Interview with Gore Tech

Published by Alessandro Violante on December 14, 2022

Gore Tech has started releasing music in 2012 with labels such as Peace Off and the defunct Ad Noiseam. With this last label, run by Nicolas Chevreux, he’s also released his first LP, entitled Futurphobia, in 2015. Later on, he released music with labels such as PRSPCT RVLT (with Enduser) and Ohm Resistance, among others. With this last label, he released his sophomore LP Geist Fibre in 2019, and then a more ambient E.P. entitled Pulse Tundra in 2021, with which he explored different sounds. In 2016 he started EXE Project, with which he’s released music on several media, dj mixes and so on. His particular style which, through the years, has followed a personal evolution, is influenced by drum’n’bass and its most dark and cerebral subgenres as well as by dancehall and by the whole history of English rave music. With the Pulse Tundra E.P., he has experimented in other, dark ambient-flavoured, dimensions. We talk directly with the artist about his new release Nemesystem and about a wide range of topics.

Pictures courtesy of Lee Whittaker

Hi! It’s a great pleasure for me to talk with you on our website. I’m a big fan of your music since the release of Futurphobia on Ad Noiseam, which was one of my favourite releases of 2015. Later on, I’ve listened to your previous releases. First of all, I want to thank you for your music! How would you describe Gore Tech to our readers?

Thank you very much for your support and having me participate.

I suppose Gore Tech is best summed up as ‘Electronic Music For The Futurphobic’ which is the more pretentious tag-line I’ve ascribed to the project. But really, at it’s core it’s high-energy heavy music made on computers.

Let’s start talking about your new release, Nemesystem, released on EXE Project. What can you tell us about this release and EXE Project?

Sure, Nemesystem is my latest release, 5 original tracks a remix from my talented friend Crawler, released on my own imprint EXE Project last month making 10 years to the day from my very first release as Gore Tech back in 2012.

I guess, for those familiar with my previous work, I’d say Nemesystem feels more like an extension to my 2019 album Geist Fibre in its sound, direction and themes. Following ‘Pulse Tundra’ (my dark-ambient EP released during COVID) I knew I wanted to write something with a little more energy and groove, especially as we were emerging from quite a restrictive lockdown as a result of the global pandemic.

As it had been such a long time since we’d been playing live shows, it didn’t feel so important to me to write music that followed a certain ‘DJ friendly’ structure or even remain consistent with the tempo. This was quite liberating as it allowed me to experiment with different BPMs resulting in more of a playful output with a different groove and energy. It was fun to make, and it still feels a little more ‘light-hearted than some of my previous work.

I’ve always found your music is subject to a constant evolution, and I’ve followed it with interest. In your new release, it seems to me that its sounds sometimes are more “human” than those in your previous releases, maybe because of the dancehall influence which I find strong there. Is it only my personal perception or do you have voluntarily given a slightly different touch to it?

I think you’re right, I think I’ve probably got better at striking a nice balance between the very human, living genre of ‘Dancehall and UK Grime / Bass’ and the more mechanical and cold styles often associated with Industrial. I think both styles are still very much present in my later releases, but maybe I’ve managed to subtly blend them a little more or use them to juxtapose one-another, perhaps.

Ironically, I’ve had the chance to learn a little more about the engineering side of electronic music (as a result of working closely with a handful of far more talented producers than myself) which despite being the ‘tech’ side has actually enabled me to bring out the more human sides of the sound in the process.

Besides your music trademarks, which make your music clearly recognizable and which I consider a very important quality for a musician, I like a lot how, in your releases, you express a content which not only expresses your vision but also invites listeners to think critically. It may seem obvious to ask you this, but what is your relationship with technology? What do you think about the relationship between technology and people?

That is a big question, certainly given the transhumanist existentialist themes I subtly push in Gore Tech, I thought I may have a better answer for this (laughs). But I think a good answer would be to relay an anecdote from my own personal experience.

I grew up in a rural part of England, a very working-class enclave of the Peak District. Back then, my father was a mechanic at the limestone quarry (the only employer in our village) he would work on and repair the trains, but this was around 93 and in general the 90s were a time of great upward social mobility here in England, which gave him the opportunity to access education, previously out of reach to him, So at 35 (my current age) he went and studied computer science at Manchester University whilst I was still very young. So we went from a practical, local, blue-collar if you would, hands-on family to a technologically focused, somewhat international family very quickly.

I distinctly remember being the first house on our estate to own a modem. So here we were, in a very isolated town in the hills of north England, connecting to servers at via telnet (pre-windows) to other servers at university computer labs. Later we were involved in the first chat rooms, connecting with people all over the planet and so on.

It can never be understated how profound an impact this was on me from a very young age. I perhaps didn’t realize at the time, but it set in motion -in equal parts, a fascination, fear and respect for technology. To a certain extent, I feel I was one of the first children of the internet age, I suppose.

So fast-forward to me becoming interested in writing music the question was never ‘what instrument should I learn’ (Ironic as my father is also an accomplished celt trad-folk musician) it was always going to be ‘which technology am I going to use to make my sounds’ How will technology enable me to be expressive.

It’s worth pointing out Futurphobia was written whilst I was working in remote support for EPOS systems during the day, and Geist Fibre was written whilst I worked as an Ethernet Technician for an ISP here in Manchester. Playing around with Cisco commands and connecting into main telecoms infrastructures during the day, it felt like all this data would come out of me in the evening when I’m working on music. My ‘career’ as a Technician has always gone very much hand in hand with my work as a Music Producer, They feel almost inseparable.

Let’s talk about Geist Fibre. In the artwork, we see the device which in the nineties was called Head Mounted Display (HMD), today commercially known as Oculus Rift. What do you think about the role Virtual Reality has and could have in our lives? Do you think this technology will progressively bring us to replace our real experiences with virtual experiences, or do you think that it will be used only in specific areas such as those of gaming, medical and military?

Great question, I think despite my output as an electronic music producer and the obvious themes mentioned above, I personally wouldn’t consider myself a ‘futurist’ and despite my ‘career’ as a Network Engineer, I’d say I’ve developed more of an anxiety, instead of adoration towards technology in recent years. I made a conscious decision to not get involved with VR for a number of reasons:

Personally, I’m concerned with the lack of human empathy displayed by the technocrats (and the sycophants who enable them) responsible for the proliferation and wide-spread adoption of these technologies. I find the idea of one man, unchallenged at the helm of a singular virtual environment such as Meta or the metaverse, worrisome. When I was young, for instance, the internet felt to me to be an escape from reality, now it feels reality is an escape from the internet. If you ask any of those around in the 90 using Netscape, they’ll tell you, they’d never use their full name online, never give out their address or bank details, and now it seems it’s the standard, We’re now encouraged and in some cases forced to in order to access basic functions online, this wasn’t the norm originally.

Another reason is that the internet today is no longer a wild frontier of ideas and utopian global communication that It was hailed to become, it’s simply become just another marketplace, just in this marketplace there is less governance, regulation and general oversight, meaning monopolies will develop unchallenged faster than in real space, This could have dire consequences that could result in vital public communications services being disrupted or lost altogether if the singular private business behind it fails. If AWS or Google cease to exist tomorrow, it could decimate large swathes of the internet overnight.

Finally, (and this is a little more holistic) I believe that the sensation of disembodiment and dissociation are sacrosanct usually brought on through ritualistic practices, these are uniquely human experiences, they essentially define us and often come from a shared experience. A good example is prayer or dancing together, both of which are profoundly spiritual experiences that should be held sacred, and not artificially simulated by a single company with profit as its main incentive.

I started out feeling very much like Ready Player One, but the older I get It feels more like I’m a character from Scanner Darkley (laugh) I assure you I am fun at parties! I guess to sum it up, I want to get further away from screens as I get older, Not close enough to be wearing one personally.

With that said, I’m no Luddite, I use many of these services myself and understand that if it’s free-to-use, then I (and more to the point my data) is the real product, convenience is the payoff, but I think It’s worth remembering: Neuromancer was written on a typewriter, and I don’t think that was unintentional. (source).

In your new release, it seems to me that you focus your attention on our data-centered system. Today, more than in the past, data have an important value and are used as trade goods to obtain information and money. What’s your opinion about this topic? What’s a Nemesystem?

Yes, These are the core themes behind the music and certainly the art direction, and I’ll try and keep my answer briefer (and less ‘The End is Nigh) than my last answer.

I believe that Science fiction for example and those who write it have often used a fictitious place or a distant future to base stories that are ostensibly allegory or metaphoric, written to critique, question or even challenge certain regimes or trends present at the time of writing (this much is obvious). But as a result of this, they become a sort of modern day soothsayer, Someone who would have been headed and held in high-regard in ancient times. Science fiction as a genre has in some way replaced mysticism as the primary function in predicting the future. The only difference between Phillip K Dick and Nostradamus, is one of them knows what a microprocessor is.

To answer your question, I think Nemesystem, Pulse Tundra and Geist Fibre would be a trilogy of science fiction novels if I knew how to write a good enough story, All I know is music production and network engineering so, I go with what I know, Again, it’s worth remembering that at the end of it all, it’s just music (laughs).

I personally spend a lot of time alone (I think these answers show this) and these are the sort of things I think about often, and certainly when I’m writing the music. I like to develop rich concepts around my music, often the name of a track or the theme or feeling will come to me even before I sit down and design the sounds and arrangement. I like to subtly develop a feeling rather than creating a set of answers, ideas or a narrative.

Gore Tech - Courtesy of Lee Whittaker

Gore Tech – Courtesy of Lee Whittaker

In the Pulse Tundra E.P. you have experimented into different music landscapes a bit different from those explored in your previous releases. What can you tell us about this release?

Yes indeed, Pulse Tundra despite being released in August 2021 it was actually written in January 2019. It’s very cold and dark here in the north of England during winter. It’s not dissimilar to Scandinavian daylight hours. I’m fortunate to live on the edge of the Peak District National Park, specifically an area known as ‘The Dark Peak’ Which in the long summer days is idyllic and serine.

But in winter it’s another planet all together. I often walk for hours in the howling wind atop the plateau in the fog and low cloud, after a while the wind becomes so loud and prolonged you’re unable to speak with the people 2ft away from you, and eventually in the thrall of noise you begin to hear (or hallucinate) all of these strange sounds and sub-harmonics that may or may not even be there if it was recorded. I found this fascinating and an almost spiritual experience at times, it’s both sensory deprivation and sensory overload at the same time.

I knew I wanted to recreate these sounds and sensations into a project of some sort and set about making these long form drone and pulsing sounds using an array of instruments in my DAW and that’s really how Pulse Tundra came about.

The video was created by myself and Aaron Spectre, We used drone footage of glaciers in Iceland and Greenland edited together. Aaron then sent them through some analogue hardware he has that distressed the footage before being displayed on a CRT monitor, where Aaron then recaptured this processed footage using a 4K SLR camera. The whole process was really tactile.

The video to me feels like we’re watching a live feed from a scout drone sent planet side to investigate the landscape, seen by human eyes for the very first time. I wanted to give the sense of total isolation, like being alone on an infinite frozen plain. Aaron’s engineering both on the vinyl masters and his visual skills captured this perfectly, This is a Gore Tech release, but it will forever feel to me like a collaboration between us both.

I’m very curious about the samples used in your music. I won’t ask you from where do you take them, but I would ask you how do you choose them and how do you use them in your music.

Sure, Back when I started out I would use a lot more samples for the bass sounds and effects, but in recent years I’ve been getting better at creating sounds using synths and effects. With that said I still use a lot of sample packs for certain things like drums and hits, There’s people out there who make amazing sample kits it’s a great resource to have when getting your ideas down fast.

Some of the samples I like to use often are vocals or human sounds like breathing and exclamations, I like to layer these atop drum beats and at the end of a phrase or bar for instance, it almost tricks the ear. Female vocals are my go-to, especially eastern tunings, they feel really nice next to heavy Reece sounds. They’re also the sounds I can’t quite create myself. Vocals really help bring the heavy, mathematically accurate, sometimes atonal machine sounds to life, as humans we’re always going to be drawn to human sounds and ‘humanization’ is something I strived to incorporate into electronic music.

Some years ago, in 2014, you played at Maschinenfest in Oberhausen. What do you remember about that experience? Do you feel something has changed in music after that festival ended in 2018?

Maschinenfest was certainly a highlight for me for sure, Thomas worked very hard on putting those festivals together, and they will always have a special place in the hearts of all those who attended. It was a great meeting of labels and artists, and It was an honour to play in such an amazing space as the turbine hall.

I’m not sure the dancehall UK grime side of my music went across to the predominant goth audience, but that’s half the fun of playing these types of events (laughs).

I think that other opportunities exist for this genre since Maschinenfest closed its doors, The Slimelight in London is still as busy as ever and WAX TRAX recently held a festival in Chicago, so I think it moves and shifts around. Of all the labels present at the various Maschinenfest instalments, (HANDS, Ant Zen, Cold Spring, Ad Noiseam) only one of them has since disbanded that I’m aware of.

Do you have plans for a vinyl release for Nemesystem? What’s been the reason behind the choice of releasing it only in digital format?

Not currently, but never say never, the Geist Fibre vinyl featured tracks previously released digitally on EXE project, so it could be that some of the tracks find their way onto a double 12” in the future. This is the freedom of releasing on my own platform initially, I have more control over where my tracks could end up later on.

One of the reasons we chose to release digitally was the mixed tempos of the EP wasn’t really cut out for DJing with, and the wait time for vinyl globally has increased in recent years, making it a less viable option. It’s worth mentioning that though the EP was released only a month ago, the tracks were written a year and a half ago, to press to vinyl would have extended the time between writing and releasing the music by another 7-8 months and I thought It would be good to release Nemesystem on the 10 year anniversary, so it made sense really.

Are you already working on new music? What should we expect from Gore Tech in the future?

I’m currently working on a number of tracks, but these won’t be released as ‘artist’ tracks on a label as I have previously. I’m currently working under a different framework that I can’t talk too much about at present, but it’s something I’m excited to be involved in and equally fun and as engaging. It will be less concept-heavy, and I think it will take some of the skills I’ve learned from the last 10 years and allow my music to be shared with a wider audience, I hope.

I thank you a lot for the time you’ve dedicated us! If you want, greet the readers and invite them to listen to your new release!

Thanks for having me on board and listening to my borderline tin-foiled hat wearing answers. It’s good to be able to talk about some of my experiences and observations. And a big thanks to your readers for getting this far down.

Nemeystem is available now as WAV / MP3 directly from EXE Project here, and streaming via Spotify, Apple Music and Youtube.