For many people, DJing is what first comes to mind when people think of electronic music being performed live. But over the past decade or so, advances in technology have allowed more and more people to expand their live performance abilities in and out of the studio. One such duo is that of TRIPLE X SNAXXX, who uses a full hardware setup to make and perform music that pays homage to early Detroit techno, electro, Italo, and German electronic music from the 70s. During this pandemic, they have been productive with their time by working on new music, and have produced a live performance video of their track MYYYLR, which you can watch below. We also asked them to give us a bit more information about the project, which you can also read below.
Words by TRIPLE X SNAXXX
We are Alex Maiolo and Patrick O'Neill
The video is a love letter to wires, circuits, LEDs, modular, and the colors of classic synths.
It also follows the arc of a psilocybin trip in that things distort, skip, and blur more as the video rolls on.
The song was recorded at our studio, Seriously Adequate. Usually, I come up with a basic idea, and Patrick adds to it, then we pass back and forth in the same room until it's done. The pandemic has been interesting because now I record analog instruments to a digital platform. It takes 20 minutes to email the session to Patrick, who lives 5 minutes away. He brings it back from digital into the analog world, uses analog instruments to record to his DAW, and then emails it back to me when walking over a thumb drive would be faster. Eventually, we complete the song, get a pretty decent mix, and then send it to Yannick Lemoine, in Liège Belgium, to do the final mix and mastering. We email revisions until it's done. It's a very 2020 process that we didn't anticipate in 2019.
Patrick is one of my closest friends, so I've missed creating with him in the same space, but at the same time, we're fortunate we can do it this way because of the nature of the music.
Our label is called Moroderik Musik, after our influences of Italian and German electronic music, but we also take a lot of cues from Suzanne Ciani, and early Detroit Techno. Before the video, we'd released this track on a Rough Trade / Bank Robber benefit compilation for BLM and the NAACP. It made sense because this TR-808-driven song, "MYYYLR," nods towards our love of UR, Drexciya, and Der Zyklus, so we wanted to give back to the black community that's given a lot to us. In fact, all online sales of Moroderik bands (TRIPLE X SNAXXX, Ultrabillions, and Me, I'm Counting) go to a Chicago-based non-profit that gives kids access to electronic music and instruction, Afrorack.
The video was made by our friend Jason Axel Summers. It was super hot that night, like it always is in the south in the summer and, like 900% humidity. We had to wipe everything down when we were done. Nothing like moisture to make circuits go bad.
As much as we love the studio, we're fans of the outdoors, riding bikes, and hiking, so bringing those two worlds together felt right.
With us living in COVID times, we had to distance, and mask up between takes. We didn't know Adam Thomas was going to be there with a drone, but that definitely helped with distancing. The shot where it crashes into a tree acts as one of the cuts.
We took every instrument we used to make our forthcoming EP and hauled them out to the country. From the usual suspects, like the Roland Juno 60, SH-101, and RS-09; Moog Source, Korg MS-20, and a pile of Make Noise modules, to a one-off Mystery Circuits, drum machine and a very rare Moog Satellite that was given to us by our friends Mandy and Christian.
We don't use MIDI or laptops. Not because we're pedantic about it, but because working with the limitations of CV and Gate produces different results. Setting up for shows is a total pain in the ass because of it, but the upside is nothing crashes entirely, and if something goes down, the whole thing doesn't go down, just one instrument or patch. It's something I learned from talking to Gary Numan about how it was in the old days.
Something is always making a cool sound, so if something fails we just end up with a different result.
Every single show has thrown something unexpected at us. We just fall into a beat or a drone, patch up something with a sort of calculated leap of faith and keep going.
Highlights were playing Moogfest on the same bill as Daniel Miller, supporting Bitchin Bajas, and doing a show at Alice, in Copenhagen, with Mew's Jonas Bjerre in the mix, with his modular rig.
Grab your copy of MYYYLR here.