Monday, 21 September 2015


We got there first, folks! Back in 2013, Future-Rocker interviewed musician / director Ilya Naishuller about the groundbreaking and spectacular 'Bad Motherf*cker',  a pop promo that very quickly went viral on the internet. Now, two years later, he is premiering his debut feature-length sci-fi action spectacular, HARDCORE, at various film festivals around the world. Using the same vertiginous point-of-view photography, it looks absolutely tremendous!

Thursday, 17 September 2015


''I do like to think Zardonic is DJ music and not Metal music''

Note! Since this article was published, Soundcloud have added ads to their format. It can be annoying but hang tight the music's worth waiting for!

One of the inevitabilities of modern life is the proliferation of hybrids: People experiment with technology and cultures that previously would not be accessible. They fuse their disparate influences, and make it their own. There is no better embodiment of a cultural gene-splice, than ZARDONIC. A pan-cultural collision of dance and heavy metal ( distinct from industrial, EBM or electro-goth ), DJ Federico Agreda brings a hard-edged apocalyptic form of dance music to the world's arenas.

This is Zardonic's time. We talk to him before - and then after - a ground-breaking Sri Lankan gig, where he was the first dance DJ in the world to headline a metal festival, and on the eve of the release of his CD, Antihero.

First of all, explain how Zardonic came about. Being from Venezuela, how has your background shaped your music?

I think living in a country where bullying is the rule makes you inevitably angry and vindictive. That paired with the terrible economical and political crisis the country is facing. I left the country in July 2014 shortly after the latest riots began. Kids playing the hero / freedom fighter / terrorist role with anything and everything from burning tires to mortars, against a relentless military police. Thankfully for some, it wasn't happening all over the country. But it sure was happening three blocks from where I lived. So I couldn't even go to the yard to look at the twilight - my hometown, Barquisimeto, is known also as Twilight City because of the incredible sunsets we have - without seeing clouds of smoke, hearing all sorts of explosions, gunfire and screams. Not to mention there's been a recent electricity regulation where they have to cut the power three days a week for 2-3 hours at random times. It was the perfect scenario for all sorts of raiders to do as they pleased. And they did. And they still do.

What’s the music scene like in Venezuela?

Despite what I just told you, the scene is surprisingly REALLY good. We have all sorts of internationally acclaimed artists. Look em up whenever you want: Guaco, Los Amigos Invisibles, La Vida Boheme, Desorden Publico, Gustavo Dudamel, all of them incredibly talented and successful. When it comes to Metal, I guess I could mention Paul Gillman and Krueger in terms of popularity, but the underground has a lot more to offer in terms of composition quality. Verminous is a great death metal band to check out.

You obviously are influenced by metal, but I notice from the tracks you’ve remixed - such as Arkhon Infaustus and Anaal Nathrakh – that you have a singular taste for the more 'progressed' Black Metal that came after the millennium ( Black Metal was/is a hyper-fast form of heavy metal, originating in Scandinavia in the 90s ). Is it fair to say that this is an era that interests you specifically?

Nailed it. Post-2000 Black Metal is right up my alley. Older classics like Bathory, old Mayhem and old Sepultura are also among my favorites, but that technical touch you hear in Mayhem's "Grand Declaration Of War ( 2000 )" as opposed to their "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas ( 1994 )" is something I personally prefer. 

I agree. When Mayhem went back to a more primitive sound to please the die-hards, they were in danger of making themselves obsolete.

I don't even know what they were trying to do by forcing their old sound back. That's involution. They should have kept the path they were taking if you ask me. A lot of people keep complaining about bands changing their sound. That's like you complaining about a fifty-year-old not being able to think the same way he did when he was ten. Evolution is natural, and so should be music. You can always go back and play the old albums and enjoy them for what they are, but trying to replicate it in new music will never be the same.

Were you into the more 'electronic' Black Metal such as Thorns and Aborym?

Of course!! I'm still waiting for Thorns to release another f**king album! And "With No Human Intervention" by Aborym is probably one of my favorite albums of all time! Loved the work of Attila Csihar ( Mayhem's vocalist ) particularly on that one.

''I am not a guy trying to bring electronic music into metal - that has been done to death''

Genre-busting music is always difficult to label. For example, I’ve noticed Celldweller is often listed on dance charts, whereas it would be more accurate to call it Metal, Progressive Metal, or perhaps even Electro-Metal ( – and very distinct from Industrial, which is how his music is labelled on my iPod ). Without wanting to reduce what you do with a simplistic label...what do you call the music of Zardonic?

Zardonic is Zardonic and I do what I feel, but I do like to think Zardonic is DJ music and not Metal music. I am not a guy trying to bring electronic music into metal. That has been done to death, and Celldweller is an excellent example of it. What I'm trying to do is the opposite: bring metal to the dance arenas. I like the energy you find in dance events. People are moving, they give you so much power, and everybody is all gathered and happy. Add a bit of extra heaviness and power to that and you've got an unmatched formula. That's why my live shows are still DJ sets. It's dance music with a lot of rock metal, not metal with electronic samples. In other words, I'm a DJ that sounds like a band, and not the other way around.

What inspired you to wear the mask? Kiss, Daft Punk, or Predator?

None of them. The mask was originally conceived and it's based on my logo which is based on my own face. People keep comparing it to Predator because it has "dreads" - RCA cables, to be precise - which were a later addition. But it wasn't inspired in anything that wasn't my own. Although I do like the idea that the final result resembles all of those things you mentioned, and other characters such as Deathstroke, Fulgore, Cyrax... a guy once said it looked like the cross of a Cylon and the mask from Scream, so I guess everybody will see what they will. I see nothing but the real me. Quoting Oscar Wilde, "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth."

Give us your Top 5 list of classic albums, any genres.

I hate Top 5s. I always end up turning that into a Top 10, 20 or 50. So I will just throw the first five albums I can think of:

Behemoth - The Satanist
Arcturus - Aspera Hiems Sinfonia
Mayhem - Grand Declaration Of War
Dodheimsgard - 666 International
Ulver - Themes From William Blake's 'The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell'

- And I guarantee you that I could keep going, and I'm leaving a ton out of that list that I listen on a daily basis. Sixth one and I'll stop: Fredrik Thordendal's Special Defects - Sol Niger Within

I definitely agree with you regarding Arcturus and Mayhem, although Ulver was a bit too soft and proggy for me. What are you listening to at the moment?

Behemoth's "The Satanist" has been on repeat for a long while. It inspires me. Gives me an energy I can't explain. That's why I mentioned it as a classic, as I do believe it is the absolute best they've released. Contemporary artists, to be fair, I have a hard time finding new music that I like. I have to dig a lot, and sometimes the stuff I find that I like is probably music that was released a long time ago but I failed to discover then. God Is An Astronaut has an amazing sound. Some of the new DevinTownsend is good. Ne Obliviscaris, Xerath. That kinda stuff. But there are very few bands that understand how to make music that sounds interesting and at the same time hypnotic enough to be enjoyable. A lot of bands are on this quest to be the most technical, the most bizarre, or the most hard hitting, and you end up with a pig-squeal-fest with a lot of noise behind it. I can hardly mention any guitar riff composers I like these days. That's what "Bring Back The Glory" ( from Zardonic's Vulgar Display of Bass album ) was about. Bringing back the flavor of the 90s and early 2000s. That, for me, was the era. But maybe I'm just getting old because that's exactly what my old man would say about the 60s and 70s. He loved Pink Floyd big time!

What famous artists would you like to produce?

None. I have no time to produce anyone else that is not me. Unless they pay big money. 
So I guess whoever brings a balance of excellent music, open-mindedness and a fat wallet.

You’ve just announced that you’re headlining a Sri Lankan metal festival – that surely must be a first – both for 21st Century music culture and the Sri Lankans!

Tell me about it! It's going to be very interesting I think. I did it already when playing alongside Dimmu Borgir in Caracas. At first I thought the metalheads were gonna throw shit at me, but it was an excellent show and everybody was cheering and heard nothing but great comments about the set. There's always the occasional ignorant person that still thinks that being a DJ is only pushing buttons. I'd like to see Steve Vai trying to do a DJ set the same way Andy C does. It's another instrument man. Whoever fails to understand that is simply being square-headed.

Who’s idea was it, and what can the fans expect?

The Sri Lankans put it together. The fans can expect a set obviously a little more brutal and metal than usual, so I will be able to give free rein to all my black metal remixes. It's been a while since I played any!

Zardonic seems to embody one of the possible futures of heavy metal. Talking of futurist speculation, are you a fan of science fiction?

Big time. I see Zardonic as an antihero in a post apocalyptic future. But I think that topic has been overdone too much, so I want to be able to portray it in a different way. Still sorting out the ideas and don't want to give much away yet.

What books do you like to read and what movies do you like?

Never been much of a reader. They call it ADD in the United States. I need a movie. Most of the time I watch thought-provoking movies whatever the genre, but I have a sweet spot for great dramas. Movies like Dallas Buyers Club or Get Low. Robert Duvall's performance was outstanding there. I feel every time I watch those movies I grow as a human being. They give me perspective, inspiration. That's what I need from a movie.

Would you ever appear in a sci-fi movie, like the guys in Die Antwoord?

Maybe. But if I do appear in a movie it has to be done right. There's a difference between doing what Die Antwoord did with Chappie and what Bjork did with Dancer In The Dark.

Any plans to release a CD for those of us that like to keep music libraries and study liner notes and artwork in the booklet?!

Yes indeed. September 18th. You will be pleased!

''No matter how metal people think Zardonic is, Zardonic is an electronic music act''


What was the Sri Lanka gig like? How responsive was the crowd?

I can't complain about this experience man! We had a fully packed Viharamahadevi Theatre - I dare you to pronounce that! The crowd was tough at first, but that's natural. No matter how metal people think Zardonic is, Zardonic is an electronic music act. It's obviously going to work better at EDC than Wacken metal festival. But I did some special tricks by the end of the set and some live vocals on top of it, and when I least expected it I had a moshpit in front of me! I think I was yet to play such an aggressive set.

Sri Lanka seems a long way from the busy music scenes of Europe and the Americas. What's their local scene like?

The local bands were great, a few of them need to improve a bit perhaps, but nothing that good advice and practice can't fix. I heard some mad potential. My favorite was Coat Of Arms from Dubai, and Seven Thorns did a pretty interesting job. There was also Demonic Resurrection from India, as made famous by the Global Metal documentary. Excellent stage presence as well.

Great interview - thanks for your time, and good luck with Antihero!

Thank you for yours!





William Gibson's short story 'The Gernsback Continuum' brilliantly encapsulated what has become common currency in the realm of science fiction and the popular imagination: The idea of a 'future that didn't happen'. In that instance, it recalled the 'art deco futuroids' of a 1920s/30s-envisioned future, like the ones written about in pulp mags such as Thrilling Wonder Stories and Astounding Tales. 

Gibson was again ahead of the curve, because now that we are actually living in a science fiction future, for those creatives who find their own milieu just a tad too dull, they can use their talents to evoke these more romantic 'lost' visions, either in books, films, and more recently, music. Possibly the exemplar of this would be film director Panos Cosmatos ( interviewed here in this blog a while back ), as his visually-stunning film Beyond The Black Rainbow not only looked like a straight-to-VHS sci-fi chiller, but utilized the Sinoia Caves soundtrack to force the effect of a temporal dislocation upon the bewildered viewer.

Alongside Sinoia Caves, other artists such as Pilotpriest, and even the film director and synth maestro John Carpenter himself, have released quasi-soundtrack albums of neon-soaked, rainy eighties fantasias. 
So, with this concept now firmly entrenched in pop culture, Future-Rocker talks to Danish newcomer, Martin Ahm Nielsen - aka CODE ELEKTRO - about his music, and the need to go 'back to the future'. We also debut Cyber Dreams, his stunning promo video, too.

So Martin, who - or what - is 'Code Elektro'..?

Code Elektro is my electronica “band” where I’m the only member. The genre is a mix of synthwave and modern electronica. This year I've released my first album with ten tracks on vinyl, download and stream. The title is Superstrings. And it has been really well received. I didn’t know what to expect before the release, because I started from absolutely nothing. But the reviews have been great – and people from all over the world tell me they like it.

How would you describe your music - futuristic or retro-futuristic?

I would say mainly futuristic. There’s some retro elements, but for the main part, I try to create music that sounds like it’s new. However, I love the synthwave scene and I think there’s a lot of talented artists out there – and it’s great to see how it’s slowly getting more and more attention.

Clearly, your music is very cinematic - do you have visuals in your head when you compose?

Yes. I do that a lot. I find that having a movie or a certain atmosphere in my head can help me create. And I think that you can hear that in my music.

What instruments / technology do you use?

My main digital audio workstation is Cubase Pro 8 on the Mac. It’s the program you record in on your computer, similar to Garage Band and Protools. And for plugins I use U-he, Omnisphere, Retrologue, Padshop, Kontakt, TAL-U-NO-LX and all the synths from Arturia. I also have a few hardware synths – I used the Moog Sub Phatty the most.

What are your favourite albums, books or movies? From your music I can detect certain reference points. 

If I did an all-round science fiction Top 5 list it would be something like this:

1.    The Incal (Jodorowsky/Moebius)
2.    Blade Runner / Vangelis
3.    The Matrix (the first one)
4.    TRON: Legacy / Daft Punk
5.    Neuromancer (William Gibson)

Honorary mentions would have to go to John Carpenter, Alien, Terminator 1+2, Moon, The 5th Element, Stargate, Philip K Dick, TRON, Starship Troopers, The Cyann Saga, Trent Reznor, Jean Michel Jarre, Deus Ex and many more...

So, given all those influences, what movie would you love to do the soundtrack to?

Blade Runner and TRON: Legacy have fantastic scores – and I would love to have worked on them. But they're awesome because of Vangelis and Daft Punk…and I think they did a great job because they are who they are. Also the movie Beyond the Black Rainbow has an incredible synth score. And of course ( Swedish martial arts and eighties homage movie ) Kung Fury!

What do you see Code Elektro doing in the future? Concerts, movie scores, CD releases..?

Right now there’s a lot of work in promoting the album and the new music video…also I’m sending out vinyl all the time! Which is great fun…but yes…there’s a few new plans taking form. Too early to say more about it..!

Sounds interesting! Until then, check out CODE ELEKTRO's beautiful new promo video:


My personal philosophy regarding 'art' is a distinctly non-academic one. I've put in my ten thousand man-hours, and therefore, the decision is entirely mine to decide where it goes and how it gets disseminated. We're living in the future now, so as well as just looking at my work, if you can live in it, drink it, eat it, brush your teeth with it...that's fine by me.

Inspired by my love of urban futurism and electronic music, the ELECTRONIQUE is the first example of wearable Alexi K art.

[ You can buy it by clicking here. If you know any fans of futurism and electronica, send them the link! ]

It began in 2013, when I did a bunch of articles for my black & white art mag MONOBLOG, featuring sci-fi film-making gurus Anthony Scott Burns, Ash Thorp and Bradley ( GMunk ) Munkowitz.

Looking for a cool custom background for one of these editions - and inspired by the enthralling 'graphic user interfaces' that some these guys specialize in - I found a very ordinary electronic diagram, and abstractified it until it started to look interesting. 

It's like any other collage. You chop / rotate / mirror / cut / paste / edit , according to the configurations that suit your personal sense of balance.

Like a Rorschach test, you start to think you can see shapes or figures amongst all the lines and shapes.

Below: Alternative Iteration, 2013

For example, to me, the picture above evokes an eerie A.I. version of the Turin Shroud

( Detail below ).

Shortly afterwards, I was still in this mode when I submitted one of the many iterations to Bucketfeet...lo and behold, it's now a shoe!

Below: Alternative Iteration, 2014


The next few months is an absolutely momentous era for electronic rock n roll. As well as ZARDONIC, there are imminent albums from industrial rocker BLUE STAHLI and king of electro-metal, CELLDWELLER! To celebrate, FUTURE-ROCKER will review all of these landmarks, plus we will have an exclusive interview with Thomas 'Drop' Betrisey, guitarist and studio wizard of Swiss industrial rockers SYBREED, who will be updating us on his new band OBSYDIANS. There's all this, and more - in the next edition, which will go live in late November. See you then - but if you can't wait that long, keep scrolling and check out the fantastic brand-new release from Brazil's LURDEZ DA LUZ, below this post!


If you like that, try this from 2012...