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Interview: Cyberpunk he calls it. We really like it. Meet Code Elektro

A little while ago, we received a message from Martin Ahm Nielsen aka Code Elektro, asking us to have a listen to his new album called “Superstrings“. The album is released on the Danish progressive & independent record label Iceberg Records. Not aware of what to expect we can say we were very pleasantly surprised by a new sound. Not anything we usually post on our website or social channels. So we thought it might be a good idea to have a chat with the man behind this special sound.

Hey Martin, first of all thanks for contacting us. Tell us, were do you come from? And how’s live over there?
Thanks for the invitation. I’m a big fan of Tanzgemeinschaft so it’s great being a part of it.

I’m from Denmark. It’s a small Scandinavian country on the top of Germany. And I think that it’s not so different from other North European countries. Lots of rain and bad weather.

TGMS: thanks Martin, great to hear. And Denmark is not that small.

How about the electronic music scene over there?
There’s a lot of great music from Denmark. Maybe you already know Trentemøller or MØ to name a few. I think that they both have a great sound and write amazing music with a Scandinavian quality to it.

How would you describe your sound?
I think of it as Cyberpunk music or some kind of Nordic Tech Noir. Something that would go along with a science fiction movie. A genre could be Synthwave because of the synths and the occasional 80’s vibe – but with modern sound design and mix techniques. So I use a lot of synths and drum machines combined with organic sounds that I record or create….oh and arpeggiators….I use them all the time!

Do you think that the kind of music you grew up listening to affects the taste of music you produce?
Yes! I think that a lot of the music we listen to growing up will shape our listening preferences later on.

Who were/are your biggest influences?
Vangelis, Daft Punk, John Carpenter, Juno Reactor – they are some of my biggest influences. The soundtrack for TRON: Legacy by Daft Punk are one of my all time favorites. They created an amazing score. The music really stands alone without the images and that’s big achievement I think. The score for Blade Runner by Vangelis doesn’t need any explanation…it’s just awesome.

With this in mind, what is your primary goal when making this kind of music as it is not a mainstream genre?
My “day job” is writing music for TV and commercials. And that’s about communicating to a target audience. Mostly it has to sound mainstream just because that’s what the client wants.

One of my goals writing this album was to write music I would listen to myself. And not to focus on what everybody else wants (or target groups for that matter). So it had to be true to what I like and what I want to create myself. Good thing is that I have a feeling that other people like it too. And that’s amazing.

What was the main idea behind your new album? How did it come into existence?
I started up about three years ago. Wanting to write music that I would listen to. These things take a long time. So when I had enough tracks I contacted the label and they loved it…and now it’s out on vinyl and download/stream.

I’m a big fan of vinyl and I think it still has a lot to offer sound wise. So that has always been a dream for me.

Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you built on existing work, start from scratch, pick up a sample?
I often start imagining a specific emotion or atmosphere and then I try get as close as I can with sound. So my main inspiration are emotions. Sometimes they come from movies, music or books.

I always start from scratch. When I start on a track, it’s crucial that I finish…somehow it’s hard for me to return to it later on. So I try to finish tracks even if they are bad. I have A LOT of unfinished tracks. Maybe there’s like 30-40 tracks not making it to the album for different reasons.

The album to us sounds very futuristic. Sounds like it can be used for a soundtrack? Any background in this?
Thanks! I’m glad you think so. First of all, I’m a huge science fiction fan. And there is so much visual inspiration to get from that genre. Just think of Blade Runner or Matrix. Lot’s of cool stuff.

So I think of my music as painting with sounds to create emotions. Sounds a little weird I know. But it’s important for my music that I create images…cyberpunk images 🙂

Also it sounds very suitable for live shows with special effects. Like big stages. Any plans in that direction?
Right now all my energy has been directed towards promoting the album online. And it’s a LOT of hard work since this is a niche genre. But I hope that I can start working on a live set sometime soon. And now that you mention it…it has to have a lot of special effects…and fire! 🙂

Maybe tell us something about your production process? How do you start? Are you at ease at night or do you start at the moment an idea comes up?
As I already mentioned the most important thing for me is that I can create an emotion and hopefully something new and unique…that’s the hard part. Another thing is that the process has to be fun! And it is…although it can be a tough business – and sometimes I just really dislike my own stuff…but that’s a very common emotion I have been told.

Regarding the process, I always start as soon as possible no matter what the time it is. Other times I just sit down and start playing or I record something weird. For me it’s all about keep writing all the time. To stay creative.a

As we all have guilty pleasures, what are yours?
Lots! But if we have to keep it about music…I really like 80’s hard rock/hair metal (Gorky Park, Europe, AC/DC, Iron Maiden and Bon Jovi to name a few!) Please don’t tell anyone, haha.

TGMS: Thank you very much. It was a pleasure!

Album links:

Code Elektro Code Elektro Code Elektro Code Elektro

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