This week, we caught up with Electronic Industrial producer, Rohan Moran aka Memebrane. As a graduate at the Birmingham Conservatoire, Memebrane has had years of experience within the electronic industry. Have a read below where we discuss his unique sound, his top 5 musical influences and his upcoming LP which is due out mid July!
1) When did you first discover your love for music and how did you get into producing music? Well I started playing instruments from around the age of 6, but that was less love more my parents thought it would be a good idea lol. It actually took me until I was about 16 to develop a love for it. It was when I decided to take GCSE music and found out it was part of the curriculum to compose two pieces. As soon as I started writing rather than playing, I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life. Being good at it helped a great deal though lol! With regards to production though, that came much later. It was in my 3rd year at Birmingham Conservatoire, i decided to give electronic music a go, as I was starting to become frustrated with the typical contemporary classical compositions we were having to write day in day out. The biggest issue was the turn around time for pieces, you may have to wait several months to have a piece performed, and you might discover that the piece isn’t actually playable on one of the instruments you have written for etc. So the thought of writing music that I could immediately hear back, and that I would be able to have performed anywhere any time, really appealed to me.
2)How would you describe your style of music to new listeners? I would describe my music as raw and energetic, visually evocative (makes you visualise things as you listen). Catchy experimental music combing elements of Industrial/IDM/Electronica/Rock & Film music.
3) Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and what drew you to them? Wow I have so many influences that it would be quite difficult to list them all, so I will just name five…
Nine Inch Nails: By far the most important influence of mine, Trent’s talent when it comes to writing catchy Industrial music combined all the things I loved about music in one group (Catchy melodies/chord progressions, grating noise laiden guitar and synth lines, a fantastic voice and more noise!)
Prokofiev & Stravinsky: These two composers did so much to hone my love of classical music. Prokofiev due to his stunning use of harmony, marrying romantic era progressions with contemporary twists (particularly his Romeo & Juliet suite).Stravinsky for his use of complex rhythms and metres combined with an almost savage animalistic aggression that came with some of his pieces (The Rite of Spring for example)
Autechre: These guys opened my eyes to the sheer amount of things it was possible to do with electronic music. Faultlessly original, no one really sounds like them. After I heard their set “Live in Glasgow 2005” I was hooked to their complex beat patterns and extravagant synth work!
David Bowie: From as far back as I can remember I’ve been listening to Bowie. My father had it playing in the car on almost every trip we took together, it was even on when I was just a bump. I don’t think I could name specific things that drew me to Bowie, it was the whole package. But the fact that he reinvented himself almost every album made him standout a mile from every other artist of his era. A true legend.
Fuck Buttons: Another huge influence on my music. Their whole tracks end up being one long crescendo, building and building to epic proportions. Always featuring chord progressions that make you think of something monumental is happening. I believe some of there music was used during the Olympic games, because it has that vibe of something incredible occuring. Very visually evocative, these guys have inspired me from the first time I heard them.
4) You’re from Birmingham, how would you describe the electronic music scene there? Birmingham has quite a limited music scene in general for the U.K’s second city. I haven’t had a great deal of luck finding performance opportunities in and around the area (with the exception of the Conservatoire). In fact most of my gigs have been live streams, which is why i have a considerably larger international following than a local one! Venues here either cater to rock music or club music, so my style which has elements of both makes venues apprehensive. C’est la vie..
5) Do you have a particular production process when writing music? I do actually, possibly a weird one too. When I was younger I used to spend ages writing music, I would mull over ideas for weeks on end before I even started writing. I used to think it made them better. However one day I sat down an actually analysed the marks I was given for each/how they were received etc and I noticed that tracks which I had spent the least amount of time on, were actually received much much more favourably! So these days I refuse to spend any longer than 2 days on a track. If I’m still going on day three I discard the track (unless I’m convinced that it is worth the extra time). Very few actually get discarded mind you!
6) You are signed to WeatNU records – what is it like working alongside a record label? WEATNU is a fantastic group of artists to be involved with. It’s quite a small operation but the head guy Almark is such a hard worker it’s a pleasure to have him represent me. Although it’s essentially a NetLabel (and I can’t attest to how similar it is to larger more established Labels), all I can say is that I’m very grateful to the team for all the work they do for me and the other artists.
7) Has there been a particular set you have played live that has stood out to you? There was one performance that I did when I was studying at Dartington College of Arts where we did a combination of a electronic music set with camera tracking software/hardware, which allowed the audience to effectively become part of the performance. Different areas of the floor were mapped onto various controllers, and if you stood in those areas it enabled certain effects. The more people in the area, the more intensely the effect would be applied. Although not strictly a MemeBrane show, it was definitely my favourite gig that I was part of. Purely for the excitement of the audience having a chance to be involved
8) What advice would you give to younger musicians / producers who are looking to produce electronic music?“Screw what everyone else is doing…follow your own path”. I don’t mean totally ignore what everyone else is doing, everyone needs influences. But it’s important to know the difference between being inspired by someone and striving to be just like someone…too many people end up doing the latter, resulting in the music gene pool getting a bit too incestuous….my composition tutor at Birmingham told me once that I should “write the kind of music you want to hear in the world, but that doesn’t already exist yet”. Which sounds pretty obvious, but you would be surprised to know that a lot of people remove their own tastes from the equation, writing music for other people only. You’ll never be a great artist unless you can be an arbiter for your own music.
9) Tell us more about your forthcoming LP that is due out this year… what’s the inspiration behind it? My upcoming LP “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds” was inspired by my own interpersonal difficulties, having a feeling that no matter what you say or do, something always goes wrong. Which makes you feel in a way like a bringer of death (metaphorically at least) however two tracks into writing this LP and the world changed drastically…with the beginning of the Covid-19 situation. So then the LP began to take on a second but much more palpable influence. With the entire world now being forced to face their own mortality and that of those close to us, we were forced to make decisions about who to see/not see, think about the impact of us shaking the hand/standing too close to someone who may be vulnerable…and as such may end up dying from a seemingly harmless interaction. I think we all right now feel a bit like “Death”, knowing that we could very well be a “silent killer” aka a symptom-less carrier. So although the album started out as an introspective look into my personal relationships, I now think of it more as my response to the alienation and self-awareness of our own mortality that the Covid-19 situation has shone a mirror up at. “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds” will be released Mid July (Official date to follow ASAP)
10) What else do you have planned in terms of music in the future after lockdown? Well as I ended my six year hiatus last January, I have set myself a goal to try and write an LP once every 6-12 months. 2019 I wrote two LPs, so it would be great to get a second one written later on this year! I am currently working on a remix of a fellow industrial artist’s track (Leifendeth (fantastic artist can’t recommend him enough if your a fan of old school industrial music), that should be out sometime in August. I would love to actually get some gig’s penciled in at some point (once lockdown eases). Although Birmingham being Birmingham it may be difficult, however I do have a close aquaintance who’s band is making the transition from performer to host and they are quite keen to have me on the bill. So it’s very much a watch this space type deal!
BE SURE TO CHECK OUT MEMEBRANE’S MUSIC BELOW…
Twitter – @Brane-Meme