It is no secret that I am in love with music that is instantly evocative. I have loved music of this type ever since I first heard Celtic Frost's "Tears In A Prophet's Dream" back in the days of DeathMetal's ascendance. It is a burning passion, finding new music that fits this pattern, music that is at all times introspective, emotional, invasive, shy, and mysterious. Many projects have come and gone that have touched on these themes, most with great success. Less common are the projects that do more than just flirt with the concept, those people like myself who feel driven to explore this medium of expression to it's fullest extent. Such a project is Gridlock.
There is a persistent belief that dark-electronic
music is devoid of new ideas. This is entirely erroneous, and anyone familiar
with the soundscape work of Gridlock knows this. Spearheading a wave of
talent produced by the now-legendary Pendragon Records label, Gridlock
stepped into the spotlight with their first release, 'The Synthetic Form'.
Along with such names as Individual Totem and Velvet Acid Christ, 'Gridlock'
became a buzzword in the underground, synonymous with 'groundbreaking'.
Showing a startling ear for mood, Gridlock stood (stand) head and shoulders
above so many of their contemporaries. Proving themselves capable of incredible
growth, their second release 'Further' was light years beyond what they
had already achieved with ' The Synthetic Form', setting the new standard
for textured soundscapes. The trend continued with the release of '5.25'
and doesn't appear to be slowing down with the upcoming 'Trace' release
on [<unit>] Records, a division of Possessive Blindfold recordings.
I was honoured to be given the opportunity to pick the brains of the creative
forces behind Gridlock, delivered to you in the form of 20 questions.
Who are the members of Gridlock?
Mike Wells and Mike Cadoo
In your words, what exactly is Gridlock?
Mike: I'd say it's an outlet of expression. The expression being who we are at the time. Time changes and so does the expression.
Cadoo: Yeah I guess you could say gridlock is ever evolving.
When did Gridlock form?
Mike: I started the band in 1994 and just did a lot of experimentation and writing. I met Cadoo in 1995 as the sound of the band started to take shape, and a friend coined the name "Gridlock" for us shortly thereafter.
Where is Gridlock currently located?
SF bay area
Why was Gridlock formed?
Cadoo: I think we both got tired of the confines of "live" music and wanted to try something that had no boundaries.
Mike: Exactly, I had been playing in live bands for quite some time before that and felt that electronics would really open a lot of doors, every song being completely unique and tailored, as opposed to being confined to guitar/bass/drums/etc.. So after taking a couple of years to experiment a "sound" really started to come together which was the direction I wanted to be headed in.
What would you say the philosophy of Gridlock is, if any?
Cadoo: I really don't think there is a philosophy??? What do you think Mike??
Mike: Originally I can remember some specific ideals and goals. Now I see our philosophy as two things. One, "what we can get away with", and Two, "what boundaries we can push".
What Gridlock track would you say is your Favorite?
Mike: Probably a new track we've just finished for "Trace". Doesn't have a title yet. Why? I'm usually more interested in what we're doing rather than what we've done.
Cadoo: I would have to say "scrape" it's just all over the place musically.
Who would you list as the prime influences on Gridlock's sound?
Cadoo: This one is tough...but I think the bands that influenced us the most when we started is Skinny Puppy, Fields of the Nephilim, and Autechre but that's changed alot. we've been influenced by so much along the way ..from things like My Bloody Valentine to dom and roland to and and back again...
Mike: Early on when the band was starting, I was influenced a lot by the more traditional Industrial acts. Not so much now. I think we pull from all the things we listen to from Ambient to ZZ top...well ok, maybe not ZZ top.
Continuing along the influences thread, what family members have had the deepest impact on the members of the project?
Mike: One half of my parental equation has always been very supportive, thank you mom. As for impact, I suppose the problems with the other half of that equation resulted in some good material on "Further".
Cadoo: I would have to say my parents they always encouraged me when it came to music.
What was the first album you ever purchased?
Cadoo: damn I can't remember that!?!? huh...I think it was a kiss record.
Mike: AC/DC's "Highway to Hell", still love it.
What was your first concert?
Mike: ZZ Top
Cadoo: ZZ Top? yeesh!
Mike: Oh and Freddy Mercury???
Cadoo: OK OK...beards over balls anyday!
Denny's or IHOP? (It always seems to come down to these two after a long night at a club...)
Mike: Hopefully a Speakeasy
So when you're not out clubbing, what do you find yourself reading?
Mike: Bukowski, Kerouac, and owners' manuals
Cadoo: Bukowski, grooves magazine and the SF weekly
So what does Gridlock find itself listening to the most these days?
Cadoo: I've been mainly listening to a lot of IDM (arovane,spark,funckarma), christoph de babalon, and venetian snares.
Mike: A lot of Detroit, Glitch, IDM, House, etc... for artists I'd say Theorem, Swayzak, Sean Deason, Arovane, SND, Funkstorung, Sutekh, Taylor Dupree, Bola, Shuttle358.
Seen any good films lately?
Mike: Yeah, I watched "Scarface" again recently, what a film. And "Barfly" is always a staple.
Cadoo: No I really don't see to many movies it takes up too much of your time.
So, what are your day jobs? Or does Gridlock pay the bills yet?
Cadoo: Oh no... it doesn't pay the bills...i'm a web designer.
Mike: Yeah no doubt, it's done out of desire, not for profit. I'm an application developer.
You did a tour with Individual Totem.. Got a favorite tour tale?
Mike: Yeah, the guys from Totem loved Budweiser. That was fascinating and great for us. We got the imported beer. Awesome guys though. Wish them all the best!
Cadoo: That seems so long ago i can't remember....
What's the strangest thing you have listed on your tour rider?
Cadoo: You wouldn't think this would be strange but...Payment.
Mike: We got paid once?
Cadoo: Yeah and I think it was in turkish lira....
Wrapping things up, I'd like to touch on your decision to leave Metropolis/Pendragon and sign on to <unit>. Was there any one thing that happened after Pendragon was purchased by Metropolis that sealed your choice to leave and join <unit?>
Cadoo: We thought that Metropolis would be a step up ...but in reality it was a step down. metro is strictly a units and money operation ..where as Pendragon (the one run by Colm) was for the love of the music first and units and money second. Metro didn't get behind us at all and that's understandable. When your an experimental artist on a label with such big, more mainstream, acts like Bauhaus, VNV, and Frontline, who sell a whole hell of a lot more discs than we ever would, your bound to get lost in the shuffle. So we left.
Mike: We were fortunate to learn,
from working with Colm, how great it can be to work with a label that is
truly interested in EVERY artist that they have on their label. After
Colm's departure, we started looking for a similar relationship with another
label, as it turns out metro just didn't fit that mold, so we looked elsewhere.
Watch for the release of "Trace" on [<unit>]
records sometime early 2001.