Question N°1 : Can you please introduce yourself to those that may be new to your work ?
GUNSHIP is Dan Haigh, Alex Westaway, and Alex Gingell.
Question N°2 : When did you guys start the work on GUNSHIP ? What brought you to the Retro Scene and how came the idea to start a project like that ?
Dan: WAY back in time, I used to be a level designer working on various video games, I read Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash”. I got inspired and wrote some tunes motivated by that book. That process planted a seed for secret synth love which remained dormant for a while. Fast forward 10 years, after Alex and I finished Fightstar’s “Be Human” album, we began tinkering with the idea of an electronic project. I like to learn, and the world of digital music and synths seemed to offer a fresh galaxy of information to absorb. Our early material done under the band name ‘False Flags’ was more industrial and well, perhaps we’ll put that EP out one day… However it wasn’t until I heard “Power Glove” on all-round-good-dude Jason Eisner’s “Hobo with a Shotgun” that I suddenly fell in love. All my childhood loves, memories and tastes somehow in musical form… Then – I built a motorcycle with my father in law called “GUNSHIP”. One night, I decided to ride to the cinema in London by myself on this bike. I took a chance and went to see this movie called ‘Drive’…
Picture the scene… Hot London – late night, ill advised attire for motorcycle driving…t-shirt and converse… haha… and walking into “Drive”…it was like a religious experience. It was the same way when I first saw id’s “DooM” – and thought – i have to make stuff like this…
Question N°3 : If you could choose one film director to make a music video for you who could that be ?
Alex W: Quentin Jerome Tarantino
Alex G: There are a lot of film directors whose work I greatly admire, but that wouldn’t necessarily be the right fit for Gunship. For us, I think I would want to hijack James Cameron and steer him away from 10 foot tall blue aliens and back to cyborgs, exosuits and space marines. Then I would resurrect Jordan Cronenweth (Blade Runner cinematographer) and put him on the job too. Hell, as I’m already breaking laws of time and space, I’ll genetically engineer a mid-20s – mid 30s aged hybrid of Ridley Scott, James Cameron and John McTiernan. I’ll make the team film at Pinewood with an English crew – that way the constant tea breaks will drive this mutant director crazy and the time constraints will result in a delirious piece of inspired 80s insanity.
Dan: I really feel that Alex G nailed that question and then some.
Question N°4 : What are the plans for GUNSHIP after the release of the Album ?
Alex G: Personally I’m hoping to make enough money to able to invest in a 3D printer so that I can engineer a swimming pool full of 3D printed tits, and drive my jeep into it. If that all goes to plan, a second album will be a necessity in order to pay for the devastation. Also I have another project involving a stadium full of 3D printed tits.
Question N°5: What is your earworm at the moment? What have you listening to on repeat recently?
Alex W: Jurassic Park theme / Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago / Lonely The Brave
Alex G: Toto and Mitch Murder’s Terminator/Guile/Airwolf themes. That’s all you really need to live a meaningful life.
Dans: John Carpenter’s “Lost Themes”, Carpenter Brut (who has a remix featuring on the GUNSHIP album), Miami Nights 1984, Hauer, Electric Youth, Imogen Heap, OGRE, Billy Idol, Cindy Lauper, Pantera, Martin Grech, and Bohren and the club of gore.
Question N°6: What are your musical influences? What kind of music do you listen when not producing?
Dan: I was born in 1980, grew up as a metal kid, and was very much into Metallica at 8 or 9. It was Metallica and film for me – everything else could slide. ( I joined my first band around the same time.) Lately I’ve come to realise that my own taste actually boils down to the musical creation of vivid atmosphere. A bunch of prominent synthwave artists seem to have a metal orientated background… I’m beginning to forge a theory about this…
When we’re not producing we just play ipod roulette trying to one up each other… can you get from Deicide’s “Serpents of the light” to Simple Minds “Don’t You” in 4 moves?
Question N°7: What ispires you while working on new Music?
Alex W: Expired Abbot’s Gold cheese and ‘cake’
Dan: I usually start with a sound. Usually its just messing around in the audio sandpit until something catches my attention. Then its the projected visual that this sound creates in my mind which guides me in a particular direction. Sounds and visuals seem to be inextricably linked for me. I think that’s why I’ve become so enamored with synthesizers – there is just limitless scope for different sounds and therefore your imagination can truly wander.
Alex G: Probably number one would be hearing the latest song fragments or patches that Dan and Al have cooked up. I don’t know whether it’s growing up in the 80s that instilled this in me, or whether it’s just a natural power of the medium, but I find that a finely crafted synth patch has the power to transport me instantly to another world. Like dipping your brain into a warm bath of inspirational ectoplasm whilst tiny leprechauns poke pop-tarts into your ears.
Question n°8: What programs and instruments do you use for your Music? What is your favorite VST you use? And which Drum Machine do you prefer?
Dan: I really rate Dave Smith Instruments for hardware synths. Dave’s Prophet 12 is all over the GUNSHIP album. I’m very excited about the recent announcement for the Prophet 6! We use hardware where possible (genuine analog synths / hybrids / & Digital) There is also a lot of Juno 106, various Moogs (inc. Moog Model D), Virus TI, novation and Doefer hardware used. I’ve definitely got the hardware bug. The new Modal Electronics Modulus 002 is also getting me very hyped at the moment. Drums, we tend to use Oberheim DMX and Maschine!
Question N°9: The Gunship logo remains a lot on the Cannon Films logo. Was that the plan?
Dan: Maybe 😉 Nostalgia, providing it doesn’t stand alone, can be a wonderful thing.
Question N°10: Do you plan to do live shows with Gunship in the near future? The plan?
Question N°11: Are there vocals on every song or do you guys also have songs without vocals? We heard Stella Le Page on “Fly For Your Life” and you posted a while ago that Lou Hater also spend some vocals on the album.Are there more special guests involved?
Alex W: We have yet to make a purely instrumental track, it’s just too tempting to just sing over everything. You know, it’s just too hard to control the flow once the seal is broken! I like to think that our use of vocals gives us our own space in the ‘Synth Wave’ thing. We have a couple of additional guest vocalists on the record: Martin Grech and Charlie Simpson collaborated on one track each.
Question N°12: How you came to the name “Gunship”? Is there a special meaning to it?
Dan: Well… A Gunship can be defined as a craft which is both heavily armed and highly maneuverable…
Question N°13: In what direction goes the album? Do you guys have all styles of the 80s sound combined? Outrun? Synthwave? Dark Synth?
Dan: The GUNSHIP album is hopefully something a little different. It is a diverse record, there is darkness and light – hopefully the listener will be taken on a ride across the emotional spectrum – ha! That would be nice… I guess tonal contrast is a key element to what we’re trying to do, but the vocals act as a silver thread looping it all together. It is a very vocally focused record, but also retains the cinematic values of those sub genres you mentioned. I think if we tried to make a super cohesive album where everything sounded the same we’d die of boredom or at least lose interest and go to Toby Carvery instead…
Question N°14: The teaser trailer said that the album has 10 tracks, are there some re-mixes or Bonus Songs included?
Dan: Yes. There is most likely going to be a Deluxe version of the album which features remixes by several prominent synth oriented artists.
Question N°15: What are your favorite Movie flicks or Video Games?
Alex G: Favourite Game: The Gollop brothers’ 1994 classic: UFO: Enemy Unknown (also known as XCOM: Enemy Unknown). Manage an elite global taskforce’s anti-alien invasion strategy whilst simultaneously getting your hands dirty with your assault teams in the lung-shredding pixelated glory of the combat layer. I like to dig it out and play a campaign once every couple of years – even after all this time that initially lo-fi pixel art has a way of morphing inside my head into something extremely evocative and the soundtrack is a shining example of how to write atmospheric and involving music with very limited technology.
Favourite Movie: It’s a permanent rotation between Miller’s Crossing, The Big Lebowski and The Shawshank Redemption (with Glengarry Glen Ross following close behind). Right now it’s Miller’s Crossing because it has the most amazing tough guy patois. Now, take your flunky… and dangle. I never really consider a lot of the great 80s/90s fare like Predator, Terminator, Aliens etc for this title, because I don’t even think of them as movies anymore, they are just shiny gems woven into my soul, like a life experience.
Alex W: Ratatouille
Dan: If you’re reading this interview we’re probably on the same wavelength – you probably already know… meeting like minded individuals is a fantastic thing.