Here’s a recent interview done with Belgium’s WAVES radio where I talked with Philippe Bauwens about a range of topics, including the origins of the Soft Riot name, creative approach, the new Possession Records as well as fellow artists Hausfrau and Marcel Wave. The interview premiered on air on Oct 23rd and is now available as a MixCloud archive below.
There’s a number of upcoming shows in the UK and Canada which you can check out below. Further shows for 2017 will be announced soon, as well as other developments behind the scenes.
The title of the article is a bit heavy-handed but I suppose this is a selection of 10 albums that have a place in my history of writing and listening to music. Thanks to Didier at Belgium’s Peek-A-Boo-Magazine for getting in touch with me to ramble on about this group of records. Albums by Unwound, The VSS, Simple Minds, DAF, Second Layer, Adult., Fad Gadget, Martin Dupont, Labradford and U.S. Maple. You can click the link at the end of the end of the excerpt to read the full article at www.peek-a-boo-magazine.be
1. UNWOUND – New Plastic Ideas
When I started actively getting into music and playing in bands, I was in my teens and I was very immersed in the underground experimental punk and hardcore that was happening in the US and Canada at the time. I was always checking out new releases on labels like Kill Rock Stars, 31G, Gravity, Ebullition, Lovitt, Troubleman, Great American Steak Religion, Touch and Go and the list goes on. Over the years, some of those records haven’t aged with me, but there’s a significant portion of records from that era that I’ll come back to from time to time and listen to and I still get that goosebumps feeling as to when I first listened to it.
Unwound put out a string of records from the early to late 90s that were incredible. They were very aggressive and dissonant but still having some atmosphere, interesting song structures and an appeal to misanthropic youth in a 1990’s North America. There was a great chemistry between guitarist/vocalist Justin Trosper, bassist Vern Ramsey and drummer Sarah Lund. The album Repetition (1996) is arguably my favourite, but New Plastic Ideas was the first I listened to and got me hooked. In fact, the title of the Soft Riot album Fiction Prediction is a bit of a wordplay of a title of a song of this album as a bit of an homage, I guess.
Here is a new interview conducted with Electronic North, a new UK music site based out of Manchester featuring artists in the northern parts of the UK. Thanks to Adrian Thompson who gave the opportunity to provide answers to a number of questions…
Residing in Glasgow via Sheffield, London and Vancouver, Soft Riot is an artist who’s been rocking the synths for the best part of 20 years across various bands and projects. He describes his current output as ‘art punk synth disco’ and you should absolutely be checking it out. We caught up with JJD for a chat as part of our Featured Artist series.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s the story behind Soft Riot and how would you describe your sound?
My name is JJD (Jack Duckworth) and I’m a Vancouverite currently residing in Glasgow after spending some time in London and a little bit in Sheffield. I moved to the UK almost 10 years ago from Canada. I’ve been playing in bands for the better part of 20 years, probably the one I’m known most for back in the homeland would be the “new wave” band Radio Berlin.
Soft Riot started very, very slowly in 2006 when I was still in Vancouver. I was playing in other bands at the time and I was using Soft Riot as a vehicle to try out ideas with electronic music that didn’t suit a band format, mainly as the music was too minimal and too specific the in musical detail that I had in mind that would have made it difficult working in a collaboration. I barely did anything with it until early 2011, a few years after I moved to the UK when I released an initial EP, “No Longer Stranger”. I started performing live with Soft Riot in mid-2011 in London.
Berlin @ Loophole, 11 Nov 2015. Photo by Hicran Ergen.
It has now been a few days since returning from an absolutely incredible string of nine shows with friends Uncanny Valley and Hausfrau in the UK and Europe. Thanks to all the promoters and friends who helped us out as well as the people who came out to the shows. It definitely put this rather wonky year of 2015 back onto the right track!
There are further shows going into 2016, including dates in UK and Germany and then elsewhere abroad — all in the works. Check the Live Events section for more information.
Here is a video clip containing segments of live performance from the December tour taken in Gateshead UK and Bremen DE. Songs in this clip include “A Scene From A Dark Beach”, “The Eyes On The Walls” (new track, currently unreleased) and “Cinema Eyes”:
A South American music blog called The Blog That Celebrates Itself (a reference to the early 90s “shoegaze” movement) recently got in touch to do an interview about all things Soft Riot. The introduction to the interview is in Portuguese with the actual interview itself in English. Here’s the result:
Q. When did Soft Riot start? Tell us about the history.
The Soft Riot that is out releasing records and playing shows today is pretty different than the one that started a long time ago. It was around the mid-2000s, when I was playing in other synth-punk and post-punk bands that I wanted to do something a bit more minimal and atmospheric. I was really into stuff like early 4AD releases, Kranky records, John Foxx, Ike Yard and that sort thing and looking to do something vaguely in that arena. I recorded some demos in 2006 under the name JJ Wax and did one show in Vancouver (where I’m from originally) with two friends of mine as a backing band. It was an alright show. Someone called me “Trent Reznor” from the audience which I thought was funny.