The cinematic production duo ROOM8 have a new record, Transduction, out today. Touted as a score to a film that doesn’t exist yet, this progressive, eclectic, electronica record is for fans of dreamy synth soundscapes such as the likes of Tangerine Dream to more contemporary figures like Blood Orange and Com Truise.
We were delighted here at Inhailer, to chat with the duo about the record and the many other projects they have in the works.
KF: From a more technical standpoint, Transduction really soars when it comes to capturing that nostalgic quality it seems to be seeking. Undoubtedly this would be in part I’m sure to the combination of the analog instruments and digital synths utilized. Were there specific models/instruments that you knew you absolutely had to include or was that more exploratory process?
ROOM8: Thank you! We take a lot of pleasure and pride in using the instruments that we use to make music. Analog synthesizers are truly magical, living instruments that are constantly fluctuating in tuning, and the wave shapes coming from shaping electrical signals, especially the older ones. Both of us have studios with a large array of instruments and for the most part we used all of the things which we have on hand that we love. Some of those that are featured heavily are the Minimoog Model D, Oberheim OB8, DX7, Synclavier II, Korg Lambda, Korg Polysix, and many more. The only instruments we didn’t own that we sought out for a few things were the Yamaha CP-80 Electric Grand piano which was heavily used by bands like Abba, Toto, Genesis and countless others, which we used a lot on “West” and on “Never Alone” and the Roland SVC-350 analog vocoder which was the vocoder sound on “Right Way” and “Never Alone,” because its band eq could get the sound we needed. The other key element of the sound was using all old hardware fx units to mix with like the Lexicon 224x (famously used by Vangelis on Blade Runner) and the AMS RMX among many others. Almost no computer plugins were used in the making of the album. You can see a full list of the instruments and processors used on the back credits of the vinyl.
KF: Transduction has been described as a sort of soundtrack to a film that doesn’t exist yet. With your recent work of writing the soundtrack to a film that does exist, Cuck, an award winning character exploration of an alt-right incel, how did this process differ for you? What sort of limitations or liberties are you able to take in creating a soundtrack album depending on whether or not you have a physical film to view?
ROOM8: That’s a great question. One of the big differences is that, when you are scoring music to a picture, the information on the screen is taking up a lot of space so in general less musical information is needed in order to create a vibe and marry the sound to the picture. Whereas without images and sound design, the music is the entire “story”. The only time that is not the case is in a montage like sequence when the music can drive the entire movie which is the case in one of the key scenes/cues in Cuck. A great example of this from the past is the famous “Push it to the Limit” montage scene in Scarface, whereas the other songs in the film are used kind of ‘under the scene’. With Transduction we feel the music creates a story of its own, but could be used both ‘under’ and ‘over’ an actual film should that ever happen.
KF: Transduction alludes to a childhood nostalgia for 1980s sounds and films. What films did you find yourself drawing inspiration from? Were those more from a memory standpoint or have you given them recent viewings?
ROOM8: We are always watching films and episodic television including re-watching films from the past regularly when we can. In a way, Transduction was more about the way we feel and see the world today based on our collective past then a nostalgia trip. That being said, some films that both of us draw inspiration from in our general way of thinking are Starman (which has one of our favorite synth scores of all time), Scarface, Neverending Story, Phenomena, the original Halloween, Thief, and even going back to something like Vertigo by Hitchcock and scored by Bernard Hermann.
KF: Transduction comes out for release on October 12, but what’s next for ROOM8? What sort of projects do you think you’ll explore?
ROOM8: It’s a big October for us with both Cuck and Transduction coming out and we couldn’t be happier that this is taking place in the most ‘autumn’ month of the year as we feel our music fits this season very well. In terms of the future we have several film projects in early discussions so definitely look for us to go deeper into scoring film with the instruments that we love. In terms of our own work, we have just begun some work on a collection of instrumental pieces which draw more from our love of ambient and early electronic artists like Steve Roach, Suzanne Ciani, Ray Lynch, Kitaro and just a general sort of ‘mystical analog electronic music’.