The Uncoveror predicted that in the future, robots would be making music. The future is here: The Robotic Subwaymen. My colleague, science editor M. Grant Winston insists that these can't actually be robots, but must be men dressed as robots. Their music is just too good to be made by mere machines. With his thoughts on the subject, and my own curiosity, I sought to learn more.
What I can see at a glance is that they are much more interesting and futuristic than the tinman-like robot band of the 1950s. CIVO (Cyborg Incorporates Vocal Organization), the leader of the group is easy to spot. He is bright white while his band mates are black with blue neon highlights. They look like they came from the future. While preparing to interview CIVO, I have learned that the group released their first CD entitled 2083 in 2004, and have just completed a follow up called Technology.
Radstein: I imagine that everyone asks you this, but I must as well. Are you really robots?
CIVO: No we are not robots but I'm so excited about the Robotic Revolution coming out of Japan I decided to volunteer my excitement through music, and being an artist having robots come through the speakers and looking up to see some regular looking guy on stage don't do it for me. Many bands have toyed with robots in music, but none have had a front man as characteristic as Civo.
Radstein: Where are you from originally?
CIVO: I was born in Louisiana, but have always been into robots and Japanese culture.
Radstein: I understand that you have a growing number of fans in Japan. Tell me more about that.
CIVO: Yes, The knowledge of the Robotic Subwaymen is growing in Japan. It is hard overcoming the language differences especially via e-mail, but I feel once I'm able to create some videos so they see the image of us with our glowing eyes, they will instantly love us!
Radstein: Your music is very different than what we hear on popular radio today. What do you think of today's popular music?
CIVO: Today's music is somewhat bland. There are so many bands that sound alike its unreal, however there are some that blow me away.
Radstein: You have recorded two CDs, 2083 a year ago, and Technology this year. Could you tell me a little about your music, and how it has changed in a year's time.
CIVO: About 2083: It has something to do with numbers and being devinely driven, as you will hear in certain songs. How has the music changed? I have a higher state of consciousness than that of a year ago. We have many influences. Kraftwerk to indie bands like Trans Am to very popular groups currently Daft Punk (I'm curious to know where they got their new image from...they almost look like Subwaymen...ummm).
Radstein: I was hoping you could tell me something about your songwriting process. Do you just sit down with a pencil and tablet?
CIVO: Empty eyes wasn't a "pencil and tablet" written song. I played the melody, listened and the message was there telling me, and assuring me...my space is wide now, no need to cry now...trust it will work out...believe in it now!
Well, there you have it: Robots making music, and in spite of my previous expectations it is not just the same old teen pop. Here is something fresh and new. Keep an eye on their websites at Myspace and CD Baby for more information. They are well worth checking out if they playing near you.