Shawn Rudiman Biography
In 1989 Shawn Rudiman started production work with ed Vargo on THD (Total Harmonic Distortion). This ebm/elektro unit became quite popular in the ebm/ industrial scene of the early to mid 90′s, releasing 4 full-length albums, countless remixes and compilation releases on European and domestic labels. Along with this, a fascination with old music machines developed that led him to techno. In 1997 he decided to retire the long worn out industrial-ebm ideals. this led to a move towards pure rhythm and sounds, and a relocation to Pittsburgh, PA the transition period was difficult due to a scaling back of sound layers and refinement of rhythms, but results proved positive. At the same studio production began with techno, so did live sets. Sets of non-stop, all live improvised techno, as fluid and smooth as any dj set, but entirely flexible in direction and tempo. He then started Hyperviny Records with Trevor Combee. This led to meeting Anthony Shakir and that to releaseing tracks for Dan Bell and 7th City etc. He and friend Jwan allen have since started a new label, Technoir Audio. Today he resides somewhere in the ghettos of Pittsburgh and plays live on a regular basis in the mid-west area.
Interview with Shawn Rudiman by Kazuumi Ishii
Your new album is called Machine Soul Terminal. How did you come up with this name and what does that mean for you ?
The names for almost all of what I do have some meaning to me in my own weird way… This one I had to sort of pick real quick. It’s a pretty straight foreward idea: its a terminal to the soul of the machines that I use. I’m just a transducer, like a speaker. I convert my emotions/ideas/feelings/issues to sound with the machines help and voice. Through it all alot of them shines through as well. We make a symbiosis of sound. They are my "bandmates." in a weird way.
Detroit soul is a very big influence on the album… And then your addiction to Detroit techno isn’t just fixed on one thing. I mean some tracks are more electro, other more epic string techno.
Techno is not defined. Should never be. Soul cannot be defined as well. Only felt. The merging of the two is even less tangibile then them singularly. To me the songs just happen. They are what they are. I just do them. Most of the time they take their own forms and use me as their emotional human source. The tracks range in feel since life ranges in feel. I’ve always tried to release and make music that crosses borders. It shouldnt be hard for a "producer" or "artists" to carry their style accross musical borders. Emotions carry you where they see fit ! Sometimes its a 4/4 beat. Sometimes broken, sometimes deep, sometimes driving or lo-bit funky ! Its like the weather. I’m a moody person so the music moves in different ways as well.
Who were your musical idols growing up ?
Wow… Nick Rhodes, Alan Wilder, Alain Jorgenson, Bill Leeb, Marvin Gaye, Cevin Key, Keith Leblanc, Flood, Adrian Sherwood… I was very into synth pop and industrial stuff before being sucked into techno and house music. Then from those I discovered the beauty of jazz and soul. It’s a very weird evolution of discoveries.
Can you tell us something about "Sashimi Hi". As we know, Sashimi, it means raw fish in Japanese. Do you like that ?
I fuckin love sashimi. It is the absolute best meal. Its so damn good ! I had some really good sashimi and a wonderful meal the night I wrote that song. Sometimes I think I get a protein buzz of sorts from sashimi and I think I had one that night. I guess it lent itself to the good vibes from dinner ! So the song just got that name since I felt I was on a sashimi hi. It happened very fast to get that groove and mixdown.
Your album was released on Rinkaby-based label Finest Blend. How did you get connected with them ?
I met Kenny Black of Finest Blend when I was in Rotterdam Netherlands once. We hit it off quite well and just seemed to be musicly and life-wise on the same page with ideas. So we stayed in contact… and it just sort of happened. I did a remix of one of his recent cuts and I guess it did well and got good reviews, etc. So he asked if I liked to do a record. I ftp’d him some tracks and he wanted to do a double pack ! I was floored. especially in this day of many labels folding vinyl releases in favour of the digital route. I said HELL YEAH !
You have had two releases on Dan Bell’ 7th City – which we love btw – was that a big deal for you ?
Umm it was kinda cool. I was happy to have releases out and to have them on very well respected label was a blessing. Dan took a chance on a no-name guy and I guess it worked out for everyone involved. it was a very good thing. I never really though about it being a big deal really.
Setting up a label called Technoir Audio. How did you make that step ?
We had a label called "Hypervinyl" before Technoir Audio. We did 3 official releases, when that fell apart the next step was to have another ! Technoir was the coming together of myself, Jwan Allen and Adam Ratana. These guys did as much for making Technoir function as an entity as I did making the tunes. We just did it. That how we worked. No talk really. Just doing it and then saying "hey guess what ?…"
Your live show is pretty legendary already, how would you describe it ?
I would describe it as jazz theory live techno sets. I show up with several hardware machines that each do specific things (like musicians) then they all work together to shine at distinct moments. And all sit back when the others shine. Its IMPROMPTU ALMOST 100 %. I have some chord riffs that are very simple and basic on an old MIDI sequencer that plays one synth. I hav about 85 riffs that are single sounds. Then the entire rest – drums, bass/basslines, leads, acid, samples, bleeps bloops, pings and pongs etc etc, are all sequnced and usually made (synthesized) on the spot. I can play 3 nights in a row for 2 hours each, using the same exact machines and NOT *repeat* NOT sound remotely the same. Its about knowing musical styles and knowing how to use your machines. and express your inner demons/ideas/ghosts. Its a live performance. not a show. I make music on the spot. compose on the spot. Design sounds on the spot. Like a mini version of my studio but much harder and simpler, since I have to be on point for 2 hours non-stop as opposed to spendin 8 hours or so for a 5 minute song. Its the hard old way. But I love it. I wouldnt do it any other. So I’m a little hard on lives sets that have little chance of failure. The more chance of failure or bad human performance, the more live it is.
The Detroit booking agency Alter Ego Management And Booking then took you on. How did this help your career ?
Ahh, we’re still early on with our relationship. So were doing good so far !
Which has been your best most recent live gig ?
Most recent was a small gig here in Pittsburgh. For like…umm…say 15-20 people. Yeah. It was a lot of fun. And I played with a good friend who I love to play with. Lucas Owens. He’s fantastic live. Its like we share a brain when we play… And we both really just have fun. Its almost like we dont even care what comes out… were just happy riding that razors edge of failure and success with the music ! The more fun we have the better we do. It was slower (like 126-128) bpm and super bass groovey and funky. Mad funky. Kinda Chicago-ish acidy as well. Mr. Fingers style. It was really fun.
Finally, what’s in stock for the future ?
I want to play out alot more for people around the globe. I’m constantly in the studio writing new material as well. Going to release another album on Technoir shortly as well. I like albums. Even if no-one buys them. I just want to keep making music and good sounds and rhythms/grooves. Its and endless search, like a junky and their junk. Trying to get the next fix. I’m not going away. Ever.
A new album on Finest Blend
- A1. Dream Divide
- A2. Approach
- B1. Emotion Malfunction
- B2. Sashimi Hi
- C1. Get Real
- C2. Open Doors
- D1. As Subconsciouness Calls
- D2. Goodnight Call
Get "Machine Soul Terminal" here:
Shawn Rudiman Selected Discography
- Evidence Of Life, 12"
7th City (1999)
- My Life, My Grooves, 12"
7th City (2001)
Deal With It, 12"
11th Hour (2003)
- Dirty Water EP, 12"
- Overtone EP, 12"
Second Is First, 12"
Dust Science (2005)
Sounds From The Inside, 12"
Sound Architecture (2005)
In My Head, 12"
Dust Science (2007)
Machine Soul Terminal, 12"
Finest Blend (2008)
- Kenny Black – Night Drive rmx
Reconnected Back From Outer Space EP, Finest Blend (2007)
- Shed – Stars
Remixes In Four Parts, Soloaction (2007)
Technoir Audio Discography
- Shawn Rudiman – Rubin’s Place, 12"
- Shawn Rudiman – Rhythm Sexy, 12"
- Shawn Rudiman / Arne Weinberg – Chord Control, 12"
- Shawn Rudiman – Odds Against Us, 12"
- Shawn Rudiman – Synthesexual, 12"
- Shawn Rudiman – Synthesexual, 12"
- Shawn Rudiman / Arne Weinberg – The Lost Arts E.P., 12"
- Edison Carter – C.F.O’s Cuts, 12"
TNA-SP 001 (2006)
- Shawn Rudiman – Synthesexual, CD
TNA CDA-1001 (2005)