Savvy Stereofoxers may already be familiar with New Yorkers Big Data when we featured their song 'Dangerous' a little while ago. Since then, the band who dub themselves as 'from the Internet' have traveled in leaps and bounds, being featured in a huge amount of publications across the globe even going so far as to hit the number 1 spot on Hype Machine. Alan Wilkis (also of PRINTS) and Daniel Armbruster (of Joywave fame) each have a love/ hate relationship with the topic of voyeurism via the internet that culminated in the Facehawk, a project undertaken by director Rajeev Basu to highlight the somewhat dubious nature of social media.
I managed to catch up with Dan and Alan, to ask them a few questions about the band, the fame and the very womb that bore them, the Internet.
Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. What have you been up to since the release of 'Dangerous'?
ALAN WILKIS: It's been pretty crazy. Since 'Dangerous', we've been writing new material, doing a few remixes for other artists, prepping/promoting our "1.0" EP and "1.5" remix EP and Facehawk, and working on our next video project. We're always "spinning a lot of plates," as they say.
DANIEL ARMBRUSTER: YES. Very. We do everything ourselves, so we've been trying to keep up with various remixes, new songs, video shoots, and our other projects while balancing media stuff. I think this is actually the first email interview I've had time to participate in. Alan has been handling most of it. I can get overwhelmed pretty easily.
ALAN: Absolutely. We wanted Facehawk's viewers to have a complex relationship with the experience of watching it, much in the same way that we have a complex relationship with technology. When Dan and I write together, we approach our songwriting from a pop music perspective, but we try to deal with difficult and often uncomfortable lyric themes. We want our music to feel fun and rapidly-engaging on the surface, but with something unsettling to it when you listen more closely. As we discussed the inspiration for the song "Dangerous" with Rajeev Basu (Facehawk's creator and director), he took exactly that same sort of approach to the interactive experience and executed it brilliantly. His ideas were perfectly in line with our songwriting, and we loved how it all turned out: a complex mixture of popular and subversive art.
DANIEL: Technology was one of the first things Alan and I bonded over, so it became important for us early on. I think it's more social commentary than a personal concern. I'm not really that interesting. The ramifications of this surveillance can be huge though. I don't think the technology is being used to enforce any repressive laws in the US at the moment, but if the infrastructure is there, it's important to remember it COULD happen in the future.
DANIEL: That's what our EP, 1.0 is about. We like to tell people we're a band from the Internet. Music is only part of what we do. It's really about the complete vision and the duality of the Internet. On one hand, we wouldn't be a band without it, and on the other, it's this big scary thing that literally hugs the globe. You can look at maps of undersea cables wrapping around the planet. It's unnatural. We made that. It's scary.
ALAN: haha. Who knows... I definitely have moments all the time where I'm experiencing and using technology that feels like it was plucked out of the sci-fi vision of the future from my childhood in the 1980's. I'm still waiting for my Back-to-the-Future hoverboard.
ALAN: It's an immensely complicated issue. It's horrifying to think how much of our data and personal information is readily available to our government, as well as the massive companies in bed with our government. We are expected to trust that that power won't be abused, and that our data is safe, but it's hard to imagine that there aren't several nefarious purposes at work and in motion, all the time.
However, that very monitoring, as evil and nefarious as it could be, is undoubtedly saving people's lives, preventing terrorist plots, crime, etc... I think it's a necessary evil, ultimately, and we just have to hope that the good outweighs the bad.
ALAN: we've got all sorts of fun stuff planned for the next few months. The EP, tons of remixes, some more video content... Stay tuned.
Make sure you check out the Facehawk project if you haven't already since it's pretty dam cool. The guys E.P 1.0 is going to drop on October 1st so keep your eyes peeled for a full review on Stereofox.