(By our Norwegian correspondent Jan Ronald Stange / Techomancer press release. Photos: Tarjei Krogh) Out now is the new album from the Norwegian synthwave act Technomancer a.k.a. Alexandria “Alyxx” Digre (she/her). She debuted with the album ‘System Failure’ in 2013, and now, almost 10 years later, the second album ‘Hyperfuel’ is finally being released!
Originally from the Northern town of Mo I Rana, Norway, Alyxx moved to Sarpsborg in 2014 and had already started working on the album at that point. Realizing that the next album had to be of much higher quality than the debut album, Alyxx started working on honing her production skills, getting plenty of practice on her side projects Zone Tripper and Laboratory 5, as well as doing numerous remixes for bands/artists such as Die Krupps, Nitzer Ebb, Anne Clark, Naked Lunch, Attrition, Robert Marlow (RIP), Apoptygma Berzerk and several others.
After ‘System Failure’, a departure from the former sound was set almost immediately. The sleek futurepop style was cast aside in favour of a heavier influence from the 80’s, with The Sisters Of Mercy providing a strong influence on the new sound. Together with Zone Tripper, Technomancer adopted very much an early synthwave sound which since then has become a signature sound for Alyxx’ productions as a whole. The new album relies heavily on sampled guitars and drum machines to give a much heavier retrowave feeling, which should please fans of synthwave acts such as Dance With The Dead and Scandroid.
The album has been co-produced by Stephan L. Groth (Apoptygma Berzerk) and his brother Jonas Groth (Piston Damp, Apoptygma Berzerk) who both have also provided guest vocals on the album. Frequent collaborator Per Aksel Lundgreen (Angst Pop, Cronos Titan, Chinese Detectives, Shatoo) has also been involved.
Ole-Espen Kristiansen (OK Minus, Elec This!) has mastered the album and also mixed a couple tracks. Ole-Espen has also done mastering and live mixing for Apoptygma Berzerk and Piston Damp.
Wanting to know more about this release, we contacted Alyxx to have some questions answered.
S-L: You’ve gone from furutepop to synthwave – what’s the next step in your evolution?
Alexandria Digre: Well, I really don’t know. I’ve been listening to harder stuff lately. I especially loved REIN’s album, ‘Reincarnated’ and really loved that kind of old school EBM sound making a comeback. I also finally got around to listening to some Nitzer Ebb stuff, especially their legendary ‘That Total Age’ album. Some of my recent demos have been more in the vein of that, combined with some influences from Empirion.
I also saw Sierra in Gothenburg this summer and really loved the harder synthwave sound she had going. I’m definitely still in the synthwave scene and been listening to a lot of stuff there lately, so that might still be an influence going forward. I don’t think the next album will take a decade to make so I also doubt it will be as much of a new direction. But we will see, it all depends on where my writing takes me.
Right now I have some ideas for a new album but nothing solid, as I rarely do in the early stages. I actually wrote a few futurepop/techno tracks at the start of making ‘Hyperfuel’ that ended up not really fitting in, but I might use some of that for the next album if I can find a new sound they would fit in. But so far I’ve been wanting to draw more on early 90s EBM influences like Front Line Assembly and that early EBM sound.
S-L: How has the feedbacks on the album been so far?
AD: Well, even as the singles came out, it was usually positive. But as for the album, it really seems people are loving it. Everyone I’ve sent it to has enjoyed it and hasn’t really had much bad to say about it. Which is both flattering and a bit concerning. I really hope someone really goes into depth on the album at some point. I love praise and knowing people are connecting with the music, but I also love to know where I can improve going forward. After all, ‘Hyperfuel’ wouldn’t be the album it is without the criticism I got from ‘System Failure’.
S-L: You got some covers here – tell us more about how they came to life!
AD: ‘Puppets’ came to life as I was invited to contribute to a Depeche Mode tribute project. I made the original version on my own in my studio and on a journey with Stephan (Apoptygma Berzerk) I played it for him and Per Aksel (Angst Pop) and Stephan really loved what he heard. He not only advised me to release the cover myself, but also allow him to do it together with me. I was floored by the fact Stephan straight up asked to work with me on something, so naturally I agreed.
He spent a few days in his studio recording some additional synth riffs on his Korg MS-20 and recording the vocals, which we then added to the mix. We then spent a while in my studio producing the track with Per Aksel.
So yeah, very glad I didn’t just release it as a tribute album track. It ended up becoming a lot more than that, and I have so many good memories with ‘Puppets’. Only downside is I doubt I could perform it live without Stephan. It wouldn’t feel right, haha!
‘Ecstasy’ was a song I’ve wanted to cover for a long time. I’ve been a fan of Black Lab since I heard their cover of the Transformers Theme from their ‘Technologie’ EP, where ‘Ecstasy’ was also featured. I immediately connected with the song and it has always been my favourite Black Lab track.
‘Ecstasy’ was actually always intended to be on the album. I think it was on the first demo I brought Per Aksel right after I had moved to Sarpsborg. On the demo version, I did all the vocals myself, but I always wanted someone with me on it. Per Aksel suggested Stian Joneid as a candidate, and we also considered Dag Brandth (Shatoo) to do it with me. Honestly, Dag might have been perfect for it, but due to circumstances that never worked out, so I ended up choosing Jonas Groth (Piston Damp) since I was recording my final vocals in his studio for the song and he’s the best singer I know.
Jonas’ vocals really helped bring the song to another level and I am so happy we got to work together on it. Him and Truls Sønsterud did an amazing Piston Damp remix of it by the way that you can find on the single.
‘The Outsider’ was a song I originally did for a Psyche tribute album, ‘Unforgotten Rhymes’. It was also the second music video I did after moving to Sarpsborg, with Per Aksel directing and shooting it. It sort of became the first single from the album actually, featuring the signature sound I would be going for. It’s always been a song I connected with on a personal level, so having it on the album felt natural to me.
S-L: What’s next up for you?
AD: Working on a new Zone Tripper album and some other side projects. Lab5 has been dormant for a while and I am itching to get some of our material out there. Also working on a synthwave project called Neo Hyperdrive together with Hexebyte and Max Static from Lab5. There will also be a 2CD Deluxe Edition of Hyperfuel that will also be available on my Bandcamp. I’ll announce a release date for that later on.
The album was released digitally worldwide on November 4th 2022, with a Deluxe Edition also available on 2xCD via Sector Industrial (www.sector-industrial.com) and digitally exclusive via the Technomancer Bandcamp, which includes 5 additional tracks and remixes by Machinista, Echo Image, Piston Damp, Substaat and Christian Espeland of Code 64. Release date for the Deluxe Edition will be revealed later.
- 2013 – SYSTEM FAILURE
- 2022 – HYPERFUEL
EPs / Singles
- 2013 – DRIFT
- 2013 – PATH OF DESTRUCTION
- 2014 – D-MN
- 2015 – ELECTRONIC WARFARE
- 2018 – THE OUTSIDER EP
- 2019 – EMPIRE
- 2020 – I WANT YOU
- 2022 – ECSTASY (feat. JONAS GROTH)
For more information, please visit www.technomancer.no.
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