May 27, 2024

Click Interview with R010R: ‘Our Worldview Is Illusory’

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Michael Renfield has been active with various music projects for several years. Some will no doubt remember Noise Process, but he is now back with a new album from R010R. “Total Disinformation Awareness” was released by Electro Aggression Records and delivers us 16 songs driven by intelligent, old-school EBM with a touch of Dark-Electro on top. This interview gives us a broader view of this in my opinion underrated musician.

(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)

Q: It’s been a while ago now you set up R010R. What were the triggers and influences to start this solo-project and how did you see R010R evolving throughout the years?

Michael: Hello, and thank you for this interview opportunity. R010R happened gradually after my previous music project Noise Process ran its course. I moved to New York, and started working with I, Parasite, an Industrial-Metal project. I wanted to create a solo endeavour that had no alignment to a genre or expectation. My initial album “Gradual Destabilization” (2008) was an experiment in deconstructing how I created music while I was also learning a DAW approach for the first time.

Previous to R010R, everything was hardware sequencers, synths, and drum machines. The software world was an interesting challenge. Since I was working with Christopher Jon and “I, Parasite, performing live noise/synths, the album was released on the Dark Vision Media imprint.

As far as an evolution, that is the very nature of R010R. I am not trying to make a product or sell a gimmick. I am just forging ahead and doing various audio experiments. Not everything works as an album or EP format. However, I do make new music consistently. I am just very selective about what I release.

Q: What means music to you? And tell us a bit more about the achievement of your new album “Total Disinformation Awareness”?

Michael: I do music for the love of it and mainly enjoy experimenting in the studio environment. My SoundCloud account has tracks that are only temporarily available, and it is not always feasible to make these into a cohesive release. I enjoy the temporary format and mainly use these as a springboard for new concepts.

After “Gradual Destabilization”, I created another album called “End Of All Reason” (2010). However, I decided to shelve the entire thing and go in another direction. The “Urban Renewal Program”-EP (2012) led to “Daybreak”, and “Unyielding” (2016). I made these while I was collaborating with Dejan Samardzic (Haujobb/DSX), and Martin Sax (Valhall/Ekobrottsmyndigheten) on their projects. “Unyielding” was polished up with Dejan’s feedback and released on their Basic Unit Productions imprint.

“Total Disinformation Awareness”, originated as a series of EP’s that I wanted to release through Bandcamp exclusively. In 2021 I sent a handful of tracks to Dejan again as well as Nader Moumneh (Electro Aggression Records) just to get some feedback as the music was a sort of ‘old school’, return to that 90’s Electro-Industrial sound. Basic Unit at that time was inactive as a label, but EAR had some plans for R010R because Nader stated that he loved the tracks, wanted more, and was considering releasing a CD of the material. I have worked with Nader and EAR for many years, doing artwork and remixes for bands on the label. So it seemed a perfect opportunity to create another album.

Q: What have been the different stages, challenges and difficulties you’d to go through to achieve this new work?

Michael: So now we get to the heart of it all. The challenge in creating “Total Disinformation Awareness” was not the music at all. It was the theme. With “Unyielding”, I was rattled by the Edward Snowden revelations. This led to reading about Thomas Drake and Bill Binney who were also NSA whistleblowers. This led to Wikileaks and Julian Assange, the Hillary Clinton emails, and Vault 7. Without getting into those details for the sake of your readers, my worldview journey eventually got to “Total Information Awareness”. A DARPA program of mass surveillance that utilized several defence and intelligence contractors that were also in Wikileaks documentation of interest. “Total Disinformation Awareness” is a nod to that program and the idea that social media took up where that program ended.

Q: Anything more we’ve to know about the lyrical content?

Michael: I think I made it clear with the press release. ‘There is a ton of disinformation being pushed through official channels and it is designed to keep us in a state of confusion and belligerence towards each other. It is imperative that we recognize and call out this attempt at deceit or we are going to become victims of oppression within our own ‘democratic’ systems.’

This has only become even more apparent with current news cycles where anti-war protesters are identified as anti-Semitic, COVID conspiracy theories are revealed to be factual, and politically aligned individuals are termed ‘a dangerous cult’. Meanwhile, all sides are pushing lies and misinformation frequently and without remorse. This is the art of destabilization that we must defend against. How can we be informed citizens and make informed decisions in our countries when our worldview is illusory?

Q: Sound-wise there clearly is a sophisticated, ‘old-school’, EBM sound running through the songs which might remind to legendary bands from the Canadian EBM school but also to bands like Mortal Constraint, The Klinik ao. What does it say about your perception of sound, sound creation and global production?

Michael: This is always interesting to me, the alignments that the audience hears in my music. Of course, I am aware of and listened to this style of music decades ago. However, if you ask me what inspired me to write “Total Disinformation Awareness” I would say Modeselektor, Ben Frost, and Bosse De Nage. I listen to a great deal of music 24/7 and only a small percentage of it is still Electro-Industrial. I honestly love this modern landscape of music. Independent music has never thrived like this. I have several webzines and platforms I visit every week just to keep up.

Q: What comes after “Total Disinformation Awareness” and do you’ve plans to bring the music on stage?

Michael: Next up on the worklist, I continue the R010R EP’s I was writing before Total Disinformation Awareness”. I already have several new tracks that will drop on Bandcamp later this year. These will be more Techno and Noise-related than EBM or Electro-Industrial. However, I have been tasked with a handful of new remixes for EAR artists as well as some additional Electro tracks for the upcoming EAR compilation. Those will be along the lines of “Total Disinformation Awareness”. I also have plans to start doing live Noise webcasts through my Youtube channel, as well as a new free-form Noise project I call Diminished Bastard Sword. The best way to keep track of what I am doing is through SoundCloud and Youtube. I will drop a link below.

Lastly, negative. I have no plans to play out live. I have done that thoroughly in my youth and I rather stay in a controlled studio environment. I also have a family and a ‘day job’. Arranging shows or a tour schedule is not possible.

Thank you again for reaching out and arranging this interview. I very much appreciate it.

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Inferno Sound Diaries
I have been working for over 30 years with Side-line as the main reviewer. My taste is eclectic, uncoventional and I prefer to look for the pearls, even if the bands are completely unknown, thus staying loyal to the Side-Line philosophy of nurturing new talents.

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