One of modern music’s most sought after producers, Wade Alin speaks with ReGen about his career, past and present.
An InterView with Wade Alin
By Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)
Whether as a member of Christ Analogue, The Atomica Project, or Scanalyzer, or behind the scenes producing and mixing some of the best known bands in the underground music scene, Wade Alin has left an indelible mark on modern music. Beginning in 1995 as the founder and front man for Christ Analogue, Alin’s music injected a well balanced vitriolic shot of aggressive electronic textures with a punk-like attitude that stood its own alongside other luminaries like 16volt and Stabbing Westward; producing three albums and a remix release during a decade long period that made Christ Analogue one of the more revered acts in the scene before calling it quits in 2006. In the meantime, he has cultivated a considerable reputation as a much sought after producer and remixer, lending his skills in the studio to the likes of Ego Likeness, Everything Goes Cold, I:Scintilla, Cylab, More Machine Than Man, Cyanotic, and SMP to name but a few, while also serving as a member of trip-hop band The Atomica Project, and IDM/electro project Scanalyzer with Sister Machine Gun’s Chris Randall. Today, Alin continues to lend his skills not only to a variety of bands but also designing sound for various media, including TV and video games. And now, Alin has kindly taken the time to speak to ReGen about his music and his career, not only bringing us up to speed on his current projects but also shedding some light on his past, wherein he touches on his pioneering efforts in the field of digital recording and how he has evolved along with the technology.
Your list of production and musical credits reads like a veritable who’s who of electro/industrial/rock music; besides money, what are your determining factors for working with an artist or band? Or to put it another way, what is it that you feel your work contributes most to those you work with?
To bring us up to speed, what are you currently and/or have most recently worked on?
Alin: I just finished the new Ego Likeness record as well as a project I’ve been working on with Rob and Tasha from More Machine Than Man, called Science and the Beat. I’ve also been doing a lot of mastering this year – Gentleman Junkie, Stoneburner, Ganser, and right now I’m working on the new Comasoft EP.
What are your thoughts on the level of production capability that is available to musicians these days versus when you first started, and how do you feel you’ve adapted to these changes?
It does seem that more artists are becoming familiar with the technical aspects of making music; do you find this to be the case, and if so, in what ways do you feel it has contributed to/detracted from the quality of new music?
Alin: I mix my own releases, so I understand the desire to be involved with the technical side of things. At the same time, ‘become familiar’ probably isn’t the point where you would want to take that on. It took me years and a lot of mistakes to become comfortable with mixing. There’s also the issue of perspective. For example, I’m not comfortable mastering things that I’ve mixed.
Some artists are so inspired and have such a clear vision that they really can do it all, to their own benefit, but they’re few and far between.
There also is a greater awareness (one would like to think) on the part of the audience that artists and musicians do have day jobs, and that making a living in the music business is next-to-impossible. What are your thoughts on this?
Alin: I don’t think this is anything new. Unless you tour 10 months a year and that becomes your new day job, you need to do something else to supplement being a musician. I think gear manufacturers and digital distribution companies have made a lot of unrealistic promises to artists that they simply can’t keep, but the reality is the same at it was 20 years ago.
Alin: For me, the ‘current state’ of Christ Analogue is that it’s a band I quit working on 11 years ago. I’ve done a couple one-off shows with friends and little things like the ColdWaves appearance, but there’s not a lot going on aside from that. I feel like that band, lyrically at least, was 100% about my personal problems and now that I’ve resolved most of them from that era, there’s nothing to write about. I know, that’s kind of a lame answer, but it’s true. Everything I’ve tried to write just doesn’t have the same authenticity.
How about Atomica/The Atomica Project?
Alin: I just started on a new album for The Atomica Project!
As well, Chris Randall recently revived Sister Machine Gun, with whom you’ve worked and have Scanalyzer – any possibility of new music from that band?
Alin: Scanalyzer is Chris’ thing and he had already put out an EP of material under the name. At the time we were both in Chicago (or rather, he had just recently moved) and everything we did was about the Positron label. They put out the Atomica record, which Chris helped on. I helped with SMG and Micronaut, produced Bounte. It was a really great time, and the Scanalyzer record encapsulates that. I hope I’ve successfully dodged your question, I really have no idea if we’ll ever do another one.