patience from your side to watch out for the right label to publish your music? As someone can see on your links available on your website, www.voide.net, you’re using several online communities to promote your music. Can this be seen as advantageous to the earlier years? Which effect can you report on the sales of your releases?
Voide: Yes, I am very comfortable producing and releasing my own music (although it is quite expensive). I have been recording audio for almost 25 years now and I have picked up a few things on the way and I am still learning. The hardest part is not producing and composing, it is getting noticed; one needs to work really hard on promotion. As an example I have recently opened a website dedicated to the “Evolution” album, www.evolutioncd.com, with more information about the album and the tracks. I am an impatient man when it comes to certain things, and hunting record companies and talent scouts that are overloaded with demos is not my thing. I try other paths. If they want to work with me though, they are welcome to come to me as for example Florida-based Red Night Records did when they included the “Space Sponge – Radio Edit” on the Electronic Surge Vol. 1 album in October 2007. We all know the music industry is changing, and the internet is the catalyst for that change allowing people to listen to what they want and not only to what is mass produced on the big labels. Internet communities (in general) are great and I think we’ll see plenty more of them, we humans have a natural need to belong to a group that share the same interests or the same goal. It’s the same withmusic and the Chain D.L.K site is an excellent example of this! I think there is still plenty of room for any artist that wants to reach out to the whole world through the internet. An album sale of say 50.000 sales (regardless of format) world wide is nothing compared to the big releases, but it can sustain an artist and the fans quite nicely. I also think we are starting to move away a bit from albums where theindividual songs get more focus. I can report that my sales to date have been in the low numbers although I can now see a strong trend going upwards with the release of the “Evolution” album and this are very exciting news for me. Sales are on the up rise for both albums and November 2K7 was my best sale month for the “Space Sponge” album to date. It takes a lot of time and hard work to promote your music, keeping in mind that this is the most important role of the record companies – to promote the artist. If you (like me) decide to walk the path alone, you have a lot more work to do and I have been working hard since early 2007 to get noticed at all. I am not complaining though, I have been enjoying it so far and I really value those who buy my albums and the fact that they are supporting me as an artist at the same time. Big kudos to you from me!
Chain D.L.K.: Your art of your first album “Space Sponge” shows a lot of photographs of the space telescope Hubble on planets, stars and other different space objects. Why this strong dedication to astronomy-based themes, is this your private interest?
Voide: I find space to be very intriguing. Clear your mind and think of the Universe. Then think of the size of it and the fact that we humans populate a small blue planet in a tiny fraction of it. Now, are humans the blessing of the Universe or simply a biology experiment gone wrong and we are the mold in the system? Uhm, what was a bit deep I guess? The truth about the “Space Sponge” album is that it started as a joke since the original “Space Sponge” track is a bit “jumpy” and fun in the sound I started to think of sponges (the ones you clean your car with) and then thought that “Space Sponge” would be a cool name for the track. It was weeks later that I found out (internet is great) that there is an astronomical phenomenon (Hyperion) named space sponges and that made me stick to the name.The art for the “Space Sponge” album comes from the Hubble-site and I was given permission to use some of the pictures for the cover of my album. http://hubblesite.org/gallery/ My interest in space is also that I am a sci-fi geek; I like all sci-fi series (part from Star Trek). I really enjoy series like Space above and Beyond, Battlestar Galactica, Stargate, Atlantis and the likes.
Chain D.L.K.: “Evolution” somehow picks up the ideas of your debut, while you’re integrating now more and more of these “robotic voice performances” as being your vocals. Something you could learn and extract of a well recognized track like “Space Sponge”? Was your debut a kind of a first testing on the audience, while “Evolution” is the one featuring more maturity and development?
Voide: Almost all my music until the “Space Sponge” album has been instrumental, I decided to try something new on that album and start recording some voices. It turned out quite well and I like it more and more, it is also easier to express your thoughts in the tracks if you have vocals. I have a really soft spot for vocoders (needless to say) and Kraftwerk are the kings here. “Evolution” is clearly a development on my behalf, going solo to write your own albums is not easy and it takes time to find the path. I am still exploring and experimenting and hope to be able to do so for as long as I write music as it keeps it interesting. I even dared to turn of the vocoders on the “Miss You” track onparts of the vocals as it sounded better and made sense. Don’t be surprised if you will hear more of my voice in the future, in one form or another.
Chain D.L.K.: “Evolution” features several tracks based on technically things and developments and plays often with the dialogue between man and machine. This theme has always and ever represented the ideas of pioneers like Kraftwerk. Why do you feel the need to pick up these ideas and why do you generally long out to reach a musically related sound?
Voide: I have great respect for Kraftwerk, I have all their albums and I love their work – that said, they do their thing and I do mine. Yes, I am very influenced by them and I consider that to be a very positive thing. I am sure they feel the same, if they can inspire me to write music, they have succeeded! About the “Evolution” album there is a clear parallel to evolution as a phenomenon and the development of technology. I like to explore and examine how that affects us as humans and write to occasional song about it.
Chain D.L.K.: A striking and eye-catching point is also the art for “Evolution”. Please introduce us the graphic artists and the relation to your music. Oh, and I like to ask also for the meaning of the “natural oasis” art in the inner of your CD sleeve.
Voide: Yes, the “Evolution” album art is truly excellent and I am really proud to be allowed to use the works of artists like Frenic and Celarent! When producing the album I was thinking about how to find art that goes well with the theme and feeling of music on the album. A friend of mine introduced me to deviantart.com where I started to look for art the appealed to me. I found crazy amounts for truly excellent artworks there and it was very hard to choose.”The Mall” painting by Frenic stood out and I contacted him asking if I was allowed to use his art as the cover on my album for a fee and some copies of the finished album. I was very excited when Frenic was interested and accepted my offer! Visit Frenic and check out his artwork at http://frenic.deviantart.comMy friend also introduced me to an art form/style called steampunk and I found that it really appeals to me. I found Celarent’s painting titled “Curiosity” and I immediately knew that this was the one for the album CD. Again I contacted Celarent and luckily he accepted my offer. Visit Celarent and check out his artwork at http://celarent.deviantart.com or terminal71.comThe “natural oasis” as you call it, is me toying with the idea of how we humans are treating our planet as a result of evolution. The picture there is from an imaginary virtual reality session where “real” nature is no longer present and kids have to view images and projections of how it once was to be able to experience it. Not a very uplifting thought I know, we really should take better care of Mother Nature.
Chain D.L.K.: Also featured is a track entitled “Tribute to CZ-5000”. What is the meaning of Casio’s CZ-synthesizer family to you personally? Why that special tribute and are all sounds on this track taken from this synth?
Voide: Yes, this is really an oddball on the album but I decided to keep it on there as it has been the one synth that have influenced me the most and stayed with me the longest. Casio were pioneers in early synthesizers with MIDI at affordable prices back in the mid 80s. I bought my CZ-1000 in 1984 and I still have it, it works but the display backlight is long gone and most of the buttons are not responding any more. Not because they are old, I have actually worn them out!! In 2007 I decided to replace my old faithful with the CZ5000 model and I found an ad from a guy that had all the manuals an even the tape recorder for recording the sound programs! J The synth can produce some really insane noises but also some awesome sounding ones. All sounds (part from the drums) on the tribute track are from my CZ5000, and yes, I picked the more corny ones on purpose. The “Miss You” track is also featuring a sound from the CZ5000; it’s the chord with the chorus on. I wanted the track to have that 80s feel including the fat snare drum that is now on it’s way back according to some Swedish music magazines.
Chain D.L.K.: Sales of CD’s have slowed down and the lack of it screws especially the young newcomer acts in this music scene. Since your releases are completely self-produced, how much effect has this evolution on you? What do you expect from the future, in which kind and format will this kind of music continue?
Voide: Dropping CD sales is impacting the music industry, yes, but I think that people that are real fans of any artists want a hardcopy or at least an mp3 of that album they like so much. I buy digitally distributed music as well, but for the artists that I really like I buy their CD albums instead of their mp3s (CDs lasts, mp3s don’t). I think the music industry needs to come to terms with how this thing is going to work in the long run, the chaos we have now is not going to work. I am an artist that is against DRM(Digital Rights Management) in its current incarnations as well, we need a better solution or a new approach to media. I think the CD market will stay around for quite some time longer; lower batches in volume may well be the case, but also more exclusive is my guess.
Chain D.L.K.: How is it with live gigs? I guess it’s difficult for a one-man act to work out a satisfying live performance. Any plans to storm some stages soon?
Voide: I have been thinking about this, I don’t see a problem being a one man on a stage and there is plenty you can do to make the experience more interesting at a gig. At this time I don’t have any plans for live performances although that may change. I have received some requests already so there is clearly some interest, thank you for that and keep them coming! JI have also been toying with the idea of broadcasting live on the internet together with some other artists. It would be really cool to fit up a club and have a couple of artists playing their music and then stream the whole thing on the internet in full 5:1 or 7:1 sound with high quality video. As more and more people have home entertainment centers with decent speakers that could be a really cool development for those who can’t attend a concert in person for various reasons. A cheap Pay Per View alternative for those who can’t afford the tickets or the (sometimes) long travel.
Chain D.L.K.: Your daily life besides being a musician. Please fill in details, relations, hobbies, and further interests. How is it going with your growing family, since we heard of your newborn female addition?
Voide: I am a married man since 2006 (sorry ladies) and I have a daughter that is now 9 years old from a previous relationship and in mid January we had an addition to our family with a little baby girl. I am a man of many talents and I like to fiddle with things, the car, the garden, the PC or the house. I like to read, books of all styles and mostly in English.
Chain D.L.K.: How does the Voide music-project continue, any plans for a next release?
Voide: The project continues that is for sure, especially with the support I am receiving from fans all over the world! The addition to the family may delay things a bit but knowing myself I think there is a good chance of a new Voide album coming out in 2009 with a slightly different theme staying true to the concept. New tracks are already on their way…
Chain D.L.K.: Your final words to conclude this interview?
Voide: I want to thank you, Marc and Chain D.L.K, for your interest in me and my music and the great work that you are doing with your site. I wish everybody a prosperous and happy 2008!
Visit Voide on the web at:
[interviewed by Marc Tater] [proofreading by Tommy T. Rapisardi]