Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Interviewing darksynth: Battlejuice

An interview with Moscow-based artist Battlejuice
(Photo courtesy of the official Battlejuice Facebook page)

With darksynth being an underground genre, many artists find themselves with fewer listeners than they would like. No one, I feel, less deserves this fate than Battlejuice.

A Moscow based producer, Battlejuice wasted no time, when in 2017 he released his debut album, “Crimson Light” which contains some of the best darksynth tracks to date. This October, Battlejuice released his “Corrupted” EP which included the hit track, “Low Life on the Highway” that currently sits atop his Spotify profile with over 160 thousand listens. Below that sits “Aphelion – Battlejuice Remix,” the winning track of a remix contest for the popular synthwave song by Scandroid.

With his unparalleled mixing of rock instruments and synthesizer, Battlejuice distinguishes himself in the darksynth scene as an artist all his own.

Ben Connolly: What’s your favorite color?

Battlejuice: That’s easy, purple.

BC: How would you describe your music to the layman?

BJ: In general terms…as an attempt to mix rock and electronic music. Glam rock and synthpop, I guess. If you need specifics.

BC: Who or what inspires you to create?

BJ: Music, for the most part. And it doesn’t really matter what kind of music, I can listen to pretty much everything. I started my way as a flutist in a folk-metal band of all things, so… yeah. Sometimes, but this happens much less often, people I meet inspire me to make a tune.

BC: That is fascinating. So, what themes or ideas would you say you are trying to express in your music?

BJ: I don’t think there are clear ideas in my music. I might think about something specific while I’m composing, but most of the time it’s more about atmosphere I feel at the moment and that clear feeling of “I can make something good right now.”  Without the last one I can sit for a month or two completely unable to combine four notes together. But when it clicks… Combo of gloomy mood and listening to The Birthday Massacre at that time and re-watching “Weird Science” movie…all of that resulted in a track I called “Schooltime.” I try to convey the mood and the atmosphere I felt at the time the track was made. And it’s cool when people feel it. It’s even cooler when they say that they felt a lot of different things in addition to this.

BC: Given the variety of names artists in this genre use to classify their music, what do you like to call your music and why?

BJ: Synth rock, for an obvious reason. I use synths and mix it with rock [and] metal guitar tones most of the time. And retrowave/synthwave since it is at least partially retro-themed or inspired by retro stuff — music, movies, books. I’m in love with 80’s and early 90’s music and movies since my childhood, so it inspires me the most.

BC: Cool, so that leads right into my next question: What do you think about the darksynth genre’s association by some as retro or nostalgic for the 1980s?

BJ: Well, darksynth sounds more like an attempt to mix retro horror themes and modern electro-industrial. Which as an idea, is cool since it doesn’t rely only on the nostalgia factor. Many projects in the synthwave genre tend to replicate the 80’s synthpop to the letter. Which isn’t substantial enough, in the long run, I guess. Eighties flavor is great, but not for long if it’s the only idea behind modern musical pieces. We already had the 80’s, you can’t just go into the same river twice.

BC: Why do you think the darksynth scene is still underground, despite the popularity of many tracks and artists?

BJ: For the same reason goth and the industrial scene is underground. It’s clearly not for everybody, it’s dark and the overall atmosphere of this style of music is kind of gloomy and the soundscape is harsh & distorted, so it’s not like everybody can hop in and stay for the ride.

BC: What are some events you have coming up? And how may readers find about more about you?

BJ: Nothing substantial for now, really. I released an album called “Corrupted” just recently, that’s more than enough for me right now. I post stuff on my Facebook page from time to time. That’s my main for communication with people who want to know more about my music, sometimes I send emails to my bandcamp supporters. That’s mostly it.

Ben Connolly can be reached at [email protected].

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