DO OR DIE, an interview with VOLKOR X
Volkor X has been taking the scene by storm. After two albums, a bunch of EPs, soundtrack work and some killer remixes, we found it was right about time to ask him some questions. Hailing from the current wave of the French scene along with Carpenter Brut, Fixions, Perturbator, Meteor and more, his sound of dark synthwave truly stands out so let’s see if we can unravel a bit of the mystery behind Volkor X…
— Who is Volkor X? You don’t seem to come in peace… actually, you mean war!
Volkor X needs no introduction! I am your Galactic Overlord. I think there are far too many palm trees, roller girls and sports cars on your planet. Humanity must be annihilated, and shall prepare for a reign of darkness and desolation. MUAHAHAHAHA ! Who I am is not important. The music I produce is. I’ve had other musical endeavours, but Volkor X is the most honest and personal music I’ve ever produced. There definitely is a big metal influence in my work, as I’ve been a metalhead for most of my life, played in metal bands, worked with metal bands… Seems logical it transpires in my music. And there’s no reason it should stop…
— Explain us a bit more how you work on your music. It truly sounds like a kick-ass production.
I’m working almost completely in the box. 90% of my synth sounds are made with Arturia V Collection. I’m also using other soft synths like Synth1 or Sylenth1, a bit of Massive sometimes, a few guitars and basses, and an old Yamaha RX7. On “GodWave Rises” (my latest track on NRW’s “Magnatron 2.0”), I also used the Novation Ultranova. Working with hardware synths completely changes my workflow, and I don’t know if I like it. I feel it makes my music more direct and immediate. More instinctive as well. This is probably good, but for someone who likes to spend hours (days even !) tweaking this part, or this sound, that’s a big change. Also, I usually try to mix my music while I compose it. I like to have a very precise idea of the general sound of a song while I’m working on it. It helps me build my songs structures and find the right textures, and see how many layers I can stack for my build ups. Last phase is the mastering stage. I’m trying to master my music not overly loud, because it doesn’t work too well on my mixes.
— Can you tell us more about your visual work? Those are some killer graphics. You have a rad videoclip + you also composed for a game soundtrack?
I’m lucky to have some very talented friends. The Volkor X logo and the cover of my album were made by Guile93 (https://twitter.com/Guile_93). He’s a killer artist from Paris. I gave him a couple of references and he came up with the fantastic cover of the album. Hollywood Burns also helped me a lot. He did an incredible album teaser for the release of « This Means War », and also provided me with some awesome X-ship shots. I also sought the help of my very good friend Gyhyom. We were having a drink together one day. He was between 2 jobs. I jokingly told him “now you have some time to make me a music video, MUHAHAHAHA!”. He told me “Why not !”. He started working on it in december 2015, the album was not even entirely composed and I wasn’t sure what track we would use. When I saw his first drafts, I knew it was going to be amazing. Then we decided to use the first part of the song “This Means War” because it was dynamic and punchy. I wanted Gyhyom to be able to fully express himself in the video, putting as many references as he would like. I also asked him to add some cameos of people and artists I like. The job was completed around may 2016, and was released on Luigi Donatello’s youtube channel on September 9th. As I suspected, the result is amazeballs. I think everybody will agree the video is one of the best pixel art animation ever done. Those who don’t will die. Painfully. I did work on a couple of video games as you pointed out. I made original music for « Badass Inc. » by Motion Twin and also worked on « DESYNC » by Foregone Syndicate/Adult Swim Games together with Daniel Deluxe. Some of my tracks have also been licensed for « Blast Brawl 2 » and « Blasters of the Universe ». More will come !
— What influences you? What music, films, books, … or any other stuff that influences you in your daily life and music career.
I don’t read. Galactic conquest takes too much time to read books. I can barely find time to watch movies and listen to music. Few movies had a real impact on my work, but music definitely has. When I was a kid, my father was listening to progressive music (Pink Floyd, Yes, …). I’ve always been fascinated by concept albums and 10+ minutes long songs since. And one day he made me listen to Jean-Michel Jarre’s “Oxygene” and “Equinoxe”, and I fell in love with instrumental music made with synths. Later on I discovered Vangelis, and loved how he was mixing synths with live drums. When I grew up, I started listening to heavier music (Iron Maiden, Metallica, ..). Today, I’m more into artists like Meshuggah, Devin Townsend, Cloudkicker, Tool, Anathema, Alice In Chains… Still listening to good old prog rock though.
So, basically, if you take all this and put it in a blender, I guess it makes the music I’m composing today.
— Your first release is from 2015, which make you a relatively new producer in the genre. How do you see the scene in it’s current state? Are you involved and investigating throughly? What other current artists do you really dig?
I’ve done some mastering for a few artists, some collabs and remixes, participated in a few compilations… I’m trying to stay involved in the scene as much as I can. Before I stepped into this scene, Carpenter Brut was pretty much the only electronic music artist I was listening to. He is still my favorite, but now I listen to a lot more. I feel I have only scratched the surface though. There are so many albums being released every day… Most played artists in my space ship at the moment would be Carpenter Brut (the Boss), Code Elektro, Astral Tales, Night Raptor, Syntax, Dynatron, DEADLIFE, Electric Dragon, OGRE, Gunship, Confrontational, Hollywood Burns… I’m probably forgetting a lot…
— What can we expect from Volkor X in the near future?
Neuropa Records (Carpenter Brut, Dance With The Dead, Ulver…) is going to repress « This Means War » on vinyl. Pre-orders should be available when this interview is published. I’m probably going to make another run of tapes as well, since quite a few people are asking for it. Other than that, I’m going to work on a new album in 2018 (release date completely unknown) and a split EP/album of game music covers with Electric Dragon. I’m also working on live shows, and will hopefully hit the stage in 2018.
— Thank you so much for the interview, anything you’d like to add or mention, shoot!
First, thank you for having me ! Shout-outs to all my supporters. You guys are the best army a galactic overlord can dream of. Sending warlord love to Gyhyom, Dimi Kaye, Hollywood Burns, Guile93, Electric Dragon, Gloom Influx, Kim at Neuropa Records, Grimrik… I’m currently composing a track for DejaVuDarkmist’s Twitch channel. You guy should be able to listen to it fairly soon ! Subscribe to his channel, OR DIE !
Listen to his album “This Means War” here
Purchase/pre-order the vinyl from Neuropa Records here
Listen to “Masked Death” here