previous long player Dunklewissenschaft which was released one year prior which was a subtle nod to his Electro inspirations.
The new release is more of an abstract inspiration drawn from Karl Marx, the German philosopher's economic and political theory. After hearing about these concepts we decided to find out more about the release and process behind it below.
Hi Johan, thanks for taking the time to chat. The Electro Manifesto is a great release which includes a solid and varied collection of 25 tracks.
I was interested to ask you about your production process. Do you go into the studio with a clear idea beforehand?
It’s pretty rare that I ever start a studio session with a stated goal in mind. My approach has always been to allow my creativity to drive the experience. Most of the time my brain naturally gravitates toward downtempo Electro but other times I might end up with Italo Disco, EBM or even Synthpop.
I also produce music with my girlfriend under the name ‘Gated Reverb’ so the process will vary based on the variables of the session. Sometimes I might have something (a basic idea) sketched out on an iPad app that I’ll then move into the hardware realm but that doesn’t happen too often. Mostly I just let my instincts take the wheel.
Are you using the same instruments through the E.P.? Or do you change it up with each track?
For this album, the tracks were produced from the second half of 2020 up until late April of 2021. During that time I used a variety of instruments in the songs due to the fact that I was selling old gear and upgrading into new gear.
This album features all of the following: Hydrasynth, SE-02, SH-01, TB-03, Minilogue, System 8, Juno 106, Juno 60, System 100, SH-2, JX-3P, Jupiter 8, Novation Peak, MicroKorg and a bunch of iPad apps to emulate the sounds of MonoPoly, Polysix, Minimoog, OB8, Arp Odyssey, MS-20 and others.
It is very rare that I work solely in the DAW world though three of the tracks (Externalities, Red Scare and Alienation) on this 25-track release were produced only using an iPad within Korg Gadget.
The title of the release “The Electro Manifesto” is interesting. Does it have a specific meaning behind it?
The entire theme behind the album is based on the philosophy of Karl Marx. The album title is a direct take on ‘The Communist Manifesto’, which is one of his most famous (and shortest) writings from 1848.
I have long been a leftist and was very inspired by the political and economic thinking of folks like Fredrich Engels, Richard Wolff, Angela Davis, Upton Sinclair, Bernie Sanders and of course Marx himself. All the song titles reference some idea that is tied to socialist critiques of capitalism. Some are concepts that I find to be abhorrent (tracks like Red Scare, Class Traitor, Wage Slavery) and even some track titles that may cause people to use Google to in order to understand the meaning (tracks like Historical Materialism, Commodity Fetishization, Division Of Labor).
The idea was to shine light on what seems to be a turbulent time for global capitalism. During the pandemic, the failings of capitalism were laid out in front of the masses in a way that was clear for anyone to understand. That and the rise of far-right movements around the world motivated me to theme the album in the way that I did.
I felt as though there wouldn’t be a better time to pay tribute to those thinkers than now. The album cover is also an adaptation of the original cover for the first publishing of Marx and Engels’ ‘The Communist Manifesto’.