Making 8-bit obsession
a music profession
Merging the retro aesthetic of vintage video games with an eclectic mix of musical influences, Mord Fustang creates an exciting, hybrid genre that is difficult to describe, but easy to enjoy. We spoke to him about his inspiration, his techniques, and how he uses the Arturia MatrixBrute analog synthesizer to create the complextro sound.
Keeping with the computer game theme, like many other contemporary electronic music producers, Mord Fustang got his first taste of music production with the popular PlayStation title “Music 2000” by Jester Interactive.
Fast-forward to 2007 when 16-year-old me heard Deadmau5’s “Faxing Berlin” on BBC Radio 1, and thought it sounded like the absolute future of music; a future of which I absolutely wanted to be a part of.
He then progressed to Propellerhead’s Reason, then to Ableton Live, and started building a collection of virtual instruments to create the sound he wanted. One of the first was Mini V which created exciting new ways of personalizing his sound. His life-long passion for music, his childhood piano lessons, and teenaged love of Rammstein, Nine Inch Nails, Aphex Twin and The Prodigy converged in the first steps of the artist that would become Mord Fustang.
You can’t go far on the internet without reading that Mord Fustang is a creator of “complextro” music. But what actually is it? We heard it from the man himself.
As I like all kinds of music, creating it was never about having a goal as specific as making something in any style or genre, but I did have this idea for a certain type of music which would include hints of every known genre of music in it. “Complextro”, as it is now known as, is something really close to that, I think.
The idea for me was to have a chopped up sample of, say, a jazzy track follow a heavy metal sample, followed by a techno ‘blip’, followed by a dubstep ’wub’, followed by a vocal sample, all in a very calculated, musically correct way.
At least, that was my philosophy in creating tracks like “Lick the Rainbow” and “Super Meat Freeze”. Ultimately I think it was all an evolution of the classic electro house style that was more popular in the 2008-2013 era.
I totally see this style coming back into prominence again now.
Where many electronic musicians in the genre create music purely in the studio, particularly those superhero-like secret identities, Mord Fustang often takes to the stage to perform from his comprehensive catalog. From simple beginnings, his live show and rig have grown more complex and professional, playing alongside the likes of Deadmau5, Feed Me, Dillon Francis, Zedd, Wolfgang Gartner, and Avicii.
The center of my setup is still a laptop with Ableton Live. However, I have long moved past playing pre-recorded sections or layers of tracks into the realm of having actual instruments, be it hardware or software, all synchronized with each other, and playing live.
I use them to create sequences, arpeggios, and basslines, sending them around into return tracks for added effects, and triggering samples or performing melodies on top of everything. All this while sticking to the overall “Mord Fustang” style of doing live sets. I’ve been working on this setup for years now, and I dream to have this sort of expanded setup up and running at the next venue I play at.
Truly looking forward to seeing how my MatrixBrute, MiniBrute 2S, Beatstep Pro, and other hardware handle the humidity and heat of an outdoor festival!