Synth Spotlight: Maximum Turbodrive


For some time now there has been this cross divide between genres, namely synthwave and metal, where the two have come together to create something else entirely yet still retaining those essential sounds of both. Like metal it’s hard, it’s heavy and, though it’s mostly categorized as being either dark synth or dark wave, it’s also oddly dreamlike (or perhaps nightmare like?) much like synthwave as well. There are many acts leading the way in such an emerging genre such as Perturbator, GosT, and Carpenter Brut (of which Maximum Turbodrive certainly derives some of their influence), although in the end it is not simply a question of leaders and followers but each act’s unique past which brought them to the proverbial dance that ultimately sets them apart.

For Maximum Turbodrive, a producer who recorded their self-titled EP solely within their own apartment, doing all the mixing and mastering themselves, the sounds that they’re currently creating were a result of playing and listening to different types of music for years. “I played drums in a psychedelic sludge metal band called Gnarhval and then these days I’ve been splitting my time with a math metal band called Naga” Maximum Turbodrive explained to me when discussing their current process. “I did the band grind for years and making synth music sorta just made sense; It’s difficult for me sometimes to creatively compromise so electronic music is a great avenue for me to feed my own ego.”

When asked to further elaborate on their influences, in terms of what kind of music they listen to when they’re not making music and what drives them, Maximum Turbodrive replied saying that “Doom metal was my thing for a long time, so no matter what kind of music I’m making slow tempos and aggressive, abrasive instrumentation is always a pleasure of mine. Black metal is a big influence too, but there’s all kinds of kooky crazy stuff I listen to that makes its way into my subconscious. Lately, I’ve been on a real Afrojazz and Mariachi kick. If you want to hear some amazing music listen to Huun Huur Tu, they’re a Tuvan throat-singing group who write these incredible haunting melodies.”

As someone that went from playing in bands, and with a drumming background, the topic of equipment naturally came up in regards to transitioning from said prior experiences to now working more electronically and solo. Maximum Turbodrive responded saying that, “most of my music is composed in FL Studio, or “in the box” as they say, but there are a few moments on songs like “From Beyond” and “X-49″ where I needed some hardware grittiness. There’s a Microbrute, JP-06, and a borrowed Voyager floating around on the record. Eventually I’m going to get my hands on one of those fancypants Prophet VIs and I want to start messing around with modular synthesis.”

With such a varied mixture of both software and hardware, could we ever see them play live someday? “No live shows with this project yet, but my team and I are working on it” Maximum Turbodrive hinted, continuing to explain that “Tyler from Ikaray and Nick from Butchered are helping me out live on guitar and drums respectively. The plan is to reinterpret my EP as synthy doom metal songs, y’know because we’re big fans of Carpenter Brut, but we want to do our live set our way: no e-drum pads, heavily distorted loud doom guitar, and then Nick hitting the drums like he’s trying to break blocks of concrete. I’m excited to eventually get out there and play this stuff live, absolutely, and plans are currently to hit the road on an east coast tour in the spring so don’t hit that dial.”

With an EP already under their belt, and live shows a possibility, Maximum Turbodrive shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon as they’ve got plenty more plans waiting in the wings. “I’ve got a few songs on some Halloween compilations that friends of mine are putting together. I’ve also got a remix of Skeleton Beach‘s “Everything Was Silent” that he’s putting on a remix compilation that he’s doing, so keep an eye out for that as there’s a lot of great work being done on it by a lot of great artists; I mean, who doesn’t love Skeleton Beach, dig? After that, I’m probably taking a nice long break from composition to sit and think and conceptualize my first full-length. As for when you can expect it out? Who knows, probably next year, but I don’t know if I want to do another Halloween release although I guess anything’s possible!”

BONUS ROUND: What goes on your perfect pizza and inside your ideal burrito?

“Okay, sorry Chicago, but deep dish is gross and no one from here actually eats it” Maximum Turbodrive admitted before asking, “will I get kicked out of the city if I say my perfect pizza is New York style with just pepperoni?” Continuing with the second part of the question, Maximum Turbodrive stated that “as for my perfect burrito, I’ll take skirt steak or lengua with pinto beans, lettuce, monterrey jack, and salsa fresca all wrapped up in a corn tortilla, please, and thank you.”