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Interview with Techno Westerns
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I started playing guitar as a kid, but I gave up because I couldn’t really figure it out. Then I picked up piano by absolute fluke and was able to play things by ear, so I decided I wanted to be a famous piano player. That obviously changed. I don’t know what I would otherwise do if not music though, maybe fashion. 9 to 5 work would suck the soul out of me for sure though.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I like window shopping for clothes, I love listening to music, and I’ve always taken a pretty keen interest in social issues and politics. I’m just perpetually stuck in my head though, so a lot of music comes from my surroundings, or from me thinking up scenarios as if I’m taking part in a movie.
How long has your band been around?
Since about 2015 when I started officially releasing demos on soundcloud
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
Currently, we’re based out of Toronto, which to be honest I don’t know if it had much influence at all besides the occasional lyrical namedrop. I find that I bring a lot of my own culture and heritage into what I do. From the surfy sort of chords, to me using Maori words in my lyrics. Me being from New Zealand has always been the biggest pool to draw from.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Techno Westerns came about from me not paying attention to my surroundings and daydreaming about the concept of every song having it’s own individual genre. Which led to me thinking about Clint Eastwood by Gorillaz. I thought Western because of the song title, as well as harmonica and so on, and Techno because the song is very industrial and electronic. Hence the term Techno Western. I put an S on that and got the band name. It means whatever people want it to mean, but to me, it means me. The name is like an extension of myself.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Flu show is the best story. That show had everything. First off, it was a headlining slot at the Horseshoe Tavern on a Friday. Us and the other bands on the bill absolutely filled the spot, and the crowd was nuts. Joshua was ready, Sean was ready, Sava was ready, I on the other hand had the flu and bronchitis. I was completely out of it, barely hanging in there, then we finally walk on stage, and I’ve lost my voice. We gave it everything, had someone come up and sing the final song with me because my voice was gone, but we just went all in. We finish the show, I’m sitting down going in and out of consciousness, and I ended up getting in a little altercation with the sound guy because he was swearing at someone who was checking on me. There’s more to it, but that was a crazy night.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I love Handlebar, Zac Strevens who works there is the best. Supermarket is solid as well, but I just love a sound guy There named Lu who always does us justice. Places we’re going to play but haven’t yet would include the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, Spark Arena in Auckland, and Scotia Bank Arena here in Toronto. Give us a little time to get on those stages though.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Arctic Monkeys, Tame Impala, and The Killers. That’s royalty to me. I would want to just learn from them and really gauge where we are in a live setting versus where they are. You need a challenge of that size to improve in my opinion, and I love a good challenge.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
If you are starting out, and you find bandmates who help you grow and you help them grow, stick with them. I can’t tell you the key to success just yet, I’m still figuring it out myself, but try just follow your gut. Young me on the other hand just needed a hug. He was on the right track, he just needed to avoid some of the people he was around.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Find better friends.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
That’s tough, but I think Contradict. It’s been on every setlist since I’ve started playing. It’s a really honest song for me lyrically, and while it’s getting older, I still stand by it. You need something to keep you honest, and it does that for me.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
My favorite to play is probably Murmurs, but I’m loving this new track we have called All My Friends. We get Forever (Goon) requested a decent chunk, Anemoia as well.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
It usually starts with me just having a spur of the moment idea that I have to put down before I forget, and either I win the race to get the idea out, or my brain beats me to the punch and flushes it clean out of my memory. I don’t have a fancy studio for the music, it’s all done at home or in my car. I see the song from the writing phase, all the way through to the recording, mixing, producing and mastering. It’s for better or worse a very hands-on ordeal. A lot gets me inspired though, everything from thinking up a fake scenario, to my personal life, to politics, to a literal scene out of this Lakers tv show I was watching. It changes every time.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I don’t know if it’s a message so much as it’s a feeling. I was always a bit of a social pariah who just wanted to have friends and feel like I belonged somewhere, so a lot of what I do as a musician is try and make music that maybe connects a little more with the oddballs like myself. My family was working class. I had freckles and a big head on a small body. I had a rat tail and a faux hawk. I’m really not singing to the in crowd, but I’m very interested in representing the out group.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Not with these guys, as I think they really get it. I have disagreements with others in music all the time though. A lot of it stems from a misunderstanding of the band and what I’m trying to do, and what we represent. I always have the conversation and explain what’s wrong or what my gripe is, but if someone isn’t willing to listen, I seldom deal with them going forward.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
2023 is pretty do-or-die for us. First EP out Feb 3rd, the next three sprinkled throughout the year. Hopefully some festivals and tours which you can follow our instagram for info on. This is a busy year, and I haven’t thought much about the next, but the plan is you hear our music and see our logo everywhere you look.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
@technowesterns on everything, or just type Techno Westerns in. Look for the heart in a wheel,