Lucky 13: FDRMX Interview with Invader Ace

Invader Ace WebPhoto Courtesy of John Artur Nordvqist

Our newest edition of Lucky 13 takes a look at Techno Band Invader Ace, who are in the middle of creating awesome new dance tracks for some crazy nights in Stockholm. The Swedish/Norwegian Duo of Anton Toorell and Peder Simonsen talk with us about their new work and what it is that makes them such a great collaborative team.

FDRMX: How and when did Invader Ace form?
Invader Ace: We knew each other from playing in another band together, but since we lived in different cities and all the members were busy with other projects we didn’t play much. While hanging out at Primavera 2011 we realized that we should just start a band with the two of us, so that we could hang out and make music together. At the festival we decided to buy an awesome drum machine and play techno with tuba and guitar amplified by old radios. Before having played a single note or written any songs we got ourselves a gig and a cassette release in Berlin. So the week before that show we had no choice but to write a bunch of songs and record them.

FDRMX: What would you say the main goal is you want to accomplish with your music?
IA: We want to create music inspired by modern electronic music, but with organic sounds. Using extended techniques to make new sounds come from our instruments, putting improvisational and experimental ways of playing in to new contexts. Making modern dance music with a vintage sound. And become total superstars.

FDRMX: How do you get yourself in the mood to create a Techno song?
IA: Sometimes we go to New York, sometimes we hang out in a house in Italy for a couple of weeks. Basically we like to go away and fully focus on writing music. We often try different ways of working, sometimes we’re writing together with our instruments, sometimes we do sketches on the computer.

FDRMX:Your “Heart Break Dance” music video tells a very straightforward story about an alien encounter. Did you have any thoughts of aliens or sci-fi when you wrote the original track?
IA: We were mostly concerned with heart break and break dance when writing the song. But as the song got recorded and produced you could definitely get some sci-fi vibes from it. When we showed the track to the director Aleksandra Sende she got the vision about a human vs. alien dance battle.

FDRMX: What do you think of the techno music scene in Stockholm?
IA: Stockholm got a really good experimental scene that fit in loads of good music from different genres. One of our favorite Swedish techno acts is The Field, I remember seeing them performing together with punk free jazz trio The Thing and pop duo Wildbirds and Peacedrums. However we would love to go to more warehouse techno-parties for sure.

FDRMX: Techno is really a genre that stands apart from all others. What do you love most about it?
IA: Well, Techno stands apart from a lot of other genres for sure, but we are also very into the similarities that exists between techno and other stuff, like for instance ambient or drone music. There’s a lot of common ground there in how the focus can be on small details that very slowly grows in to something big. There’s also a lot of different kinds of techno, some of it is close to minimalism, like the Field, but some, like Justices first album, or Gesaffelstein, is totally like a 70s or 80s rock/prog band. We also feel that the DJ culture has been getting a lot of heat from people involved in other music subcultures, you know, the “She’s just pressing play on her computer” kinda thing, but we feel that there is so much more to that. Getting a dancefloor to pump or, making a great set is something that is using the exact same musical mechanisms of all other music, written or improvised. We saw Mr. Oizo performing in New York, and he just showed up with a bag of CDs and a bottle of champagne, then played his own tracks using some effects from the DJ mixer. It was a really awesome set, it totally blew us away.

FDRMX: You recently posted on Facebook that you’re working on some new remixes. Can you elaborate on that? Is there anything different you’re experimenting with?
IA: We got a bunch of remix projects coming up. Last week we’ve been working on a Jaga Jazzist with London Sinfonietta track. When doing remixes we like to chop up samples and play them back through our rig. It sounds great to put a classical orchestra in to a small, old distorting radio for example.

FDRMX:Have you ever explored or had any desire to explore other genres of music?
IA: We listen to loads of different music and like to get inspired by something and then put it into a different context. We also have very wide musical backgrounds. When we were 12, Anton wanted to become the new Kurt Cobain and Peder played tuba in the local marching band. When we first met we were both studying music at different conservatories, and somehow we ended up were we are now. It’s really great to have been able to study music, but also important for us to have some distance to that world, and just do what we really like, regardless of what it is and how it’s made. Both of us have a lot of respect and interest for an extreme variety of music, it can be anything really. So yes, to answer your question.

FDRMX: I really enjoyed to the music video to “Catch Up World.”, mostly due to the constant ads that flashed across the screen and the random products the “network” were promoting. Who came up with the idea for the video and how?
IA: The video is made by Anton’s brother Johan Toorell. He is the brain, so we just gave him the track and free hands to do whatever he wanted for the video. It’s an amazing video, we love it! With our music videos, we really like to just give the director creative freedom, when working with awesome people it always turns out super great.

FDRMX: An efficient duo is usually one where one member balances out the other member. I.e. One is the passion while the other is the structure. What makes you, Anton & Peder, an efficient duo?
IA: We’re not always super efficient but the main thing that makes it work is that we’re both really dedicated in this band. We’re not afraid to put in a lot of time in the process, and we consider it a long term project, like an art duo for example, who just work together for years and years with different stuff. We mostly like to work together in all parts of the music, we want to experiment and learn new stuff during the process, which so far has been very rewarding.

FDRMX: What would you tell someone who wants to get into Techno but isn’t quite sure where to start (other than all of your music, of course).
IA: Start with old awesome stuff like Bruce Haack and Raymond Scott and work yourself through the history. Or the other way around, start with your favorite contemporary techno musician, and work your way backwards until you hit Raymond Scott. Once you’re into the history part, check out the (sadly) often unmentioned female pioneers of electronic music like Delia Derbyshire or Daphne Oram. Of the modern stuff, we’re really in to the French electro scene coming from Ed Banger. Mr Oizo for example, is a favorite of ours. And we love the Field, as we mentioned. There’s also a new disco scene in Oslo, often related to the Smalltown Supersound label, with great stuff like Lindstrøm and Todd Terje.

FDRMX: What are your favorite places to perform? Is there a place you would love to perform if you could?
IA: It’s not that important where it is, but it’s the feel of the place, the vibe of that evening, the sound of the room, etc. We’ve performed a lot of different places, like old theaters, museums, basements, clubs, but the most important thing is always the people and how they respond to the music. If there is one place we would like to perform it’s probably 285 Kent in New York. We used to hang out there all the time when we were in New York recording our upcoming Ep, but we never played any shows while we were there (didn’t have the visa for it, those guys are STRICT). Sadly that place is closed now, so that will never happen. If we were to choose someplace today I suppose we would love to go to japan and play, we are very fascinated by Japanese culture.

FDRMX: If you, being who you are now, could give your past selves any piece of advice what would it be?
IA: Buy bitcoins when they first come out. And invest in Google stock.

Major thanks again to Invader Ace for gracing us with their interview.  Be sure to follow this incredible band on their website or Facebook.