Perturbator is streaming his new mini-album New Model exclusively with Metal Hammer.
Due for physical release on October 20, and digitally on September 5, it takes the Parisian synthsmith into deeper, murkier terrains.
Perturbator has previously said that New Model is an intentional departure from synthwave and instead a “purely dark electronic music release.” When Hammer caught up with the man himself to ask why, he replied simply with “I just think genre names are pointless.
“They tend to make people talk too much and then forget to listen to the actual music that’s presented to them.”
One of the inspirations behind New Model is Roko’s Basilisk, a thought experiment about the potential risks involved with artificial intelligence. The theory states that a supreme AI from the future could retroactively punish all humans who didn’t help or hindered bringing about its existence.
While it might sound like the plot to a Terminator-esque movie, Perturbator admits it’s an “interesting concept” and allowed him to create a dystopian, bleak and lonely world throughout New Model.
We had a quick chat with the man behind the synth below. Listen to the record and dive into the darkness.
Roko’s Basilisk sounds like a mixture of Blade Runner and Terminator, what images came to your mind when making New Model?
“Nothing very figurative. I just tried to imagine what it would feel like to be an A.I. and how the world around you would look. Probably something very abstract; moving shapes of varying size.”
New Model conjures ideas of a dystopian and dark future, do you think that’s where we’re heading?
“I imagine our future to be very cold and distant; humans will stop talking to each other face to face. We’ll stop caring and won’t try to understand the other. Art will slowly die because no one will want to share anything anymore.”
It’s not a fun album. What emotions are you trying to provoke?
“Anger, frustration, exhaustion, maybe even incomprehension in some ways.”
Where did this new darkness come from? What was going on in your life at the time?
“Some really personal stuff that I’d rather keep private. Let’s just say that things around me tend to drag me down more than they lift me up. I was always a really pessimistic person to begin with.”
Do you get some kind of perverse pleasure from creating such uncomfortable music?
“Well there would be no point of doing it if I didn’t enjoy it.But i don’t think that New Model is such an uncomfortable listen – it’s not harsh noise or anything like that. Some of the music from my side-project L’Enfant De la Forêt is definitely more experimental and tough to listen to, for example. New Model still has its catchy, lighter moments, they’re just more sporadic.”
Do you think this record will alienate fans who just want something synthy to dance to?
Yeah, definitely. I expect to disappoint a huge chunk of my audience with this one. I‘m okay with it though, I understand that it is the price to pay if I ever want to be free to make the music that I really want to.”
Artists like yourself and Carpenter Brut keep getting booked for rock and metal festivals. Why has synthwave been so accepted by the rock community?
“I don’t know, really. The aggression in the music, perhaps.”
How do you feel about vaporwave and Simpsonswave?
“I don’t understand the concept of Simpsonswave. Last time I checked, it was just vaporwave music backed with some visuals taken from The Simpsons. Or maybe I’m just ignorant. Also, it’s been quite a while since vaporwave started; artists like Vektroid and Blank Banshee were quite popular even before I started Perturbator in 2011. If it’s a fad, it’s gonna die down just like everything else does. People will find the next interesting thing then squeeze everything they can out of it. And the cycle continues.”
What is the end goal for Perturbator?
“To keep making music. Because I need it.”
New Model is available to pre-order now.