It’s been almost a whole year since Electric Runner released any new material after their impressive debut with last year’s The Beginning in December of 2016, but the wait has certainly been worth it with the release of their sophomore effort in the form of Darkest Ways. Much as the name would imply, the EP carries with it an all around harder and heavier edge than it’s predecessor but, not only does it retain that same high quality and impressive production skills that were on display in their debut, it proves that the extended time off was not wasted; there is no “sophomore slump” here at all.
In order to catch up with Electric Runner, and to get a sense for what went into this EP as well as what we can expect from them next as they work on their first full length album, I conducted an interview and where better to start than the very beginning with how they got started making music in general? “Well, I started to make music as soon as I grabbed my first guitar when I was 13 years old, but at the time I was playing punk, shoegaze, post punk and even post rock” Electric Runner explained. “Time passed and I got into electronic music like Daft Punk, Justice, LCD Soundsystem, M83 and Tycho, my favorite band ever, although they are considered electronic music and IDM. Anyway, in 2014 I was trying to make a shoegaze band but it was impossible for me to find enough people to do that, so while I was at my best friend’s house listening to all kinds of shoegaze and post punk bands his brother showed me Timecop 1983.”
“In that moment my life changed” Electric Runner admitted to me. “While I was already a fan of Kavinsky at that time, and loved the movie Drive, when I heard Timecop1983’s Journeys I knew then and there that synthwave was the music I wanted to make. The song which instantly hooked me was ‘Dreams (feat. Dana Jean Phoenix).’ Those magical synths and the beautiful voice of Dana inspired me, so after that I started to listen to more synthwave artists and here I am!”
But what is an artist without their tools? In order to get a better understanding of what they’re working with, and how they produce their sound, I inquired about the sort of equipment that they not only work with currently but also those that they’d like to someday add to their arsenal. “I work with Ableton Live and Pro Tools. I love the TAL-U-NO-LX and Serum, they are my principal softsynths, and I also love the Valhalla VintageVerb; the sound is just amazing!” Electric Runner told me, in terms of what he already had, before continuing on with that which he wished he could have. “I actually have my eyes on every piece of Roland’s Boutique series, haha, I want every single piece of synth and drum machine they have! I also want a MatrixBrute, that giant monster looks and sounds amazing!”
Although some of that tech is currently out of reach, those which are readily available are used so well enough already that one can only imagine what will happen once Electric Runner gets their hands on them; it’ll be like magic. Speaking of magic, although perhaps of the darker variety, as stated before Darker Ways is a bit different in comparison to the first EP so what lead to the decision to go down this path? “I love darkwave and it’s energy with the heavy rocker sound” Electric Runner explained, “although I felt that these songs were maybe a bit too different from the concept I had in mind for my upcoming album, but I wanted to release them anyway, so in a way this EP was also a means to introduce the new look of Electric Runner as I now have a more personal and less generic look for the project. I changed the logo, added new colors for the palette, and I have this cool mask from Wintercroft. Another big reason is that I love the game Hotline Miami, so for a long time I wanted to make music that you can listen to while playing that game. It’s music that not only inspires action and adrenaline but mystery as well.”
Going back a bit to touch on the topic of the upcoming full length album, now that there are two EPs to their name, I was curious about it on many levels but the aspect I was most interested in was its direction; would it be more akin to the first EP or the second? “My upcoming full length album will be a little bit different to both my first and second EP but it’ll still have that Electric Runner spirit. That’s something I don’t want to lose, but at the same time I want to experiment and mix a lot because synthwave is an amazing music genre with a lot of variables like darkwave, dreampop, synthpop and I also want to mix in my post-punk, new wave, nu-gaze, and shoegaze background with my music. So, yeah, what I want to say is that you’re going to hear a mix of the two EPs with a lot of new things on the album!” Electric Runner explained before dropping the biggest news about the album: “For this new album I have the joy to be working with amazing singers like Kinnie Lane, Frisky Monkey, Daria Danatelli, Oceanside85 and maybe more, so yeah, Electric Runner has vocals now! This is a very big change for me and I hope that this will help to reach a new audience, but don’t worry the album will still have pure instrumental songs too.”
Not only do they have a new look, and a new outlook, but they’ve also been stepping out by doing live shows. “That’s right,” Electric Runner confirmed, “I actually played my first gig this past Sunday, October 22th, and it was pretty cool! The people loved it too, so I’m pretty happy with it as well, and now I’m working on a bigger set with a live drummer!” Of course when you play a show, or a series of them, you’ve got to eat and therefore the most important question to ask in that case is what goes on your perfect pizza and inside your ideal burrito?
“BEST. QUESTION. EVER!” Electric Runner exclaimed before answering the question proper, “ok, so, I love pizza with a lot of pepperoni, bacon, corn, peppers and extra cheese. My ideal burrito has a lot of meat, chicken strips, cheese, and fries (yes, fries on the inside, haha), but no lettuce please. Also, quick fact: in my country they make a sweet pizza with nutella, fruits, marshmallows and brownies on the edge which is amazing!” Damn, that does sound pretty good…