Randy Barracuda is one of the pioneers of skweee as well as one half of electro outfit Imatran Voima, BLAH BLAH BLAH, you know all that. What’s more important for our purposes here is that he is one hell of a raconteur who gives great interview. If you’re not goosed by what you read below then like Rick James, you are dead.
Skweeelicious: Let’s start with the beginnings of skweee. Clearly there were multiple lines of influence. What styles do you think were the direct precursors to this music?
Randy B: Wild styles.
S: Which artists do you think were the most important in terms of providing the inspiration for skweee?
R: Personally the biggest influences were maybe Zapp, Arabian Prince, Kraftwerk, west coast funk, Steve Poindexter, Italo disco, Justin Timberlake and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Also Eddy Grant and 60’s experimental electronic music.
S: How would you define “proto-skweee”?
I think skweee and proto-skweee are the b-side of pop music.
S: How did you get involved in the music and the movement? Were you looking to chart a new direction?
R: Well, I guess back in the days the movement for me meant sitting alone in a basement. 2005, Imatran Voima was on a break and I thought I can do whatever I want. The studio was very dark, walls covered in fungus and had no bathroom so I had to piss in a bottle. Nobody took the bottles out and in the end the room was full of bottles of molded urine. The place stank like a shelter for homeless and I think it gave my production some extra finesse.
Once Benny Bofors, a good friend of mine came for a visit. We smoked some hash and I played him the original version of Ape Shit. After 10 seconds of awkward silence he asked: “You call that music?”
S: Many styles of music are very diverse when they start because there are no established conventions. So it is with skweee. Do you think skweee will remain quite diverse or will there be a natural convergence of the sound?
R: I don’t know. I just know that skweee is extremely hard to make.
S: There is quite a bit of electronic music today that features slower tempos and skittery beats. Do you think skweee could become part of a larger movement?
R: I don’t know. I just hope that by peeling the onion of skweee we can one day find it’s true essence.
S: When and why did you move from Finland to Holland?
R: First I went there to finish my thesis (The Concept of Substance and the Question of Individuality in Spinoza’s Metaphysics). While finishing it I met a female mercenary and fell in love. We’re gonna get married in 2010.
S: Have you turned the Dutch on to skweee? Can you get gigs there?
R: Some weirdoes love it. Mostly Dutch people are into Anouk and DJ Tiesto.
S: Are you able to continue your role in running Harmönia with Mesak remotely?
S: Speaking of Harmönia, what’s coming up from the label?
R: In March we’re releasing the new Rigas Den Andre 12″ and Yöt 7″.
In May we’re happy to celebrate our tenth release.
S: What gear are you using in your studio setup?
R: Bontempi Memoplay, Roland TB 303, Roland TR 808, Roland JX3P, Jupiter-8, Access Virus b, Roland TR 505, Roland SH 101, Akai MPC 1000, EMU SP 1200, Nord Lead, ARP Odyssey, Korg MonoPoly, Roland Juno 106, Sequential Circuits Pro One, Simmons electronic drums, Stylophone, delays and fx by Boss and Digitech. Some plugins. Next week I’m gonna buy myself some new lush analogue gear.
S: How about live?
R: MPC 1000, 808, 303, Virus, Nord Lead, 101 and whatever I feel like.
S: What’s next for you in 2009 and beyond?
R: I’m turning 30 in June so I think I’m going to “celebrate” it with my friends. I’m gonna travel to Transylvania with my woman to see Dracula’s castle and make contact with the children of the night. (I always wanted to see the Carpathian forests in midsummer moonlight.)
I’m also going to release my first solo-lp on Flogsta Danshall the eleventh of September 2009. It hasn’t got a name yet, and I don’t think it will ever have one.
The project is highly secret but I can tell You that it deals with esoteric and numerological issues. Music-wise I hope it will be the missing link between Alan Parsons Project and crunk.
S: Finally, where do you think skweee will go from here?
R: I have no idea and to be honest, it’s not really my concern.
As is written on Herbert Marcuse’s tombstone: “Weitermachen”
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