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Interview with Robert Salchak of Blink Twice - 5/28/98

Chris: How did you meet with Alex Kane of GPC (General Purpose Cassettes) and arrange to have him release your material as alongside MAS?

Robert: First of all. I'm surprised anyone remembers that! After ordering the first few GPC releases I decided to send Alex a tape of my material. It was pretty simplistic stuff, but he gave me encouragement and we continued to correspond. Eventually he offered to release my work on GPC #6. I have no idea what Alex has been up to in the last several years but it should be stated that he was one of the most crucial contacts in the "scene" back then. This is a guy that put out tapes from Mentallo and the Fixer, Teknition who is now THD, Xorcist, and Kevorkian Death Cycle before they were really known.

Chris: Will the material on 'Baby Had An Accident' ever be released elsewhere?

Robert: I don't think so. There is too much current material that I have created that exceeds that material which I would prefer to release.

Chris: How did you arrange a deal with Broken Seal Records?

Robert: Frank at Broken Seal records wrote me to get a copy of my cassette "Clouded" to see if he would want to distribute it through his mail order catalog, Diabolus Cantus. He really liked the material, so he distributed my following tapes "Source" and "Torn Soul" as well. When he and his partners decided to start a label they offered to release my work. I accepted and have released "Other Locations" and "Newer Unknown Breeds" through them.

Chris: Has it been difficult being an American artists on a German label?

Robert: Yes and no. I have the impression that the German fanbase really likes that style of music and it is great that Blink Twice is probably fairly well known there. The bad thing is that there seems to be little attempt to promote it here. There was talk of having ads in Outburn, Culture Shock, and Carpe Noctum, but they have never materialized. Brandon at Ora Music here in the states is supposed to take care of the US office of Broken Seal, but he seems to have too much going on to devote much time with that.

Chris: Do you have any input on your album artwork?

Robert: I told Brandon what colors and the general mood of the cover that I desired. He took it from there and I am happy with the results. As long as I feel the imagery relates to my music I am happy.

Chris: Have you ever had any type of formal musical training?

Robert: No. I took an electronic music class my senior year in high school but got kicked out half way through because I lied about knowing how to read music. Over the years I think I just caught on to what should sound right together. As you can hear from my music, I do know about melody and arrangement, and don't just slap noises together. Well, maybe sometimes!

Chris: What made you decide to first get into composing and recording music? Why this genre of music as opposed to another?

Robert: I like the concept of creating something from start to finish on my own. The freedom of the sound creation with electronic instruments and the power that one person can have without relying on other band members are the two things that led me to this genre.

Chris: Your music consists of instrumentals with no vocals or vocal samples. Why?

Robert: Instrumental is just the style I do. I feel that if I have nothing concrete to say and don't have a good voice to say it in, then why force it? Blink Twice is about mood, texture, themes, and imagination. I like to fill in all spaces with the sounds I create instead of holding back to leave space for singing.

Chris: Your newer material on the "Sonologie One" and "Exoskeleton" compilations exhibit the noisier side of Blink Twice. Is this a direction you are heading musically?

Robert: Yes, recent compositions tend to have some more dynamic noises, but that is probably more because of my greater emphasis on sampling than a conscious attempt to actually be noisier. Any side of Blink Twice that is heard on "Newer Unknown Breeds" will never be abandoned, just explored with.

Chris: Who would you consider your musical contemporaries?

Robert: I realize that what I'm doing falls a little to the side of what is generally consumed. There is the whole Techno, Electronica and Drum n 'Bass thing; then there is the standard EBM/Industrial style; and the dark ambient Cold Meat Industry sound which "Other Locations" visited, and the soothing, minimal Ethnic/New Age stuff like Steve Roach. At this point the only artists that I feel are exploring the same way I am are Nightmare Lodge, CoEx, Soma, and TCH. I am not in any way making judgment of those styles because I myself spend lots of money on those types of releases. That is probably why I think I come up with material that can appeal to fans of all those styles

Chris: What do you do outside of composing music?

Robert: Some of my hobbies are hiking, reading speculative fiction or science books, going to movies, and playing my Playstation video games. My job is an assistant manager in a retail store. I think I'm one of the few electronic musicians that doesn't have a job with computers!

Chris: Do you have any plans for side projects or collaborations?

Robert: Currently I have no plans for starting new projects. There are about 6 cassettes out on various labels and independently from my previous side project. Waste Matrix. It has been over a year since Nels Brown of Asensory and myself have recorded together as Waste Matrix, although we share ideas and feedback on our separate projects often.

Chris: Do you have any plans to ever perform live or is it simply unpractical due to the nature and style of your music?

Robert: No plans on live performance any time soon. If I did it would be live in the sense that I would control my Alesis MMT 8 sequencer in real time and not just playing a DAT.

Chris: What is your favorite track on "Newer Unknown Breeds"? Why that track?

Robert: My favorite track is probably "Finding the Niche" because of it's epic length. I am happy how that unfolded over its 15 minutes and how the listener is rewarded towards the end with a triumphant melodic section. "Common Threat" and "Growth" would be my other two favorites.

Chris: What does the future hold for Blink Twice?

Robert: My future with Broken Seal is uncertain because my exclusive contract ends in June. I have indicated that I would love to release more work through them, however not exclusively. They seem to be very firm on not wanting to release my music if I do another release through a different label. I am actually finishing creating and selecting tracks for my next release through Possessive Blindfold Recordings, whom I appeared on the Exoskeleton compilation. It will be called "The Demon Haunted World" and will be rhythmically dark with some noisier elements mixed with ambient atmospheres. I think early November could be the time to expect this. In the meantime, since I will not be tied to an exclusive contract as of June, I encourage any labels to contact me for compilation tracks.

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