SOFT RIOT | August 2014 | Photo assistance by MM LyleSoft Riot is JJD; a former Vancouverite who has clocked over fifteen years of musical output in various bands and projects. Moving from Vancouver to London UK in the late 2000s, Soft Riot came into full being, having released a couple of acclaimed albums and EPs and staging numerous tours around Europe. Soft Riot now has set up camp in Sheffield, a small UK city with a history of innovative synthesizer music.

With origins from the mid-nineties in the vibrant art-punk/hardcore dominating the West Coast American/Canadian underground at the time (the first EP, “No Longer Stranger”, is the name of a track by hardcore band Universal Order of Armageddon), JJD followed a trajectory through to the revival of synth-based post-punk music just over a decade or so ago, which spawned a number of highly successful Canadian artists out of that scene.

FICTION PREDICTION is a collection of songs from Soft Riot’s most recent album, these tracks being a confident advancement in the unique and engaging “Soft Riot” sound developed on prior releases. Drawing inspiration from synthesizer-based film soundtracks of yesteryear, drones, early EBM, minimal synth, a dose of psychedelic synthpop and a heavy dose of throbbing appregiated rhythms, Soft Riot is a science-fiction heavy soundscape that narrates the listener through today’s fractured, excessive landscape with hints of black humour.

Soft Riot, coming from a more punk rock pedigree, often places more focus than the norm on his lyrical content, bringing in detailed pictures and sometimes even linear narrative storylines to subjects such as modern living, technology, surveillance, environment, overpopulation, enlightenment, life elsewhere, forewarning about catastrophic events, vain people in gyms, and not having enough time. The influences come less from other musical artists but more so from written fiction and film —a future predicted by fiction.

Where in past musical ventures the path would be aggression, stomp and noise; Soft Riot takes those energies and experiments more with anxiety of tension and unease.

A number of these tracks were released in the spring/summer of 2012 on the limited edition cassette Hyperbolic Masses, which was self-released is now completely out of print.

Also noteworthy is the anticipated And You Will Find Them In The Basement 12” vinyl/digital compilation which was released spring 2013 on France’s Desire Records. Documenting a tight-knit scene of synthesizer-based artists from London and beyond that have emerged over the last year, this compilation features tracks by not only Soft Riot but also N?i Kabát, Linea Aspera, A Terrible Splendour, Lebanon Hanover, Mild Peril, Gertrud Stein and Team Pi$$. This release has sold out and has now gone into a second pressing.

Soft Riot has previously put out two other releases, the first being the “No Longer Stranger” EP on the Canadian label Panospria in early 2011. Featuring a more subdued and esoteric sound, this release attracted attention from various points around the globe with little promotion. Catching the ears of the US label Volar Records (Fresh & Onlys, Digital Leather, and UK’s own Cold Pumas), this EP saw a re-release with a full vinyl treatment in January 2013, extended into an 8-track LP. This record contains a cover of “Electrolux” by Hoover; former Dischord Record artists from their 1994 debut (and only) album.

Following that was the well-received Another Drone In Your Head EP released earlier this year on San Francisco’s established dark/minimal/drag label Tundra Dubs (Funerals, ?AIMON) featuring remixes by the aforementioned label artists as well as Babe Rainbow (Warp Records), Mild Peril and more. This release saw strong coverage from Mishka Bloglin, The Fader, Exclaim!, YouIndie, Bad Fotography and more…

When playing live JJD mans no less than three synthesizers, a microphone, an on-stage mixer, and a variety of outboard effects augmented by atmospheric on-stage lighting. This show has been taken to numerous cities in the UK as well as three tours of Europe between summer 2012 and summer 2013, travelling the roads and rails of the contentinent with London’s N?i Kabát (Aufnahme + Wiedergabe) and Germany’s Lebanon Hanover.

Moving into 2014 Soft Riot will make a number of appearances on other artist’s releases in the form of remix work. These include upcoming releases by Attrition, Keluar, TSTI and Celebration. The online label will be releasing two “outtake” tracks from Fiction Prediction in March 2014 and yes, there will be a new, proper release in the coming year as well.

Image manipulation by JJD Works.