All images by Ash Thorp, and used with permission.
'I am in love with the big concepts that creator Masamune Shirow and his team built, that are just under the surface.'
- Ash Thorp
Much sought-after artist / designer Ash Thorp has long been a champion of the acclaimed anime, GHOST IN THE SHELL, even going so far as to collaborate with a global team of like-minded creatives, to make his own feature-quality video homage ( see Future-Rocker Jan 2015 ). Fast-forward to 2017, and to coincide with the release of a big-budget live-action adaptation starring Scarlett Johansson, Future-Rocker presents a portfolio of images by Ash Thorp, inspired by the original version's distinctive 'geisha assassin' character.
Ash Thorp on transitioning from 2D to 3D:
I am just exploring as I learn new tools and apply new ideas
to things that have been floating around in my head for some time now. I feel like I am unlocking various levels of
potential in my creative mind the further I grow. Since I love Ghost in the Shell so much, I figured I would
focus some of the tools that I am currently learning, around that of a property
I enjoy paying tribute to from time to time.
Hope you enjoy!
'I have always wanted to score a movie. But not just any movie – it will have to fit into the Code Elektro universe.'
Here we present an assortment of tracks from synthwave maestro CODE ELEKTRO's epic recent album, WOLF, as well as from his previous opus, SUPERSTRINGS. PLUS! Scroll down for the exclusive new interview, and merchandise links.
Future-Rocker: First of all, there seems a definite
transition in the themes as well as the music. Tell us about this 'WOLF'
concept. Are you hiker, or a conservationist? Or do you just like Scandinavia?!
‘Wolf’ is a concept album. The album is about how a wolf can
be dangerous - but also free. Furthermore, there’s a theme of travel throughout
the album. Starting in the wolf den and the initiation ritual - and then moving
though the landscape, the night and the city. And the album ends with a
transition to something new. I wanted the sounds to have a more human or
”organic” feel. Not as clean as my previous album, ”Superstrings”. And I play
around a little more with the dynamics.
I am sensing an actual storyline that plays in your head.
Would you like to write movies too, or just score them?
It would be great to work with some kind of story and
combining it with my music. I have always wanted to score a movie. But not just
any movie – it will have to fit into the Code Elektro universe.
On the new album, you have the customary atmospherics that
are underscored by your trademark pulsing synths, but I am detecting a bit of a
rock vibe developing, with some crunching riffs, and very tasteful 80s-style guitar
shredding to add to the dynamics, as well as loud drums. Would you be happy if
the 'Classic Rock', AOR, or Prog guys started following you?
I love rock music and I started out playing bass in rock
bands as a young kid. So yes!
Is the rock aspect something you'd like to develop? Maybe do
a more '80s Transformers'-style sonic assault? ( I emphasize 80s not current
Transformers, because the soundtrack album to the animated movie kicked ass! )
Maybe…it can be difficult to plan these things for me. Often
they just happen. But from my perspective ‘Wolf’ is a little closer to my
current vision of Code Elektro. A third album would probably be different too.
I can hear hints of human voices occasionally in the
mix...would you ever add a vocalist? Maybe for an album's finale?
Vocals would be great! Maybe later… [ cont'd... ]
[ Photo by Mads Dam ]
Tell us about being a sound designer. Are you the guy who
has to invent sounds for movies or adverts?
Yes. That’s pretty much what I have been doing for the last
10 years. It’s very different from creating music as an artist…but both are fun
Describe teaching at the Conservatory. Are you inspired by
your students? ( I say that because I get very fired-up when i mentor art
That’s the same for me. I love teaching. I learn at least as
much as the students…and I like to contribute to the audio community. Back when
I started out I almost had to invent everything myself.
If you were asked to join a band, would you? Name some bands
you'd love to work with.
Tough question. There’s a lot of great bands out there. But
at some point in the future I would like to co-write with other people. I’m
planning something – but I can’t talk so much about it yet.
What do you think of
the 'SynthWave' movement? It seems like every day there's a new outfit popping
up on Twitter, with a chrome logo, some pink neon, and some palm trees!
It’s great to see the rise of the Synthwave scene – and
there’s a lot of talented artists out there. A lot of them are great at
inventing something new and not just repeating the past…which I think is important.
Recommend some albums by other artists ( any genre ) that
you've been listening to, lately.
The Daft Punk TRON soundtrack has a revival with me at the
moment. And for some reason I’ve been listening a lot to Black Sabbath the last
week or so. You can't beat listening to Birmingham's finest - thanks for talking to Future-Rocker! And as we promised, here's a Code Elektro's sampler to try. Enjoy!
You want the CODE ELEKTRO LIMITED EDITION CASSETTE, or the super-cool vinyls? Click here!
Interview by Alexi K, photos by Peter Heishrek, DHPA
Above: Body Electric, artworks and installations by Toby Barnes, at Locust Projects, Miami.
Toby Barnes is an artist that I met when we were both taking part in a show in Tokyo, called Psionic Distortion. Staying at the Andon Ryokan, a well-known artist's hotel, I seem to recall that we spent the entire week getting horribly lost, partly due to the friendly and well-meaning locals - who obviously had no idea what these bewildered and confused Westerners were asking - and so they repeatedly sent us on wild goose chases to spare us any further humiliation. Our exhibition was specifically curated around the Asian influences in our work, and with that in mind, I thought it would be apt to catch up with fellow-traveller Toby, and feature his work in this edition of Future-Rocker. Here, we present pictures from Toby’s Locust Projects Miami show - a mixture of
artworks and installations - entitled Body Electric. The exhibition references the
artist’s teenage years in North Miami, where he and his friends would fashion
homemade weights made out of found objects such as cement and pipes, with different weights being used to exercise specific muscle groups.
Toby, what's your background? Am I right in thinking your
dad was in the military?
I'm Thai American. My
dad is from Midwest and my mom is from Thailand. My dad dodged the draft as long as he could, and then eventually got drafted but ended up in Thailand. He returned to Thailand after his service
when he joined the Peace Corps, and that's when he met my mother who was working
in the malaria labs. They later settled
in Miami where I was born and raised.
Below: Chest, by Toby Barnes.
How do the places you have lived, inform your art?
I grew up mostly in Miami, but spent summers alternating
between the Midwest and Asia, specifically Thailand. My last show "The Pull of Things", at Volta NYC 2017 best explains how these places and travels inform my
art. It’s part of my method, and also provides the
visual triggers that you see in it. My
paintings are like kaleidoscopic Rorschachs, mixing and blending images that
I've drawn from both my travels in Asia, India, and South America, and images from
my everyday life in the US.
Knowing that our interests must coincide somewhat ( from having been in Psionic Distortion ), out of books, music, movies and comic-books which do you most enjoy, and which ones manifest in your
All of the above. I
love reading about mythology and world religions, and the visual language of
mythology is how I get inspired. For
instance, the multiple heads and hands in Indian mythology, or hybrid figures
like the Minotaur. I love composites and
figures that transform themselves.
Below: Body Electric, artworks and installations by Toby Barnes, at Locust Projects, Miami.
Looking at your collages, is it all made from found media,
or do you photograph or draw some elements, too?
My collages are mixed-media, but on a sliding scale: I don't want to be fixed into
any approach imposed by any given, singular media. So I use collage to mix digital photography,
drawing and painting, but the extent of each one varies according to the
Below: Center Body, by Toby Barnes.
What exactly is the process?
Every medium has their limitation but I've allowed myself to
have freedom to expand, combine, and push the boundaries of what constitutes a
particular media. The focus of my
challenge has been paintings, and I've sought to expand on what we understand by
them. In the beginning, I used to leave the medium of painting by
turning to another medium, such as installation art or silk screening, and then
come back to painting with a new approach.
Now I develop my approach from within painting.
Below: Thigh High Club, by Toby Barnes.
What are you working on right now?
I just finished a show this past month ("The Pull of
Things", Volta NYC), and now I'm stepping back and thinking about the
intersection of collage and painting. I
want to continue the investigation into the aesthetics of the painted surface.
Below: Shower With Flowers, by Toby Barnes.
Finally Toby, w
hat's the art scene like in Amherst, New York, where you live?
It's a college town, and actually this is the Five College area,
so there are five around which gives me amazing access to exhibitions and
talks. I've loved recent exhibits at
UMASS Amherst, including an ongoing one now by Kara Walker called
"Emancipating the Past." I'm
also vibed from being in constant contact with academics across various
Singer, actor and director Ilya Naishuller was the man behind the hugely viral BITING ELBOWS' BAD MOTHERF**KER video ( as featured in Future-Rocker's first edition ), which was later crowdfunded into an expanded concept, becoming last year's cult cinema hit HARDCORE HENRY. Never a man to rest on his laurels, he now serves up another bar-raising promo classic, this time for the band LENINGRAD. Check out the spectacular results, and then scroll down for an update from the man himself:
FUTURE-ROCKER: Your Leningrad promo - at what point did you decide to do
this backwards, or was it intended to be backwards right from the early
I wrote the actual script backwards.
And did you storyboard it forwards to check that it would be
coherent, then reverse everything?
Nope, storyboards were always drawn in reverse. But everything
was filmed forwards, and we edited right on the set to check for how it works
It looks incredible - what percentage was green-screen, and
what percentage was in-camera ‘real’ effects?
Ninety percent was in-camera, real stunt work.
So after having done a big budget film such as Hardcore
Henry, was there still anything unexpected that you hadn’t foreseen while
Too much to mention, really. Everything was unexpected, with
no references, as I was doing something that was never done well before. And of
course, the jump from a five minute video to a ninety minute feature is a very
What was it like working with ( DISTRICT 9 star ) Sharlto Copley?
Awesome! He's a true collaborator and works hard to get the
best material possible.
So, Ilya, have you been been offered any other movies, off
the back of that?
FUTURE-ROCKER and our former sister mag MONOBLOG have featured some amazing optical illusions and video effects over the past couple of years, and this is no exception. What you will see in this clip, is real-world, real-time special effects. We predict you will be seeing a lot of this technology used in theater performances, live concerts, and musicals very soon..!
Omote is a 'collaboration between Japanese media artist Nobumichi Asai, makeup artist Hirohito Kuwahara, and digital image engineer Paul Lacroix'.
NEWS ON OBSYDIANS, THEIR NEW VOCALISTS, AND SAMAEL!
As you may know from reading Future-Rocker's comprehensive interview with Thomas back in early 2016, the cyber-metal juggernaut that was SYBREED is no more. Ironically, interest in the band has grown since its cessation, due to an ever-growing army of admirers on Youtube, and no doubt aided by the French singer Rachel Aspe's herculean cover-version of one of Sybreed's best-known songs ( 'Emma-0' from 'Antares' which she did on the popular TV show France Has Got Talent ). It's clear that large numbers of people still listen to the back-catalogue. With the vocalist Benjamin Nominet leaving for personal reasons, Thomas felt the focal point of the band went with him, and so decided to close the chapter on Sybreed, and build a new, updated-model, called OBSYDIANS. Retaining Sybreed's core musicians ( alongside Thomas, there is also Ales Campanelli on bass, and Kevin Choiral on drums ) Obsydians is apparently going to be very similar to the classic sound of 'Antares', with a notable exception: There will be three vocalists! We will let Thomas pick up from where we left off last year... Future-Rocker: Are you in the studio with Obsydians yet?
Drop: We are not in the studio at the moment, but things have
moved forward a bit. We’ve finished 3 demos, and as we speak the singers are
hard at work on them. We have Jon Howard from Threat Signal, Steve Fari from
This Misery Garden, and Guillaume Bideau from One Way Mirror. For those of you unfamiliar with the different vocalists and their respective bands, we have included clips below. We're pretty excited, because none of them are run-of-the-mill choices. Thomas is obviously a man of singular vision, and knows that each will compliment his writing and producing.
Obsydians vocalist #1: Jon Howard
Obsydians vocalist #2: Steve Fari ( look closely and you'll see Thomas in the video ).
Obsydians vocalist #3: Guillaume Bideau
Future-Rocker: That is a stellar collection of singers for one band. They will definitely all be able to fit the original Sybreed blueprint and bring something completely new for Obsydians. How long will we have to wait until we hear a new track?
Drop: As soon as we have all the vocals and music, we’ll record
everything and make the final versions. I really hope to be able to release one
of these songs before the summer! But you know how tricky schedules are, even
more when you work with people living in different parts of the globe. ( - Threat Signal are from Canada, This Misery Garden are Swiss, and One-Way Mirror are French. ) In the meantime we’ll finish some more demos, we have
approximatively 8 more songs to be finished. ( Continued ).
Below: Thomas 'Drop' Betrisey playing bass on tour with SAMAEL.
Future-Rocker: With singers in three different bands in three different countries, it's surely going to be logistically difficult touring?
Drop: Obsydians is not really a live band. If we’ll have to play
some shows, I will surely ask only one singer to sing for them all.
Here at Future-Rocker we suspect that summer festival dates will be the most likely place to witness an Obsydians performance. You never know, more than one vocalist could be available if his other band is also playing on the same bill.
When we last checked-in with Drop, he was sitting under a palm tree in Mexico, telling us about achieving his teenage dream of joining his favourite band, Swiss industrialists SAMAEL. Shortly after that, he was delighted to be joining his new bandmates on the 2016 '70,000 Tons of Metal Tour', a yearly metal festival that navigates the Caribbean aboard a cruise-ship.
Future-Rocker: How was the 70,000 Tons tour?
The 70,000 Tons was amazing man. Really cool times, met a lot of nice people. Smoked some green in Jamaica, all good...I really hope we can go back to perform on that "boat" soon.
So you're still with Samael?
For sure I’m still with Samael. We just signed a deal with
Napalm Records, and we are gonna release the new album later this year. With the intense sound of Sybreed, and also in your guise as producer-for-hire for bands such as Clawerfield, Nakaruga and This Misery Garden, has it ever been suggested that you produce a Samael album?
Haha, the producer and mastermind of Samael is Xy, and I
think he does this job really well. So the future will tell what’s gonna happen
Cool. Any other big festival tours lined up for Samael?
confirmed California Deathfest on October 14th 2017, and we hope that some
dates in the US will follow. Thanks for the update, Drop. A lot of fans will be very happy to know that you've got some new music coming out this year. Thanks, man! Cheers.
Few musicians get to navigate the fickle music industry as successfully as Tim Skold. Here we present the promo video from his latest solo release. After that, Future-Rocker will guide you through some of the many high-points of his career...
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 1 ) Skold's band Kingpin emulate the Glam Metal sound and look of the era, and move from Sweden to LA to capitalise on the scene. There they sign with guitar-shredding label Relativity, and re-release their debut album under their new name, Shotgun Messiah, in 1989. 2 ) Skold takes over on lead vocals, as Shotgun consolidate with their follow-up album, Second Coming, in 1991.
3 ) The times are a-changing: By 1993, MTV and the rest of the media has changed its focus and so grunge is in, Hair Metal is out...but what is also getting big is Industrial music, which by now has begun to adopt a more 'metal' guitar sound. Converging with that, Shotgun close their career with 'Violent New Breed', an explosive blast of intense industrial rock that was ahead of its time. 4 ) Amidst many side projects, solo releases and collaborations, Skold's next big hook-up is with notable German industrial band, KMFDM ( re-booted for a short time as MDFMK ). Skold works alongside bandleader Sascha Konietzko in various iterations from 1997 to 2009. Here he is writing, playing and contributing lead vocals.
5 ) Skold's first stint with Marilyn Manson is as producer on the single Tainted Love. He then joins Manson's band after the departure of Twiggy Ramirez, contributing writing, guitars and production. Skold is with Manson from 2001 to 2007.
Exactly one year ago FUTURE-ROCKER featured this mind-blowing music video from the French promo whiz-kids known collectively as SETH ICKERMAN. Here, we re-present it to you in case you missed it first time around. Then, below, you will see them talking about fundraising for their new project entitled BLOOD MACHINES / TURBO KILLER 2.
( Apologies for not being able to show the no-ads VIMEO version, will post at a later date if terms and conditions change ).
CAN'T GET ENOUGH? WATCH THE CLIP BELOW AND THEN CONTRIBUTE TO THEIR NEXT COLLABORATION VIA KICKSTARTER!
Below: Tron: Legacy's supporting cast featured Revlon modelBeau Garrett as Gem.
ARTICLE: COULD IT BE THIRD TIME LUCKY FOR THE TRON UNIVERSE? by Alexi K
Below: The Japanese poster for 1982's TRON.
When DISNEY announced that their 80s cult sci-fi movie TRON was getting a lavish Noughties sequel ( yes - sequel - not a remake ), anticipation was high that this would be a breakthrough release, ushering in a new franchise with trendy retro-roots that refreshingly wasn't anything to do with Marvel or DC. The trouble with the previous statement is the word 'cult'. Disney does not do 'cult'. They either do 'BIG', or not at all. And so the film Tron: Legacy ironically has a similar afterlife to the first film: An enthusiastic army of admirers that for reasons known only to box office alchemists ( or maybe Disney execs ), yet again failed to yield the monster hit Disney was hoping for. [ Cont'd ].
Below: One of the many posters for Disney's Tron: Legacy ( 2010 ).
In a way, the surprise was that Disney were attempting the sequel in the first place. A small but vocal pool of fanboy supporters does not guarantee a hit movie, even more-so if the sequel deviates from the source material, annoying those same purists. Instead of a brighter, refreshed take on the work of original designers Moebius and Syd Mead, we got a largely monochromatic CGI environment, all charcoal-and-neon. Against the expectations of the intervening years, it looked dull, in other words. As Marvel have proved to a stunning degree, sequels only really work when the original is cleverly established and built upon. With veteran actor Jeff Bridges' reprisal of Flynn chewing the scenery, Tron himself - uber-cool Bruce Boxleitner - was left with a mere cameo, while the original's heroine Cindy Morgan ( who played Yori ), and villain ( David Warner's Sark ), were notably absent altogether. So the net result of the new version, was one of deflation, rather than elation. [ Cont'd ].
Below: Beau Garrett on a Hungarian poster for Tron: Legacy.
Sadly, it may take more than a handful of fans or an enthusiastic Disney insider to lobby for a further sequel. The reason for that is because Disney now owns box-office juggernauts Marvel Studios, Star Wars, and Pixar. With that unassailable monopoly, the studio simply does not need to make another Tron, or risk further expensive in-house flops ( to compound matters, two years after Legacy, their excellent live-action fantasy-adventure, John Carter, was a box-office disaster - although there are rumours the Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptation was deliberately squashed, in favour of the looming Star Wars acquisition ). [ Cont'd ].
Below: The composers of the soundtrack, the already Tron-like Daft Punk.
And yet, in the seven years since its release, Tron: Legacy persistently entertains the possibility of a sequel. Its chilly palette and glassy environments do indeed become increasingly seductive with each viewing, while scenes including Michael Sheen's brilliant turn as a cyber-Ziggy Stardust, are always entertaining. Above all, it's the epic soundtrack by French techno-legends Daft Punk, that definitely rewards repeated visits. ( See clip, below ). And despite it's own rather flat plot progression, Legacy's final scene offers the tantalising possibility of Tron's electronically-generated characters entering the human world. The director, Joseph Kosinski, definitely has what we call in the visual arts, 'the eye'. A trained architect, he also directed the starkly beautiful Tom Cruise slow-burner Oblivion. So his sensibilities are tailor-made for spectacle, and the new era of expanded universes. In this age of enhanced reality, mass-participation video games and virtual environments, a blockbuster movie franchise populated with electronic superheroes, must surely, next time round, score big? NEWS THIS WEEK: Jared Leto ( Suicide Squad, Dallas Buyers Club ), is apparently in talks to star in Tron 3 ( according to Variety, March 3rd 2017 ). It's unclear as yet whether this will be a reboot or a sequel to Tron: Legacy. There is no confirmation if Joseph Kosinski is attached to direct, and there is still no writer. FUTURE-ROCKER's opinion is that Tron: 3, could be both a sequel to Tron: Legacy, as well as its own reboot. The worst case scenario would be rebooting the whole concept from scratch - effectively deleting the first two films - as audiences tend to be less enthused when they feel they've only recently seen the previous version ( see Amazing Spiderman and Fantastic Four reboots ). The studio will also run the risk of alienating the small fanbase that has grown up from the first two films, and who would be more interested to see how the characters transition into the 'real' world, rather than go through repeats of the scenarios already rendered previously.
Below: The END OF LINE CLUB scene, featuring Garrett Hedlund, Michael Sheen, Beau Garrett and DAFT PUNK. ( - Could Tron even be a musical? ).
FINALLY, CLICK HERE FOR THE BRILLIANT 'TRON: DESTINY' FAN VIDEO!