Google search Computers Want Me Dead and you’ll come across blog after blog declaring the band to be the next big thing to come out of New Zealand. Looking at the success of The Naked and Famous who play a similar sort of infectious electro pop and what these blogs are saying start to seem plausible.
Computers Want Me Dead are currently in the country playing a few shows, including Last Night, Purple Sneakers this Friday 24th July so we grab Sam Harvey of the NZ duo for a quick chat.
Music Feeds: How did you guys meet and form the band?
Sam Harvey: We met at a boring work Christmas party. We ended up in a discussion about music and then ditched the party to listen to Demos I had been working on.
MF: How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard you before?
SH: Electro synth pop. Loads of synths. In fact aside from the vocals, it’s all synths and samples. Influences include all kinds of stuff from Cindi Lauper to Nine Inch Nails as well as a lot of contemporary synth/indie stuff. Someone once told me it sounded like nine Inch Nails on E. I don’t know if they meant it as a compliment but I certainly took it as one.
MF: You played at Can’t Say last Friday night and you’ll be playing at Purple Sneakers this Friday night, is this your first time in Australia?
SH: We’ve both been there before for holidays and we actually played an industry showcase there last year but this was out first actual gig at a club/bar. We loved it! No one there knew who we were, which is kinda cool! It’s fun knowing that people are hearing the songs for the first time.
MF: You guys are from Auckland in NZ, what is the scene like over there?
SH: Pretty cool! There are a fair few pretty decent bands here in Auckland at the moment and there are a few pretty solid live venues. One place called whammy which is kind of a dingy little bar down a flight of stairs under a travel agent. It’s a really good place to see live music. the stage is only about 30cm high so it’s nice and intimate. I saw Xiu Xiu there a little while back and it was awesome!
MF: Who are the best bands from there right now?
SH: Naked and famous for one but I think they’ve relocated to the UK now…
Pikatunes is a really good one man electronic act here. He’s gonna do big things. Also, Mellow Grave though I’ve only heard their stuff online but they went over to New York and I think they’re signed to a label over there now.
MF: What are the best and worst aspects of being a band from Auckland?
SH: Best: The central city is pretty small so there’s not far to walk between bars / to gigs. The local bands here are awesome and everyone’s pretty easy going. Radio stations. 95BFM (radio station) is one of my favourite things about things about Auckland – I’ve discovered a lot of great music just through listening to that station and it’s not too hard to get your tracks played if you’re a new band. There are a few good small inner city stations too. Also Sal’s Pizza, that stuff is too good for words. I actually love this city.
Worst: It’s a small scene and we’re a bit out of the way so maybe there aren’t as many large acts coming through.
MF: Your single We Walk In Circles was featured on a big ad campaign on TV in New Zealand, still fairly early in your career, how do you think that has set up? Have there been any positive or negative effects of the ad campaign?
SH: It’s been all positive as far as I’m concerned. We got a lot of exposure through the ad and we spent the whole fee on new gear, which we badly needed for playing live. There are definitely a limit to what we would allow the band to be associated to. Everybody knows the real money’s in VD awareness anyway.
MF: The band is essentially 2 guys jamming with synths, it kind of reminds me of Midnight Juggernauts when they first started playing shows in Australia, after a few years they recruited a drummer for shows, is that something that you guys might consider doing at some stage?
SH: We started off with a drummer but we didn’t feel that it worked for us. That’s not to say that it won’t work in the future but for now we’re happy with the two of us. It’s easy to tour with just two as well.
MF: How does the songwriting work between the two of you?
SH: We always intended for the band to be a collaborative thing but as it’s worked out, I wrote and recorded the EP on my own for the most part. We have other songs in our live set that we wrote together and we’re both looking forward to writing new stuff for the album.
MF: Tell us about the recording of the EP, where was it recorded, who did you record with, how did you find the whole process?
SH: Most of it was done in my room in the computer. I tend to lock myself away and immerse myself in it. I guess I write music like my friends play computer games. So most of the songs get written in front of the computer but sometimes ideas come at random and I have to jot them down or run to the computer and capture it before it gets away. I like producing the music too. It’s somehow more satisfying to know that you did it all yourself. We got one song mixed by Even Short from Concord Dawn though (NZ drum n Bass dude).
MF: If you were making a mix tape, who are some of the first bands that you put on there?
SH: Neon Indian, Salem, Arithmatix, Vega, Pikatunes, Arcade Fire, maybe Prince… That kinda sounds awful when I say it out loud. Kind of an uncomfortable mish-mash. Maybe this is why I’m not a DJ.
Computers Want Me Dead play ‘Last Night’ Purple Sneakers this Friday 24th July @ the Gaelic Club