1/24/15

THE ANONYMOUS ARTIST: ISLANDROCKS

Written by Greigh Johanson

Islandrocks is a Swedish artist who has flourished on youtube for a long time by now. I was curious about who the person behind the project was, so I decided to contact the person. Very soon I received a response, and from there, new doors around my curiosity would be opened and today I have good contact with the person behind this project. Out of respect, I have chosen to let the artist remain anonymous.





Greigh Johanson:
Your music beats its way with nice disco-tunes as well as electro, funk, progressive rock and metal with great inspiration from the early 70th century and gladly covers of old video games and Italian giallo / horror film soundtracks. Can you tell us more about your project?

Islandrocks:
This project is very chaotic and not particularly conventional. There is no clear common thread in what I do and strive for. According to YouTube my biggest out-bass is in America, with France in second place. I have over a million and a half streams included, but there are many who have that, while there is a tremendous amount of exposure. In my industry I work in the scenes, it's very rare that I scream out what I've done. I'm found in what I do, or add values in popularity, not after I apply it either, that's why I prefer to remain anonymous.



GJ:
Please, tell us some about how you work and how you create an interesting concept that appeals to your audience.

Islandrocks:
One can say this, that everything I did as highlighted by this project is thanks to listeners and interest of the audience. I'm involved because I get requests from anyone anywhere. Whether it's a snippet of an interview of a website, a cover of a DVD, self-composed songs for documentaries or a short film that needs a certain feeling. It's often that people get stuck because I do something unusual. Much of what I worked on early've gone and become popular today, as retro is very much on the wallpaper and often what is to my taste. For me it's not about nostalgia for instance. I started with video-game's cover songs that were guitar-based, without for that matter was some sort of gamer myself. But it got incredible interest even though much of what I just did was an afternoon-play. Then I got interested in testing  movie-covers or just inspired songs of it. Fabio Frizzi, for example, have heard many of my interpretations and like them. Islandrocks have recently become very synth tinted. But it turns all the time.

GJ:
Are you aware that you are one of the very few musicians who have made one of the heaviest versions of the song "Apoteosi Del Mistero"? Right behind you is Morte Macabre's version which is similar to the original one but with a more proggressiv touch. What do you think about this statement?

Islandrocks:
No, I wasn't aware about that at all, but thanks for the kind words. Again, it was something I recorded a morning, quite spontaneously, without any preparation, and then I published it on Youtube. This shows some how I work. It's often very spontaneously (like capturing the moment) and then I rarely go back and change and mixes. It may often be as it was, even if the version you mentioned, to me, is very chaotically organized. May I, however a mission to record something special for any purpose I put more time into it sonically and performance-wise is clear as a bell. It's very important.



GJ:
How do you turn to the broad genre of music you create?

Islandrocks:
I'm a multi-instrumentalist and master many genres. There's nothing safe to say about me, but it shifts as life changing. Islandrocks is no style, it just is. What many don't know is that I for example am using what I have. I don't have a conscious studio at home, but I conjure with what exists and it's often very affection equipment. I often get questions about equipment and so on. But I'm not a educated musician, I'm autodidact.

GJ:
That's why I like what you do. Everything doesn't sounds professionally, but I get stuck very easy in your way to work, because I can clearly see that you are passionate about it. I also like your genre-width, and that you dare to try on everything. Has it seemed natural all the way, or have you ever hesitated?

Islandrocks:
I come from a time before computers, when we recorded on four-channel distributor with broken wires, when we couldn't fix everything in the computer so everything fell into the right pace as you can today. Much of what I produce, I let remain as it is, even if it may be perceived as a bit sloppy, it's a bit of charm I think. I just drive on. I don't hesitate to play different kinds of music, it's extremely natural and for me completely normal. In contrast, I often hesitate what I put out because today so many teens sits and outsource materials that sounds like an expensive studio recording so in comparison sounds it's very lousy. But however, I'm from the old school and don't care what the newer generation says about that. But of course, I hesitate sometimes, because I really hate 90% of what I put out, but because it gets so much "love" from listening I just can not take it off, so afterwards it becomes very ambiguous to me.



GJ:
Old school is definitely a charm and adolescents grow with age and learns to like it dirty and somewhat sloppy. Trust me!

Islandrocks:
Yes you have certainly right about that, it's certainly true as well. But as we talked about a little earlier, I do not like to focus on works, it doesn't need to be so extremely elaborate, then you lose something important I think. And, by the way, who decided it would be in a certain way? Although it's not horror related .. if you look at my absolute most popular Youtube-song is from the Sega Game "Golden Axe" with over 300,000 views. I recorded it in 2006 with an old version of Cubase and sonically, then Youtube downconverted the sound pretty much, it's fairly flat. But today it got hails and positive, lyrical comments and people seem not to care about if the production is a little awkward. The version is good and it's what goes through to people. Since I published it, there has also been a lot of versions of Golden Axe, but my version is still listed as the best of them. It's fun when things on the internet may own wings and then becomes a monument. It's not my song anymore in any way, It's the people out there, who gives life to it. I think it's like that with every videos I made.



GJ:
I understand that you like Italian film classic, do you have an absolute favorite in Italian horror / giallo theme that you can talk about? In that case, what is it that gave you such an impression on that movie?

Islandrocks:
Are we talking Italian horror classics and what has influenced me tremendously, it's Zombie 2. It's one of those first-time thing, you know when you come across something new and somewhat become fanatical in the end. I saw it on a lousy VHS which was also cut, but that movie decided me how I saw horror to come altogether. Since my old heavy TV and wooden 'sound from the soundtrack that rumbled its way, it sounded like something produced in hell. But my absolute favorite is The Beyond. It becomes frequently that you get stuck on something you saw early. Later it became Dario Argento and the music that came with, which put the overall sound of what I associate with like, atleast for me and certainly for the most of you. It's really a very special style. Anyway, Lucio Fulci is the director who made me do what I do today probably. You can not get away from it. It's all about feeling in such films, something that appeals to me, it doesn't make sense at all.



Otherwise, I 'm very much for Mario Bava (Lisa and the Devil is magically good) and Jean Rollin, France, which makes incredibly good films that unfortunately most people can relate to and understand right, I think. Otherwise, my movie taste is as wide as my musical tastes. The only day I can look at Ittenbach's No Reason for the next day to see Gene Kelley's Singing in the Rain and were equally fascinated by both well that I can listen to a jazz song by George Benson for later slide over to a Morbid Angel wallop. I think everyone can learn to be more open, you just have to let go of all learned of thought and care what others say. Breaking down and building up.

GJ:
That was well written by you. Being able to break the pattern and open yourself is useful for development as a musician and artist, as well as director and actor. There is so much out there that can give inspiration to so much more. What do you like most in today's horror and the opposite direction, what do you hate?

Islandrocks:
It's a matter of being open here as well. Sometimes I think some people catching on to word "good horror was best in the past". But I think there are lots of good impression in the modern horror film art. What I like in today's horror is the same as I really dislike. To challenge the viewer and to push the boundaries a bit. Above all, I think France has made the best performances in the current situation with countless good films in the genre. But I think there are lots of other good example, both smaller and more commercial. I hesitate a bit to see films that just seem to want to provoke or show extreme images that feels like the most filling function to shock and then build interest through for example the internet that way and then get some kind of hype surrounding him. Something I really hate is when one beckons to see real nasty misery clip of horror forums or implicate such in movies or similar, then I think it's a completely different thing. It has nothing to do with what I like or think has something to do with horror. For me it's a different forum.

GJ:
The terror certainly has 1000 eyes and all of us thinks different. I personally like such extreme movies where the provocative images displays as much as possible.

Islandrocks:
Obviously, if we all thought the same, it's no use to discuss with anyone, ever, really. I like to discuss with people who have similar starting point with different terms of looking at things. It's very stimulating and makes me possibly sometimes even changes the view on anything I might certainly thought anything else about before. Or what? Then what's provocative for you, maybe it's not for me and vice versa. It depends on how you are affected by it. For an example, many people think "Combat Shock" is a depressing, unwieldy movie. I don't perceive it that way. Another example is Moriturius which received much criticism for being "immoral" and "hateful". I don't share that view either. It was a good horror film that was very similar to Fulci style, which surely was the idea. Martyrs is another example. Many think the last part is the "worst", I thought the first part was it. Isn't it interesting?

GJ:
But if I understand you correctly about the "misery clips on the internet", do you mean recorded executions of war and beheaded victims etc? I've been seen such competitions in some forums and it's just dislocated.

Islandrocks:
Exactly, you understand me right about "the clips on the net". It feels that many people confuse it all too often in contexts of nowadays horror. Now if you have interest in it, I still think that no one having to mix it into the horror genre, because snuff-related things doesn't belong to horror.

GJ:
It was incredibly fun to get a glimpse of you and learn about your creative side and your opinions regarding music and film. In the beginning, I never thought you would answer my message, and least I didn't believe that you would set up for an interview. You must have a thousand thanks for your sponsor, and I wish you good luck with all your possible future plans. Take care!

You can find out Islandrocks on:
Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/islandrocks
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/islandrocks

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