After releasing the impressive “Human Augmentation” EP earlier this year, Blush Response is back on Sonic Groove with “Infinite Density”, a full length which proves the artist is slowly, but surely moving towards a more polished sound that still manages to remain Brvtal. Theres an infectious rhythm that makes his music actually worthy of that ubiquitous EBM "label" we keep seeing these days. He’s definitely a name to follow closely as his passion for music and prolific creativity (you should also check out his other projects KONKURS and Impulse Controls) are a sign that there’s more goodness to come from Blush Response in the near future.
We caught up with Joey to talk about Infinite Density, Rhys Fulber (Front Line Assembly) and to find out whether or not he’s a replicant.
The Brvtalist (Marie Bungau): Hi Joey, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. You've just released your first full length on Sonic Groove. How does it feel and how has been the feedback so far?
Blush Response: This is definitely my proudest achievement at the moment. Sonic Groove is my favorite techno label. I was a fan way before I was their artist, and it feels like a perfect fit. So far reception has been overwhelmingly positive, and that definitely puts the pressure on me for the next release! haha
TB: This is your second release on Sonic Groove, after the amazing EP “Human Augmentation”. How did you and Adam meet and why do you think this collaboration works so well?
BR: Adam and I met at Berghain. I went to see him DJ, and we got to talking. I think I annoyed him enough that eventually he let me release on the label. Adam and I are both major rivetheads so it was an instant bromance once we started talking about music.
TB: Walk us through the release a bit. What inspired “Infinite Density”?
BR: There are several inspirations for Infinite Density - both from things I have experienced personally, and observed happening in the world. I prefer to keep the real intentions to myself. This album was a catharsis for me. An expurgation of a lot of negativity and angst I had held inside of me, an anxiety that was infinitely dense. That is just one side of it.
TB: How does your creative process work? Do you just prefer to go with the flow, play with the gear and see where the inspiration takes you or do you start with something in mind and try to work in that direction?
BR: I always go with the flow. Many times when I have an idea in mind and I try to force it out, it never comes out the same way, or takes too long to achieve the perfect image in my mind. I'd much rather let things happen organically. I usually scrap things if they aren't working out in a short enough time.
TB: The album features a collaboration with Rhys Fulber. How did you two work on this one and how did you meet Rhys?
BR: The story of how I met Rhys is actually pretty cool. Alan Wilder of Depeche Mode was doing his Recoil tour, and some friends of mine had seen him on a few dates and gotten to know him a bit. For whatever reason, he needed a Korg MS20 for two nights, and they called me because they knew I had one. So I went down to Baltimore with my MS20 and Alan used it there and in New York. Rhys was opening for him as Conjure One, and Daniel Myer was doing his Architect project as well. I always think how strange it would be if I hadn't gone. I was a bit conflicted since it was the night of Halloween. This conflict didn't last long though. If I hadn't gone I wouldn't have met Rhys or Daniel, both of whom I love dearly. As for the collaboration, I sent the track to Rhys just for feedback, and he said he heard a part for it, so I told him to do it, and that's that!
TB: There is one track called “Aum Shinrikyo”, which is a Japanese cult who carried out a sarin attack in the Tokyo underground in 1995. Was this event a source of inspiration and if so, how come?
BR: The event didn't inspire the track at all, but the entire idea of cult thought and mind control - how someone can be driven to insanity because of their belief in something, was a big inspiration. Sometimes for me, track titles are as much about how the words look as they are what they mean. One example of this is TESSELATE. To me, the way the word looks and sounds is similar to the track itself in my mind. With Aum Shinrikyo, I really loved the way the name sounded, and it went well with what I had in mind with the mental slavery/terror concept.
TB: I believe Infinite Density has a powerful sound with a story that seems to keep it all together and make it flow, almost like a film score. In a way, it reminds me of Tetsuo: The Iron Man. Would you ever consider doing music for films?
BR: That would be a dream of mine. I would love to score films and video games. I spend a lot of time thinking about how to present my music. If I knew how, I would make some sort of game that ties directly in with the music. The full experience in VR, some way. Where you can only hear the rest by progressing through the game, and everything ties together. I have no idea how to go about this, or what sort of mechanics I would use in the game to make it work, but it's something I've considered.
TB: You mentioned previously that for you a live performance is like a statement, where you are communicating with your audience through your gestures and sounds. Do you see this performance as a dialogue where the input coming from the listeners determine where the sound will go or do you prefer to create a journey and just guide them?
BR: When I'm on stage, I am the master of ceremonies. I control the energy levels. I think we all experience a shared hallucination, and I help guide the crowd on their way through our imagined world. Feedback from the crowd influences when I make moves, but what world I decide to move us to is entirely up to me.
TB: Why does cyberpunk and anime seem to have such an appeal to you?
BR: I don't know why, I just know that it does. From the first second I saw anything like that, I knew it was cool and something I wanted to explore. I think the first cyberpunk thing I saw was the Aeon Flux cartoon on MTV in the 90s. Something about the look and feel really touches me.
TB: I know you saw Blade Runner 2049. What does 2049 look like?
BR: 2049 looks pretty bleak if we don't figure out climate change now. I don't want to see my hometown under water. We are all pretty fucked and it seems like nobody is doing anything about it. Still, I have hope that in the end, once big business starts losing a lot of money, that the illuminati will band together to solve things, in the name of profit. Never underestimate the motivational value of profit losses.
TB: One last question: are you a replicant?
BR: Nobody will ever know.