(Rules of The Gauntlet: The artist (in this case Synthwave Electronic act Shadows & Mirrors) is sent a butt ton of questions ranging from standard to stupid from which they must choose at least 12 to answer and return them to us with a minimum of tear stains).
Tell me about your new album. The writing, vibe, production/producers, etc.
The new album is called Levels and it’s 8 tracks of early to mid-90’s industrial electronic. I wanted to make a dark album, because last year our family had 3 deaths, and probably some of that came through in the tunes. There’s nothing specific where I said – I’m writing about this thing that happened to me and this is how I feel about it. It’s just a general tone of the album. I think it’s real evident once you start listening to it. It was all written and recorded by myself (Brian Diamond) with some help from Darius McCaskey on many of the beats. It was mastered by Barry Grint at Alchemy in London, UK.
Why do you make your style of music? Why not polka? or Japanese symphonic folk metal? or..?
I like electronic music because there seems to be virtually no limit as to what you can do with it. Maybe others could make an argument for folk metal or polka. Do people still play polka music? But for me the guitar – even though I love it – has it’s limitations.
Who are your influences?
Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, Ozzy, She Wants Revenge, INXS, Visage, The Pixies, Nirvana.
What was the last song you listened to before this interview?
M.E. by Gary Numan from The Pleasure Principle.
What’s the most embarrassing band you listen to?
Probably 2Pac. I don’t know, maybe that’s not embarrassing, he was pretty good. I like 90s gangster rap on occasion.
If you were facing unbeatable and fatal odds what song would you want to check out to? Why?
Probably Dogs by Pink Floyd. Not only is it from one of my favorite albums, but it’s 17 minutes long. So, I’d still have a little time.
Stella or Guinness? Why?
Guinness. How is this a question? Guinness by a mile. The body of a Guinness beer is perfect in every way, So smooth. An all-timer.
What musicians should quit forever and never be seen or heard from again?
Jimmy Buffet and Motley Crue (sorry Vince sounds terrible now).
What would you like to say to your fans?
It’s an incredible feeling to know that they like my music enough to listen to, buy, and share it with others. That’s helped me realize the power of music. No matter your race or sex, no matter your politics or religion, for that moment – nothing else matters. It’s all about the music. And that’s a really good feeling to connect with people that way.
There’s a good chance you will look back and be embarrassed by your current hairstyle. Discuss.
Well, I have a Mohawk right now, so I’m confident you’re right about that. I change up my hair quite a bit. I once had long hair like Ozzy, parted in the middle. Also have been shaved bald. That was a fun look. I may go back to that after the Mohawk.
Top five favorite albums?
Nine Inch Nails: Pretty Hate Machine, Black Sabbath: Volume 4, Pink Floyd: Animals, Paul Simon: Graceland, Radiohead: OK Computer.
What really pisses you off?
The fact that there are no term limits for Congress.
Are you artsy or are you fartsy? Explain.
Artsy. I wanted to go to the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design for college. One of my friends actually ended up making custom wood engraved doors for a living in New Mexico. But I went a different route ultimately.
What do you geek out to besides your music? Please geek out on your geekiness.
I really enjoy serial killer documentaries. I’ve pretty much seen them all. Especially anything related to The Zodiac Killer. My theory is The Zodiac was Ted Kaczynski. Might take me a while to prove it, but that’s my theory.
If you had a time machine what would you do with it?
Go back to May 16, 1997 and buy a bunch of Amazon stock for $1.73 a share.
Name two people cooler than Evel Kneivel. Why?
This is hard, Evel was a bad ass and I’m a huge fan. I’m going to go with 1) Elvis Presley. I’m not sure I need to explain that one. And 2) David Bowie because he was able to reinvent himself over and over during the course of 50+ years in the music business. And that’s about as cool as it gets. Runner up: James Dean.