Tech Fest weekend definitely another one for the books, and one of the highlights of the week we’re the irreplacable Algorithm, the world’s première djent-EDM hybrid experience. I managed to catch up with creator and producer Remi Gallego, on a bloody hot July afternoon to chat all things electronica, video game music and Australia.
So, d’ya want to introduce yourself then?
Yeah, Hi! I’m Remi, from The Algorithm…I’m from France, and I’m here at Tech Fest sweating in the sun!
So your new record, Octopus.4 dropped earlier this year, what approach did you take to this record?
Well, after the last album, The Polymorphic Code, I felt like I wanted to do something different and keep surprising listeners in a way, so I took the direction that I wanted to do something really diverse, basically. The last record was really metal driven and for this one I wanted to do something with lots of different musical genres but still with the overall metal background happenng, but just experimenting with more styles and more sounds. Yeah, it’s been fun making this album, because it’s helped me be able to experiment more and learn about more different things and I’m actually really happy with how it all turned out. I guess it still has this technical metal aspect to it, in the sense that it has a lot of weird time signatures and syncopated bass drums and it has the complicated melodies and stuff like that, I can’t really say because it’s just my style and that’s how I like making music and I’m going to keep doing that!
What was your favourite style to try and incorporate into the new album, which was the most challenging?
Hmmm, the toughest I think is drum and bass. It’s really hard to get a good mix with the sound that I have, but even if it’s difficult it’s always interesting to try and see what happens. It forces you to actually try something different.
Would you say that writing in the electronic medium is an asset or a hinderence to creativity?
Hmm, I think the term ‘electronica’ is too broad to actually really attribute it to one style of production, I mean it’s endless. You can go with a mic into the street and record stuff and then you can make music out of that, you don’t have to use synthesisers or anything like that. If you record a band, for example, and record them on a sequencer maybe it can then be considered to be electronic music y’know? It’s just a term and it doesn’t really have much sense, electronic music was for me music that was produced on a computer, nowadays everything is produced on a computer. So for me there are no limits, just far too many possibilities like new plug-ins and tools and stuff so I don’t think it’s going to fall any time soon and it just keeps growing and is still interesting, I keep finding artists that are breaking more barriers.
What would you say are some of the biggest acts that have influences the way you write in The Algorithm?
This is a question that people often ask me and I usually say people like Daft Punk for the melodies, Veil of Maya and After the Burial, Aphex Twin for the software challenge but it’s really hard to say accurately, I would really need to write a really long list to actually explain, I just listen to whatever and then take inspiration from that; A lot of soundtracks and whatever.
Your live shows have something different to them rather than just being a standard DJ set, using a live MIDI controller what does this do for your live show?
Well, I think having a live drummer makes the show much more appealing to metal listeners, and it’s much more interesting because it is challenging for the person playing and seeing someone playing the complicated rhythms on the drums is something amazing to watch with lots of power because of the natural acoustics, it’s not just one guy with an audio interface and it’s all just coming from the PA, there’s actually some acoustic sounds that adds a lot to the live sound as well as the individual show. As well, it’s always good to bring musicality to the show to show actual musicianship, I’ve always been a fan of metal and rock and it’s always been normal to me that you see musicians playing music and not just one guy with a laptop, but yeah it’s great to see someone actually sweating to play something. Personally, it’s what I try to do myself I now, play a bit of guitar and a key-tar actually now –
So there’s some 80’s disco rhythms in there now?
– yeaaaahhhhh, yeah it’s really old school and I’m just trying to bring more musicianship to the live show.
On the subject of drums, you’ve worked quite closely over the years with Monuments drummer Mike Malyan, how did you and Mike start working together?
Well, I played Euroblast in 2011 and that’s where I met Mike for the first time and by that point I had just signed with Basick Records, and I think thanks to Nathan, who is the head of Basick, he introduced me to Mike and he had already had the idea that Mike should play with me, I never actually thought about it, and he was telling me that ‘Oh man, he should play drums for you, it would be cool!’ So then, yeah, Mike slowly started to learn the stuff and then he recorded a video on YouTube, a cover of the song Isometric, and I saw the video and I was like ‘Woah! That’s amazing!’ ’cause I never expected anyone to be able to actually play the drums to that ’cause it was actually so complicated, so it was really cool to actually see someone actually exactly playing it, just sitting there like ‘How is this possible?’ So I saw that, and I felt like I wanted to bring that on stage, so we started doing some shows and we did a show in London about two years ago now and it was great so we kept doing that and it all happened naturally. But at the moment, Mike is really busy with Monuments and doing this American tour so Jean from Uneven Structure is drumming for me and I had the same feeling with him, it was amazing that he could actually learn the track especially in the time that Jean had and he learnt all the tracks and he’s absolutely nailing it…so yeah I’m really happy to be surrounded by amazing drummers!
So it’s been a big past year for The Algorithm, spending a lot of time on tour especially in Australia, do you wanna talk about your touring experience?
Well, we did this tour, which was the longest tour we’ve ever done with Hactivist in November and December in the UK, which was about 26 shows, we finished the tour and about two weeks later we went out to Australia for Big Day Out, which is a massive festival with Pearl Jam headlining with Deftones, Northlane and others. So it is this big festival with a lot of production value and we had loads of fancy hotels and a driver and it was really surreal we were treated like rockstars and it was Australia in the Summer, so it was super nice and it was really good from a musical perspective because we got to play our stuff in front of a whole lot of people at this sick festival and from a personal perspective because it was such a massive experience for us and during this tour we met the manager for Twelve Foot Ninja and we kinda made a deal that we need to come back to Australia, so when we came back from Big Day Out…uhh…I actually don’t know when ’cause it all happened so fast! But I think I spent one month in Germany and I wrote and finished the album and then I went back to Australia with Twelve Foot Ninja, and it was amazing because this time it was less fancy hotels, festival kind of shit and it was more human and more intimate because we got to hang out with the guys in TFN, and these guys are amazing, and yeah it was a really great experience and after that we went to Japan and played with Cyclamen and came back to Germany where I live these days and kept writing music and then went on tour in the UK and now I’m here!
Now, because Big Day Out is such a huge festival with massive crowds, how does it compare to somewhere like here at Tech Fest for instance with smaller venues and crowds which complements your sound better?
I think, just in general, it benefits to the sound when there’s a really good PA, obviously because it’s mostly coming from there except for the acoustic drums of course, but it needs to be really precise and have a lot of accurate sounds with the bass and all that so it benefits a lot to the sound when it’s a big venue because they usually have a really good sound, obviously. But from a personal perspective, in terms of having a relationship with the crowd, I feel like smaller venues are better, because you can actually hang out with them, talk to them and be close to them and it’s fun like a family sort of thing and it’s a friendship connection that you can’t have in the bigger venues because you can’t be friends with eveyone there!
From here on, what do you feel is the future for The Algorithm?
I mean, musically I’m not sure, I just need to experiment and experiment more, and just try and see what happens apart from that I really want to launch a website and do some more tutorial stuff, release source code of the music as in the project files and the stems, to really get in touch with the fans and give them production tips and maintain a blog to try and get a good online presence. I’m doing a lot of video game soundtracks at the moment, expanding my horizons, I’m working with one game on iPhone called L.A.R.S From Mars and it’s a nice casual game, you have to kill aliens and I made some stuff for that and another game called Space Mutant Alien Assault, it’s about Aliens again, I can’t imagine why they want my music for that!
Just a final rounding off question, what would be your ultimate supergroup from Tech Fest?
Ohhh, wow. That’s a tough question. I would take Mike Malyan on drums…Jakub Zytecki, I dunno if I pronounced that right, sorry dude, from Disperse on guitar…but I dunno who else, because there are so many good musicians, they just need to write stuff and show it to me. Just those two guys!